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Thumbnail Pictures of West Bengal, Sikkim, and Gorka Land, India

June - October 2011

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Siliguri to Mirik to Darjeeling, India

(May - June, 2011)

Rainbow gloves on the road.

Barbequed corn.

Taking a break from the killer hills.

We stopped for momos in this little town called Sukhia.

The road was lined with Japanese cedars.

Darjeeling, West Bengal, India

(June - September 2011)

Walking along the train tracks.

St. Andrew's Church, built in 1843.

Don't forget your umbrella in Darjeeling.

Vegetables for sale.

Darjeeling is full of secret staircases.


Darjeeling, India #2

(June to September, 2011)

I usually have a little bread in my backpack for this goose during my walks but none in my bike bags this time - as you can see, she is asking me and trying to act cute on a rainy bike ride through Darjeeling, India.

Clothing stalls along the Mall.

Drumming and dancing.

Darjeeling is a nice walking town if you don't mind a few hills and stairs.


Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park and Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Darjeeling, West Bengal, India

(August 2011)

Nap time.

Red Pandas are ridiculously cute and fluffy, although this guy looked a little mad.


Lloyd Botanical Garden, Darjeeling, West Bengal, India

(September 2011)


Nibbly blossom.


Darjeeling to Gangtok, West Bangle, India

(September 2011)

I noticed Gretchen's handlebar bag wiggling and caught her trying to smuggle 2 kittens into Sikkim, India. I eventually talked her into leaving them behind with their mother.

My touring bicycle loaded up in front of a mossy wall. The umbrella is left over from the Darjeeling monsoon and I am carrying it as an experiment to see if it is useful. I will donate it to someone before long.

Gretchen taking a break with our touring bicycles on a cliff looking down a 5000ft gorge. Then we went down a very long and crazy steep plunge to a roaring river.

Gretchen's headlamp stopped working after just a few months of use. Instead of throwing it away, she got it repaired for less than a dollar.


Gangtok to Rabongla, Sikkim, India

(October 2011)

Our not-so stealthy camping spot on the side of the road. We were between towns and tuckered out from the climbing so we plunked down here next to a big waterfall. We had a great view of the next day's ride to Rabongla.

After two days of climbing up over a total of 2000 meters, we reached Rabongla, Sikkim, India. Fantastic views of snowy peaks and long valleys. Finally we have great weather, just in time to hit the big mountains.

We made it by this rock slide, caused by the Sikkim earthquake, but later came to another that was impassable. We had to turn around then and take a different route. Needless to say, the new route involved thousands of feet of climbing and backtracking.

Once a kindergarten teacher, always a teacher. Gretchen has a way with the kids.

Our touring bicycles loaded up in downtown Gangtok, Sikkim, India. A few day after we arrived, there was a 6.9 earthquake that shut down all water and power service and closed many roads. Gangtok didn't suffer too much, but some villages in the north were mostly destroyed. Sadly, many people lost their lives in this quake.


Rumtek Monastery, Sikkim, India

(October 2011)

The Rumtek Monastery is the seat of the Karma Kagyu lineage or the 'Black Hat' order of Tibetan Buddhists and is one of the most sacred pilgrimage sites of Sikkim.

The gates are guarded by Indian policemen. Solar panels on the roof provide hot water.

Sleeping monks.

Young monks playing hackie sack.


Rabongla to Tashiding and on to Yuksom, Sikkim, India

(October 2011)

Riding above the clouds.

How did this happen? My Continental Travel Contact Tire is only six months old, and this gash developed in a very hand to fix place. I tried boots and glue to no avail. Finally I gave up and put on my folding spare tire. Once again, the spare tire saves the day!

Roadside repairs draw a crowd. One man asked if he could have my old tire.

We arrived in Tashiding on market day, when the tiny streets were busy with shoppers. Our bikes got loads of attention, especially from the kids.

Oh Brooks, how can you let me down! On a bumpy road, the rail of my leather Brooks flyer bicycle touring saddle snapped in half, nearly putting the bike out of commission. We were able to move the saddle so the broken part was held together by the seat post clamp. Not sure if I should try to find a welder or fix it with super glue. Brooks is good about warrantee replacements, the problem is where to send it.


Tashiding Monastery, Sikkim, India

(October 2011)

Tashiding Gompa, a short walk from Tashiding village, founded in 1641.

Old man walking by prayer wheels.

Endless mountains.

The engraver chisels Buddhist prayers on stone in his tiny lean-to workshop.


Yuksom, Pelling, Siliguri, India to the Bangladesh border

(October 2011)

Replacing worn-thin break pads and a general bike tune up before setting out.

The Yeti lives up there.

On our way down from Pelling we came upon this little traffic snarl.

Leaving Jorethang, site of our tragic pannier robbery. I'm now carrying one of Gretchen's rear panniers since I just can't bear not having matching bags.

A chunk of glass, most likely from the famous Sikkim Hit Beer, put a deep cut in my Schwalbe Marathon tire.  Looks like I will be adding 2 new touring bicycle tires to my package of things being sent from the USA to Dhaka, Bangladesh.


Pemayangtse Monastery and Rabentse Ruines, Pelling, Sikkim

(October 2011)

The original shrine here is said to have been established in 1705.

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