The Road to Everest

Day 16: Thursday 11 May 2006
May 15, 2006,

Day 16: Thursday 11 May 2006
Shigatse – New Tingri

Today, we set off at a later time and took the Friendship Highway to New Tingri where much of the gravel surface was reasonably smooth and hard. However, we did traverse some stream beds and did encounter potholes, bad ruts on our way to Lhaste where we had a very good lunch of fried rice, yak and vegetables.

Unlike the run across the Tibetan Plateau from Golmud to Nagqu, the scenery was constantly changing, and en route we passed a number of monasteries, yurts and tented yak villages, on either side of the road. From here we found we had to make a number of detours as the road become very rough from roadworks, where they were upgrading the road to enable more tourists to visit the area. Deep ruts and gullies were constantly cropping up and mixed with the heavy dust it made driving conditions a little uncomfortable but very challenging and good fun.

As we slowly ascended to the Tropu-La Pass (4,540m) the Meeus’ Jag experienced fuel starvation again and was towed up to the top by David Hughes and Richard Smith’s Toyota Landcruiser. At the top more bad luck came for the Jag in the form of a puncture, but help was at hand with Do, David and Jinger’s crew all mucking in for a quick change.

Another puncture occurred 10km on the descent but this time it was the front course car. Again Jinger’s and Co were on hand with their jack and tyre nut-gun, so not much time was lost.

We finally arrived in New Tingri (Shegar) at the Qomolangma Hotel, our site for the next two days, in the early evening. The hotel is indeed an experience. Many mountaineers use this as their initial base before travelling to Base Camp. It generates its own electricity by using solar panels, therefore as the evening progressed the battery reduced and the lights became dimmer and dimmer, plus the hot water became cooler and cooler. This was not really an issue as all wanted an early night ready for a 5.30am start to see the dawn break on Everest.

The Steinhauser's Defender

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Day 30: Thursday 25 May 2006
Zhaoqing – Splendid China, Shenzhen

On this our final day of the Great Tour of China 2006, we made a short journey mainly on expressway from Zhaoqing to the Splendid China Cultural Park in Shenzhen for the ceremonial finish.

May 26, 2006
Day 29: Wednesday 24 May 2006
Guilin - Zhaoqing

We left Gulin on smooth fast roads with wonderful views of the ‘eggbox’ type hills. These are hills of limestone which have eroded into shape over centuries covered in native vegetation and resembling very large teeth.

May 25, 2006
Day 28: Tuesday 23 May 2006
Kaili - Guilin

The agenda today was another long driving day to Guilin along a mixture of road surfaces: smooth main roads, bumpy secondary roads and some roads still under construction.

May 24, 2006
Day 27: Monday 22 May 2006
Huangguoshu Falls - Kaili

Before negotiating another day on the road, everyone spent a couple of hours today visiting China’s most scenic falls at Huangguoshu. Set against lush, local vegetation, the falls make up in beauty for what they lack in size.

May 23, 2006
Day 26: Sunday 21 May 2006
Kunming – Huangguoshu Falls

This morning we took the northern road from Kunming on a mix of main highway, dual carriageway and back roads. The first town we passed through was Quiyang en route to Honggu, a large town with coal mining and steel production as it’s main industries.

May 23, 2006