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Thread: Bike Tour 4,000 KMS - Karachi - Naran - Astor (Gilgit Balistan) and Back to Karachi

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    Default Bike Tour 4,000 KMS - Karachi - Naran - Astor (Gilgit Balistan) and Back to Karachi

    My Travel Itinerary:

    Day 01: Wed - Aug 21st --> Karachi to Uch Sharif (Punjab)

    Day 02: Thur- Aug 22nd --> Uch Sharif to D.I. Khan (KPK)

    Day 03: Fri - Aug 23rd --> Stayed in D.I. Khan (KPK)

    Day 04: Sat - Aug 24th --> DI Khan to Islamabad

    Day 05: Sun - Aug 25th --> Stayed in Islamabad

    Day 06: Mon - Aug 26th --> Islamabad to Naran

    Day 07: Tue - Aug 27th --> Naran to Astor (Gilgit Balistan)

    Day 08: Wed - Aug 28th --> Astor to Rama Lake and Back to Naran

    Day 09: Thur - Aug 29th --> Naran to Islamabad

    Day 10: Fri - Aug 30th --> Islamabad to Karachi

    Day 11: Sat - Aug 31st --> Traveling to Karachi

    Day 12: Sun - Sep 01st --> Early Morning Arrived in Karachi



    I have lived abroad most of my life and only returned to Pakistan some three years back. I now live in Karachi and have driven to Islamabad many times by car and its been an exhilarating experience every time.

    My Bike Adventure plans began more than two years back when I was visiting Northern Areas (Naran) with Cousins from Islamabad. I drove my car alone from Karachi to Islamabad and got together with 9 others in two cars and explored the Northern areas for the very first time in my life and was struck by its shear beauty. Along the way I saw many people on motorcycles whom I thought were locals at first, or perhaps from Islamabad area. However, upon discovering Pakwheels I was amazed to see that so many people were driving their bikes in groups from various parts of Punjab as were as a few courageous souls who also traveled from other places and posted their step by step travel experiences, both on bikes and cars.

    So I began to think what it would be like to drive a bike across the country since I had already done that by car many times. I should point out that where I had lived my entire life one could not imagine driving a bike, at least not an entire year due to heavy snow during winters and many wet days of rain throughout summer. So to put it plainly, I had never driven a bike nor did I know how to drive one. Although I sad on a few bikes in Pakistan as a passenger but never really driven one.

    So now I was becoming more and more bold in researching bikes both on Pakwheels as well as on olx. I came to a realization that most long distance riders who posted on Pakwheels chose either a Honda 125 or a Suzuki GS 150. I took many months researching both the pros and cons of both bikes to see which was better for longer drives, fuel economy, accessible spare parts, durability and so on. And although I was leaning more towards purchasing a Honda, I was told that in Karachi it would not be wise to buy a new Honda and instead to go for a new Suzuki GS 150 due to the high demand of Hondas and the high likelihood of a new 125 being stolen.

    So a year back (Nov 2012) after doing plenty of research I finally purchased my first ever Bike, GS 150 and asked the seller to deliver it to my office since I didn't want anyone at home to know had I purchased a bike since I didn't know how to ride one just yet. At my office I used the help of my guard to teach me how to turn it on, how to put it in gear, how to break and all the basics which were totally a new experience for me. After some three weeks of learning to ride in our large office parking lot after hours when there was no traffic I finally gained the confidence of driving it home. I began to drive it from home to office daily after everyone came to know I had purchased a bike but due to the fact I could comfortably ride it not too many objected to me purchasing a bike as I had originally thought.


    A month later I took my first ever 'Long Distance Test Drive' experience to Hyderabad which took me close to 3 hours with a brief 5 min stop at two places to adjust my ever so aching bum. I had a relative in the Army who was posted in Hyd Cantt. After a two night stay and a professional Champi I returned back to Karachi and realized just how painful and exhausting a long drive can be. Nothing could be done I thought, to resolve the issue of an aching bum from such a long drive.

    Upon reading many of the threads on this site I finally realized I needed a cushion to sit on for a longer drive as well as some basic necessities I would need for a longer drive.

    So this year from Feb/March I began my plan to ride to Islamabad and then up to Naran if I can. I did post on here asking for people's advice as to whether it was safe to drive to Naran from Karachi in March-April and most responded that Naran will not be approachable till late May due to snow which has not yet melted. So the next possible time I had was holidays just after Eid in August.

    So on Aug 21st I began my road trip to Islamabad. But I had only 10 days since I had to be back to work on Monday Sept 2nd and that meant I would have to be back in Karachi by Sat Aug 30th or Sun Aug 31st and allow myself to rest for a day on Sunday.

    I did the following very basic modifications;
    - HID Headlight for high beam, low beam was regular headlight
    - Installed a Car Lighter Adapter in order to keep my mobile charged while I listened to music during my drive
    - Installed a new wider and larger Tire in rear
    - Purchased new tubes for the front and back
    - Wasn't sure of the tools so left that since I have never changed a tire but was certain I would find a puncture shop on the road
    - Purchased an extra Clutch Cable and a Break Cable
    - Installed saddle bags for each side for my Water Supply and other heavy items
    - Installed two Heavy Horns to sound like a Corolla which really really helped throughout the trip
    - After getting a Fresh Oil Change two days before leaving, Also purchased an extra liter of oil for the road

    What I forgot was to purchase a pump, someone might help me change a tube but how would we pump air into the tire? That was something I realized much later after returning back to Karachi.

    I guess these are all the items I got done to the Bike before leaving. Now I should point out once again that all these ideas I got on this website from reading many other postings except for the lighter adapter which was my idea since I could not go an entire day without being certain I had a mobile which was charged for security situations in case I needed to call someone.

    I had a Thermos with ice cubes and frozen cold water along with frozen water bottles for the road.

    I began my trip exactly at 3:30 AM on Wed Aug 21st in order to do most of my drive in cool temperatures and avoid the summer heat. My plan was to clear Sindh in Day time and enter Punjab before sun set and take a hotel in Rahim Yar Khan. Now I had no idea just how long it would take me to reach Rahim Yar Khan so I planned a stop at RY Khan for the first night. My relative who lived in Hyderabad the year before had been re-posted to Dera Ismail Khan so now the plan was to stop there on my way to Islamabad, which meant a new route I had never been on.

    So my second night stay would have to be DI Khan if I could reach it.

    I left Karachi with a half tank of Fuel (Rs 500) in order to keep the weight light so I could easily cope with the steep hills I had to climb on my way to Hyderabad knowing full well that I would find many petrol pumps along the way. The plan was to fill up just after crossing Hyderabad as it would be a more flatter and smoother ride. I cleared Hyd just after 6:30 AM and filled up to the top. I drove past many farming communities and realized that although I had driven this route many times over the past 3 years, I never saw this view from the car which I was enjoying now on my bike trip. I kept a steady speed of 80 and sometimes even touched 90 on clear roads but had to slow back down 70 near heavy traffic.

    I stopped somewhere at a Truck Stop (Charpai Hotel) for breakfast at around 9 AM, not sure if I can remember the place but it may be close to Moro. I am certain that the very first 3 pics should remind some of the readers as to the location if they have traveled this route.


    After a 45 Minute stop for nashta which I had on a Charpai I got back on my bike and head further into Sindh. Now I should also mention that I had my relatives believe I would go by Bus and book my Bike on top all the way to Islamabad and then do my road trip from Isb to Naran. No one would believe it was possible or even safe to travel by bike this long route. This is why you will notice I had most all of my pics with my bike in order to later convince people that I in fact drove my bike and did not just stop the bus to take pics along the way.

    Most of the readers will automatically recognize these areas of interior Sindh along Kherpur, Gotki and other areas where I stopped to take pics.
    As it got closer and closer to the afternoon, it got hotter and hotter. I would stop periodically to open the water bottle in my saddle bag on the side which was already warm, so I would take a cup which I carried and mix the ice cold water with the warm water so as to not to have a very cold drink and at the same time make the water cold enough to drink and keep myself hydrated in the heat of August.

    I was expecting to reach the border of Punjab and cross Sadiqqabad and catch a hotel in RY Khan sometime in the evening knowing full well that I would have to stop within Sindh to take rest under the shade of a tree during the afternoon, but to my surprise I kept riding without tiring and by 2:30 pm I was already at RY Khan. I wondered what I would do all day in RY Khan and rather than sleeping it off at the hotel all day I decided to keep on going and pushed further ahead and improvise on my night stay along the way.

    Although I would stop from time to time to drink plenty of water along the way I noticed now that I was not perspiring, I was not passing urine, and so I was wondering where all that water was going. I mean I had possible drank almost 3 liters of water, two full Nestle bottles which are at least a liter and a half each. But soon I came head on with my worst fears. I began to feel a light headache which got worst as I drove, I was feeling the heat radiating from the asphalt on the road below me and I felt hotter and hotter with my forehead beginning to sweat.

    I was come down with a heat stroke. I quickly started searching for any shade I could find but to my surprise, after passing RY Khan I really didn't see any tree but rather just fields and fields of vegetation. Soon I began to see trees in a distance and now I began to wish for a tree I could just drive my bike across the field and park under the tree to rest it off and cool down.

    There was a small dirt road cutting of the highway into some village in a distance but that road was enough for me to have access to the tree line and I just drove into the field of grass and parked my bike under the rich green trees. I pulled out a plastic sheet which I had carried with me for such occasions and laid it on the uneven dried mud field and then took out the plain which sheet to lay on top of the plastic sheet and then used the cushion I was carrying to sit on as a pillow and just laid down to sleep. I don?t know when I dosed off to sleep but could hear people walking in the distance on that dirt road hardly 50 feet from where I was sleeping. From time to time I would open my eyes and see the people walk by or on bikes who were locals and they would look at me but carried on without stopping.

    When I finally woke it was past 5:30 pm and I slowly got up, took out some much needed cold water and mixed it with the water from the bottle and drank a good three glasses down. I sat simply lay for another 10 mins or so and then folded the bed sheet and the plastic sheet and put them back in place.
    I got back on the road and although I could still feel the heat readiating from the road beneath me, it was nothing as before and I also knew it would cool down now that the sun was at an angle and would set in another two to three hours.

    From my map I knew I had to get off the main N5 highway and go towards Uch Sharif and then onward towards DI Khan and stop for night stay somewhere at a Hotel. When I reached Uch it was almost Maghrib time so I stopped at the most beautiful Charpai Hotel that I had ever seen. It was beautifully built with paved parking lot, a nice small mosque next to it which was glittering in marble and glass designs and kalima written all around it in colorful tiles. It was so well lit with dozens of bulbs. So I stopped for Maghrib and then decided to have dinner. As usual I asked the waiter for a nice meal and then they asked where I was coming from and where I was heading upon seeing the luggage on my bike. I told them and they were shocked, that I had driven all the far from Karachi. I asked how far Ali Pur was since that was on route, they said it would be another 2 hours so I asked if there were any hotels to stay at in Ali Pur. They one by one along with other customers who heard of my trip and where I planned on going came to me and requested I not drive further due to bad security conditions during the night as well as there are no services along the way until Ali Pur in case I got a tire puncture or other problems. They all recommended I stay the night at the charpai hotel.

    So after dinner and isha I asked where I could sleep since my bike had luggage which was difficult for me to undo and then again it took a while for me to tie it and didn't want to waste time in the morning putting it on once again. So they suggested they would set up a charpai for me in the veranda (baranda) where I could park my bike next to me and they too had armed guards who would also watch out for my luggage and bike so not to worry. And the best part was the stay overnight was absolutely FREE. So I did just that and was fast asleep by 9:30 pm and had set my mobile alarm for 4 am in order to be on the road early to beat the summer heat and not face another day of heat stroke on my way to DI Khan.

    When I woke up in the morning at 4 am I shut the alarm and went back to sleep since it was such a restful sleep with a cool breeze thinking I would just rest for another 10 mins before getting up. It was the morning azan which I woke up to at around 5: 00 AM. I quickly told the waiter to prepare nashta for me (Chai Paratha) while I go to offer namaz. After nashta at 5:30 I was about to leave but was requested to wait till the sun came out for safety and so I did just that. There are a few pics of my morning nashta in that charpai hotel at Uch.

    I filled up at their pump and by 6 AM I was on the road again passing through many rivers along the road which were so pretty seeing the reflection in the water early in the morning.

    I drove to DG Khan, and then to DI Khan where I reached at 1:30 PM and stayed with my relative Major Hasan for two days. Enjoyed his family?s hospitality and wonderful food. And on Sat Aug, 24th at 6 Am after breakfast Major Hasan arranged for his Driver and Guard to escort me for a safe passage to the city limits and they put me on the road leading to Chashma.



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  2. #181
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sulaiman75 View Post
    Thanks for your inspirational response. As for having a diary, I actually never thought of having a diary to jot down all my daily travel routines but as I arrived in DI Khan where my relative Maj Hasan hosted my two wonderful days of stay showing their hospitality and I can't thank him and his family enough. Well he pointed out that I should have a diary.

    So right in his office we cute out some papers and stapled them together to make a small portable diary which could fit my front waste pouch. We sent someone to look in the store for a tiny diary but all they could find were a wee bit too big for my pouch. In that diary I pretty much kept notes of the distances & fuel costs in order to calculate my average consumption. I also kept a log of all my other expenses. The purpose at that point was to tell those I knew just how economical the tour could be if they chose to consider doing one in the future.

    However, everything I am writing here is coming to me as I look at the pics and then remember each moment. Naturally, there is much I have missed but the main points and each of the unique experiences I had are mentioned in my thread.
    Indeed if you do decide to take such a dip, you can do it in an economical way...

    If you don't mind we will love if you can kindly sort and share the cost of the entire trip...

    Thanks, regards..
    -

  3. #182
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    How much mileage was your bike giving on average?
    "Imagination is more important than knowledge"

  4. #183
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    Quote Originally Posted by hsumbal1 View Post
    Indeed if you do decide to take such a dip, you can do it in an economical way...

    If you don't mind we will love if you can kindly sort and share the cost of the entire trip...

    Thanks, regards..
    Certainly I will do that, in fact I have it pretty much on the top of my head but i do have to find the sheets of paper which I made the exact notes on to give you the exact amounts. Let me look into that and will post it all later for sure.

    For the moment I believe my entire trip there and back cost me around Rs 18,000 which might be off a by a bit but will have to check and get back to you.

    I think it could have been done a whole lot cheaper with some more modifications.

  5. #184
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    Quote Originally Posted by VCheng View Post
    A tried-and-true hint: Parking using the sidestand, at an angle to the roadway with the handle turned such that it is almost at right angles, with the bike in first gear, is pretty secure.

    Well you can also park the bike in the opposite direction, so that bike cant be rolled i used to park the bike in this way always

  6. #185
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haji__John View Post
    How much mileage was your bike giving on average?

    Before leaving Karachi while driving in Karachi my average driving on Shara-e-Faisal was giving me around 45 km / L. In the city I was still getting 38 km / L

    During the first part of my trip where I drove mostly on flat surfaces it was approximately 42-43 km/L due to extra weight. But as I drove through steep hills and mountains it was around 38 km/L and in the much steeper mountains it may have been a even less.

    But I guess you could average that out to 40 Km / L

    My way to check for fuel efficiency was to keep an eye on my odometer and see that when I am doing approximately 6,000 RPM my speed should be close to 80 kms or just under. That was my best way of calculating it. I noticed at one time that I was getting only 75 kms at 6,000 RPM and realized something was wrong. I stopped first to check engine oil level from the side round hole and it was fine and then looked for a puncture shop, and after checking the rear tire pressure realized that it was below the ideal pressure and only 33 psi which we brought up to 40 or was it 45 psi and then when I got back on the highway the reading on the gages was back to normal.

    On the other hand when I went at 90 kms I knew the fuel economy would drop substantially. Due to high wind pressure I was using up more fuel but that was only for a few kms when I was enjoying the ride and nothing to worry about if only for a short distance.

  7. #186
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    Sir , excellent going, and i am really impressed the way you are describing your whole expedition, you are a perfect writer who can really well explain the expeditions, the selections of words, describing each and everything step by step, it also shows your strong memory,
    and well you and your bike did a splendid stuff which people hardly imagine to do, so keep up sir

  8. #187
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    Quote Originally Posted by chill2kill View Post
    Sir , excellent going, and i am really impressed the way you are describing your whole expedition, you are a perfect writer who can really well explain the expeditions, the selections of words, describing each and everything step by step, it also shows your strong memory,
    and well you and your bike did a splendid stuff which people hardly imagine to do, so keep up sir

    I thank you for your such wonderful words of praise. I should point out that I purchased the bike strictly for the purpose of a long road trip to the North. And it is because of this reason I took so much time to plan and dissect each and every bit of the trip planned and then execute the plan and improvise where needed.

    Now I enjoyed the trip so much that I can recall almost every moment of the journey. I finally decided to write about it last Sunday and as I began to write I felt I was going through the trip once again remembering each and every moment. Certainly the pics help me put everything into perspective. This has helped me express the emotions and the feelings I experienced at each moment. English is not my first language but it is in a way a language I grew up with living abroad, and so it comes natural for me to speak, think and write it.

    So please keep enjoying the remaining part of the trip which I feel you will find kind of interesting.

  9. #188
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    Default Lovely Camping Site

    As I drove over this flat patch of land on my way down from the mountain on my way to village of Rama and then down to Astor I loved this landscape you see below.

    At first it had a beautiful ground which was flat and fun to drive over. And ahead was a small slope full of lush green pine trees which had some pretty wonderful Camp Site like spaces. If I had the time and a tent I would certainly have loved to pitch a tent in this area under the trees.

    Not only was it very picturesque but the air had a certain aroma of pine. No way to describe it. A perfect Camping Ground if you ask me.

    Driving down a bit more led me to the flat ground again which had a huge field to the left which was perfect Cricket ground if you ask me. It was full of wonderful green grass and behind the field were the mountains. The little patch of unpaved road and the large ground to my left was divided by a small by a small stream that ran down. And finally I noticed the first people I had seen in a bit riding past me on a bike.
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  10. #189
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    Default Village Rama

    Here are a few pics of my entry into Rama from above. I have a ways to go down the valley which you will see in the consequent photos below.

    This valley was lush green in all directions with Mountains all around and some even Snow Capped in this late season in the month of late August.

    What was interesting is that there was a small stream that curved around to all the fields from above and the man walking around would open or close the water supply channel to his field by simply moving some mud and rocks from the main stream.

    It seemed it was man's responsibility to control water supply while the women were responsible for seeding or pulling out whatever it was they had sowed. I did not feel it appropriate to take photos of women working in the fields because I had a long way to go down the hill and if my photography offended anyone I would have trouble getting out of this valley through the winding roads below. As a principle I don't believe its appropriate to take photos indiscriminately specially of local women unless you have permission or it is commonly accepted in that region.

    I saw the women sitting in a straight line from top to bottom on a rolling hill and they worked from left to right together as one line horizontally. This way each of the women had a parallel line to work on in either digging up the veggies or to sow seeds for the next season as I could not see from this distance what they were cultivating.
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    Oh yes, that is the beautiful valley as depicted by the awesome pictures

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    Default First Pic BIKE ... And then NO BIKE ....

    Here I stopped at another winding road to take a pic of the beautiful view below. Naturally, I had to find a flat pavement to park my bike.

    Oh and I forgot to mention that this part of the road was perfectly paved, smooth and carpeted though very slim to accommodate traffic in one direction only, but easy to overtake using space on the side of the road.

    As I began to take the first pic with the bike in the picture I snapped the pic and all of a sudden in slow motion the bike dropped right in front of me and I was just too far to jump and save it from falling.

    In any case, now that it had dropped I didn't allow that to divert me from taking further two pics of the same location since it was just so so beautiful with surrounding mountains and rolling hills where you can clearly see the winding road below that I had to travel on, and I came up on earlier in the morning.
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    Excellent thread, thanks for sharing your experience.
    YASER

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    Default Passing Through Rama Valley

    I kept on driving down the winding road taking pics from time to time of the remaining road below which I had yet to travel on.

    I passed small houses on the side of the road built on cliffs and hills until I reached the very bottom where the greenery ended and there was a small patch of unpaved very dry fine dirt road. Not sure if you would call that dirt or dust because it was so fine.

    When I said fine dirt road, by that I mean the dirt was very very fine and I had to be careful riding through there because it was an accident waiting to happen as the bike would skid from one side to the next as I crossed over that area which was only for a short distance.

    After this turn I found myself entering a very small town where houses were very closely nit together perhaps for having access to the flowing water in the stream that passed through their village.
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    Default Leaving Rama

    As I reached the bottom of the village Rama I passed a few small streets where the houses were closely constructed and for privacy of their agricultural land the locals had either put up stone built walls or tied shrubs and bushes together to divide the road from their personal land.

    I also passed a local wood processing mill in a shed where they were cutting large sections of trees into smaller wooden plaques perhaps for home building purposes locally or even to ship out to other areas.

    The very last pic is of a school set up inside a green coloured house type of a building. Although its difficult to see but when I drove close to the building I was able to read the name "Read - Foundation School" on the upper part of the white wall which was written in English.

    When I decided to take the pic I saw a lady walking in my direction within the school premises holding a kid's hand, and as soon as she saw me point the camera towards the school she quickly turned around and began walking in the other direction as can be seen from the same pic.
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    Default Back at Astor

    This was the street in which I stayed the night at Kamran Hotel. Its the one to the right but all you see is the sign in Urdu on the far right and barely readable in English on the white road sign from where if you turn right there is a Gate that leads to the parking lot and then the Hotel Rooms which is not visible from these pics.

    In the second pic you will notice just to the left of the two jeeps a blue building, that is the Police Station where I had to Register / Check In the day before upon arrival at Astor.

    I knew I had taken a fare bit of pics and also knew I had quite a drive ahead so I quickly turned into Kamran Hotel and asked if they had light. The answer was YES.

    I decided to quickly charge my camera battery for the drive ahead. I sat in their office during the charge and they brought me Tea. It took roughly an hour for the battery to charge.

    I finally left Astor and was back on the road heading back to Naran by at 1: 00 PM
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  17. #196
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Sulaiman75 View Post
    suddenly noticed that my red seat cushion was missing.

    I rushed downstairs and looked all around, even in the stairs and on every floor. I asked one of the boys who worked there if they had seen a red cushion or if anyone turned one in. He had no idea and so I realized the rest of the trip will be very painful if I don't have a cushion to sit on.
    oh, you lost the cushion
    i was loving that cushion



    Quote Originally Posted by Sulaiman75 View Post
    As I looked into the room what did I see? The chair inside the office of which the back can be clearly seen in the pic below, well my Red Cushion was sitting on that chair as a back rest !!! I was so so Happy ! I simply cannot express my emotions and the relief I felt at that time ........

    and you found it back
    wao, i can't imagine the happiness of that moment

  18. #197
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by gull_s_777 View Post
    oh, you lost the cushion
    i was loving that cushion
    Please read on and you will see a twist to the story regarding the cushion, I think you will not be disappointed.

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    Default 54 KM Long Road to KK Highway

    Leaving Astor was a long drive to the KK Highway through some very remote and curvy roads cut out of the mountains on the side of a river in the valley.

    I have to say, it was one long drive because it was only 54 kms but with all the winding roads, small bridges, some parts with just dirt on it while other parts of the road fully paved, and the fact I had to stop from time to time to take pics meant that 54 km distance would take me quite some time.

    The long drive was extremely remote with no one in the area for quite some time and then all of a sudden I saw a few bikes in the distance and as they came closer they all waved at me and shouted as in hooting, they were happy about something I am sure. Local boys having fun.
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    Default Local Family

    As I was driving I came across this little town and heard a waterfall around a bend and so I slowed down to look. I realized the waterfall was not visible from there so I parked the bike and walked down this gorge and passed a few local goats and met a local resident and his kids.

    I asked how far I would have to go to see the waterfalls and he said they are very far back but no way to get to it from here.

    So I asked him to take my pic and he was ecstatic when I asked if I could their pic so he quickly called his kids who were playing with the goats nearby. I showed him the pic I took and he was so happy and thankful, he then insisted I come home to have lunch with him. Its one of those things where you have to literally argue your way out.

    I then carried on my way.
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    Default Hidden Waterfall

    I soon reached a hidden waterfall along the way. I missed it the first time on my way here because it was hidden behind a mountain to one side but this time I saw it as I passed the corner of that mountain.

    I had to drive down a side road and then climb a small hill in order to see the waterfall.
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