About km out of Liuba, we stopped to visit Zhang Liang temple, at the foot of Purple Cypress Mountain, with its associated courtyards, gardens, and ponds.
We rode over two significant passes, switchbacking steeply up and then down through cypress forest. We must have entered the area of loess (soil parent material deposited by wind) that Dong mentioned, because we pass banks where bees have created colonies. It looks like easy drilling for the bees, but is a little scary for passing cyclists.
In Fenxian, a wide portion of the river creates a sort of artificial lake. In the lake are large dragon sculptures and more, which are lit up colourfully a night as is much of the town. There are also water jets and fountains everywhere, and in the evening there is a choreographed display of sound, water, and ligh, including laser beams projected onto the surrounding hillsides.
After seven days on the road, we are taking a day’s break here. The next two days’ riding will be challenging, but after that an easy few more days to Lanzhou. We may spend a day in Tian Shui where we hear there are hotsprings.