Aksu to Kuqa
Rest day again! The days sometimes feel really long. Because of the long daily distances we have had the last week the time now seems to be flying by.
The other night in Aksu, Miles treated us all to a nice dinner at a Chinese restaurant and ordered up many different dishes for us to try. In China it is very common to sit at a round table which has another slightly elevated revolving table in the middle in which you just spin around until the food you want is right in front of you. You then use your chop sticks (some people are still trying to master the art) and scoop everything and anything into your bowl. It will be fun over the next few thousand miles trying out some of the different and exotic foods that China and its different regions have to offer. Dan and Nicole found it easy enough to just point at some different things on the menu and see what they end up with!!!
The last few days on the road have been amazing yet again and we almost feel a little spoiled with the road conditions. Ever since leaving the city of Kashgar we have had nothing but perfect roads and really no hills yet to speak of. Although climbing hills is not always everyoneâ€™s favorite thing to ride, there is something to be said about not knowing what is over the next hill or just around the next bend that can keep you motivated for hours or days on end. Although these roads have been traveled by millions over the years it is still an adventure and exploration of the unknown to each and every rider!!
The dust in the atmosphere from the Taklamakan has settled and two days ago the Tian Shan mountain range opened right up for a day long breathtaking view of the larger snow covered peaks, some of which reach up and over 5000 meters. The traffic has also been very favorable over the last few days; the biggest contenders on the roads have been the many donkey carts and their drivers as well as always dodging their exhaust!!!!
We had another picture perfect camp sight the night before arriving here in Kuqa. We set up camp on the flattest dried up sand flats ( the kind that looks like thousands of shattered plates) with yet another clear starry sky and great view of the mountains.
We will set off once again tomorrow morning to start cranking our way towards Turpan. We will add another good chunk if kilometers to our speedometers this week on route, justifying another rest day. Although it is nice every now and then (not to often) to spend a night in a hotel, nothing beats setting up camp and there is no better place to sleep then your tent!!