Today’s the day we’ve all been waiting for. All 50 teams have their rickshaws pimped and equipped with more supplies and decorations than probably needed but to hell with it… that’s part of the fun!
On about 5 hours sleep we picked up our things and said goodbye to the fort of Jaisalmer bound for a date with Lily.
She was in high spirit this morning knowing that she’s aged better than ALL her competitors and there was a spring in her step, or better said roll, than she’s had in ages. How do I know it you ask? Well, we have an intimate knowledge of each other that just isn't comprehensible to others but it’s ok, just trust me.
After a group photo and trash talk we were off to the races! Finally!! Being the oldest, and in this case age & beauty won in a single person, I got the honor of starting the race. All teams turned right but we’re not all teams so we went left bound for Pakistan. After having a good laugh about it we turned around to join the rest.
First challenge, not getting hit by another team that had zero practical rickshaw training. We stole ours a few times for joyrides into town so kinda got the basics down already. Once we found the right way out of town it was open roads and scorching deserts as far as the eye could see.
Our fear was Lily being in her golden years and it being 40C out we wouldn’t make it far before something started ailing her. To play it safe we kept the pace reasonable, not full throttle and thought that was working out great… until she just stopped speaking and refused to budge. Women can be so stubborn sometimes! Us being men of great experience in dealing with this delicate situations calmed her down and found the root of the problem pretty quickly. She was “Hangry” and for those that haven’t had to deal with a hangry woman before, count yourselves lucky! Knowing the only cure was to get her belly full again asap otherwise we’re not going anywhere! Once that was resolved we were back in business and unlike some other teams had a mishap free rest of day one. Rumor has it one team had 8 breakdowns… on the first day!!!!! :-O
Was a great first day on the road but also a long one. Got to stop and chat with the locals a ton which was fantastic. They’re such friendly open people it’s really amazing! Within minutes of a stop we have at least 20 people, mostly children, crowding around Lily wanting to honk her horn (and believe me, she’s got a great horn!), try out their English or just smile. Even on the road people are waving as we pass, laughing (with us I’m sure) and just genuinely happy to see us. That part has been really heartwarming so far and can’t wait for it to continue as we go along.
Day 1 was a long day. We headed out at 9:15am and arrived, after some pretty scary night driving, in Nagaur at around 8:15pm. 320km in 11 hours of pretty consistent driving. Gotta love rickshaws :-)
Tomorrow’s another day. For now a little recovery shower and sleep is in order.