Jason got a flat just as we got through the construction zone. Matt and I stayed behind to help him repair it while the rest of the group (our half, that is) pushed on the last 50 km to secure lodging because it didn't make sense for everyone to ride in the dark, especially when Anthony didn't have a headlight.
Riding in the dark was worse and better than I'd imagined. Worse because of little things like being unable to see holes in the road until you were on top of them, praying that your forks would hold together and marble-sized pebbles raining down occasionally on your helmet, making you wonder what else might be falling. Some traffic didn't use headlights, so you wouldn't see them until they were right on top of you.
Driving at night naturally gives you tunnel vision so you only see a sliver of the madness. Who knows how many cows you drove by or how big that drop was if I'd have missed that corner? Never mind, keep riding.
The rest of the group caught us in Shimla. We made our way to Chandigarh for the final push to Delhi. The drive into Delhi was pretty easy compared to leaving. We were hardened by a month of motoring around. It wasn't scary, it was, 'Oh yeah, I remember this.'
We lost Anthony by the Outer Ring Road, the highway that circumnavigates the city. We waited as long as we could but traffic was so thick that he may have ridden right past us and we'd never have known. We kept our fingers crossed that he had a good back up plan.
A crowd gathered when we pulled up to the C Park Inn. Several Indians asked how our journey was. The rockstars of the neighborhood had returned. We unloaded our bikes, giving our spare petrol cans to two women gathering recyclables(while officials debated banning plastic bags, some suggested making the bags thicker so they would be more attractive to the city's recyclers because they would weigh more and therefore be more valuable. Recyclers pick through the swept up trash piles, grab the plastics and corrugated cardboards before the sweepers burn the piles.)
We'd only been there about forty-five minutes when Anthony showed up. He had hired a tuk-tuk driver to follow into our neighborhood, Karol Baugh. So we all made it safe and sound.
Now I'm back home in Girdwood, where it's in the twenties, there's a bit of snow on the ground, and more trees than people.