2009/02/12: to Tongguan km
2009/02/13: to Mojiang km
The old 213 was of variable surface quality, and frequent unmarked Porsche Traps limit everyone to below 50kmh; this provided a very pleasant cycling environment. However, the hills have been significant with 1000m climbs the norm. We try hard to do these climbs early in the day before it gets too hot.
We share the road with cows, buffalo, chickens, ducks, drying coffee beans, mopeds, and even a few bicycles. As we climb or descend we pass through various agricultural areas, with tea and wheat near the passes, and rice, banana trees, and vegetables in the valleys. When we stop for food we are often in minority villages, and we invariably find the people warm and welcoming. The same can not be said of the dogs: we have taken to carrying sticks, ready at hand, to ward off the most aggressive canines.
Maps are an issue for us. We have a road atlas of Yunnan, but it has no contours, and the place names are only in characters. We have a map on our GPS which has contours, often wrong, and has only a few places are named in an obsolete form of pinyin (i.e.Peking not Beijing). We have come to learn to combine these, realizing that the GPS map is probably a pilots’ map, as we find it very rough except for major intersections, and it never understates the elevation.