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Jiaos Surprise

I introduced Jiao in my last post as our much needed morale booster after a a rough week slogging it out in the Gobi desert. Now let me tell you a story about our new friend. Jiao models his bike and makeshift stand It was the 2nd day after meeting Jiao in the town of […]

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The Day It All Went Wrong

Since our last day off (now about a week ago) we have had a grueling push to make it to Hami in time to get our visa’s extended one last time. It turns out that 4 days of battling non-stop headwinds, 130km days, 35-40 degree desert heat and dry bread and crackers for breakfast and […]

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This One Time, At Band Camp…

We’re going to be camping a lot more this week as our passports are awaiting processing in the visa office in Urumchi. All hostels, guesthouses and hotels are supposed to ask for our visas and register all guests, foreign or local, into the PSB (Public Security Bureau) system. Since we don’t have the passports, and […]

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Desert camping seems like a fun and carefree idea, until you consider the local wildlife. On Tuesday afternoon, after one of our rest stops, I spotted a massive spider nestling on the back of Jared’s rear pannier. It was about the size of an open fist, legs included, and a bright mix of white and […]

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Toll Booth Willy

By the time this post shows up on the website we should be well across the Northwestern China thanks in part to what I will call “Storming Toll Gates.” For the the past 5 days and most likely for the week ahead at the time I wrote this (written 27th of May) we have chosen […]

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The PALA Experience

A few days back as we cycled into a small town in the Gansu province looking for the usual $8 a night room with a communal squatter and a sink that may or may not have hot water when we came across a fast food joint that was simply appealing as it had pictures of […]

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The Sting

Bee trucks are one of my least favorite sights on the roads here in Gansu. I thought the itinerant bee farmers in Shanxi were bad enough, but at least they and their hives were stationary. The trucks are a mobile menace to navigation, leaving a steady stream of disorientated and disgruntled bees in their wake. […]

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Riding the Red Dragon

I’ll be the first to admit: riding the Dragon’s back hasn’t exactly been a cakewalk. I’m not sure what I expected, having signed up to cycle across a country notoriously recognized for its uncanny ability to baffle and befuddle even the most seasoned of travelers. How could I expect anything less from a place that […]

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Out of Xian & into the Hills

It’s been seven days now since we were sitting in the comforts of our Xi’an hostel (elevation 500 meters) surfing the net on our wireless computers trying to overcome the boredom of the 8 day visa delay and wanting nothing more than to ride. That feeling has fast been replaced by the struggle to recall […]

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A Fistful of Dynamite

The sound of explosions has been a regular feature of our travels – hardly surprising, I suppose, in the country that invented gunpowder and fireworks. Barely a day goes by without the the machine-gun staccato of firecrackers, rockets and other pyrotechnics. Riding through some of the smaller cities was an experience akin to driving through […]

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