Snake charmers, monkeys on tightropes, miles of high altitude switchbacks through the Himalaya, and the endless eating of rice are all the norm in the presently peaceful Kashmir valley along the India-Pakistan line of control.
For "Lost Highway of the Himalaya," featured in the December 2004/January 2005 issue of Adventure,
writer Matthew Power completed the ultimate free-wheeling ride through the Kashmir valley and on the world's highest motorable road on the back of a used Royal Enfield motorcycle.
Spending entire days traveling solo on the desolate stretch enabled Power to become totally in sync with his motorcycle. "You get into a rhythm where your instincts are connected to the machine," says Power. "You begin to feel it is an extension of your body."
In the end, the serene beauty of the rice paddies and emerald valleys in the Vale of Kashmir combined with the inspiring customs and traditions of the Muslim and Buddhist people he encountered along the way, cemented Power with an itch to redo the journey. "It is up there with traveling cross-country on a motorcycle as the ultimate road trip. I definitely want to do it again."