Day 5 – Manali to Shimla

Apropos my communique yesterday, the order of the day was to go to a new hotel on the other side of the river, called the Sterling.

All of the rally members checked in there so as to have all of the participants together.

We were sorry to leave the castle ( The Himalayan) but it’s a team thing so all in together.

We whiled the day away, taking a taxi into the Manali township to an eating place called  Johnson’s burgers. Great western style restaurant with food alike. Open courtyard and the sun was out.

We walked, a group of seven of us around the bustling township. Shops were selling all sorts of cheap ware, ice creams, souvenirs, food and the like.

We all took a Tuk Tuk back to the hotel late on the afternoon and readied for dinner at Seven. Tuk Tuk’s are a hard ride, but cheap.

Steve had “crashed” and didn’t attend dinner but an announcement was made to advise that we were to leave the hotel for Shamli at 5.00 am on the next morning.

Great news but Steve was unaware so had to rouse him to let him know.

As most of you would relate to, when woken it’s hard to get back into slumber, knowing that you needed to wake at 4. Generally sleep is light.

Everybody was up and ready to go at around 4.30am rearing to get underway before the locals got on the road.

We were to travel in convoy and not let any locals come between the cars.

Tall order.

The local drivers are so persistent when passing they don’t care where or how they pass. Oncoming traffic doesn’t worry them at all.

Once on the road all went well, though the road surface was just terrible. Slips of rocks all over the road and we ducked and dived to avoid damage to the cars. Some of these rocks were the size of busses.


The distance is 280 kms but it took us 10 hours of careful but hard driving.

Our convoy was police led so that we had good road access to a cable swing bridge that crossed the river that had damaged the bridges we had crossed the previous day. It was  about an hour south of Manali. About 30kms.

This swing bridge was apparently opened for traffic(cars) for our escape. All of the other bridges were closed. Some of them very substantial bridges.

Our cars were allowed across one at a time due to weight restrictions. The bridge was very narrow so car to ensure that accessories such as chrome strips were not removed. Some cars who didn’t take care did have strips missing on arrival on the other side. Of course the bridge did swing and it seemed unsteady. Good to get across in one piece.

One by one they gathered on the other side ready to trip down to Shimla. The lager and heavier cars were left to cross last. Not a comforting thought for them.

Denise’s navigator had omitted to uplift the route chart at the hotel. So no driving directions!!! How dumb!

Asked if he could take a photo of someone else’s instructions was the only way to get the instructions.

To begin with we got horribly lost on the wrong side of the river going south. Of course there were no bridges to allow us to cross they were all closed.

We had to innovate so as to find the way back and found a way across some 22 extra k’s.

Stress!!!!! Stress!!!

The day was not a competition day and the only formality was a Passage Control to ensure that every team was on course.

The navigator tried hard to follow the instructions from the photos taken of the route guide. Most difficult on a small screen, that didn’t stay live for long and disappeared at a moments notice when desperately needed. Very hard work indeed though we didn’t get lost.

The trek through the mountains was not helped by the fact that many of the roads, tracks, were not were they were supposed to be and the main road disappeared from view as it melded in to look like a secondary road. Which one to take??

That’s rallying though. The roads were atrocious. We hammered our way through some interesting countryside though looking away from the road ahead could be lethal.

Car drivers here don’t care when they pass another. They go when they like and blind corners just don’t seem to bother them.

They think that you should move out of the way once they commence their driving manoeuvre.

It’s so stressful. Some of the rally teams cars had been damaged by passing cars but none seriously.

So on and on, over car and backbreaking roads we went. 280 k’s in 10 hours. Hard work and draining.

We got into Shimla, not quite last.

It didn’t matter from a competitive view so no points lost.

We are staying in the Oberoi hotel in Shimla.

A very nice pub in the middle of what seems nowhere.

So all in all a very exciting adventure albeit that it was a rough trip on both the car and our bodies.

A good nights rest and we’re good again.

It’s another rest day today so we can spend some time reassessing the car and having a look around. The area is famous for its narrow gauge railway and its “Tudorbethan” architecture.

There may be a rally planned for tomorrow around the local area, but due to the disruption from the rains a few days ago we will likely return to the planned rally on Saturday. Shimla to Mussoorie 269 kms. Apparently Avery arduous trip.

So long for now.

2 thoughts on “Day 5 – Manali to Shimla

  1. Wow, sounds like craziness all round!! Must be pretty draining on your adrenals with traffic and roads being such a state of affairs!! I really hope you are treated more fairly by the weather & terrain asap! Great to hear your updates, def interesting stories to tell!



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