Day 179 – 2nd October 2014 Leave 10am Miles rode 118 Varanasi – Gorakpur

We had 380km to ride today leaving us under 200km tomorrow to cross into Nepal and finish in Kathmandu. We wanted to leave earlier but saying goodbye always takes longer than anticipated.

I took the lead and within minutes we were in a maze of small alleyway and had to turn back as we were lost! Getting out of Varanasi was hard work with heavy, slow traffic, poor roads compounded at one point by teenage schoolgirls on a march.

Nobody gave the burning body on the side of the road a second look, I assume the cost of the pyre at the ghats was too expensive.

Varanasi is a crazy city. I love Varanasi.

My sat nav thought it knew best, it didn’t and took us on a small road through towns and villages the majority of the time, add to this the mass of pot holes and progress was very slow.

India seems to have permanent celebrations as there are many gods to worship, today every town was putting rows and rows of small lights up across the roads in preparation for this evenings celebration.

Any religion which has many gods to celebrate is good with me, having regular reasons to flood onto the streets and have a good time can’t be described as a bad thing. Some religions are really dull and boring.

At 3pm we realised our progress had been really slow and we had only covered 90 miles, it was 5 minutes later that Oli got a puncture, we were back on the road 1 1/2 hours later.

Wherever we stop outside of tourist areas the locals gather and stare. When Oli was away getting his tyre repaired the crowd parted as an Indian man came over (the only person who could speak English) asking if everything was ok as word had got around the town that there were two men that had a problem and could he help? We talked and laughed.

The road deteriorated to the point where the pot holes stretched across the road in places and were very deep, dust was everywhere and when I saw a sign for a hotel at 5.45 we pulled in having only ridden 189 of the anticipated 380km. Half the distance.

If the road doesn’t improve tomorrow we won’t make it to Kathmandu.