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We ride out tomorrow morning

It seems like it’s taken forever to get started, but given that I’m still waking up at 2 AM taking time to adjust is a good thing.

Today was our final preparations.  We had a 3 hour meeting to go over the details. ATM run.  Test the GPS and mapmyindia app- there really is an app for everything. Buy water.  Pack and sort stuff into a bag that will stay in the truck and one that will come in.   Somehow it seems my stuff expanded … Though as I use up seven weeks of NUUN electrolyte tablets and tubes of Chamois Butter and sunscreen and eat through the food the space needed for necessities will contract.  Probably to be replaced stuff I buy along the way.
They’ve made some changes to our plans thanks to a scouting trip a couple of months ago.  We were going to have to purchase our own food along the route. But apparently it can take 2 hours to get lunch in some of these small towns so they’ve set up a lunch stop instead.  
Tomorrow morning the plan is to get up at 5AM, load luggage, eat breakfast and bike to the Taj Mahal for a sunrise photo.  Then we head out in a caravan – all 40 of us with vehicles- through Agra till we get to the main road. Traffic here in the cities is insane … definitely a food chain and a bike is near the bottom.  But there are a lot fewer cars on the road at 7AM, so it’s the best time get out of the cities.  We have a short day tomorrow riding … a nice way to ease into it.  Still- a 40 biker caravan will be interesting.
Did get to head out for a little more sightseeing today and checked out the Baby Taj more correctly known as Itmad-ud-Daulah – another mausoleum that has intricate lattice work windows and inlay designs covering the outside. Inside the walls are covered with flowers painted in vibrant colors.  It was beautiful- more delicate than the Taj and interesting for the detail.

The Tuk-Tuk ride there proved entertaining and we even escaped the much touted marble factory stop … tuk-tuk drivers get commissions delivering captive customers to buying opportunities like that and Agra is notorious for having tourists hauled off to one potential commission to another. 
And it was fun looking over the river at what looked like the city laundry, which seems to be a bunch of men flailing cloth rocks, then taking the cloth in a small boat to a sandbar in the middle of the river to dry and bleach.  Makes you rethink sending your clothes out for laundry services for sure…
Leigh Pate
Leigh Pate is a writer, former political consultant and two time cancer patient and cancer research advocate living in Seattle, WA

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