The Rickshaw Run – Day 13-14

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The Rickshaw Run – Day 13

The Rickshaw Run India - Jumping for JoyWe emerged at a reasonable time on what we were hoping was going to be our last days driving and packed our rickshaw in record time. I was still feeling ropey after my middle of the night episode on the big white telephone to God but not too bad all things considered. We decided to head out of Jodhpur by the shortest way and then head west once outside the city. The roads were clearly marked on the map and we thought it would be be better than driving through city traffic. The well marked road on the map was anything but and was right out in the middle of nowhere. At several stages we were wondering if it just going to stop in a field it was so bad. It did though provide great views of Jodhpur and the fort and despite our fretting we met back up with the main road 40minutes later and were now on a clear path to our final destination of Jaisalmer. And boy was it a clear path. There is barely a town between Jodhpur and Jaisalmer, 300km away.

The Rickshaw Run – The road is long

The Rickshaw Run India - the road to nowhereThe road is really good but there is nothing but desert and scrub. We provided entertainment in the odd village by passing through and gave them something to talk about for the day but it was very uneventful stuff. A bit of an anticlimax to this rollercoaster ride. There was an army convoy on the way so trying to overtake them was the only excitement we got. Another titbit of information for you if you are ever in the deserts of northern India is that in January it is cold. I mentioned before how at night time and early morning it can be freezing but even now during the day we had our full clothes, hats and jackets on. We passed the odd few camels as the kilometres clicked down and tried to make a bit of excitement for ourselves by driving into the sand on the side of the road and take pictures to make us look as if we were in the middle of nowhere but in general I was expecting a bit more on our last voyage. I don’t The Rickshaw Run India - Old man shoppingknow what but something. As we got into the evening and Jaisalmer got nearer we decided to get a few beers. Well, the girls got beers and I drove. Again! The small alcohol shop was caged up with 3 people inside and a small portal in the caged section to receive your goods. It was a bit over the top for the middle of a desert. A switch was flicked and the girls were suddenly giddy. We stopped to see if we could get close to wild camels but the camels knew giddy girls when they saw them and ran for it.  Around the 6pm mark we entered our final destination of Jaisalmer and took 15minutes trying to find the Rickshaw Run HQ. Jaisalmer is supposed to be a jewel of West India with a superb fort but I can tell you from being to both that Jodhpur is much nicer town and has a much nicer fort.

 

 

 

The Rickshaw Run – Experts

The Rickshaw Run India - Almost thereWe eventually found the HQ and discovered that although we were a day early we were definitely not the first team to arrive. The green carpet was out and we did a lap or two and let out a few yahoo’s before driving onto the victory ramp for photos and beers. After more than 3,000km, a few dodgy hotels, 6 serious breakdowns, dozens of near death experiences and infinite amount of chai stops we had finally made it. We actually made it. We really did. It was hard to believe. For me, even when we were doing the run it kind of seemed like it was all a bit fake, like it wasn’t The Rickshaw Run - Finally finished in Jaisalmerreally happening. It is one of those things that we signed up to without thinking too much, turned up not knowing what to do and here we were only 2 weeks later experts in the art of rickshaw driving having covered the length of India. We could now pack and unpack the rickshaw in 2minutes flat and sniff out a blown piston from several meters away. We were now probably the most knowledgeable people in India on the biggest national question. How much oil do you mix with a litre of petrol? There are many rumours, there are many suggestions but nobody knows the answer. We got told 25ml, 50ml, 100ml, 150ml and even 500ml at one stage. As soon as you have a breakdown whatever amount of oil you are using is wrong as that was the cause of it. Never mind that your vehicle is an absolute piece of sh!t, it was the few millilitres of oil that gave you that puncture! Where only two weeks ago we had never used a hand clutch before, didn’t even know how to start the rickshaw and were scared of our lives of driving around the compound, we were now bullying the locals on the road and using the horn with contempt! It was a transformation of epic proportions. I wouldn’t go as far as saying we had the Indian head bobble to a tee but we may have got the meaning right half the time which is a win in my eyes. As we exchanged stories with the other rickshaw teams we discovered that we didn’t have the worst stories luckily but did have some stories. This, funnily enough, was missing by quite a number of teams and a lot of this was down to the fact that they didn’t break down or get lost. Only by talking with the perfect teams did I realise that most of our best stories involved not knowing what we were at. It wasn’t great craic at the time running The Rickshaw Run India - The final show of rickshaws in Jaisalmeraround conveying in sign language that our rickshaw was broken and heading the wrong way down a one way street but it gave experiences that you wouldn’t get otherwise and meant that we got to meet mechanics and visit some of the poorer areas which gave us a better perspective on what Indian life is really like for the masses. Some teams with new rickshaws were so far ahead they were able to spend an extra day or two on the beach in fancy hotels while we were in the middle of Maharashtra getting lost on roads with no tarmac  and ended up in the one pig town of Surgana. It may not have been great fun at the time but once you are out the other end it was actually one of the highlights of the trip.

We finished 34th out of 94 teams which is respectable considering we were the only team of 4 out of the 94 teams. The post mortem of the trip continued long into the night but most people were saving themselves for the big party tomorrow.

The Rickshaw Run – Day 14

The Rickshaw Run India - A Local discussion in RajasthanAlthough we had been eagerly awaiting a day when we didn’t have to pack ourselves into the Rickshaw Shank Redemption, now that it had finally arrived we kind of missed it. We didn’t know what to do with ourselves. A day in India without driving around like a lunatic, how could you manage that? But we were in for a treat because at 11:30am there was a parade of all the rickshaws through Jaisalmer. Nobody had any idea what to expect as we weren’t told much about it but at the desired time we all lined up to follow the leader to show us through the city at a leisurely pace. There were about 50 teams on site now and as we started it was clear that this wasn’t going to be a leisurely parade.

The Rickshaw Run – Joyriding

The Rickshaw Run India - Tipping over the rickshawAs soon as we got out the gate the mayhem started. All 50 rickshaws were bombing it as fast as they could down the road. On the two lane road this was fine but then we went into the town proper and down the narrow streets where some ridiculous overtaking manoeuvres were attempted. We were no longer the timid, novice drivers of the first day where we tried in vain not to stall the rickshaws. We were now experts and to be honest we probably terrorised the town for an hour. It was more like authorised joyriding. At one stage all 50 rickshaws were just going around a roundabout so we blocked up the traffic and at another one of our pink Australian friends actually tipped the rickshaw over. Yup. He took a corner too fast and flipped it. Nobody was injured and the first thing he said when he popped his head up was, ‘Will someone take a photo?’ That hour in the parade was brilliant fun as nobody gave a toss whether there was a scrape on the side anymore because most rickshaws at this stage had a small scratch or two. Even though we spent two weeks giving out about the rickshaw we were still reluctant to give the keys back when the time came to it. We would have no independence and would be just like any other run of the mill tourist. How boring.

The Rickshaw Run India - There is something wrong with this photoAs you can imagine the parade set the tone for the day and by 6pm that evening the party everybody had been waiting for for the last two weeks (we had driven 3,000km for the privilege) was underway and everybody partied like they were waiting their lives. The costumes everybody had were mostly along the same themes of a sari for the girls and a turban for the guys. It didn’t matter though as the drinks were flowing, the DJ was bouncing and chairs were being jumped. The party was a bit of chaos but yet knew where it was heading. Just like us in the Rickshaw Run. A fitting end to an incredible journey.

 

 

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Our Rickshaw Run Route

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Launch location - Fort Cochin: 9.965054, 76.240447
Day 1 - Tirur: 10.915057, 75.921910
Day 2 - Bekal: 12.397648, 75.032380
Day 3 - Bhatkal: 13.999247, 74.545306
Day 4 - Palolem Beach: 15.009965, 74.023219
Day 5 - Belgaum: 15.855439, 74.506551
Day 6 - Pimpri Chinchwad: 18.629781, 73.799709
Day 7 - Nashik: 19.983067, 73.717101
Day 8 - Surgana: 20.560467, 73.637432
Day 9 - Bharuch: 21.721821, 73.005675
Day 10 - Udaipur: 24.581209, 73.681842
Day 11 - Sheoganj: 25.141818, 73.062635
Day 12 - Jodhpur: 26.287630, 73.015815
Day 13 - Jaisalmer, the finish line: 26.914083, 70.917384
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Launch location - Fort Cochin
Cochin, Kerala, India
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Day 1 - Tirur
Cochin, Kerala, India
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Day 2 - Bekal
Bekal Fort, Kasaragod, Kerala, India
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Day 3 - Bhatkal
Bhatkal, Karnataka, India
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Day 4 - Palolem Beach
Palolem Beach, Goa, India
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Day 5 - Belgaum
Belgaum, Karnataka, India
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Day 6 - Pimpri Chinchwad
Pimpri-Chinchwad, Maharashtra, India
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Day 7 - Nashik
Nashik, Maharashtra, India
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Day 8 - Surgana
Surgana, Maharashtra, India
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Day 9 - Bharuch
Bharuch, Gujarat, India
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Day 10 - Udaipur
Udaipur, Rajasthan, India
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Day 11 - Sheoganj
Sheoganj, Rajasthan, India
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Day 12 - Jodhpur
Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India
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Day 13 - Jaisalmer, the finish line
Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India
The Rickshaw Run India - The final results

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Ross Travellingforfun

About Ross Travellingforfun

I have ducked, dived, bungeed, burned, skydived, surfed, volunteered, volcanoed, crossed continents, conquered mountains, got robbed, got sick and got drunk and I hope this website will inspire you to do the same.