The Srinagar-Leh highway is open about four months of the year from May to September. In July 1978 as part of a group I travelled from Srinagar to Leh stopping overnight at Kargil. We were some of the earliest tourists to come to Ladakh since this remote region bordering of China and Pakistan had been open to foreigners since 1974. After about a week we were all due to return to Srinagar but in the meantime I had made friends with a young motor biker who promised me that he would come and pick me up from Alchi and take me back to Leh leaving the others to return to Kashmir. I did not really believe he would turn up but to my amazement he did and I had the most thrilling ride of my life riding pillion along one of the highest roads in Himalaya. This itinerary change altered my entire life because I made friends in Ladakh which have lasted nearly forty years.