Sunday, 23 June 2013

Day 57 - Variety

"Straightforward day today. 290km, all tarmac. Have a lie in and a late start" said Kevin at the briefing.

Well he was right for the first hour or so. A lovely ride up into the mountains with spectacular views. The road cut into the near vertical cliff high above the valley floor. Then down to a small town that could have been in the Swiss Alps if it weren't for the prayer flags and yak.

Deefor had got away early and decided to stop for an extended cuppa by the river. A lovely sun trap, a rushing river and an iPod playing Kiri Te Kanawa. What could be nicer? By the time he was back on the road it was mid-afternoon and a "straightforward" 120km to run.

The Chinese road construction industry had other ideas though. They had decided to upgrade 30km of the road through a narrow gorge by building tunnels and new bridges. These, naturally, were not finished so the traffic ran along a twisting, muddy, one-way-at-a-time, goat track.

Chinese drivers do not understand concepts like letting the other chap come through first or waiting in line for your turn. What would have been tricky became the RAC rally as minibuses tried to overtake or dived for a gap and caused grid lock.

Eventually we reached the main river bridge which is being replaced. This venerable suspension bridge built from steel wire and wooden planks crosses a 200m gorge. This really is a one way street. The army allow one lorry on the bridge at a time. And it still creeks.

The road then follows the river through what the maps claim is the deepest gorge in the world. You have to crane your neck to see the sky and the river, a tributary of the Bhramaputra, churns and boils far below.

What a day. "It's not a holiday. It's an adventure". All the way to the end.

1 comment:

  1. Hope Tin Tin managed to make it.....he rang to tell me he was stuck, some things I can do without hearing, bless him! Enjoy the last 3 weeks of your "Adventure"!