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Theog to Hatkoti, Himachal Pradesh, India

(March 2012)

Gasoline (petrol) is 70 Rupees/liter in India - can anyone convert that to old fashioned US$/gallon?  I know that the  price of gasoline is much higher here compared to the USA and parallels the price in the USA as it climbs and falls - along with the rest of the world.  I wonder who they are blaming here? - probably all the politicians they dislike. 


We paused at a tiny cluster of stores that serves as the shopping center and bus station for the surrounding mountain villages.


This valley and mountain region is covered with terraced apple orchards.


The misty weather was closing in and we were caught out on this steep muddy climb. Soon the views across the valley were obscured by rolling clouds.


The road leads up many side valleys to traverse side streams.


The pine forest smells terrific, even on a cold rainy day.


We found shelter from the bad weather at this family-run guesthouse. Our room was a cold and smelly cave, but much better than a night of camping in the high altitude rain.


One night of rain turned our road into a mud bog. As we climbed, the mud got deeper.


Riding through this muddy mess is tough work. After a few hours, we started wondering if we should turn around.


A road equation used by professional bike tourists:  Rain + dirt road + trucks and busses that like to spin their wheels = deep mud + pushing in soggy ground +  stuck vehicles + long delays.  This was a hard day that took 4 hours to go 12km over an otherwise  beautiful mountain pass.


Gretchen make a hard run at a black  puddle but got stopped by a foot-deep mud quagmire


I rode through such deep mud my front bicycle touring panniers went plowing through it.  It's a good thing I use waterproof Ortlieb panniers that keep my clothes clean and dry.  See more Ortlieb bicycle touring Panniers


Gretchen feeling triumphant at the top of the pass. We certainly earned our lunch that day.


The drop into the valley beyond the pass was much drier. We passed apple farm after apple farm.


After a wild three day ride, we finally reached Hatkoti. This tiny town is home of some picturesque temples where people come for weddings. It's also the site of a large hydroelectric project being built now.


Out of Hatkoti, we will follow the Tons River towards Har Ki Dun.


The bride and groom, covered with cash gifts from relatives. The groom is wearing a cap popular with local men.


After a short break, Tim is ready to tackle another round of climbing.


Stopping to consult the map.


Dust has turned my touring cycle as gray as the surrounding rocks.



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