Chasing spring on dirt roads in Sichuan.

2009/02/23: Camp in Pasture 67 km 
Our road surface turned very poor at the Sichuan border, and deteriorated further over the next 30 km. The scenery was gorgeous, though, with flowering fruit trees reminding us that we were leaving the tropics for temperate climes.

Fruit trees and wheat.

The road is marked as a main road on all our maps, including our 1:4,000,000 map of China, but we are rapidly learning to cross check all information with locals when possible. Progress was slow, and we had minimal food and water, but we camped for the night in a saddle, discussing whether to back track or forge on.

2009/02/24: Macha 39 km and train to Panzhihua
In the morning we carried on, and within a few km found the road improved for while. This didn’t last, however. As we slowly descended a steep 1,100 m section, hands stiff from braking, Chris skidded on a sandy patch and almost went over a 100 m cliff. We were in an industrial town at the bottom of a steep valley, it was hotter than we like, and we were faced a with a huge climb on a loose surface.

We decided to catch a train to Panzhihua, as per Photos on Flickr. Getting the train information was a significant linguistic challenge, and the wait at the train stations was a social experience; we are becoming masters of body language etiquette. We have been photographed a lot on this trip, but this time it was the security guards, local police and more. We boarded a special bare bones rail car for people with large and awkward luggage. Our companions were a young man we’d met who spoke good English, and a farmer with huge sacks of beans who wanted to invite us to his village.

Margo stopped on switchback of dirt road… the view was worth stopping for!

Arriving at Panzhihua station, we found a hotel. I think I shall have to write about the enormous variety of accommodation we’ve stayed in so far in China. The variation has been huge and the contrasts can be humorous.


2 responses to “Chasing spring on dirt roads in Sichuan.

  1. Pingback: Index for Bangkok to Paris 2009 « candmwanderings

  2. Pingback: Meeting Fall in Northern Greece « candmwanderings

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