The morning started…no wait...the morning didn’t start, and neither did half of the wagons – disappointing given their recent service. Eventually wheels began to roll at around midday and we made progress towards the spectacle of the narrow, rickety pontoon bridge. All was not well with Simba and he developed a worrying habit of cutting out without warning. The most spectacular of these breakdowns was the total power loss right on the halfway point of the pontoon bridge. Huge traffic jams and carnage ensued before the poorly Lion was limped across to the other side. A dusty side road drew the usual crowd and half an hour was spent before we finally found a large lump of crap blocking the innards of the carburetor. Simba rides again.
The team reunited at a petrol station and the 5 Furballs managed to cruise in company for the grand total of 20km before Tiger’s exhaust went wibble. Chav and SImba stayed to assist whilst Nelly sent the slower Leo ahead with the promise of catching up shortly. What actually happened was that Leo was left to travel alone in the most dangerous part of India (bandit country) for an hour and a half.
The day didn’t improve much as the Furballs remained seperated for the rest of the day. Several minor collisions including a Smally versus motorbike incident which may have seen Paddy rasie his voice a little above the normal level. Traffic and road conditions conspired against us and we plunged headlong in to the dark terror of yet another Indian death race. It was this particular night that Charlie decided to don his whiney pants and constantly fall behind Tiger and Simba, which was shortly followed by a radio request to slow down – such a queen. The advance party of Nelly and Leo suffered an utter nav failure and found themselves in yet another less than ideal hotel. The follow up party of Chav, Tiger and Simba actually succeeded in finding the target hotel only to discover that it was an Indian bank holiday and all the rooms were full of drunken revelers. Getting to this point wasn’t without its drama. Smally was shooed away whilst trying to ask for directions as the guy strutted over to Paddy to offer advice. She was ready to swing for him (an opinion paralleled by the other girls in the team) as it turns out that this part of the world treats women a little differently to the rest of India. At another junction Smally jumped out to ask a rickshaw driver for directions but paddy didn’t hear this and managed to plough on for about a km before realising his back seat was empty. This, he decided was a bad thing. Fortunately, Na then jumped on the radio to say that She was safely on board the Tiger and catching up. Paddy felt that he might live to regret that one! After trekking down the road and being turned away from several hotels we finally found a very nice place. Once again, the rooms were full but the manager achieved legendary status by setting up fold-out beds in a function room and parking the wagons safely under the hotel in no less than the MD’s parking bay for the night. We sat on the roof-top with our feet in the pool and filled our faces with Dominoes pizza before retiring for a cracking night’s sleep.