Friday, 8 April 2016

Camping in the Hexi Corridor

So here we are in Zhangye! Nothing remarkable about the city itself, but for us it means that we are over half way through China.  Initially, looking at the map at the end of a long days cycle, it could be a little disheartening.  It looked like we were going nowhere. Or nowhere fast anyway (I suppose that was the point of this though!) but suddenly, here we are smack in the middle of the country with over 2600km under our belts and only about 2200km to go.

For more detail, check this map out fully at: https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/viewer?mid=zMqh4iDlbWvc.k-3IbldAaRzc


The highlight of the last few days, weeks even, was a couple of days ago when we camped for the first time.  I think we both thought we'd be camping more often, especially once we left Xi'an behind, but we didn't hit the rural wilderness that we were expecting, as soon as we were expecting.  This country is on the move.  Building; construction; growth in all areas are first and foremost in everyone's minds it would seem. Everything seems in motion, in a state of change, in a drive for more, for bigger, for better.  There are people; and therefore villages, towns and cities everywhere and camping just hadn't happened so far. Anyway on Tuesday we found ourselves in total wilderness. So much so that we didn't pass a single village all day.  We did pass a truck though that had pulled in ahead of us and the two drivers were waiting to say hi to us.  They can't have been much older than 20 and were some of the smiliest, happiest chaps you could ever imagine meeting.  They insisted on giving us food but when we suggested all sitting down and eating together they said they had to get going.  Not before giving us 11 hard boiled eggs, half a watermelon, a pear, two oranges and the biggest loaf of bread you've ever seen!  Before they left I asked could I get into the truck, I wanted to see the inside of one of these beasts we've been sharing the road with all this time.  Funny how such simple interactions can give you such a lift, a boost, and really help propel you along the road.  That day, we went uphill. All day. For 95km.  It wasn't very steep but it was relentless.  These two boys were the highlight of our day, and stopping for lunch later on, taking out all the goodies they'd given us, I felt like I was deep within the pages of a Famous Five novel, all we were missing was Timmy with his 'woof' and his thumping tail.

The boys and their truck!

Delighted with myself in the cabin!

Nick couldn't resist jumping in either!

Just some of the tasteis that the boys offloaded onto us (the bread was a whole loaf when we got it!)

Camping at 2600m in the Hexi Corridor, Gansu

Anyway, I'm knackered and feel like going for a nap, so that's all the update you're getting from me today I'm afraid.  It's actually hard to know what to write about a lot of the time.  This has become our 'normal'.  I'm sure there are people reading this who think we are mad and to be honest if I think of cycling from South Korea to Ireland I also think it sounds like some sort of hair-brained idea but that's not what we are doing really.  We are just cycling. Everyday. And one day we'll end up at home.  It's so quickly become our routine, our normal, that there really is nothing mad about it.  It's our 9 to 5.  The scenery changes daily, we meet different people, but so much of what we are doing is still just the simple, mundane, everyday things everyone else is doing too. That said, mundane it may be, but fascinating, eye-opening, memory-making and a whole host of other adjectives, it is too.

For more photo's have a quick check of our albums on our Bike Back Home Facebook page as well as on our personal Facebook pages and if you feel so inclined please consider donating to Headstrong via our My Charity event page.  We are hoping to raise €1 each for every kilometre we cycle and so far we've done just that, with over €5200 raised to date.  We are always so excited to get a notification of a donation, no matter how big or small, and it really spurs us on.  Keep 'em coming!