I was going to wake up at 6.30am when the kids had to get up for school, but Shahzad woke me up at 5am instead. I didn’t really mind as the earlier I got started, the more riding I could do in the cooler part of the day. I had my first break in Kharian, where I sat in a servo and chatted to the guy manning the counter. It’s nice to be in a place where service stations offer refreshments and thereby serve as regularly-spaced places at which to stop and rest. Some even have cold filtered water on offer for free. All through India I was wondering why they hadn’t extended their service stations into places offering food and drinks and not just fuel. As I was sitting in the service station enjoying the breeze from a pedestal fan, I enjoyed having quick chats to other customers. Several of them offered to buy me anything I wanted in the shop! I declined each time though. Accepting gifts from shop owners is one thing, but to accept gifts from passing customers seems a little too cheeky.

The landscape began to change as I left Kharian and entered rolling hill country. The scenery opened up and there was less roadside development. All the while the temperature continued to rise to sickening levels. By the time I reached Dina I was hungry and tired. It didn’t seem like the kind of place I’d like to be stuck, but I did find a satisfying and super cheap fast-food-style meal there: chicken burger with a large serving of fries and a bottle of Pepsi for 180r (just AU$2.25). I really wanted to have a lie down, so I returned to the bike in search of a suitable spot. I ended up riding a little too far in the midday heat than I should have. Fortunately, when I began to feel really ill I came across a roadside restaurant where I could rest properly. It was an open air space with roof fans blowing over manjis (Pakistan’s awesome ‘seat-beds’), which provided the perfect place for me to get horizontal and have a nap (but not before answering a bunch of questions from the staff and enduring a series of selfies).

As I left, I wasn’t allowed to pay for the drink I’d had and a customer insisted on buying me a bottle of cold water. I really didn’t feel like riding on, but I nonetheless pushed on to Sohawa, where I stopped to get some cold water and was gifted with a soft-serve ice cream. Extreme exhaustion led me to ask someone if there was a hotel in town. Apparently there wasn’t. Although I wasn’t entirely convinced there wouldn’t be a place to stay in Sohawa, I decided to make for Gujar Khan anyway. Getting there was a real struggle on what was another over-40 degree day.

I found my way to a church with the hope of finding refuge, but the doors were chained shut and no one was around, so I had to abandon that idea in search of a hotel. I asked a couple of people hanging around outside the church where I could find a hotel but none were able to help. I rode on until I came across a group of well-dressed guys who looked like they were having a meeting. One guy was able to suggest a nearby hotel that was cheap and clean. Not only was it both of these things, but the front desk was manned by a guy with a perfect English accent. Absolutely shattered, I settled in, had dinner, then crashed into bed.

Hiding from the heat

Accommodation $ Hotel
Distance ridden today 119.3km
Average cycling speed 16.9kph
Total distance ridden 18,745km