Our first stop on our bicycling tour was Kunming, otherwise known as the “City of Eternal Spring”. Aptly named, Kunming rarely exceeds 85 degrees F in the summer and is characterized short, dry winters. The weather was perfect during or one-night stay here.
The park near our hotel was full of singing groups, dancing groups, and bands. Here is group dancing in unison in a circle. Nearby an enthusiastic group belted out songs in (you guessed it) Chinese.
An internet cafe. Everyone was playing video games while I guessed what the chinese characters meant on the toolbars.
Shangri-La is a mythical utopia described in the book Lost Horizon by James Hilton. Zhongdian was renamed Shangri-La in 2001 to attract tourists.
Light snow on our arrival at the airport.
Breakfast of eggs and bread.
Carb haters out there beware: Breakfast included bread, meat bow (steamed rice buns with meat inside), and congee (rice porridge)
Making our way through a Tibetan village.
We were warmly welcomed by Tibetan family. Four generations lived in this home. The woman on the right is the great-grandma of the home (I think). ←back to top
Here is the youngest of the family happy on her grandma's back. Grandma is preparing our lunch.
Typical Tibetan kitchen: a large wood burning stove with a pot for water and cooking.
This little girl hammed it up for the camera.
One of four sisters who prepared yak meat lunch for us.
Food display in the restaurant.
The top dish is yak meak. The bottom dish is garlic shoots and pork. Stir-fried peanut were a nice complement to the meal. We listened to the sisters sing in the kitchen while they prepared our meal.
Today we are to ride about 80 miles over three mountains from Shangri La to Bai-Shui-Tai. It was snowing.
Hot coals placed beneath or breakfast table to save us from the cold.
This was a new first: riding through the snow. I know this might be self-explanatory but I have to say it: It was COLD.
Did I say it was cold? My feet were like popsicles and I was beginning to think that I might get frostbite on my toes. I was also thinking that I should have spent on extra $100 on Gore-tex shoes instead of the $20 on my clearance mesh trail shoes.
Finally, we made it to a fire in some guy's house. My feet finally defrosted. While we waited for the rest of the group, we watch Chinese soap opera with a wizened man with a cigarette in his mouth. I tried to speak Chinese to him, but he wasn't amused. He was really into the TV show.
t was a day of contrasts: That morning we felt like were battling blizzard conditions like mountaineers attempting to climb Everest. By afternoon it was warm enought to shed a layer. We also climbed more than 5,000 feet for the 3 mountains between Shangri-La and Bai-Shui-Tai.
This is the 3rd mountain. My legs were getting pretty fatigued. It was the never-ending climb. Every time I went through a bend, I thought “This is the top, I can go downhill”. Nope, usually more uphill.
This is Dong Mei, a very exuberant daughter of the restaurant owners. She spent the night at the restaurant so she could wake up early and prepare our breakfast. She was so excited to see foreigners and to practice her english. I gave her these sunglasses. It was the only thing in my possessions that thought someone would want.
We are on top of the Bai-Shui-Tai, or White Water Terrace. We were so happy it was warm! The sun was out!
These terraces form as the calcium rich water flows out of the mountains and deposit calcium on the mountainside.
Haba Snow Mountain peaks at 5,396 m (17,700 feet).
We made it to Tiger Leaping Gorge (43 miles). Here I am chewing a pig foot.
One of our favorite hotels with a fantastic view.
A bathroom on the way to down the Gorge
Britt with a huge rock.
This is the Tiger Leaping Rock. According the legend, the two mountains on each side of the Gorge are brothers that are overprotective of their little sister. She was too bright to be confined to a typical life, so she jumped over the fence of her home, like a tiger that would leap over this rock. Let me tell you, there is a story for everything here.
Sky Ladder is 25 meters high, built and maintained by locals who live in the Gorge.
Yes- we climbed the Sky Ladder. It appeared to be attached by rebar and wire. This was terrifying. You can see the shelter where I took the previous picture below me. ←back to top
The view from below.
Now we are on our way to Lijiang.
These strawberry fields were fragrantly sweet. The driver of our support vehicle bought some for us as a snack.
Lunchtime! These fish were swimming in a tank about a half hour earlier.
At the 1st bend of the Yangtze River. The river makes a U-Turn.
Hotel in Lijiang.This is the view from the room. Fortunately, there is a screen in front of the glass window, so you can have private time.
A beautiful house at Black Dragon Pond Park in Lijiang.
Chinese Salad: cucumber, rice noodle, tofu, spinach, carrots, pork, garlic, and hot sauce.
Lijiang girls singing in the Karaoke corridor.