Over dusty road and high passes to Sichuan, Days 297-300
Juhui, we are on our way again! A remote area with high passes is waiting for us. That’s why we visit the market once again and fill our bags with enough provisions. We take it easy the first day. At 2800 meters we find a nice spot by the river where we camp. It has not been so warm for a long time. In the best weather we continue cycling and manage the pass of 3900müM. At the top, countless Tibetan prayer flags blow in the wind. Warmly packed we enjoy the beautiful view. The nice thing about cycling passes is that mostly after the pass shows a whole new area. So we come into a narrow, green valley with large stately homes. We find a good hotel and enjoy the warm shower.
The next morning is the royal stage to the next larger city Xiangcheng (Xiangbala) on the program. Royal stage because a 60km long gravel road with partially sandy sections waiting for us. We are making very good progress and have a long lunch break. After three hours we reached the mountain pass 4300müM. The route continues on gravel and some climbs we tackle until then the road is sandy and extremely dusty. After six hours cycling we find a nice spot on a beautiful stream on 4300müM. In the morning we are greeted by a yak herd and a shepherd. We have never seen such big and beautiful yaks even with calves.
The descent in this sand and dust almost more exhausting than the climb! Again and again we are fogged by passing trucks and cars. After being shaken up for an hour, we reach with great relief asphalt again in Ranwu. A quick detour to the Hotspring is unfortunately disappointing and so we are back on the drive to Xiangcheng.
We left the Yunnan region with the pass and arrived in Sichuan. In Sichuan, the area and the people have changed a lot. It is drier, very barren in height and at the bottom of the river it has oasis-like, green terraced fields. The people are very friendly, have a very dark complexion and speak Tibetan. Instead of “ni hao” is now called “hallo” and with our Chinese translation app we sometimes get stuck, because many can only read the Tibetan script. To our great disappointment our SIM card does not work anymore. That means here in Sichuan apply extremely high roaming charges for our Yunnan card. In a few hours, the monthly credit is used up.
After five hours driving, we arrive dusty in Xiangcheng at the hotel. Luckily, we are already in the room when it starts to rain and to our great surprise we can take the dusty bicycles into the carpeted room, where we shower them off in the large bathroom. To our delight, Guy and Kamilla are still here and we exchange our experiences once more.
Max elevation: 4333 m
Min elevation: 2675 m
Total climbing: 4382 m
Total descent: -4621 m