Day 13 – The Finish
I somehow forgot to set my alarm and Kaitlyn and I woke at 5.20am to Carols knock at our door. We quickly fell into our morning routine and were packed and on the road by 5.55am – awesome effort.
During the night we were all woken by the ferociousness of the thunderstorm. Rain pummelled and thunder roared. I’m fairly certain we were all thinking the same thing, ‘Did Markus put his clothes by the leaking window?’ – Just kidding, what we were really thinking was ‘We definitely don’t want to be driving in that’. By morning the storm had passed and we were on the road to another beautiful day.
We thought we’d seen pretty much everything India’s National Highways has to offer, until today when we came across an elephant travelling the wrong way down the NH31C.
Half a tribe were on the wrong side of a pothole puddle and got smothered with mud when a truck flew past, all good war wounds for credibility on the finishing line. Uggi’s hub caps are no longer their vibrant red, they’re splattered with mud.
So how did we fare:
– Our lungs are laced with a black mix of caustic fumes.
– Our skin has seen way too much sun and we’re all looking a bit like a leather boot
– Adam has fuel burns on his hands
– Our booty’s are in need of a massage
– My feet could be used for the lead dinosaur in Jurassic Park.
– I have the arms of a footballer. Forget push-ups try pulling the lever that starts Uggi 10 times a day and keeping her steady on unsurfaced roads.
– We’ve lost a large portion of our hearing from the screeching horns
– My eyesight was on the way out, but with the 20 tonnes of dust I’ve now got buried in them, that’s me done.
It’s amazing what happens to your body when you expose it to sun & wind for 13 days straight, 12 hours a day.
We originally planned to stay in Guwahati for the night, but were tracking so well we all agreed to carry on to Shillong. We filled up with our last container of fuel trying to work it so we return the Tuk Tuk with the one drop of fuel it was given to us with. We grabbed our last stash of snacks. I won’t miss those damn chip packets, I swear they must superglue them. One of the challenges of India, successfully opening chip packets without spilling their contents all over yourself.
Markus bought Uggi home around the hilly, winding road spanning from Guwahati to Shillong (100km) and all I could think of was Chatty Chitty Bang Bang …. “I think I can, I think I can…. Hill starts in a Tuk Tuk amidst peak hour traffic are no easy feat. Particularly when the little beast really doesn’t like hills, add altitude and we just about killed little Uggi.
We hadn’t counted on our hotel being at the top of a windy, steep hill and had to jump out and push the Tuk Tuk’s up the hill to the Alpine Continental Hotel. A bit flash compared to our previous digs. It’s peak season and finding 3 rooms in Shillong wasn’t easy, so we really had to take what we could get. Everyone’s grateful for a real bed as we’ve pretty much been sleeping on wood. The term mattress really doesn’t describe what we’ve been sleeping on. It hasn’t bothered me, l don’t mind the firmness. I have to say, I’ve been lucky and slept well the entire journey.
On 19/4 @ 5.00pm, 13 Days and 3500 kilometres later we have made it to Shillong and raised 1789 British Pounds for Frank Water who provide safe drinking water for India’s poorest communities. We have been welcomed and afforded enormous generosity by the beautiful people we have met along the way.
A huge thank you to all our friends and family who have supported us in so many ways leading up to this challenge. Sharing our adventure with you has been fun. Thank you to all those who generously donated.
Markus, Adam, Carol, Chris & Kaitlyn – thanks for sharing the ride.
Tally Ho my good friends
PS: Stay tuned for stories from the road and tonight’s finish party.