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Archive for September 4th, 2012

Hot Shots at the Hot Springs

Posted by TravellingStrom on September 4, 2012

Mayan Prophecy Countdown

An early breakfast of 8am meant an early start, NOT. The mouth was off again after causing major dramas yesterday by abusing our guide. We did get away at 10.30 and although the day was not long we had to get ourselves around the capital city of Urumqi(pronounced Urumchee). We had to stay at least 30km away from the city centre due to an international trade show or something and it is the direct cause of us not being allowed to ride south to Laos. Anyway, we headed away into the heat of the day in the direction, north 🙂

They do have speed restrictions on these highways but they do not concern us as we are not driving cars, trucks nor buses 😉

We found some more twisties, well actually they were the same ones as yesterday just from a different direction, but they were still fun 🙂 In fact they were more sweepers than twisties, but you get the idea, they were not straight 🙂

Lunchtime found us in a small village at some road junctions, so we stopped for some tucker, great stuff 🙂

Then after that more wind farms, the whole roadside had been littered with these, so they are at least thinking about green energy and not just coal!

I saw my first wild camels around here, a herd of them down in a gully besides the road.

This is the remains of a hill which has been dug away for the gravel content, they had to leave the bits with power poles on it, but I am not sure for how long though!

We came to the city of Urumqi around 3pm and found a new building complex under construction, with one high rise destined to be a low rise very soon, no fire trucks came while we were there and the cranes of the adjoining buildings kept on working!!!

It is very easy to get lost here, we had the town names written down in Chinese characters, but Benny writes these by hand, so sometimes his handwriting does not match what we see in block characters on the signs ❓

But in the end we did find the turn off to the Heavenly Lake, as it was in tourist brown, same as at home.

Now, we had thought about going to see this lake, but the entry fee was around $30 and you cannot ride up there, you have to leave your bikes and bus in and then out again, so we decided to give this place a miss. We were going to try to camp here somewhere but the location was less than ideal, no shade, very hot, hard concrete and no seclusion, so after a discussion we decided to continue on north to the Chinese border area. We would need to ride another 150km, then in the middle of nowhere would be a hot spring resort where there was a choice of accommodation styles, camp, cheap share rooms or single rooms, plus they had food and beer, that won the argument!!! Near where we stopped for the discussion was this huge statue of horses and a chariot style machine.

Riding north was great, we went through sand dunes and it looked real nice, hot though as you would expect.

After a bit of asking and pointing, we found the entrance to the resort and it was quite an oasis next to a mine and drilling workers town.

This is where I finally took off my fork brace to clean my fork seal, one of them was weeping oil which had splattered onto my radiator. As it turns out it was an easy fix with a piece of plastic coke bottle which Chris had cut into shape. I figured if this fix still leaked tomorrow, then I had time at the next town to remove the fork and install a new seal( I had three extras)

Most of the others camped, but Neil and I grabbed a room each, it had cable internet plus aircon and a private shower toilet, always a bonus after a long hot days ride. Then finally, after 8 days of riding in China, but miles from nowhere, I managed to score a Chow fan, or fried rice and proper soy sauce 🙂 Mind you the cook was astonished when I liberally dosed the rice with soy, it appears this is not how it is done out this way 🙂 But, Neil who has a lot of Chinese experience, said it was how they do things in Hong Kong, strangely enough, that is exactly the place I learned how to eat this great dish 🙂 I had some sneaky Shashlik meat skewers for the protein hit as a side dish 🙂

Then we had a group meet to talk about the next place to stay tomorrow night, our last night in China, before I managed to get involved in a drinking game with some locals who had driven out here for the hot springs. Yes, we are in a desert, it is 40C+ and people pay to visit here and bath in hot springs, I stayed well away, it was only 38C, so a tad cooler than outside, but not my cuppa tea 🙂 Back to the drinking, we were shooting this rice vodka or something, it came in a fiery red bottle and was served warm which I am sure added to its potential!!! This lady was the king(queen) of the drinkers, the others, her workmates, left this game to her LOL. It was tasty stuff, I think I had 5 before I backed out, just in case it had a delayed reaction!!!! Iain had a chugga chugga as well, while Chris got involved in the wine skull!!!

This went on for a fair while and lucky for me there were no time delayed leg wobblers from the shooters. Late evening and it was a walk down the star lane back to my room for some well deserved sleep, ready for tomorrows ride north, another 400km to a small town near the border crossing into Mongolia.

Cheers from the middle of nowhere in China

Posted in Around The World, Eurasia | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

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