China - during the rainy season

Franki

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Feb 10, 2011
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KTM, Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Jialing
I have no intention to visit Tibet in 2012, especially not during the rainy season But I need to get my bike to Sichuan from Yunnan for a bikers meeting in August and I have 12 days holiday in July........So out comes the map, a quick plot and off I fly to Kunming, Yunnan.






It is the season of the plenty and in Yunnan, mushrooms are plenty. Some you can eat, some are not but the locals still eat them regardless of seeing little dancing people afterwards.




The waitress in the restaurant made sure the mushrooms are well cooked before we start eating them.




Benelli's 600 street bike are made in China now available in China




Out riding with the boyz





Night scene in Chuxiong




The gate of the Yi tribe




Musium of Yi history




The Gods of Yi tribe




Pretty costumes of Yi girl
 

Franki

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Dali was my next stop but since I have been there many times, I chose not to stay put too long.


The dragon fly of Dali




The water lily of Dali




The South Gate of Dali




Farm land outside of Dali
 

Franki

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As I approach the city of Lijiang, I stop by to check out my favorite vista point to see how the crops are growing this year.



Irrigation canal




Typical Yunnan village




Someone is cooking dinner early




Lotus pond




Soaking it all in
 

Franki

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Instead of looking for a hotel in Lijiang, I rode into Baisha village for an late lunch and then go check out Suhe old town which is less touristic than Lijiang.




Peace and quiet in Baisha's restaurant




The blossom of the summer




If you have heard of the old Tea Horse Trail, well, these are the horses that made history for over a thousand years.




A shop in Suhe old town



The melted snow running down from Yulong Mt. is the main water supply to Suhe old town and also Lijiang.
 

KTMphil

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Beautiful photo's Frankie! What camera are you using? It's a shame i couldn't come 2 weeks earlier and meet upwith you.
 

Lone Rider

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Jan 29, 2011
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Chiangmai
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4 Wheels
Incredible pictures with beautiful colors. Don't know how you guys do that but my pictures always come out quite drab looking. Partly due to the camera I guess but most probably due to me not knowing how to take a picture at the right angle and the right time and probably a few other things.
 

Franki

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Beautiful photo's Frankie! What camera are you using? It's a shame i couldn't come 2 weeks earlier and meet upwith you.

Haha, there is always a chance that our path will cross since I like both China & thailand.

This trip I used a Panasonic GX-1X and a 45-200mm lens. Since I have my daughter on the back, this little camera can fit into my fanny pack leaving some room for her:lol:
 

Franki

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Incredible pictures with beautiful colors. Don't know how you guys do that but my pictures always come out quite drab looking. Partly due to the camera I guess but most probably due to me not knowing how to take a picture at the right angle and the right time and probably a few other things.
Its not the camera that took good photos. Anyone can take snap shoots with any camera but to be able to take a photo that tells story is based on the availability of the person behind the lens. If you are interested in photography, just like motorcycling, its a life time learning experience.:hmm
 

Ally

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Feb 23, 2011
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Chiang Mai
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PCX - with custom valve caps
Its not the camera that took good photos. Anyone can take snap shoots with any camera but to be able to take a photo that tells story is based on the availability of the person behind the lens. If you are interested in photography, just like motorcycling, its a life time learning experience.:hmm
You sum up very well Franki... I applaud you.

Ally
 

Franki

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KTM, Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Jialing

Please meet my family -





Lijiang old town by night




Candles for wishful thinkers




The reason I don't like Lijiang is the crowd
 

Franki

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Had enough of Lijiang, I started off to Zhongdian of which better known as the Shangri-la. It is less commercial and there are a lot to explore around the town of Zhongdian (to you, if it is easier, Shangri-la). I believe everyone has a Shangri-la in their own world, so I refused to force you to call this place that name. I leave it up to you to find your own Shangri-la.



Yes, I am a poser. Got to show off myself or you guys will not remember this old fart
Photo taken on the old G214 over the Lanchangjiang (better known as the Maikong River after leaving China).




The only traffic I met on this section of the road




The elevation climbs as I get close to Zhongdian and scenery changed to more Alps like




Hill tribes are mixed here, the higher the elevation, the more Tibetans live.
 

Franki

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As I came into the valley, the elevation climb slow down to average about 3600m (+11,808 feet) and the farm land looks good to me.















As I stood by the roadside taking photos, a bunch of kids ran towards me and wanted to sell me some Yak yogurt. Having had my experience of maggots in yogurt back in 2010, I suppressed my desire and turned down their offer. One thing about taking photos of the natives, make friend with them first and ask for permission to shoot or do it from a long distance away while they are not aware of. No one likes to have a lens shuffled in front of their face without prior needed protocol. Tibetans are simple and straight forward folks, if they consider you a friend, they'll share everything with you, on the other hand, if things get ugly, they don't like to have fist fights.
 

Franki

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I rode into Zhongdian and head towards the Dukezhong old town. I always stayed in Dragon Cloud Hostel as they have became a friend. The retired couple owns the hostel and helped by their English speaking son. 70% of the guest staying there are foreigners. I can park my bike right in the centre of the courtyard and my usual room has a direct view of my bike. Their dog name Tiger, always rest underneath my bike.

Here is a bit of background of Dukezong Old Town, a 1300-year-old Tibetan town located in Shangri-La, which it has experienced both the flames of war and prosperity of frontier trade. Dukezong Old Town's authentic Tibetan dwellings, majestic prayer halls and pagodas, winding lanes offer sanctuary to all those seeking refuge from the bustle city.

It is the largest and best-preserved Tibetan city among China's Tibetan counties. Dukezong Old Town was a key stop on the Ancient Tea-horse Road and a focal point for Han-Tibetan exchanges. As one of the oldest towns in the region, it is also known as the 'footstep of Shangri-La'. According to Tibetan Buddhist scriptures, there is a lost city called Shambhala in the Snow Mountains, shaped like an eight-petal lotus flower. The 1.6-square-kilometer Dukezong Old Town Town is also laid out in this design. All 1,084 of its houses radiate out from Turtle Hill at the center, arranged in conformity with Tibetan Buddhist geomantic theory.

Tibetans regard the shade of white as a sign of respect for their forefathers, the ancient Qiang people, who worshipped white stones. Shortly after the town was established, craftsmen found white clay in the region that could be ground down and used as paint. All dwellings were accordingly painted white. This is why Dukezong Old Town was named white stone city. On a clear night, the ancient town reflects a silver sheen. This has engendered to another epithet: moonlight city.

The old Tibetan way of life, as well as dwellings, are well-preserved in Dukezong Old Town, as each redolent barley wine lane testifies. Tibetan chess is played in local households as it has been for the past 1,000 years, and horse bells still tinkle along the ancient caravan path. Bonfires that are lit in the town square every night illuminate local musicians as they sing to and play traditional stringed instruments.


This wooden rack is for drying out the crop so it can be used for animal feed during winter.




The village doesn't look poor, so I guess life here is good.




Very tempting smell from these BBQ stalls in the Dukezhong old town.



Dark clouds and strong wind signal the rainy season's presence.




First time I can see motorbike for rent. But when I tried to find out more, the owner of that hostel said all the bikes are out of order. Judging from the 2 bikes parked there, they were not in rental conditions anyway.
 

Franki

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KTM, Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Jialing

World's largest prayer wheel




The rain storm hit hard so I retreated into a cafe to enjoy some Yak yogurt with banana. A mom is teaching her daughter to do home work at the next table.



The down pour carried on into the night and few business is to be had in these restaurants.
 

Franki

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How did your daughter enjoy the trip? Was it her first time in the region?

She has not gone on a long bike trip with me since she was 7. I thought a city girl like her may not survive such a trip but she enjoyed every bit of it, including crushing into a very large pot hole and got completely soaked in mud.

P1020992.JPG
Introducing her to the wall of yak dune
 

KTMphil

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That's good to hear. Jah tells me the Beneli 650cc sports bike is around 45,000 rmb/ 225,000 bht registered in China. That might be a very fun bike for big touring, could even be brought to thailand on temporary import
 

Franki

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Benelli 600 is a 600cc in line four street bike with an Italian look and Chinese made quality. Great conversation piece but I would not like to take one on a long trip in China. In fact, a friend of mine rode one to Chiangmai a few months back. So some of you guys may have seen it already.

P1020702.JPG
 

Franki

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The clouds were still very low the next morning but I have decided to hit the road anyway. The down pour started just as I rode out of town but I pressed on towards Nixi to check out the black pottery workshop. The rain stopped in about 2 hours and the sky started to clear up. I was rewarded by the nice view after the rain.




Pagoda in the field




Napahai (lake)




The Nixi black pottery workshop




Works on display




Nixi black pottery in service



Yichuen Grassland




Cattle ranch
 

Franki

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Zongzanglinzi is a famous temple but since they charge admission fee, I'd rather admire it from a distance.




The Tibetan houses are all painted white in Zhongdian.




Found a road leading into the mountains




Bicycling around Zhongdian may be the next best thing to see the area.




I think the knight may have fallen off this one




I never thought my bike is attractive but this young lady seems to like it.
 

Franki

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The rock piles are called Mani pile, the Tibetans built them to pay respect to their gods




The weather is still very bad in the mountains




So I go where the sunshine is.




Flowers in the grassland




Ruins in the field




New barn being built




New Pagoda that wasn't here the last time I visited.




New house being built
 

Franki

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KTM, Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Jialing

Shangri-la is as enchanting as ever




Looks like another year of harvest




Looks like someone is preparing dinner and come to think of it, I have not had lunch yet...




Location, location, location!




The water vapor acted like a magnifying glass making the moon appeared much bigger than usual.
 

Franki

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KTM, Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Jialing

How can you not be peaceful looking at a view like this.




On my way back to Zhongdian, I stopped by the temple again to say thank you to Buddha for allowing me to have such a nice day.




There is a shorter route to Daocheng, Sichuan but its a dirt road going over the Big Snowy Mountain. I double checked with the bus drivers doing this route and judging the condition of my worn out rear tire, I have decided to take the longer route to Daocheng via Derong. 450km can be covered in one day when the road is good. I tried to look for a map to show the route but none of the electronic maps I found showed this road. Never mind, I pressed on.



The road comes to a fork and so is the river.


Here is a video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0dbuFc60HI&feature=youtu.be




Interesting mountain road that demanded extreme careful driving as there are on coming traffic that took most part of the road to make an easier turn.




Small village in small valley




Xiangcheng's most famous temple is free of admission fee




A panorama view of Xiangcheng to the left from the temple




A panorama view of Xiangcheng to the right from the temple




Lama (Tibetan monks) doing their home work




My bike parked outside of temple
 

activechina

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Joined
Apr 23, 2012
Hey brother Young, Amazing pictures! thanks for sharing your journey, looking forward to seeing more of your muddy adventures.
 

KTMphil

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Chiang Mai, Thailand
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2007 KTM 990 Adventure Suzuki DRZ 400
I am in awe of your photo skills Frankie, i've looked at these 5X now (& ive only been back in Chinag Mai a few hours), thanks for sharing.
 

Franki

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KTM, Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Jialing
I am in awe of your photo skills Frankie, i've looked at these 5X now (& ive only been back in Chinag Mai a few hours), thanks for sharing.
Thanks for the compliment, Phil. I am also looking forward to your trip report update.
 

Franki

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KTM, Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Jialing
Daocheng was still 100km away so I carried on through the mountains. The road gets even better as I approach Daocheng but the rain started to pour again. Checked into a hostel and ordered dinner by phone. 20 mins later a hot Chinese meal was delivered to the common area of the hostel where I was updating my travel log via internet. The cold rain put me to bed early.




Village on the cliff




Cattle ranch at 4700m usually is only used during summer




Typical mountain pass
 

Franki

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KTM, Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Jialing
Came out of Daocheng early morning and headed towards Litang (claimed the city at highest elevation in the world). Enjoyed the scenic drive all along the way.




An unusual site selection of a Tibetan temple.




Land of the boulders looks more like land of the dragons to me.









Vegetation of the highland




Road crossing the tundra.
 

Franki

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KTM, Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Jialing

Higher elevation has no vegetation




Wetland




A nice village along the road




Birds here are not afraid of human.




Bird in flight




The land opens up indicating high population




Approaching Litang (about 4000m high)
 

KTMphil

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Jan 11, 2011
Location
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2007 KTM 990 Adventure Suzuki DRZ 400
Great insight into SGL here Frankie, thankyou


I rode into Zhongdian and head towards the Dukezhong old town. I always stayed in Dragon Cloud Hostel as they have became a friend. The retired couple owns the hostel and helped by their English speaking son. 70% of the guest staying there are foreigners. I can park my bike right in the centre of the courtyard and my usual room has a direct view of my bike. Their dog name Tiger, always rest underneath my bike.

Here is a bit of background of Dukezong Old Town, a 1300-year-old Tibetan town located in Shangri-La, which it has experienced both the flames of war and prosperity of frontier trade. Dukezong Old Town's authentic Tibetan dwellings, majestic prayer halls and pagodas, winding lanes offer sanctuary to all those seeking refuge from the bustle city.

It is the largest and best-preserved Tibetan city among China's Tibetan counties. Dukezong Old Town was a key stop on the Ancient Tea-horse Road and a focal point for Han-Tibetan exchanges. As one of the oldest towns in the region, it is also known as the 'footstep of Shangri-La'. According to Tibetan Buddhist scriptures, there is a lost city called Shambhala in the Snow Mountains, shaped like an eight-petal lotus flower. The 1.6-square-kilometer Dukezong Old Town Town is also laid out in this design. All 1,084 of its houses radiate out from Turtle Hill at the center, arranged in conformity with Tibetan Buddhist geomantic theory.

Tibetans regard the shade of white as a sign of respect for their forefathers, the ancient Qiang people, who worshipped white stones. Shortly after the town was established, craftsmen found white clay in the region that could be ground down and used as paint. All dwellings were accordingly painted white. This is why Dukezong Old Town was named white stone city. On a clear night, the ancient town reflects a silver sheen. This has engendered to another epithet: moonlight city.

The old Tibetan way of life, as well as dwellings, are well-preserved in Dukezong Old Town, as each redolent barley wine lane testifies. Tibetan chess is played in local households as it has been for the past 1,000 years, and horse bells still tinkle along the ancient caravan path. Bonfires that are lit in the town square every night illuminate local musicians as they sing to and play traditional stringed instruments.


This wooden rack is for drying out the crop so it can be used for animal feed during winter.




The village doesn't look poor, so I guess life here is good.




Very tempting smell from these BBQ stalls in the Dukezhong old town.



Dark clouds and strong wind signal the rainy season's presence.




First time I can see motorbike for rent. But when I tried to find out more, the owner of that hostel said all the bikes are out of order. Judging from the 2 bikes parked there, they were not in rental conditions anyway.
 

Franki

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Feb 10, 2011
Location
Hong Kong
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KTM, Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Jialing
I know about the road works on G318. What I didn’t know is how bad it can get in the rain. I was smart enough to top up the tank before leaving Litang. 2 km outside the town, the road is already calf deep in mud. With the heavy traffic, the road was covered in deep ruts made by over loaded trucks and buses. All I can do is to follow the ruts and tried to navigate the bike the best I can. I fish tailed my bike out of one mud hole to be followed by another section of slippery mud holes. 30km down the road, I started to get used to this kind of driving condition doing about 15-25km/h. I also started to notice the on coming traffic, all of the 4x4s (ie. Land Cruisers, Range Rovers, Pajeros etc.) were covered in mud from top to bottom, leaving only one clean spot – the windshield wiper mark. I was thinking, how the hell…..?

A few more km down the narrow road, just as the road made a 90 degree turn into a small village, right in the middle of the turn there was a large pothole (or rather pool) the width of the road full of muddy water. Too late to brake, I release the throttle, decent into the bottom of the pool and give a little gas trying to pull the bike through the water. The front wheel hit a rock just as I accelerate and was airborne, then the rear wheel hit the same rock….I found my bike’s front wheel landed on port side (left) edge of this pot hole and then started to fall to my left. The bike now lied half soaked in water, and me with my hands and knees on the bottom of this pool. I have officially blockd all traffic on this road. I waved to the closest car and asked the drive to jump into the mud to help me up right the bike or no one can get through. Reluctantly, the young drive stepped out of his car and helped me pick the bike up, slide it back into the pool, restart the engine, walked the bike out of the pool on its own power. Everyone moved on as usual. I just jump back on the bike and carried on. 4km later, a bus in front of me got stuck on another large pot hole, blocking all traffic both ways. Without a large machine, that bus will never be able to be pulled out. Standing in the cold rain at 4300m with soaking wet clothes, my body heat escaped very fast. I figured, in 30 mins. I’ll be in serious hypothermia, so I turned my bike around and headed back to the small village.

I saw a Tibetan man walking on the road, I pulled over and asked him if there is a guest house inside the village. He said no. Then I asked him if I can find a place where I can change out my dripping clothes and warm up over a fire. Without giving a second thought, he pointed at his house down the road and said: you can stay in my house. 30 minutes later, my dripping clothes were hanging in his greenhouse, me sitting by the wood fire stove with a hot cup of yak butter tea in hand, and my bike was put inside the house out of the rain.

After talking to people in the house then I realized that the house belongs to a retired teacher and the man who sent me in was one of their relatives. After sorting out who is who, I noticed that the owner is cooking up a meal and is cutting up a piece of smoked ham which is a rare treat. Dinner was simple but tasted good, my only meal of the day apart from the bowl of noodles in the morning. The owner has to attend to some business after dinner and he called in his wife and daughter to keep me company. She is a real nice lady, though she knows little Mandarin (official Chinese language), she asked me every 5 minutes, if I was cold or tired or hungry. The fire from the stove warmed my body and her kindness warmed my soul.

Bed laid with really thick blankets were prepared and I fell asleep as soon as my head touched the pillow. Got up at 6am and checked on my riding gear, they were 80% dried so I was good to go. Then I must finish the Tibetan breakfast (roasted hulless barley grind into power and mixed with yak butter, sugar and a little bit of hot water) prepared by one old lady who does not speak a word of Chinese before she would allow me pack. I took out some money and tried to give to the owner’s wife but was quickly turned down no matter what I said.

Remarks: Hulless barley
Hulless or "naked" barley (Hordeum vulgare L. var. nudum Hook. f.) is a form of domesticated barley with an easier-to-remove hull. Naked barley is an ancient food crop, but a new industry has developed around uses of selected hulless barley to increase the digestible energy of the grain, especially for swine and poultry.[9] Hulless barley has been investigated for several potential new applications as whole grain, and for its value-added products. These include bran and flour for multiple food applications.





My bike stored inside the house




The owner cooked up a dinner while the guy who took me into the house looked on




Dinner was very basic but that is what they have. All the relatives also joined in the family dinner.




Members of the family sending us off
 

Franki

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Feb 10, 2011
Location
Hong Kong
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KTM, Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Jialing
Recharged, I rode with a smile on my face. But it lasted only until I arrived back to the same place where the bus was strained. A Hugh bulk cement carrier was stuck at the same spot. 90 mins. Later, the road building crew armed with one bulldozer and an excavator pull the cement truck out and repacked the pot hole with rocks and dirt. Why they didn't do it yesterday after pulling the bus beats anybody's mind. Welcome to the wild wild East!

With the rear tire almost bald, I dropped the bike 4 more times. Picking that 240kgs bike from slippery mud at 4,300m is no joke. I managed to pulled the soft tissues of my back doing that. Then the bike gets overheated due to the thick mud on the radiator grill blocking all airflow. I had to stop every 20km to let the bike cool down or stop by any mountain stream to get some water to wash down the grill. C'est la vie, bite the bullet and carried on. Its only 100 km to Yajiang and there is nothing in between. Guess what? It took me 9 hours to get there. It was a bright sunny day when I arrived Yajiang. All I can think of is to get the bike jet washed and find a hotel to rest my exhausted body.

Refueling in the morning, the gas station attendant told me there is another 75 km of muddy road before I can get on tarmac. A direct copy of yesterday but without falling off the bike, I managed 50km before being waved down at a cross road. The Tibetan guy told me the road ahead has been blocked due to traffic jam for 36 hours now. He suggested that I make a detour using a smaller road. I asked if it is easy to find my way, he suggested that he can lead me through this detour for a fistful of money. I told him that the sum is out of my budget and move on to see if I can squeeze through that traffic jam.



The road may be hell but the road side view is breath taking




The yellow muddy road (good part) has sand in it and considered to have better grip.




Catching my breath after a rough section and giving a break to my back




All time 4 wheel drive mode was applied when I see on coming traffic drifting on straight road
 

Ally

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Joined
Feb 23, 2011
Location
Chiang Mai
Bikes
PCX - with custom valve caps
Fantastic Frankie, you really know how to excite us :)

Your wonderful pics and local knowledge / guidance are so welcome here.

Thanks for takingthe time to share them.
Ally
 

Franki

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Feb 10, 2011
Location
Hong Kong
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KTM, Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Jialing
Fantastic Frankie, you really know how to excite us :)

Your wonderful pics and local knowledge / guidance are so welcome here.

Thanks for takingthe time to share them.
Ally

Most importantly, I can get myself excited first.:RE
 

Franki

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Feb 10, 2011
Location
Hong Kong
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KTM, Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Jialing
10km further, I came to the scene of the 7km long traffic jam and it looked really bad. The tow lane two way road was completely blocked and some heavy trucks were leaning to one side as the wheels sunk into the soft ground when the driver tried to maneuver within this jam. Once bicycles can get through because it can be carried over the side of the road on foot. Villagers carrying basketful of instant noodles, hard boiled eggs and drinking water selling them to the unfortunate people stuck this place for over 36 hours. It was quite a scene.

I did try to slip in from the edge of the road but the ground was too soft and slippery to carry on. Defeated and frustrated, I backed out from the jam and parked my bike to the road side to have a rest. A bunch of Tibetan villagers were there looking on and they have shifted their attention to my bike, asking many questions about it. After about 30 mins of chitchat, I felt confident that these folks are good people just looking for some fun. So I started to ask who knows this area best and who can ride big bikes like mine on this muddy road. This sparked new interests and one guy volunteered to know the area best. Then I asked him if he can get me and my bike out of this sticky situation. He said if we can move the bike forward another 700m, he can get the bike into a village and from there, I can get on a newly paved road that leads me out of this jam. Finally, I can see some light from this dark tunnel of hell. Then he jumped on my bike, start the engine and started to ride forward with me walking behind him. Only 50m, he stopped and pull out his mobile phone and called someone. I asked him what is going on and he said the bike was too tall and heavy for him to ride, just wait. 3 minutes later, a young man about 1.85m tall showed up, took the bike and started to move forward. 3 other Tibetan villagers were out talking to drivers in the jam to move their car/truck/bus back and forth so my bike can squeeze through. It took them 30 mins of shuffling the traffic to move 700m and then I saw my bike went over the side of the road into a village by the road. I quicken my pace to follow. If I lost sight of my bike with everything on it, I will only have a shirt on my back! Winding through the narrow alleys of the village, the bike suddenly made a right turn and dropped down into a creek with running water, the young man had to drive with his head on the gas tank as we went through the thorny bushes overgrowing the creek. It was like a dark tunnel of thorns. I thought to myself, if my bike get stuck here, I can just leave it there for good. It seemed like we went on for about 5 mins and the bike made another right turn up the bank of the creek and disappeared. I stumbled up the bank and found myself in a clearing near another village. From there, we move into the village and stopped.

It is a beautiful village with flowers blooming and birds singing. I can’t imagine just a while ago, I was calf deep in mud in a 7km traffic jam! I took the camera out to take a photo of the gang that pulled me from hell and showed me the way to heaven. As I started to put my camera away and put on my riding gear, I notice my guardian angles have already walk ahead to a fork of the village trail and pointed at the direction I need to go. I acknowledged with a wave of my hand and get on the bike. By the time I got the engine started ready to roll, these good folks has already disappeared from my vision…. I have not even gotten them names yet.




I think this road is very artistically created, don't you? Just look at all those lines....




Never forget to smile




Me and my guardian angels




Going through a village




My Shangri-la.....
 

Franki

Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2011
Location
Hong Kong
Bikes
KTM, Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Jialing
It seemed like a dream to get from a peaceful village trail and onto a newly paved road with no traffic (all blocked behind me). The sun was shinning and cool wind blowing on my face. No more fish-tailing from my bike, the Tagong valley is lush green with cattles freely roaming on the grassland…..

Soon, I arrived at Tagongxiang and parked my bike in front of the Tagong Monestery. According to legend, when princess Wengcheng passed through this area with the Jowo Skakyamuni statue as her dowry on the way to Lhasa, in the 7th century, the statue asked to be left behind in Tagong. Since the princess did not want to upset the emperor, the statue was copied on the spot, and the copy is still visible in one wing of the monastery. I let myself be engulfed by the quiet, murmured rhythmic prayer of the monks inside the main temple, the scarce light revealing the mainly yellow and red decorated interior of the temple.

Moving on, there is a big gathering of the Tibetan nomads to celebrate the summer season. Horse racing, folk song contest, teachings from high priests and last but no least, young people romancing….all these have been going on for thousands of years. Unfortunately, I had to go back to Chengdu in a fixed time, otherwise, I will be partying with these folks for a couple of days.

I’ll be back!



Tagong grassland



A bit far but its a nice place to retire




A cool place to let my bike rest




Friendly tourists wondering why I have to travel on two wheels





Prayer flags behind the Tagong Monastery




Street scene of Tagong, brought back a lot of fond memories
 
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