Day 15 The Longest Drive on the Rally

The Welcoming Gate into Nepal from India.

Today's drive was approximately 430km; our longest of the Rally. Doesn't sound like a great distance if you are on good European or American roads, but in Nepal it took us the better part of 10 hours of driving to accomplish this distance.

wool store in a small village
Navigating the small villages of Nepal

As we began to reach the end of our rally, the organizes gave us less and less time to do the transit stages......and if you exceed your allotted time for the transit stage, you accumulate penalty points for every minute you are late. Today's first transit stage was 150 km and we barely made it within the allotted fact, we made it by 2 minutes. If a Navigator makes a wrong turn or if you get tied up in a traffic jam, you can easily be late to the next timing place.

The day included one Regularity Stage that was very difficult (four speed stages within the Stage). We did not do well (30 seconds early), but neither did many of the competitors. We still remain in the middle of the pack for overall results (20th out of 45 cars), but we have advanced to 2nd place in our Class.

The roads were much better today, but the traffic is still impossible. Through small villages there is hardly any room to pass (our passenger side mirror has been hit a couple of times by the car going in the opposite direction). In big cities, traffic can come to a standstill for minutes at a time.

Oxen with wooden plows are used extensively in the fields.....
and sometimes the oxen are used to transport people and
 things in the small villages.
Oncoming traffic is not always another car.
Tonight we arrived in the city of Pokhara. The place is famous for its numerous steakhouses (don't ask me why; no one seems able to answer the question). Many of the competitors booked a table at the Everest Steakhouse, a simple joint on the second floor of a building. The entrance was up a staircase very similar to the type they use on fire escapes. Food was OK, but The Palm has nothing to worry about.

When we got up in the morning, the sky was clear and we got our first look at some of the snow-capped high peaks of the Himalayas. We saw the three sisters; beautiful peaks in the Annapurna Region (see aerial view attached).

Tomorrow we are off to the mystical city of Kathmandu.