From Dali we cycled south to new Dali (Xiaguan). The second crossing over the bridge we turned left in the direction of the airport and Kunming. This is road 320. This we followed over 30 kms, a very wide, 8- and 6-lane dual carriageway. A couple of times Mu Di was indicated, our intended goal of the day. Finding our way appeared unexpectedly easier than we thought, since my Garmin Colorado (GPS) helped a lot. As I mentioned before it has only been charged with the World Wide Base map, a very generic programme giving only main roads, dome cities and shades for altitudes. Now we were very happy to note that the roads we are using occur in the gps, and as our exact position is visible on the screen, we can see if we are on the right road or not. Very convenient, since we cannot read any road signs or what. Road 320 turned into a normal 2-lane road and we had to cross a pass and climb 600 mtrs. Later we turned right on road 214 and after over 80 kms we reached Mu Di, where we were escorted by a policeman on his motorbike to a very good hotel. The second day we took the 214 again and reached Nanjian after 40 kms. After a lunch in a muslim-run restaurant we continued on the G214. Without knowing this, this is a new road that is not on both our Nelles (edition 2007) or our Chinese map. So when we thought we should have rreached a place where we could find a bed for the night, this came out. A policeman told us that after 15 kms there would be accommodation. Indeed, in a durty little town (Gongang or near this place) with many muslim people in the streets, we found a surprisingly new, nice and clean little hotel with the kindest people possible. Luck seems to be on our side. But again we had covered over 80 kms and 1000 meters climbing. As the road is new and made for cars, the slopes are gentle, never more than 5%, but they have a length of 15 to 30 kms. In the end you get tired and fed up.
The third day we had our second meeting with the Mekong. Via a big suspension bridge we crossed the river where it is a reservoir a hydro-elctric power plant. After this another long climb and 0ver 700 meters climb. We reached Yun Xian after agian almost 80 kms. We were beginning to think that this was a bit much….
The 4th day we took the 214 again, and again we had to climb, alltogether over 1100 meters. And again we covered app. 80 kms before we reached Lincang, where we are now. We decided to take a day’s rest, since we needed that. In 4 days we’ve cycled app. a quarter of the distance to the Lao border. It need not necessarely go this fast!
Lincang is a very strange city, wide avenues with huge buildings. It reminds me a bit of Surgut in Siberia. We stayed in a very lousy hotel, with cery lousy staff. Opposite of our street is a very big and posh hotel, a building like a cathedral. The basiliek van Oudenbosch would look small compared to it. That’s probably why we were not taken to this one by the kind girl that helped us find one. This morning, trying to find someone who can talk to us (I mean speaks English) we walked into this hotel to see if we would be lucky there. The staff was friendly, but no English. But then we were adressed by a English speaking young man, who appeared to work fro Philips medical equipment. After that things were settled very quickly: we booked over tho this hotel (very posh: 170 Yuan for a double room (where everything works!), breakfast included), we had a city plan and we knew the way to the busstation.
Since we are tired of riding up and down big mountains we’ll take a bus and skip a bit of this. Tomorrow we’ll go by bus to Lancang. From there we think to reach Xishuangbanna. There we intend to hang araound for some time in nice towns lika Menghai and Jinghong, before continuing to Laos.
We are more south and at less higher altitudes. Temperatures are a lot higher here, very hot in the afternoon. The rainy season is still not over yet. Again at this moment it’s pouring. During our cycling we didn’t get wet though.
Later (April 2009) the track and profile of this stretch will be added to this blog.