The second lowest point on the planet
After a really good day and in particular afternoon on the bike I felt good this morning. I was out on the road pretty early and also thankful for the petrol station nearby where I could stock up on some snacks for the day.
I knew today that Turpan was in my sights and I was very much hoping to ride past it thus giving me a good chance of getting to Urumqi the following day. I was once again blessed with tremendous weather and most importantly very little wind. So far all the predictions of gale force winds were not coming true.
I was past Shanshan in no time and was well on my way to Turpan by the afternoon. Turpan is famous for it’s depression and is according to Wikipedia is the lowest point in China and second lowest on the Earth at 154km below sea level. It’s incredibly hot and today was no different; it once again had me thankful of the fact that I’d set out in March and was now here in May and not in the unbearably hot months of June and July. It’s a region that is also famous for its grapes and other fruits. Nevertheless I was in no mood to stop, it’s about 160km from Urumqi and I was determined to put some more kilometres on the clock and thus save myself a longer ride to Urumqi tomorrow.
Vineyards of Turpan
I followed a traditional wedding ceremony as I rode along the main street running through Turpan and the blowing of trumpets and beat of the drums coming from the trucks alongside me pushed me onwards.
Just outside of Turpan I passed another small milestone on the trip, 4,828 kilometres signified the passing of 3,000 miles. It has now become custom to stop and take a quick snap of the cycle computer and also to balance my camera precariously on a road bollard to get a picture of me to remember these moments.
I continued on but conditions began to change as I pulled the bike out of the depression. I’d experienced the thrill of riding downhill yesterday so it was to be expected that I needed to go up again at some point. By six o’clock my legs were beginning to feel the effects of two long days of riding and just before six I once again found myself pushing the bike down the small pebbly embakement beside the road and back under the road for another night.
I had a nice culvert to sleep under tonight completely free of rubbish and was really excited by the prospect of a relatively short ride of 120km to Urumqi the next day. So close now nothing can stop me.
More wind farms
"Usmile.....no I smile when I see Usmile" The always welcome sight of a Usmile petrol station.