Day 3 Udhampur to Srinagar (250 kms)
After a sound sleep, we left for our onwards journey. We planned to reach Sonmarg, some 310 kms from Udhampur Cantt, that evening. However due to construction of some new bridges towards Srinagar, we made slower progress. Hence by 6:00 pm we only managed to reach Srinagar. Few bikes were having minor issues, hence we decided to halt at Srinagar to have the bikes examined by the local dealer and enjoy the pristine Dal Lake and the historic Mughal gardens.
A quick check on the Royal Enfield web site provided details of their Srinagar dealer, PCS Automobiles. As this would be the last of properly equipped workshop on our way we decided not to take any chances with our machines. Phone call to the dealer revealed that the dealership would remain closed, next day being a Sunday. However a reference to recent feature on our club in the Royal Enfield’s official publication BEAT helped us get an appointment with them. Next day three of the best mechanics arrived at the workshop and checked and replaced the defective parts. There efficient work gave us total confidence in our machines.
Day 4 Srinagar to Kargil (230 kms)
The ride recommenced from Srinagar after a quick refueling pit stop. Roads until now were nicely laid all tarmac roads. However soon after we crossed Sonmarg, these roads changed into pitted, dug up gravel roads, leading to the world famous Zojila pass (11575 ft). A much needed tea break was taken at one of the military run canteens at Ghumri. Riders enjoyed delectable Momos, Samosas and tea.
Few traffic jams and landslides again hampered quick progress; however these were managed by all 5 riders with ease. The ride passed via Drass (the world’s second coldest inhabited place) and halted at Kargil. Enroute the riders paid homage to the martyrs of the Kargil war with Pakistan, at the Kargil war memorial.
Accommodations are expensive in Kargil as we came to learn. However we managed to find a very comfortable hotel which served buffet dinner as well. This was an added bonus for the weary riders, as none were willing to walk even a few steps outside the hotel for dinner.