Waking up with views of Everest was probably one of the highlights of the trip for me. I'm pleased to report that it does actually look as impressive as it should do, given that it's the highest mound of rubble on earth. After gawping at it for a while we decided to leave our bags in the tent and bike up to the final check point on the road for a closer look; a decision reached over pancakes and omelette's. Without weight we flew up the trail that only yesterday I'd been forcing myself up, slowly loosing the will to live. Once back at the tent city of no note what so ever, we continued up the track for a couple of kilometers. Only horse and carts are allowed this far so it was a pleasant respite from the speeding Land Cruisers. At the end of the trail there is a final check point, across which no one wonders too far - it looks they mean this one. However, there is a small viewing mound which we wheeled our bikes up. Obviously we weren't the first up and we joined the Not the Red Spokes crew who were there and who confessed that they had their own nickname for the three of us; the SAS crew. With ego's boosted we sat around and admired the main attraction. I took the risk of taking my lion from the front of my bike and settled it in a posing position on a rock for some snaps. This generated some interest for a couple of reasons, one of the tourists behind me had a traveling tiger toy which she wanted to introduce to my lion. When Steve "Bad boy" Wyatt and Andy "Egged on" Cross started to pelt my unfortunate lion with stones the crowd started to get a bit more militant, obviously they hadn't had their sentimental side beaten out by a lifetime of practical engineering like my fellow companions.
Heading back to the tent our second stop was for lunch at the tent city we had passed up the day before. Our first stop was for Andy "Remember those thin tyres?" Cross to fix another puncture. For lunch we broke with the mundane and ordered fried potato and quickly realised that we weren't in for a McDonalds style service when we heard the spuds being chopped in the background. Further delays were customers looking at the trinkets on the stall outside the tent, which clearly took precedence over our lunch as we weren't going anywhere. Anyhow lunch eventually arrived, was gobbled up and we were back at the tent for the second highlight of the day. To fill in a bit of background I should mention that Andy "Swollen lip" Cross has been suffering from some fine specimens of ulcers on his lips. Having two doctors on the trip should have covered this minor medial situation, however neither my mathematics nor Steve's engineering really helped but we set about applying some logic to the situation. Normally one would hope for some ulcer cream at a time like this but that was lacking from the medical supplies. However, we reasoned that it would only consist of something to kill the bad bugs and something for the pain. Andy "Grin and bear it" Cross is a hard man so clearly nothing for the pain was required so that left the former, and what better than neat iodine to bring on a distinct need for the latter. Since we trusted this stuff to clean our water we were fairly sure it would do the job here also. Being the mates that we are I held the camera while Steve "Nurse" Wyatt applied the iodine while advising Andy "Excruciating pain" Cross that he should have gone to Bupa.
After packing up and waving goodbye to the now familiar Everest we headed back down the trail that had been such hard work coming up. On the way we met another couple of bikers, one of whom had biked from France, and if that wasn't impressive enough his magnificent beard left us all feeling slightly inadequate. Further down the road we turned off onto a walking trail which headed up and over a pass to Dingri. Heading up the pass we passed both the supported groups already with tents up. Our aim was to get up and over the pass before nightfall, something which would turn out to be typically optimistic. Being only a walking trail the terrain was more like mountain bike trails back home, and with a thankful lacked of the corrugated effect. Even so the going was slow and the altitude not insignificant. Heading over the top of the pass we met the Whitenhaven couple who had set up camp in an unenviably exposed spot but they had had enough for the day. We pushed on hoping to loose some height before camping but we soon ran out of daylight, calories and enthusiasm. Camp was broken in record time and food eaten with little fuss and we dived into the tent for a bit of warmth.