We had to search around Chandigarh a little before we found a hotel that had vacancy but we finally found one, had some beer and food and a good nights sleep. We got up fairly early and hit the road heading north towards Kiratpur and into the foothills toward Manali.
We had rain on and off during the first day so the broken clouds were welcome this morning. The roads were very nice around Chandigarh. They would prove to be the nicest roads we would come across during the entire journey. We blasted through Rupnagar and missed our turn. It took us 20km or so before we realized it.
There was always some great place to stop for a bite to eat usually with quite friendly staff. Most places were making fresh chipati, roti, or naan breads. We ordered Dal Fry (lentils) with almost every meal. Hey Buuurrt, what else was regularly on the menu? We ate mostly vegetarian and were careful not to eat food from the street vendors right of the get go. Surprisingly, no one would get sick during the entire trip.
After missing our turn and going another 20km out of our way and backtracking again, we got onto the road leading into the first foothills of the Himalayas. This road was jammed with trucks going both directions. The trucks creep up the hills very slow so they're pretty easy to get by. You just have to have a little patience and DON'T pass on those blind corners even though the trucks are hardly moving because the downhill trucks are usually moving too fast and seem to come out of no where.
So we're at a stop behind a line of trucks after climbing 25km or so. The bikes are side by side and idling when mine "clacks" and starts making a rackety tapping. We all look at each other wondering "what the hell"? I attempt to get it to the side of the road and it coughs dead. One stroke of the kick starter told the story: no compression in the cylinder any more. We hemmed and hawed about what to do for a bit then I popped off the gas tank and started to take a look under the valve covers while Minxter started helping herself to a little left over McDowells whiskey from the night before.
I found one of the problems right away. The exhaust valve push rod was no longer pushing on the rocker arm, it was out of place.
Here my finger is pointing at the dislodged pushrod which is no longer pushing against the rocker arm. I thought, "cool, I'll just get it back into place and maybe we'll be in business, at least to get us to a shop". Good theory but when I got it back in place there was about 1/4" too much clearance. It was like the valve wasn't shutting all the way.
I also found other things I didn't really like in there. When I removed the rocker arm I found metal shavings that had been pumped up with the oil and were jammed in the ports. I also found some sort of cobbled shims that a previous mechanic had inserted between the rocker arm covers. I suspect they also had seen these metal shavings and were trying to compensate by shimming open the covers so the oil would continue to flow. That's just a guess, but I know for sure these shims were not stock. They were cut from a can or something.
Now it was getting a little later in the day and we had to do something. We passed a hotel on the way up so we coasted back down to it and got a room for the night. I continued to wrench on the bike while the others heckled me. We were drinking beer and a little whiskey and weren't the least concerned even though the bike was dead. We knew we'd fix it. I couldn't get the valve unstuck so we planned to coast back down to Kiratpur (20km back) and see if we could fix the bike at a shop in the morning. The hotel had excellent food and great folks that worked there. We were up out of the plains and had gained some elevation but it was still a bit warm but we slept pretty good under the ceiling fans. Oh yeah, Minxter and I slept good. Seems as if I remember Buuurrt and Maja's fan was clacking all night.
Looking at the day, we advanced about 82km but rode about 145km with the backtracking. We went from the Punjab region of India and just made it into the Himachal Pradesh region which sits in the Himalaya's. We had a dead bike but weren't concerned and we were thoroughly enjoying India and all the people we were running across!