What a days driving! Everyone here now safe and sound and everyone agrees that it was the most challenging days driving any of us have ever done. It was absolutely brilliant.
We left Gelephu at 8am this morning as always Paddy and I amongst the last to leave. I simply followed Jose as Paddy was saying "I simply have no idea as to where I am" over and over again. I think that it had more to do with him trying to work out the route book from the wrong start point as opposed to the lingering effects of Zulu bar last night.
200km to go and we were told that it would take 8 hours, that cannot be right we thought. Very quickly the road became a single lane on the side of the cliffs and we rose and fell through the most spectacular countryside in the world. It was simply breathtaking. There were many areas of poor or in some cases no road and it was always on the side of a cliff.
At one point the road was being rebuilt due to rockslides. A digger was clearing the road and because they had heard we were coming the Royal Bhutan Police were there to control traffic. We were driving with Bill and Biddy who managed to put his Bentley into the muddy ditch, cliff face thankfully and got stuck. At the same time we had monkeys above us throwing rocks at us and occasional rock slides where the digger was working. We managed to get a tow rope onto the Bentley and Xavier pulled him out without any damage. Aggressive monkeys, rockslides, basically a mud road on the side of a mountain all conspired to make it a very interesting half hour.
Having traversed this challenging part of the route we found ourselves in 2km of bees. These aggressive bees nest in their thousands on the cliff above that particular spot. Paddy looked up at one point and suddenly decided to close all the windows, there were simply millions upon millions of bees above the car!
And so the day went on until we got to about 10km from Tronga when the route book informed us that at that point "the road clings closely to the cliff". We simply snorted our contempt. What did they think we had been doing all day! Around the corner and we faced the most hair raising road I have ever seen. Clearly it in a constant state of repair and is really just a track dug into the cliff. As we began our traverse, slowly, on came one of Pink Floyds classic tracks to calm and guide us through. What a moment. What an adventure what a drive. Thanks to Paddy for having the faith in me to bring us home okay.
We arrived at the hotel at about 5pm, so 8 hours to drive 200km. What a blast.
Tomorrow Xavier has found the only Swiss citizen resident in Bhutan who has asked us for lunch so we are taking a small diversion with a chosen selection of cars. Should be fun.
What a day, photos to follow. My humble words cannot begin to express what a day it has been.
Fantastic. Well done to Liz and the Rallyround team for persuading the Bhutanians to let us do the route.
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