Hy guys, I'm back on my computer and the story continues… This time – I promise –*I'm gonna find a way out of dead-end situation!
I was one of the last travellers getting out of the Himalayan region for that season. It must have been late October, or even early November. The nights were already cold up there. Freezing cold to be honest. The days were still beautiful and enjoyable. There was barely a cloud on the sky and the sun got to warm up the town Leh, the biggest town in Ladakh. Leh is at about 3500 meters altitude (12.000 feet). Even many locals leave the area for the winter. I rode West towards Srinagar and it was presented with grand views along the way. A magnificent ride. Not much traffic at all. (About three vehicles a day passing) The road was challenging and fun, with all its potholes, landslides, cliffs, lack of tarmac, deep truck-tracks and countless twists, curves and turns. Just wonderful. The only worrying part of it was when I rode by a big yellow sign saying: "You are watched by the enemy – be careful" To interpret this correctly you need to know that the Pakistanis and the Indians have been fighting over this area for the last decades. It's the highest battle ground in the world. Many fights took place in hot spots higher than 18.000 feet. I'm not sure whether more soldiers were wounded by gun fire or injured by accidents and the cold. Anyways, I could be sure that the Pakistanis were looking down on me riding this road. And the Indians were so kind to let me know about it through their yellow sign. I guess the bike and I didn't make as much of a target as the Indian army trucks made. Long story short, I made it to Srinigar which is an amazing place. Another story… This is where I saw it. The big bright-red truck that was to make the difference. But I didn't know it yet. It was a fire-fighter truck with cross-country capabilities, converted into a RV. And it had German number plates on it. Imagine my surprise. I hadn't seen a fellow German in a long time. I stopped, I got off the bike, I walked around the truck and I knocked. Nothing! I knocked again. Nobody home. I left a note with my email address and the message to get in touch if they wanted under the window wiper.
Months later, I was sitting in Kathmandu, Nepal, working on job over the internet when I got an email from the big bright-red truck people. They were a couple and they seemed fun. They said in the email that they weren't gonna write because they thought I was well gone by the time they got my note, so why bother, but then…. they thought, why not…. since they were looking for other overland travellers to team up and share the cost of going through Tibet and China to reach South East Asia (where I wanted to go, but didn't know how). I thought about it for a momeYEESSSSSS I'M IN!!!!!!! What a wonderful thing. I could never have pulled it off by myself, but with the big bright-red truck people and another couple in a VW camper-van I could. We shared the cost for all the visas, permissions, documents, the mandatory 24/7 guide, the Chinese drivers licenses, number plates and everything. It was still hugely expensive and I put all I had on the table, but I found a way!!!! YEAH. The only thing left to worry about now was: How will I make it across the Himalayas in January? With the snow and all… The others were on 4 wheels, but I only had two and from experience, using the panniers as a third foot to stabilise, never happened with something getting ruined. Plus we were on a tight schedule, every day extra will cost extra. A lot! Well… it wasn't as easy as I thought. But more to this next time.