English Version 26
The weather looks all right, not any sun yet. The highest mountaintops disappears in the mist. I start at 510 m.
A weigh station is the first point to reach after 1 km. Here is a small plateau with a lake. Beautiful green everywhere. There are mountains in 5 different shades of colour in my direction. I reach some houses. The climb changes a lot sometimes steep, sometimes more flat.
I`m scared for a moment when a bird somewhere in the green above me starts it`s whistle. I`ve never heard that sound before.
Marvellous green mountain sides around me and I can still see the lake down there to the left. The beauty is a relief. This is what I`ve been longing for. Thousands of bees are on their way to the mountain too. It`s like they fly by "roads".
A cut in the rocks leads into the next section of the gorge and now I`m descending again. The lake continues I never see the dam.
The road is winding up and down through the green mountains. This is my kind of landscape. This is where I belong. The peaks are still misty but the road ahead isn`t covered with that blue mist that has been there, more or less, for the last 1000 km.
From time to time some car pass but all the rest of the time I`m completely on my own. I wasn`t prepared it would be THAT beautiful.
The road winds through the gorge, up and down, the final challenge is delayed.
Then I`m in the land of the cicadas. From one moment to the next. Everywhere. A more "round" tone than the French. Not that irritating.
The upcoming Chinese tourism can be seen in form of benches at the roadside from which the scenery can be watched and twice even tables and chairs. Unfortunately it`s not time for eating yet, but oh, I`ve been longing to SIT down and eat after all my standing eating breaks.
After more than 20 km the lake stops and we follow the river.
The gorge gets narrow often with vertical sides. Watch out for
falling stones the signs say and use your horn! (Should it be nescesary
to tell a Chinese that?)
Only once a rock the size of a hand comes rolling down 20 m in front of me. It hits the road and continues out in the river. Not that close.
On some of the steep slopes people are living. Once I see fields and a house there high up on the mountain, where it shouldnít be possible.
Later a discover 6 persons on their way up a footpath. The first two are carrying a heavy burden on a pole between them and one of the others is carrying something with two wheels, a bike or a small cart
After 53 k I suddenly realize that the cicadas are gone, too cold maybe?
(As I sit writing a big spider comes walking down the wall. Huge body but not so long legs - I havn`t seen many wild animals here)
Once a gallery enlighted by scattered bulbs goes straight into the mountain. There are no rails, but after a while I hear the sound of a pneumatic drill. It sounds as if itís up the mountainside, but there is nothing to be seen except trees. The sound is simply coming right out of the mountain.
After 55 k a smaller road (on the map too) continues along the river while G108 turns up a side river.
The "fun" hasn`t started yet when I get to Banfangzi after 65 k and 1080 m. It`s a real town with a police station. It seems a bit sleepy in the afternoon heat.
Then at last, after 73 k, comes the climb. It`s 6 on my scale (can only go 6 km/h) After 75 k the road leaves the river and starts winding round the mountain.
I`ve reached the point where I`m fighting for the success. Every km takes 10 min`s with this speed. Suddenly I can see it. The tunnel the Americans in Beijing talked about. "We went down through it", they said, "so you`ll have to go up through it". I wasn`t sure it WAS here.
There`s a small temple to say your last prayers. But it`s not that long. You can see right through it. It`s nothing.
Was there another?
Yes you bet.
The end is not to be seen. There`s no light inside it. Lucky there`s not much traffic.
Now my headlight has to stand its test. It`s the kind you put on your head and the light will follow the movement of your head.
When you`re in the tube it`s hard to tell from which direction sounds come from. Is it the truck in front of my that`s making all that noise or is there one behind me?
I`m going faster and faster, the road starts descending a bit. At last there`s no doubt: A truck is coming up from behind. Can I get out before it reaches me? I have my blinking back light on the bike but will it be seen. The Chinese are not used to that kind.
The noise keep rising. It`s a roar and then just when I reach the end of the tube I`m overtaken my a car I didn`t hear because of the truck.
Now it`s all downhill.
I`m overtaken by 3 Chinese motorcyclists packed with lugage. They`re honking and waving - we`re the same kind. A little later two of them have stopped. They`re waving me to a stop, I can see their digital cameras glistening in the sun. We shake hands. They`re on their way to Lhasa! I have to stand up for a photo session with each of them, you know the Chinese have to have a photo of themselves in front of all the tourist attractions? So I really am an alien!
So here I am at the Bu Bu Gao. I had trouble finding a room - for the first time - 2 hotels were full. Wonder what`s going on here. When I kept on asking everyone said bu bu gao, which made no sense to me until I realized it was the name of the hotel.
Itís been a wonderful Ė and hard Ė day. 80 km up and 40 km down. Itís 18.30 when Iíve found the hotel.