Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Day 46 - Into Tibet. Take 2

Day 44 Errata. We didn't enter Tibet and they weren't the Himalayas. Although we did climb onto the Tibetan plateau we were still in Xinjiang. The mountains we could see were the Karakorums.

So today we really did enter Tibet. As we crossed one pass there was a boundary stone, lines of prayer flags and our first stupa.

The first 180km was on perfect blacktop. The corners melted into one another as we sped through breathtaking scenery of snow capped peaks and turquoise lakes. Crossing two 5200m passes where the air was too thin to light a gas stove.

For much of the ride we passed through desert. Sand dunes and barren rock with herds of Tibetan Antelope hunting for what ever vegetation there might be. Then the landscape changed and patches of short, bright green grass appeared with attendant herds of yak.

Then we hit road works and were directed off into the loose stuff. By now sand and gravel hold no terrors and the kilometres flew by under a sunny sky.

"Those who the gods wish to destroy, they first make mighty".

It started with some short showers which developed into driving rain. This has the benefit of laying the dust but it also disguises the sand traps which start to look solid. Soon we were fish tailing through deep sand and inevitably came to grief. Twice. Nothing broken but now everything is covered in wet sticky dust.

The best days riding so far with a gentle reminder at the end not to book a place on the Paris Dakar just yet.

Tonight we stay in a very upmarket home stay. Rooms for two people and hot water in bowls for washing. A chance to clean up for the first time in days. Dinner was a again very good with pork, chicken, green beens, courgette, potato and rice. Excellent.