Friday, April 11, 2008

One week: Hanoi to Yuanyang

So far, can't say so much for this idea. Spent five days in 95+ degree heat and 100% humidity through Vietnam's worst roads (think the worst potholes you've ever seen, cover the road in 2" of mud that sticks like concrete, and every 1/2 km or so put a one-lane ramp made out of big rocks and sand and mud that you have to wait in line as 5 trucks in front of you fight about who gets to go in which direction first). Then so far two days in 95+ degree dry heat with no shade and more potholed roads in China, with *zero* scenery (at least Vietnam did have the occasional decent vista or two), as it seems since entering China I've somehow been riding through the world's largest gravel pit.

Today at least was my first, maybe, eh, two-star day. I managed to climb from 45m to 1265m, which quite honestly I thought I'd never be able to do at this point (my previous max was less than 200m, and almost killed me). But even at the top (Yuanyang, supposedly one of the most beautiful vistas in Yunnan province) it's just all pollution and noise. Must have been gorgeous at some point -- there are seemingly infinite slopes of rice terraces and the sunrises and sunsets were surely incredible. But these days you really can't even see more than a mile or so past all the pollution, and nothing is pretty. Anyway I made it to the top today, so two stars.

After the long climb I'm going to take my first well-deserved rest day tomorrow and take in all of the 2.7 trillion cubic feet of air pollution that I figure I can see from here. And hope for cooler weather.


Jean said...

Dax, I can't believe you made it to China in a week. And biked up a mountain. You deserve a break, although that is disappointing that pollution has taken over what might otherwise be a wonderfully rejuvenating rest. I hope for clearer skies and cleaner air for you! I'm glad you posted!

redmondmel said...

Dax - you are taking risks, riding up mts and toughing it out. Hopefully the skies will clear - you are an inspiration!