Our coldest day yet with a high of -22°C. We woke up in a quarry around 10 am. The mornings and the evenings are the coldest parts of the day which has provoked us to start managing our time a little differently as we begin camping more often. We reckon that if we sleep in past the morning chill, packing up camp is a bit more tolerable with cold fingers and such. Likewise, continuing on into the night while we are warm, loose, and in go-mode seems to add a great deal of distance to our days. And the nights allow us to bundle up and move without sweating, making for a very enjoyable extra couple of hours. When we find a suitable camp or the surprise Zhù sù (Inn), we call it a night. Recently we’ve been maintaining a pace of around 30 km per day.
Today we met a cyclist named Xiao Hai from Chongqing on his way back from Xinjiang. We didn’t talk long as we all wanted to get moving again to keep warm, but he told us he planned to continue his five-month and counting adventure by going to Xi’an and Wuhan and then continue all over China. He didn’t seem to have an ending in mind. He also told us a little bit about Xinjiang and what we could expect during the Gobi crossing. After we parted ways, we came to a mechanic several kilometers down the road who let us come in and stand next to his stove and thaw water bottles and warm our fingers and toes. Other than these two meetings we met no one and passed no amenities all day.
Tonight we are out of the wind as we happened across a surprise zhù sù, and we jumped at the chance for a warm bed out of the wind. It’s almost as cold inside as it is outside and the beds are harder than the frozen ground, but the bed warmers are warm, and the wind can’t bite us in here so you will not be hearing any complaints from us.
Distance: 34 km
Total Distance: 1222 km
End: Laojun (老军)- Hotel
Written by Pat