The Road to Everest

Day 21: Tuesday 16 May 2006
May 19, 2006,

Bayi – Basu

The road out of Bayi

Today was a day of gravel with an unexpected detour across farmland.

We initially traversed very good asphalt roads over the summit of the Mt Nan pass (4,562m) and down into the valley, travelling through small villages with Swiss type chalets into Lulang. Lulang had some very interesting narrow sections with metal bridges built into the rocks.

From here, we crossed a suspension bridge that only allows one vehicle to pass at a time, so patience was needed for those incurring a slight delay.

Our lunch halt was in Bomi. Again, however, many participants decided to do like such Jean Steinhauser and Anne Collard and stop for a picnic a few more kilometres on. Here, they ate under spectacular scenery: mountains, gorges and pine-covered hills, with a crystal clear, aqua-marine river meandering gently alongside. Very tranquil.

(Apparently this is also the site where many baboons take up residence. It is said that if you are very lucky, you can see them gently swinging through the trees. Unfortunately, none were spotted by our participants. Although Jean Steinhauser did say he saw two monkeys driving a Toyota Landcruiser.)

As we approached Rawok, we crested a small hill and there, laid out before us, was a splendid expanse of water – Lake Rawok (26km long and 2km wide) – surrounded on all sides by beautiful woods, glaciers, hot springs and blooming flowers of many different colours.

After leaving Rawok, we sighted a small plinth by a bridge upon which was a famous slogan of Mao Tse Tung: “Smash the old and build the new.” This was one of the Chairman’s favourite sayings. Sadly, during the Cultural Revolution a little much ‘smashing’ was achieved with not enough ‘building of the new’.

At the bridge we then turned left up a new road and through a very narrow gorge, before climbing into the hills and travelling through some more fantastic scenery until we arrived at our night halt in the small town of Basu.

The only mechanical problem of the day was Michael Bernecker’s Toyota Prado, whose brakes needed some attention out on the roadside. Fortunately, the scene of their halt was on a verdant hillside with snow-capped mountains in the distance. The sun had his hat on, and so, whilst Michael waited for Jingers to arrive to fix new brake pads, Beate took advantage of the weather to catch some rays. Jingers arrived, the problem solved, Michael and Beate had plenty of time to reach the hotel in daylight.

Mount Nan pass, 4562m

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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