Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Day 85 Mon 20/09 - Xin Ba Village to Guesthouse 5km from Chu Xiong

Today Distance : 86.9 km        Total : 4340.2 km
Today Weather : 21 - 30C      Sunny Blue Sky
Time On Bike : 5 hr 37 min
Ave Speed : 15.4 kmh             Max : 52.5 kmh
Ave Climb : 2%                       Max : 9%
Trip Altitude : 716 m                Max : 1954 m
Today Spend : 49.5 rmb          Total : 809.5 rmb

Very bumpy ride today on this rather deserted G320 road. Most of the traffics are now using the Expressway running along side to it. The drivers are more than willing to pay the toll fee than using this neglected old road, not only the expressway is smoother but also faster, I too would prefer if only bicycles are allowed. Tough no doubt on G320,but the plus side is riding on a very quiet environment,taking your own sweet time,stop whenever you want and clicking your camera on the beautiful scenery.Occasionally passing thru' small villages, had chat with the villagers, riding on expressway you tend to lose out all these "fun". My art of bike touring is not how fast or how many km you achieved to reach your destination, but the pleasure of the "things" that you see,you meet,you understand from point A to point B, simple, no pressure! No big climbs for today's ride but had the scary experience of riding the dark tunnels, luckily the longest one is only 150m with no lighting. When I came into the 1st tunnel, I didn't expect to be so dark, I had to make a U-turn 20m back to the entrance to mount my front torch and rear flashing red light, I feel more safe to push my bike thru' as the tunnel is very narrow and hardly enough shoulder space to ride even with my not so bright light "on" .Chu Xiong is a big city . No intention to ride into it at a late hour of 6 pm. So i stop at a roadside guesthouse for another cheap 10 yuan room that comes with a tv. I love to watch the many interesting channels of Chinese tv, lots of information on world news, keeps me updated while I am cycling months away from home.

 On a quiet, much neglected G320 road after the Kunming-Dali Expressway was built

               Approaching a scary tunnel with no lightings

                      My lunch. I had to teach them how to fry the egg , the Malaysian style

                                                 Advertising high quality coffin
                                                                     More paddie fields
                                             The look of 10 yuan roadside guesthouse
                                                               And the room inside

Day 84 Sun 19/09 - Kunming to Xin Ba Village

Today Distance : 89.1 km        Total : 4253.3 km
Today Weather : 21 - 35C      Sunny Blue Sky
Time On Bike : 5 hr 28 min
Ave Speed : 16.2 kmh             Max : 49.0 kmh
Ave Climb : 2%                       Max : 9%
Trip Altitude : 663 m                Max : 1974 m
Today Spend : 46.0 rmb          Total : 760 rmb

From Kunming I had decided to head west to Dali (320 km) and Lijiang ( 860 km), a very challenging route full of mountains, rivers , rocks. Of course I only heard  from friends and seen the pictures on books ,magazines, and also did the Goggle Earth search, personally never been there before.So I am really looking forward to it.With some advice from Mr Cheah, the Kunming bike shop owner who had  the riding experience on this mountainous route right up to Deqen close to the Tibetan border. The morning ride out of the city was smooth and easy. Following the Renmin Xi Lu on a wide special lane for motorbikes and bicycles, weather was perfect, cool and refreshing. The 1st big town is An Ning on national road G320, a very busy road with trucks carrying either sands,earths and rocks, making the road very dusty. Luckily the dust settled once you are out of the city, with less traffics on the outskirts, the air are cleaner and scenery better, Along the roads, paddies farmers were busy doing the harvesting, manually cutting the stems on one hand can grab, and another hand using a curve knife to cut( how to call it?), another person to collect to a machine with a rotating rod to separate the rice grains from the stems. Machinery no doubt can makes harvesting faster, easier, but many will be out of jobs then.So don't teach them how to modernise. My target for today is to reach Lu Feng town, 15 km before reaching Lu Feng at a village called Xin Ba, there were 2-3 roadside guesthouses, they were cheap,usually cater for drivers to stop for a night rest. I had many experiences staying at these cheap guesthouses during my Beijing2paris tour. The price is quite standard from 10-15 yuan. True enough it cost only 10 yuan when I stop to enquire one, the young owner also owns a tire repairing workshop. Self service, I was told to pay up and go up stair to choose which room you want.No room key to lock from outside but a latch to lock from inside. No problem after all I am the only guest around in one of the 4 empty rooms. Surprisingly with such low rate,the room is quite clean with double beds and a small tv. I might consider staying more of such guesthouses in the coming days.
                                                        Dusty ride out from the city
                                                       Fresh air and great scenery
                                                      Clean and quiet country road
                                                         River,mountain and rice field
              Road sign reminder on many steep,bent and narrow sections ahead
           The tree on the right - " I look skinny.... but I am one head taller!!"
                          The toll gate in China always looks very artistic
                                  Donkey cart transportation - Slow and steady
Golden paddies field
                                            Hard labour with a stress on the back
              Separating the rice grains from the stem with a motorised roller
                                              Many hands speed up the work
                                         Extracting " some mineral " from this special hill
                                          Recumbent taking a rest before a downhill
                                                       Attracted by the red earth
                                                  And a beautiful red earth corner
                                            One of my most satisfactory shots
                                        15 km short from the original target Lu Feng
Xin Ba Village

Roadside guesthouse 10 yuan