It is the 10th of August. The last third of our trip has started.
A few days ago Paul had his accident, not exactly a good way to start a last third. But luckily it was not that bad.
We had three resting days at the riverside, a perfect place to rehabilitate.
There where a lot of things to do, so we could use the sitting arround to make our to-do list a little shorter:
We build a stamp with our logo on it. First we tried melting plastic and pouring it into a klay-shape that we had burned before. The stamp actually was quite good, but it broke at first use for the softener in the plastic had vaporized by melting it. Our second try was more a success. We cut the letters out of an old tube we had left and plugged them on a piece of plastic. The stamp works good as long as it is used on soft underground, such as skin;0).
I built a handbrake on my bike because my old one had broken a few days before. This time more compact. A little button on the brake allows me to fix the brake-bar when pulled and releases itself by pulling the brake again.
We fixed a D&G logo on our oven, for a friend of us wrote us a funny email in which he reminded us: ” It doesn’t matter how outdoor you are, it is still very important to always look good”. We took this statement serious and tried to be a little more fashionable.;0)
A zipper on my bags had broken and I fixed this issue, that had made me mad for a very long time already. Sometimes it is just a few minutes work to make life much more adorable.
We wanted to change our cogwheels and noticed that we need a special tool from Rohloff to do so. We tried building this tool but failed. Still we didn’t give up. I found some piece of pipe on the side of the road that might do.
Of course we did a lot of relaxing as well. From time to time we got visitors that watched us as if we were zoo-animals. They even “fed” us drinks and bread. We suppose that someone in the village near by had spread the word over two wounded cyclists hanging out in the woods, kind of an attraction around here I guess.
From the moment that I found the scorpion, chilling in the sand was over. Only on our mattress and with shoes on because the type of scorpion is very poisonous. It would probably not be deadly for us but make the central nerv system brake down and can cause heart failure. So no joking with this little insect. It’s crazy if you think that this beast could give you a pretty hard time, although it’s so small.
The river we slept next to was big in the morning, to big to cross, and in the evening it always emptied nearly completely. Probably the agriculture took so much water every night that there was hardly anything left by then. The last refreshment-bathing in the evening befor lying down in the hot tent was thus not really refreshing anymore. It was more a rolling-through-the-river-to-get-every-side-wet. Afterwards we washed of the mud by taking a canister, filling it with muddy water, letting the mud and sand settle and then pour it over our heads.
In the three days I went back to town twice, leaving Paul back at the camp. We needed drinkable water, food and
medicine. Braking down the camp would have been to much work every time so one had to watch our gear and stay behind. Paul obviously didn’t mind.
I noticed very positive change in the reaction of people in the village. When coming back to (for example) a store a few times, people accepted me much more as a normal human than before. The first time they treated me like an alien, gave me presents and stared at me. The last time their interest in me and my bike nearly vanished and it was such a relaxed feeling to walk over the market, a hello here, a hello there,
I knew where to find what and the whole experience was more like really living here. Although it was only three times I was in their village, the people started to get to know me. And I have not had this kind of experience in a long time, it was very nice.
We took of on the ninth, yesterday, expecting it not to be a very intense cycling day. But it really got one. We had very hard tailwind nearly all day. The first 100 km was nearly no trampling for us. A slight decent and the wind pushed us so well that Paul hardly had to use his wounded knee.
Time for a little cute story.
At a break in the sandstorm a little mouse crossed our way, paused in front of my wheel, got on its rear-feet and looked at us. The wind had probably thrown sand in its eyes so it started cleaning them with both hands. Then it looked at me, looked at Paul, cleaned its eyes again as if it didn’t believe what it saw and then very relaxed walked through the middle between us. We both looked at each other and decided that this mouse should wear glasses.
“Wait a minute, we have passed the crossing already”, I screamed after Paul who had drifted a little further in the sandstorm before me. It was hard to see anything and so it might have been possible that we missed it.
We drove back a little to where the crossing was supposed to be.
Nothing. Only a very small road, more like a trail of a car that leads into the desert somewhere. But no G315 national road like it was shown on our map. “damn, the f***ing map is wrong again”, Paul said as we found out via GPS that we really where at the crossing that should lead us south over the mountains now. and again, even Google was wrong. Instead the road lead back to the desert and with a detour of about 150 km to Golmud.
No other choice. We asked a local guy and he didn’t correct our fears. This map is really worthless in this part of china. Then, a little wonder happened, I found a chines road-atlas at the side of the road where the correct route of the G315 was shown. At least we were not hopelessly lost anymore if our GPS- device would run out of power, which was about to happen for in a sandstorm the best solar panel can’t charge.
The wind stopped and the decent changed into slight ascend. At 202 km, yes, after braking our old tour record by 1.8 km, we settled down at the side of the road. Completely tired and angry about the bad map we cooked dinner and raised the tent which was not easy. The ground was so sandy that none of our tent nails sticked to it. Luckily Paul had found firewood before, which we could use for making long an big tent nails. Our night-dome was saved.
In the morning we stood up early, at five o’clock. We managed to finish our daily preparations at around half past six.
The spot where the tent had stood looked very strange.
The dunes around here are very dark and covered with little black stones which build the surface over the underlying sand. If you step or put a tent on them the stones are pushed into the sand and this very spot gets white.
We could see every movement we had made on this spot and so we had an idea. Why not write the adress of our website in this dunes.
We started with searching a spot that would be viewable from the street and then, with two big bords scratched the black stones from the surface. The result was an about 3meters high and 70 meters wide text, but see for yourself, it’s huge.
When finished we both where already very exhausted from running up and down the dunes, scratching of stones and correcting mistakes by putting black stones back on top of the sand.
And then we still had to start cycling.
It was the worst cycling day up to now.
The most boring landscape I can imagine, slight wind against us and a continuously ascending road.
Doesn’t sound that bad? Well, the ascend was not really the problem, more that we didn’t see it. With nothing arround me to notice the ascend but that my bike won’t move properly, I got aggressive. It felt like someone is holding me back, my brakes where braking all the time or my muscles wouldn’t want to do as I told them.
I felt weak. The landscape didn’t make it any better. No mountains, no trees and no rivers to orientate at. Only wasteland. I would actually prefer the term wasted land, a land that, if there is a God, he for sure could have done better with, but he wasted it. As far as my eyes can see in the dusty air of the deserts end, nothing that could catch my eye, and I was so desperately longing for something to look at that even a big stone would have done.
Finally, I see the outlines of mountains drawn into the dusty air. They are promising change of this “boring-to-death” situation. Luckily the dust is so thick that I know they can’t be far. And in deed. Trucks coming towards us smell like serpentines, their brakes glowand the rubber of their wheels seems to nearly melt away. A sign at the road says “be carefully, falling rocks”. It’s like a joke, falling rocks in the desert. But suddenly the curtain of dust gets blown away by a gust and steep rocky mountains lay in front of us.
Not in a usual way, we don’t look up at the mountains. We are actually looking down on them. the ascend of the morning has brought us to nearly 2000 m height. The first thing we do entering back into the Himalayas, is going down. Like looking down on a miniature model railway landscape and diving into it in my imaginations, the road is winding itself along a green, wide riverbed.
I am so happy to be back at the mountains, finally leave the desert behind, the dry, dusty and hot desert. Finally I can hope on a cold tent tonight again, passes to climb, views to enjoy.
As if the mountains were not enough as present, a family in their car stops us on our way, they want to take a picture. But that’s not all. We get cucumbers, grapes, apples, juices, peaches, ready made meals and water from them. We hardly have enough space to stow their presents. Fully packed and with a smile on my face we enter a new part of our journey. The last third in the time we have and also the last part in the Himalayas before we go straight to Shanghai.
We cycle about 15 km into the mountains and then decide to stop early. We have made 1200 height meters and 70 km today. That’s enough. Although Paul’s leg is not a reason to stop for its working perfectly well, we need a brake to enjoy our return to the mountains.
Now I lie at the side of the river on rocky ground, from time to time a lost raindrop hits my face as if the weather couldn’t decide wether it should rain or shine. The water of the river is the only noise I hear.
I am getting hungry, let’s cook dinner.
Powered by Facebook Comments