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Asia » China » Gansu » Dunhuang June 18th 2014

18.6.14 DUNHUANG UPDATE: This afternoon visited the famed sand dunes 6 km out of town. Quite spectacular against the vibrant blue sky. The focal point is the Crescent Lake and Oasis. Quite beautiful. The were camel trains for tourists to climb the dunes. The camels in convoy looked impressive, picture Lawrence of Arabia!... read more
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Asia » China » Gansu » Zhangye June 18th 2014

Zhanghe After a few desert days we got to ride in cold and rain to Zhanghe. It was probably the coldest day of the entire trip. (The next day was noticeably colder, but dry). There is a nicely restored fort and the western end of the Great Wall. The western end is small and unimpressive compared to the wall further east.... read more

Asia » China » Gansu » Dunhuang June 18th 2014

DUNHUANG. WEDNESDAY. 18.6.14 Dunhuang is an appealing city, a small, modern central CBD, offering reasonable fashion shopping, a variety of supermarkets and liquor stores, and a few outdoor shops. It is promoted as the gateway to the Silk Road and pictures of camels abound. The city didn't appear to be very busy, perhaps it was siesta time. Western China does gave a two hour siesta period in mid afternoon. Many shops appear to stay open until 10 pm. There is a tourist dining street, with the roadway lined with tables and chairs, bordered by hot coals' BBQs grilling lamb and chicken skewers, selling recently baked hot bread and veg. You must eat the bread when it is served hot, as when it 's cooled it is hard like concrete. This street food wasn't cheap. The lamb ... read more
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Asia » China » Gansu » Dunhuang June 17th 2014

WINDMILL CAMP. SUNDAY 15.6.14 111kms Brilliant blue sky, cloudless morning, finally. 32C forecast high. Last days of the HEXI Corridor. Now entering Barbarian Country! Scenery of high plateau bordered both sides by mountain ranges. As we are above the tree line, mountains are barren, giving very definitive shape to the rock formations. Mountains on the left are snow capped. Morning air is fresh. Today the site was 111 Kms from JIA YU GUAN. Before lunch route was uneventful, although came upon an amazing religious complex comprising seemingly a Buddhist Temple and a Muslim mosque and school, dubious I know, but the picture confirms it! Lunch was shortly afterwards. Much roadwork followed, roads were bumpy and sandy, certainly uncomfortable for cyclists! It was interesting being in the tour leader's truck as he was putting tape markers out ... read more
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Asia » China » Gansu » Jiayuguan June 17th 2014

Jiayuguan Today was a drive across high desert into a very strong head and cross wind on a nice new road. The temperature was in the 70's, a great relief from the last few days. Jiayuguan is the western end of the Great Wall, and tomorrow we will try to drive out and take some photos of our bikes at the wall. ... read more

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Asia » China » Gansu » Dunhuang June 15th 2014

Dunhuang We drove across more desert on the way to Dunhuang. By the middle of the day we left Xinjiang Province, where we have spent all of our time so far in China. After driving across at least 100 miles of nothing, Dunhuang appears. No high rise apartments or big buildings here. It is amazing how much agriculture there is here. It is an old Silk Road oasis town. It seems that many of the Silk Road towns ate agricultural regions. That makes sense of they were supporting the camel trains. There is a huge sand dune south of town, and some old caves to see tomorrow. I have no intention of taking a camel ride, though. ... read more

Asia » China » Gansu » Jiayuguan June 14th 2014

DESERT CAMP: 13 June 2014. 127kms distance. Today was my second day in the vehicle. Ok but you certainly experience China more when on the bike. The scenery changed from lush vegetation to desert terrain within 20 Kms. Dramatic change. When arrived at camp site it literally felt like desolation. But as the morning passed, it's beauty grew on me. Vast emptiness. Then the wind, cold and rain arrived, the temperature dropping 15C within 15 minutes. Very cold. 2 hrs later it cleared and the mountain range with snow caps appeared briefly before being hidden behind cloud again. The cyclists began arriving talking tales of woe about rain, headwinds, and cold. A little tent city grew, looking interesting. A subdued afternoon largely spent in the tent because of coolness. Prior to dinner, wind abated and we ... read more
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Asia » China » Gansu » Zhangye June 12th 2014

GREAT WALL CAMP: Distance: 131 Kms SubT. 2706 Kms Bal 9,775 Kms Road Condition: terrible Weather: atrocious Time in Saddle: 8 hrs Av Speed: av. 20 kph. Av Cadence. Rpm Elevation: 1550 m : Decent 500 m Calories burned : ? Today was the worst day. Started out in sunshine, which shortly afterwards turned overcast, then fierce headwinds 40kph min. Evidence of how windy the area was, is by the hundreds of wind turbines. The road was a constant uphill gradient, so by lunch my energy was zapped, but still had 60 Kms to ride. Two hours later stopped in a remote shop, picture the pub in Werewolves of London and you are close. The scenery was bleak at best all day, again the Moors and Oz outback combined. Then the rain started making the road ... read more
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Asia » China » Gansu » Wuwei June 10th 2014

WUWEI - REST DAY 10.6.14 Slept in until 8.30 which was great. I don't realise how tired I am come rest day, after waking at 4.30-4.45 am daily, mediocre breakfast, then cycling 125-150 Kms. Passed on Chinese breakfast today and set off to explore WUWEI. This city of probably 1 million + citizens, is not as skyscraper ridden as many other Chinese cities. Buildings generally no more than 5 levels. Every thing is sandy colour, or that might just be dust. Last night ate a tasty meal of Eastern Muslim delights, lamb on the bone, spicy beef, green Bok type veg., and chicken. Meals cooked with mild chilli, cumin, and other similar spices. 1 beer each, for 4 people, $10- ea. Wandered widely this morning and fell upon a sprawling street market, selling mainly foods- meats, ... read more
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Asia » China » Gansu » Wuwei June 9th 2014

LANGZHOU: REST DAY Today was our designated rest day and it was most welcome. Didn't do much, wandered the town, investigated the 8 level super smart shopping centre, 7 levels of fashion, 1 level of tech. Purchased a wifi hot spot machine which enables me to connect into the hotel LAN, if the room has one, machine then broadcasts wifi, much like a router. The wifi in the hotels generally has a weak signal, which usually prevents photo upload, and if too many are attempting to use it, then generally it fails, so supposedly this new machine will assist in overcoming the difficulty. A VPN is also required in China as social network sites, INSTAGRAM, etc, GOOGLE are often government blocked. Sometimes the tech is overwhelming!! In the afternoon changed money, only possible at Bank of ... read more
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