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The dream of the grand tour of the bike before age forty
I arranged carryon objects and took a picture of them. So far, I finally finished organizing my things and can now start packing.
6/21 Took Sichuan Airlines to Kunming
I heard that there would be a limitation of 20 kg for check-in baggage before.
Well! I did not have to pay for overweight.
The folding bike in the box and some sundries weighed 19.4Kg, and they were not overweight.
Mr. Hua’s folding bike in the box weighed 1 kg more than mine, and it was a little overweight. However,
the check-in staff still allowed Mr. Hus to get on the plane because this is not a big deal for the airline.
The plane landed on Kunming Wujiaba International Airport at ten thirty after flying for 4 hours.
Here was the famous Stone Forest Scenic Region,
and it was said that this is the karst landform,
which was formed by geologic changes and weather denudation about 300 million years ago.
The Sword Peak Pool in front of me was a place where I felt the most special in the Stone Forest Scenic Region.
The stone peaks were reflected on the lake, which looked like sword bush,
and they looked like swords which were under the pool.
The stone forest here was different from previous ones where we were tired of, and it was elegant a lot. We felt novel here, and enjoyed it.
Guo Qiao rice noodles of the Jiang Hong Garden
This was the first time I had such genuine Guo Qiao rice noodles (19 RMB).
I got my priorities messed up,
and did not know that I had to put ingredients into soup for blanching instead of putting rice noodles first.
However, we still enjoyed this meal, and I particularly enjoyed the soup,
which made my tongue a little numbing instead of being spicy.
We still had time in the afternoon. Where should we hang out?
I read Grand View Pavilion from a guidebook about Yunnan,
and there are the longest spring festival scrolls in the world, which are near the Dian Lake.
So we arrived at Grand View Pavilion at 5:30pm.
The sun came out from clouds while we were at Grand View Pavilion,
and the scenery was clearer than ordinary times after raining.
The longest spring festival scrolls in the world.
6/23 Shangri-La、Deqin、 Flying temple
In order to catch the plane at 7:00am, we got up at 4:00am.
After one hour, the plane landed on Shangri-La Airport.
After getting off the plane, I clearly felt the low atmospheric pressure and low oxygen content at an altitude of 3200 meters,
and I kept reminding me to move slowly.
Each of us paid 20 RMB for binding our bikes in the boxes on the top of the bus.
The bus traveled from Shangri-La, and kept going north along the National Road No.214.
The distance to Deqin was about 180km.
The bus would depart at 9:40am, and the fare was 58 RMB for each person, including the insurance,
which cost 5 RMB.
The road condition was worse than my imagination, and there were more than twenty road constructions along the way.
Was this not a national road?
Why the road condition was so poor which allowed me, an outlander, to be hard to imagine.
I paid a lot of attention to the surroundings along the road, and hoped that I could have a better understanding of it while riding back.
I heard that we would arrive in Deqin about four hours.
So we decided to have a simple lunch first (46 RMB for two people).
The altitude was higher and higher,
and we had been being on the way of the Baimang Snow Mountain whose height was more than 4000 to 5000 meters.
I saw several bikers along the way,
and I felt excited and my blood boiled when I thought that I would ride my bike on the Yunnan-Tibet highway tomorrow like them.
Finally, we arrived in Deqin at 3:40pm, and were scrambling to assemble our bikes.
We had a hard time inflating bikes’ tires in such a high altitude.
Wasn’t the mountain in front of me Tibetan’s holy mountain, Meili Snow Mountain
I was so excited, and took pictures of it immediately.
I rode north about 12 km, and arrived at Feilai Temple scenic area where I planned to stay tonight.
I was afraid that the weather would be too bad to see the sunshine,
so I took pictures of the holy mountain with bikes immediately while the sunshine was light.
We stayed at Meili Roadhouse next to La Song Supermarket, which provided Wi-Fi.
We got a double room and it cost 90 RMB per night.
6/24 Flying Temple、Baimang Snow Mountain、Benzilan
We saw out of windows in the early morning and found it was foggy.
There was also cold drizzle often, and we were disappointed because we could not see Meili Snow Mountain.
Our first day for riding was bad weather, and we encouraged ourselves that the weather change was also a part of the travel.
There were some people turning prayer wheels outside the roadhouse.
The special blessing ceremony was novel for outlanders like us.
We also absolutely join them for praying a safe journey.
It was necessary to keep warm while cycling in the rain.
So I stumbled on the idea of wearing plastic bags on my feet to protect my feet from rain, and it kept warm.
It was 9:30am, and we planned to ride to Deqin from Flying Temple.
We attempted to ride over Baimang Snow Mountain whose heights are 1,000 meters above sea level,
and then stayed at Benzilan (the total mileage is 110 km).
National Road No.214 is the famous Dian-Zang Highway.
The mileage on the stone tablet was the distance to Lhasa.
If it had not rained, the scenery in the mountains would have been magnificent!
We kept biking uphill for several hours, and did not get any supplies along the way.
Additionally, it kept raining causing a vast expanse of whiteness, and we hardly saw any scenery.
Besides these reasons, cycling with many belongings on the high altitude caused physical exhaustion.
Fortunately, Mr. Hua guided me along the way, and I tried my best to arrive in Baimang Snow Mountain in the end (4:30pm).
I had a hard time taking pictures due to the strong wind and rain here.
I thought we could ride downhill in the next journey; however, we unexpectedly faced an up-and-down road about 10 km!
I started to shiver with cold due to physical exhaustion and being soaking wet,
and I probably got hypothermia if I kept cycling in this bad weather.
At this hopeless moment, thanks to God’s blessing, Mr. Hua hitched a ride (6:10pm)!
We quickly put our bikes into the trunk like refugees, and thank God, our bikes were folding!
After that, we took a van driven by a Tibetan man on poor mountain roads for the last 40 km.
Finally, we arrived in Benzilan.
After arriving in Benzilan, we washed our bikes in front of the hotel where we would stay tonight.
We never forgot the joy, which we came through.
6/25 Benzilan、Moon bay、Nixi
Benzilan in the early morning.
In the early morning,
we had steamed stuffed buns and drank soymilk at a breakfast store on the street.
Additionally, we tasted buttered tea for the first time (as expected that we were not used to it).
We missed a famous sight spot, Moon Bay, because of hitching a ride yesterday afternoon.
In order not to leave with regret, after discussing with Mr. Hua,
we decided to ride back to see that famous sight where we had been desired.
The weather was good today instead of raining yesterday, so we felt intoxicated and effusive.
We liked this free feeling, and it was really what we expected.
Moon Bay is one of the forty famous sight spots in China.
The winding Jinsha River surrounds cone-shaped hills, and the other side of hills is Sichuan province.
We started to ride downhill in the direction of Benzilan.
It was 1:30pm. After having lunch, we decided to charter a bus (RMB$200) to Nixi in order not to delay today’s schedule.
In this way, we did not have to ride the mountain road for 800m/48km, and could arrive in Zhongdian in the evening.
On the way to Nixi, the mountain scene was beautiful.
We arrived in Nixi at 3:30pm, and started to ride uphill for 600m/12km.
We had to ride over a hilltop (3585m) in order to arrive in Zhongdian.
We looked down the Tibetan settlement where we had seen while getting a ride from Zhongdian to Deqin.
Picturesque blue roofs were crisscross and they looked like fairy tale sceneries.
An amiable Tibetan elderly...
If we could ride around the lake, it must be romantic, so we decided to temporarily increase a journey which was to surround the lake.
We ran into several backpackers, who rode motorcycles, along the way.
All of them came from different areas, and luckily,
we ran into one another on the Dian-Zang Highway temporarily to talk about our routes and motivations.
Rode around the lake
We rode around the Napa Lake for almost 20 km, and felt tired.
It was dark so we had to ride as soon as possible for the rest of the way.
We arrived in Shangri-La Town at 8:30 pm when the evening lights were lit.
We were pretty hungry, so went to a high-class restaurant to treat ourselves.
We ordered a Yak Hot Pot, which was the most delicious hot pot in my life,
and I never forgot the fresh and sweet meat and abundant vegetables.