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Old 06-29-2010, 09:12 PM   #61
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Originally Posted by TallRob
reusable water bottles and cave man tv.......aint it the truth!
James and Colleen Tucker.
Aut viam inveniam aut faciam
DMV work/insurance/registration/titles/address use/room rental/motorbike&vehicle buying/travelers help/problems solved
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Old 06-29-2010, 11:40 PM   #62
Ed Muggles
oh, the other left
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man amazing trip

good work guys
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Old 06-30-2010, 07:14 AM   #63
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Fantastic trip guys, am hooked, keep it coming
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France 2010 - 1760 miles in 4 days
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Old 06-30-2010, 07:23 AM   #64
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Day 14

There are mornings, and then there are mornings you will never forget. The temperature had dropped to -6º C (21º F) and I tried to keep warm as I crawled from my tent. Daniel and I were up at the same time and we both sat there, silent, in awe, as we sipped coffee and took in the amazing scenery. No picture will do it justice, no words can really describe it. Have a click on the photo for a larger view of what we woke up to.

The three of us struggled to get packed up and ready for the day. Every few moments we would stop for air as the 4400 meters (14,435 feet) of elevation quickly took our breath away. As soon as it was back, a glimpse of the magnificent scenery would just take it away again. We finally got our bikes packed up and headed off to find breakfast. We had two days left to make it to Chengdu, and it was decided that G318 was not the way to end such a fine trip. I plotted a route north to Danba and then east on S303 to avoid G317 and G318. 600 kilometers (373 miles) in two days should be a piece of cake, right?

A quick 1000 meter (3,280 ft) descent to Xinduqiao brought us to the junction of S215. It was nice to get off of G318 and the road started out in very good condition.

Tiny farms and villages dotted the landscape. The bikes were running much better at 3500 meters (11,482 ft) and the sunshine was warming us up.

Another 25 kilometers down the road and we hit construction, the rest of the morning we pretty much stayed on dirt. Fortunately, most of the commercial vehicles use other roads and we experienced very little traffic.

A brief stop in Tagong to regroup and have a look at some of the buildings.

You can see an interesting blend of Han and Tibetan influence in the architecture.

Heading out of town we passed the Muya golden pagoda. Over 100 kg (220 lbs) of pure gold covers the building to commemorate the 10th Panchen Lama. Since the 10th Panchen Lama received his title from the National People's Congress (Chinese government), you will usually see his picture being displayed at religious centers instead of "the other Lama".

Horses waiting for tourists.

Daniel in front of Mount Yala's 5,800 meter peak.

Somewhere along S215 I stopped to enjoy a powerbar and the quiet solitude of the grasslands.

Climbing into the mountains again and the bikes were losing power. We could almost guess the elevation just by listening to the engine struggle with the lean condition.

Another view of Mount Yala, this time from the western side.

Between Bamei and Danba, S303 was just magnificent. As we descended down the mountains, a whitewater river roared along side us and every corner just kept getting better and better.

The deeper we went into the canyons, the more lush the vegetation became.

And the faster the river would run.

We had been in Sichuan for the last six days, but mostly in the Tibetan part of the province. Now we were making our way back into the Han areas and more and more villages were populating the hillsides.

We reached the small town of Xiaojin at 5:15 and had to stop for the day. We were 50 kilometers short of where we wanted to be, but we just weren't sure if we would find another place to sleep further up the road. A light rain started to fall and that pretty much sealed the deal. We found a dumpy little hotel with indoor parking and called it an early night so we could make up time the next morning.

We all slept soundly knowing the traffcpouce was across the street keeping us safe.


Distance = 232 Kilometers - Time = 7:38 - Average Moving Speed = 49 kph

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Old 06-30-2010, 12:06 PM   #65
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Originally Posted by TUCKERS
Oh yes, we must'nt forget the beer, Oh Glorious BEER!
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Old 06-30-2010, 12:12 PM   #66
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Thank god for "traffcpouce"!
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Old 07-01-2010, 07:30 PM   #67
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Originally Posted by chinaV
Day 11

Many of the kids along the road would wave and say hello. A stranger occurrence was the number of kids saluting us, I have no idea what that was all about.

"A while ago, I saw the rules for several areas in China’s Guizhou, etc. provinces that students must salute when they encounter luxury cars on the road, which I thought were completely absurd and ridiculous and I felt bad for the children."

From this link:
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Old 07-01-2010, 09:48 PM   #68
Rick Lee
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Awesome report. I've been to the Tibetan areas of Sichuan, but not on a bike. I have to do China on a bike one of these days. Photos are great, but they just scracth the surface of the whole experience. BTW, in one Tibetan village, we just knocked on a random door and asked the lady to cook for us for money and she whipped us up a killer lunch. Although she agreed to take money when we asked her to cook, she refused when we were done eating. Still gave her some money. Yak sausage is pretty good, even when you're not starving.
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Old 07-02-2010, 08:23 AM   #69
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Day 15

The Final Day - What a long strange trip it's been.

It was an early 7:00 start for the last day of our most excellent adventure. We were roughly 300 kilometers outside of Chengdu, and had one last mountain pass we needed to summit before our final descent into the city. It rained hard the night before and there was a bit of a chill in the morning air. The roads were covered in slippery mud, so progress was slow. One hour in, we had only covered about 40 kilometers as we stopped for a picture by this interesting little town. I mentioned it was going to be another long day, we all just grinned.

We passed Dawei and began our ascent into the mountains. Daniel went by and that was the last I saw of him until the other side of the mountain range. A few moments later, Felix ripped past and I managed a shot as I fumbled with my heavier gloves.

I looked down at the town of Dawei through the mist and thought, damn, this is going to be an interesting 2000 meter (6,561ft) climb.

And climb we did.

A half hour later, I found Felix on the side of the road shivering and mumbling something about only having a t-shirt on underneath his gear. He decided that the dead cow lying frozen on the ground might be a sign it was time for some warmer clothing.

I snapped a pic and moved on, pondering what people might think passing Felix in his underwear next to a dead cow.

Higher and higher, colder and colder. At this point I could barely feel my fingers and I stopped every ten minutes to grab hold of the engine and let some heat sink in. I couldn't believe we were riding in snow.

Fortunately, there was construction traffic grinding the snow into a slushy mud mix. This provided just enough traction for moments of bravery during acceleration, yet sheer terror whenever applying the brakes.

The wind was howling across the peaks of the mountain, and every few minutes you could catch a glimpse of blue sky through the clouds.

I finally reached the summit at 4500 meters (14,763ft) and stopped for a little break. I never expected we would be on this kind of terrain only 180 kilometers from Chengdu.

A few minutes later along came Felix.

Shit man, this is awesome… cold, but awesome.

The weather continued to tease us with brief stints of sunshine followed by heavy, thick fog. Each passing cloud made the temperature drop from a balmy 0ºC to -5ºC almost instantly.

The scene looking over the other side of the pass. It's all downhill from here to Chengdu.

On the eastern side of the mountains we had much less cloud cover and were finally rewarded with some magnificent views.

And eventually discovered Daniel on the side of the road warming up in the sunshine.

We also met a Chinese biker who was waiting for his friend to catch up while on their way to Tibet. We swapped a few stories and shared intel on the upcoming road conditions.

Check out his Yamaha YBR125. I couldn't believe he had so much stuff on such a little motorcycle.

We headed off and enjoyed about 25 kilometers of beautiful twisty blacktop. Daniel tearing up a corner.

With Felix in hot pursuit.

Felix enjoying the good life. We had almost forgotten what riding on regular pavement was like.

Around noon we stopped for lunch and Felix found a new friend.

Our usual feed of rice, oily vegetables, oily animal carcass with little or no meat, and egg mixed with tomato. Six days of Sichuan cuisine and you basically shit lava every day. Fantastic if you're really into spicy food, torture if you're not.

Our good friend on the YBR125 warned us that we were going to hit some rough spots ahead and we all just laughed. He wasn't kidding. The flatbed truck in front of us was actually sliding backwards and you can see the huge jam behind him. What you can't see is the power line hanging in the deep mud puddle near the orange truck with the open door. Daniel surprised us as he took off passing the flatbed with all of six inches to spare between the truck and the cliff. He just squeaked by, and then managed to hold the power line down with his foot while crossing the mud puddle. I looked at Felix, shrugged and then we went for it. People were shouting for us not to go and horns were beeping as Felix practically tore his saddle bag off passing the flatbed. Somehow we managed to make it, this didn't make one of the cops stuck in the traffic jam very happy and he tried to flag us down. We took off and stopped a few moments later to fix the saddlebag. That was exhilarating. I imagine they're still trying to sort that traffic jam out.

We continued on our way and the road gave us a good beating with trucks and construction obstacles at every turn. We were now in Wenchuan County, the hardest hit area during the 2008 Sichuan earthquake that claimed over 68,000 lives. There's been a lot of progress rebuilding over the past two years as a result of massive government funding and the strong will of the Chinese people. Total respect for all they have accomplished and deep sorrow for the loss of life and destruction.

In the late afternoon we finally made it to good roads again and stopped about 40 kilometers outside of Chengdu. We would be making contact with a friend of a friend to arrange shipping our bikes home and we felt a little guilty about handing them over completely covered in China, so we found a small car wash and gave them all a good bath.

The last 40 Kilometers were a tedious maze of construction and chaos. Like most of China's big cities, Chengdu is upgrading all of the major transportation routes and my navigation and GPS skills were now over their limit. Somehow we managed to find the neighborhood CrazyCarl used to live in and we checked into the Ibis hotel at almost 7:00. The only thing we cared about was finding Peter's Tex Mex on TongZiLin Dong Lu for some frozen margaritas, cold beer and delicious food. We sat there for hours reliving little details of the last 15 days and many glasses were lifted over our safe arrival. It was mind numbing to think that just 7 hours ago we were freezing our buts off in snow covered mountains and now we were sweating in the summer heat of the city.

So… there you have it...The End...I think the rewards far outweighed the punishment.

I will add one more post with the final route data, GPS tracks, etc this weekend. Hope you all enjoyed our little trip and thanks for coming along via this excellent forum.


Distance = 339 Kilometers - Time = 11:14 - Average Moving Speed = 44 kph

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Old 07-02-2010, 08:51 AM   #70
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That was awsome! Thanks for taking us along.
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Old 07-02-2010, 09:14 AM   #71
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Thanks for taking the time to post up.
Originally Posted by duck
Arghhhh. Abandon ship, maties!
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Old 07-02-2010, 09:54 AM   #72
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CERTAINLY one of the most entertaining reports in a long time. The photography was excellent. great job guys!
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Old 07-02-2010, 10:05 AM   #73
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Thank you for a grand journey ! The photography was great ! I had a great time reading your RR. And am very happy you all made it back safe and sound. May you all have many more grand adventures.
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Old 07-02-2010, 03:20 PM   #74
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good stuff!
Save 20% on your first year's SmugMug image hosting with this link:
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Old 07-02-2010, 10:00 PM   #75
Smackit OP
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Here are some numbers for anyone contemplating this kind of ride.

I didn't really keep track of our daily costs, but I don't think we averaged more than 250 Yuan ($37.00 USD) per day in food, gas and lodging.

Galaxy XTR250 motorcycle, including complete paperwork and 13.5 liter tank. = 14,000 Yuan ($2070 USD)
Extra Parts including seat, luggage racks, drivetrain components, handlebars, handguards etc. = 2,500 Yuan ($370 USD) +1,300 Yuan ($190 USD) for the fancy hard cases.
About 12 hours per bike in pre trip maintenance.

There were almost no problems with the bikes during the whole trip, only one issue was a manufacturing flaw.

#1 All three of the bikes developed problems with the kickstands, although none of them broke, parking and loading always required careful attention. Galaxy needs to improve the mounting tab on the kickstands.

#2 Felix had a loose coil wire and some spooge in his carburetor. These problems were not related to manufacturing and they were easy fixes that didn't require parts.

#3 If I was headed up above 3500 meters again, I would like to figure out a better mixture for the carburetors.

#4 We carried a giant can of chain lube and hit them regularly. The high end chains I purchased in Hong Kong really paid off and we only performed one chain adjustment during the entire trip. Don't risk your trip on a Chinese chain. Bring your own chain and lube as you will never find good ones here.

#5 Because Daniels bike was new, and Felix had a new motor, we all started the trip with PJ1 Silverfire 20W50 (non synthetic) oil. When we reached Panzihua, we changed to Motul 15W40 synthetic.

Fuel: We purchased 93 octane at all of the stations.
Cruising Range: 350 Kilometers (217 miles) average distance between fill ups.
Price: Low 6.64 Yuan Per liter / High 6.84 Yuan Per Liter (Roughly 3.70 USD Per Gallon)
Average Consumption 28 Kilometers Per Liter (67 Miles Per Gallon)

Total Photos Taken = 2020
I carried my 13" MacBook Pro and we downloaded every couple days. 243 of the pictures made it into the ride report. I tried to balance out scenery with bike pics and some were just thrown in as part of the story line.
Daniel took a lot of HD video and I had a CountourHD helmet cam that died after day 5.

For GPS tracking data, I carried the QStartz SRQ2100. For navigation, I used the HTC TouchHD mobile phone running Google Maps enclosed in a waterproof Otterbox case.

The chart bellow gives a good idea of what you can expect traveling in China on small bikes. Note: On Day 5 I didn't run the GPS while trucking my crashed bike to Kunming (Daniel & Felix did ride bikes). Day 6 was the repair day in Kunming, so no data.

135 hours of riding, 4010 kilometers covered, the average moving speed was about 52 kph. I have 35,000 kilometers of China riding on my V-Strom and the average moving speed is only 64 kph, so a bigger bike is not going to get you that much further in a day if you're riding in the mountains.

I will post the GPS tracks tomorrow.

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