Bari’s Motorbike Diary
Circumnavigating India by Motorbike, Sept-Nov 2005


locals, assam

chai break by  police check post

half road
Saturday, November 5
Heading in to southern Assam to a place called Silchar. We had calculated the distance from Dimapur to be a little less than 300 km. We enquired about another route that would cut down about 50 km, but it would mean that we go off the main highway. We were quite spoilt from the previous couple of days with decent roads. So, we just assumed the same for today. We barely got onto this half beaten single lane road when we were halted at the police check post and had to wait a few minutes. Some police officers got in to the first lorry and soon all the other lorries,buses, cars and us formed a convoy behind it. We come to realise that that was the national highway and that there was a violent incident on a bus 2 days prior on that road and so were advised to travel in a convoy for safety. We travelled like that quite slowly for about 45 km from where we had to take a diversion to a place called Diphu. There was no traffic which made the heavy forest a little more creepy feel to it. Otherwise, it was beatiful. The road though narrow and broken up in many places was still managable. We stopped for a quick few minutes to take pictures or film the ride, which was making certain members of the crew very nervous.
We stopped by a local chai shop which was next to a police check post and talked to the official about the insurgency activity in that region. He said, there was some incident the day after yesterday or yesterday after yesterday and to travel cautiously. We carried on till we joined up with the main national highway 54 at around noon. Then we spent an hour finding a place to eat in a town there called, Lumding. Then, we asked some locals about the road to Silchar. They advised not to take that road we were on, instead to take the road back to a different town and go in a round about way. This was getting annoying. We stopped some truck drivers and asked them about the road and safety conditions. They seemed to be alright with it. But certain crew member was adamant about not going on that road as the local chap had said. So the local chap then asks a guy he knew who was coming along from the opposite direction, and he said it was fine. suddenly everyone was fine about carrying on. We found a restaurant just a few feet away and ordered some lunch. That took another 1 1/2 hours. We were losing quality daylight and we only had a couple more hours left of it.
We were told the distance to Silchar from there was about 140 km or so. Soon we came across a sign giving the distance at 244 km. Boy, did that let the air out of us! already the road was getting even more bad and we would be losing light very soon and we were in the middle of nowhere forest. so we took a decision to instead make it to a town called Haflong, about 100 km before Silchar.
We rode for another 2 hours after the sun went down and the road was really bad in many areas. Around 30 km to Haflong, I felt my bike responding a little awkward. Was pulling to one side and the steering was not quite right. I pulled over and asked Navroze to see if i had a flat. He didn’t seem to think so. also, we Dinesh’ and my bike was out of gas and were now on reserve. So i figured it was just the fuel flow or the dust that has clogged tyhe air filter. About 5 km before town, it was obviously clear that my reat tire was punctured. We couldn’t stop in the middle of nowhere and try to take it apart. So slowly we came down the hills to the town and safely reached a hotel called Elite by 7 pm.
By this hour the whole town was closing up and all the repair shops were shut. Luckily, the owner of the hotel contacted someone he knew and he re opened for us. Amazing joe, got my back to its running condition.
Tomorrow, we are to make it back to Gawhati via Shillong in meghalaya state. We opted to stop off in Shillong for the next night halt and make up the extra distance to Gawhati the day after.

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