Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Camping and Xi'an: Days 5 + 6

These past two days were much better although I didn't really make much forward progress on day 5. That day I went about 400km in a half circle around the lake I stayed near last night. Day 6 was another 350 or 400km and I arrived mid afternoon. My ass is really killing me so I think I'll stay here for a couple nights. I have to see the terra cotta soldiers anyway.

Day 5 was all mountains, an improvement in some ways over the flat boring expressways of the past two days. The roads were mostly either under construction of needed to be so quickly my bags started riding forward and my ass pain grew. I think I have some bruises there now. But the views and the sections of well paved empty winding mountain roads made it all worth it.

At one point, I stopped to admire a view from a small dirt road at the top of the mountain. It was a bit rutty so I didn't go down the path and left the bike near the main road. When I started the bike again I started walking the bike back to the road and I dropped it. It fell hard on the right side bending my brake lever and breaking my mirror off. I couldn't pick it up with it fully packed. I would have to unpack everything. I decided this was too much and sat on a rock and had a cig.  Luckily a guy on a motorcycle came by a few minutes later. I flagged him down and he helped me pick it up. Now I know. I can't pick the motorcycle up alone.

At night I was determined to rough camp somewhere, anywhere. Throughout most of the journey I was spoiled for choice of sites so I would have to question my Indiana Jones adventurousness if I couldn't find something HERE . I gave myself 2 hours during which I decided that if I saw anything promising I would cut the day a bit short and check it out. After about a half hour I reached a point in the river that I was following through the mountains that was particularly beautiful and reasonably secluded. I found a dirt road that led towards it and carefully followed it about halfway before getting off and walking to the end. It was perfect. The road lead to a hill that overlooked the river and had plenty of flat places to camp and a parking lot. The view was amazing. Problem was there was a construction crew building a bridge at the end of the road. Probably why the road existed.. I walked around their work site for a bit and then asked if i could sleep there in my best sign language. They asked me some questioned and I nodded then told them I'd leave early and they agreed. Another worker had a tent set up there to guard the crane so we would share the view that night.

A bit later I met the guy who would be staying in the tent. He turned out to be really hospitable treating this little hill like his home. He helped me unload the bike and carry everything to my bit of flat ground. We then set up the tent together, got a big board for me to sleep on and he brought me some water. Since we couldn't communicate our attempts at conversation soon ended. He sat near by and watched as I cooked, ate, and brushed my teeth. Then we went off into our tents. Later that night I heard him talking to his wife on his phone. I could tell that he was telling her of his encounter with the strange foreigner who showed up at his remote work site on a motorcycle.

Day 6 started at 5:30am. I woke up before sunrise and quietly packed my things. The crew came back just as I was finishing loading up the bike and woke up my host. We said goodbye, took some pictures, and I was off.

The mountains continued and the weather was ideal. By now I was pretty high so I didn't notice the temperature. On the way down the mountains changed from pretty typical heavily forested mountains that you might see anywhere in the south of asia to ones that reminded me a little of Arizona. The all looked terraced but were too steep for that. The appearance came from bands of rock separated by short brush. It was starting to look like a desert. The mountains ended suddenly and I found myself looking over a long flat area. The temperature shot up to 35 degrees and I dragged myself the remaining 50 or so Kilometers to a hostel Xi'an. Now I'll have a nice two day break.
Looking for a camp site

The Fall Site.

I could never figure out how they got out there.
My host on the left

The crowd gathers

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