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Finding Freedom...World Wide Ride

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by BcDano, Jul 19, 2012.

  1. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,932
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    For the last three days we have been along or near the new rail line and for all this way there is a security guy is a yellow jacket at every bridge, pillar, overpass, or spot you could plant a bomb. This means every 500 m to 2 km!

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    We have seen a few crazy bicyclists an a few walkers in the last 2 days, but today we saw many more pilgrims along the roadside. Some were walking 3 steps then throwing themselves to the ground in prostration. They wear special paddles on their hands that slide out along the ground as they slide out flat on their belly. That makes for a very long 300 km. 35 km fro the city we saw masses of pilgrims and in fact they had the oncoming traffic blocked for a km.


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    Yet another amusing bathroom sign in China

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    marior97, MaNDan, Saso and 1 other person like this.
  2. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,932
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    Once we dropped in altitude it suddenly became green everywhere. 63 km from Lhasa there is a checkpoint and we pulled up and were asked to park to the side. We did not have to wait for the guides long and were only there 5 min after they arrived. There is another checkpoint 43 km from the city and it was the same story. We hardly had time to get off the bikes. The road now is thru a deep valley and is more winding.

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    About 25 km from the city it is suddenly a 8 lane divided road. We waited for the guides 15 km from the center and then followed them to the hotel. This was a bit of a stressful drive, not that there was that much traffic, but the number of times we were almost taken out by people pulling into our lane from right beside us or merging at high speed was crazy. I think Dan beat his personal record of number of car doors and hoods slammed in payback for nearly hitting one of the 4 of us. It was a long 15 km. About 2 km from the hotel we actually rode right by the Potala palace! We can see it from the street in front of the hotel.


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    marior97, MaNDan, yamalama and 2 others like this.
  3. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,932
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    In our hotel lobby-an altitude sickness treatment center.

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    THE most important issue now it to get the suits to the laundry as they have never been so disgusting. Luckily there is a laundry across the road and 200 m right from the hotel. The guy there said he could not guarantee how they would look as they were so bad. He has huge industrial machines and so we are sure it will be ok and it is what it is. We are all bagged and made a minor effort to see the streets near the hotel.

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    There is a pedestrian overpass 200 m left from the hotel and a great spot for photos and then dinner at steam bun only place. Time laps of Lhasa.

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    marior97, Dan Lorenze, MaNDan and 2 others like this.
  4. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,932
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    Today were were up and out by 8 and took the city bus down to the Potala Palace for some great photos. We were delivered here by Pam, but handed off to another guide from his company Suran as Pam needs to secure the Everest base camp/border permits for us. We have to be inside and up some of the 365 stairs to get in for our ticket time of 10.


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    There are 2 security checkpoints and 2 ticket check points. You can not buy tickets the day of only the day before, which Pam did yesterday after the hotel was finished with the passports. (They must register the passports with the local police here in China). Pam was happy to see we had a coveted 10 am time slot. The ticket has a time and your passport number on it. There are hundreds of locals walking clock-wise around the Palace up to 3 times (2 hours) per day. Some are prostrating the whole way and this takes 3-4 hours for one circuit.

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    At the first security check point the guard noted that Orvar had a different number on the ticket and the passport he has his Chinese visa in. He had to be in Sweden to get the Chinese and Russian visa, but as they will not issue them more than 60 days before entry that was not possible. In Sweden they have a loop hole for this and will issue you a second passport that you can have the agency obtain visas for you. He had clarified this with Ride China and the Chinese and Tibet entry paperwork had the right number, but they did not update the Tibet travel company here in Lhasa. They decided to let him in, but at the second check point it took a lot more talking by the guides to get him in. This means there may be an issue getting the Everest permit as the paperwork they submitted will have the wrong passport number. Pam has gone off to try. You walk up slowly and take lots of breaks at we are still at altitude. Once you enter the palace there are no photos and you must be in and out in an hour or the travel company will be declined further entry with their groups.

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    marior97, MaNDan, TOTim and 6 others like this.
  5. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,932
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    Then it was a death defying rickshaw ride back towards the hotel and the Jokang Temple. The poor driver got cut off by several cars and then a bus!

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    The entry to the Jokang square is thru a security check, which took some taking as Pam has our passports right now. There are hundreds of people walking around the temple here also and dozens prostrating at the gates.

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    marior97, MaNDan, Saso and 1 other person like this.
  6. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,932
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    Just inside the main Jokang temple gate entry there are separate queuing lines for pilgrims and tourists, but then they all join back up after 20 m and then funnel thru the one narrow door into the central building. There are also people exiting this way even though it is not the exit and this is causing mayhem.

    Inside the line to the left is not moving because several hundred pilgrims are waiting in a special line to get closer to the “living” Buddha. We went right and into the main assembly/ chanting hall. From our side of the barrier we could see the naked Buddha, but the crush of people pushing on the other was truly something else. It was actually a bit scary. There are no photos inside.

    The real exit is thru the stairs to the upper patio and then back out onto the street. Only the tourists are going this way and so the crowd is much thinner.

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    Counting the money donations!

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    marior97, roadcapDen, MaNDan and 2 others like this.
  7. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,932
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    We are hungry and had a quick lunch and then headed to the hotel at 2 for a well deserved rest. We only went out at 4 for a few minutes to get our clean laundry and SUPER clean suits!!!

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    We did not venture out again until after 6. We walked the 20 minutes down to the Potala square for some photo op and dinner at a local only place.


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    marior97, MaNDan, Saso and 1 other person like this.
  8. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,932
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    The Swede is not doing well physically. He has not been eating or sleeping well for several months and is malnourished. This with being 65, a brutal pace so far, and the altitude he is done. We sent him off to the state clinic for assessment. He was seen there and got some IV fluid, glucose, and vitamin for a whopping 20$ US. You see the doctor and they give you a list of stuff to buy. Then you come back to the pharmacy and they mix it up for the nurses to give you.

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    Today the rest of us are headed to the “KTM” Lhasa’s shop , which is about 5 km from the city center. They have agreed to let us use their shop and drop our used oil there. It is a very clean and nice shop. In the van we had brought the oil organized by ride China, but surprisingly they have oil here (unlike every other motorcycle dealer sine we left the EU) !! They also had a replacement lamp bulb for the 800 Adventure and a power washer to give the bikes a bit of a clean. Trevor was kind enough to do the work on Orvar’s bike since his Twin was done in Beijing.

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    marior97, #1Fan, roadcapDen and 3 others like this.
  9. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,932
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    Just as we were leaving 3 Chinese riders pulled up and they are also on the way to Everest. They told us they had met other rider that said the road to Tingri (staging town to get to the Everest base camp) is closed daily 0730-1930 for construction AGGGGGH).

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    Lunch was at a Muslim place so Lamb ribs and beef. We stopped on the way to sample these “egg Mcmuffin” deals.

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    We took the bus back down to the Potala square to take part in the daily ritual of the locals to walk clockwise around the palace spinning prayer wheel as you go. It is not too crowded at 430 as the busy time is the morning.

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    We hopped the bus back to the Jokang temple area and the old town and wander on Barkhor Street. We did but a small set of Tibetan prayer beads and a souvenir. This also allowed us to do some of the circuit of the Temple itself that again the local and pilgrims walk clockwise. Our guides met us for dinner tonight on their day off, which was nice as Mr Tong can really order the best food.

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    marior97, MaNDan, Saso and 1 other person like this.
  10. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,932
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    Today we are only going 272 km to Shigatze (Rizkaze, Riz Ka Ze, Xigatze depending on which language you use) on a good quality road that winds along the river. The best part is we only go up 300 m.

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    First drama of the trip occurred as we were leaving the hotel and turning right onto a 4 lane divided road. There was a bus parked in the right lane and the van pulled out into the left lane as no traffic was coming. Trevor was the first bike and when he pulled out there was an idiot on a moped going 50 km/h the wrong way down the the road and ran right into him. Bike down, but no damage. The guy of course took off. Trevor was not hurt in the crash, but wrenched his back as he was getting the bike up. He is in a lot of pain and all we have is Advil. We rode 8 km to the outskirts and stopped at a pharmacy and the guides went in and came out with some sprays. I gave him my Kidney belt and off we went.

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    marior97, MaNDan, Saso and 1 other person like this.
  11. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,932
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    There were 3 police checks in the first 150 km and we were waved thru. We stopped 144 km from the city for lunch and gas. There is a major check point 100 km from the city and we arrived about 15 minutes before the guides, but once they arrived we were out in less than 5 minutes. There is much less traffic on the G318 and almost no big trucks. There are several nice canyons and a few small neat Tibetan villages along the way.

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    San dunes as well!!

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    marior97, MaNDan, Saso and 3 others like this.
  12. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,932
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    That said it still took 7 hours to get 272 km to Shigatze.


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    The hotel does not look like much from the outside, but the lobby is amazing with ornate woodwork painted in bright colors. The rooms have the look of a sultans bedroom.

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    marior97, fierros, MaNDan and 2 others like this.
  13. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,932
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    We took a taxi across town for 2$ to a traditional Tibetan restaurant and tried “Yak” butter tea, which is actually quite nice as well as other local specialties.

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    We have confirmed the road closure for tomorrow even though we had hoped there would be a break in the construction this week for the national holiday. This means we must be past the police check point before 0730 and this is 150 km away at Lhaze. We need to be up at 4 and on the road by 430 for the 237 km to Tingri.

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    We had packed all our gear in the truck last night and the guides left before 4 as they have to deal with the speed control. They did however get us a packed breakfast from the hotel for later this morning. The moon is full and lighting our way.

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  14. Mudclod

    Mudclod Mojo Moto

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2010
    Oddometer:
    13,898
    Location:
    Killeen, TX.
    Wow!

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  15. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,932
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    There is not that much traffic in either direction until about 15 km from the checkpoint. The road condition for the first 100 km is pretty good, but in the next 50 there are large sharp cut outs all over the road, which is a challenge in the dark. We passed the guides about 30 km before the check point and before the first pass. It was 4-6 degrees most of the way. We arrived to the checkpoint at 7am and the guides at 715. It is just a few km to the “construction zone”. This is the 90 km of road that is closed daily. The first 20 are fresh smooth asphalt and then another 20 of old, but not too bad road. This rises to a pass at 5234 m and it is -4. The real road construction started just before the summit (marked with a gate) and then down the other side. It is about 6 km in total of bumpy rock/dirt road (In the dark with lots of truck throwing up dust and blinding us with the oncoming lights) We were so happy to see this was not the entire rest of the way.

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    The sun was just rising as we made the descent. This was lucky as we then hit the old road that was paved, but in terrible shape over large sections with huge heaves and holes. The last 50 km it was 0-2 degrees and at the next summit we saw Everest in the distance just as the sun was hitting it…Magical.

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    marior97, TOTim, thwak and 5 others like this.
  16. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,932
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    About 3 km from town there is a police check and we went inside to warm up and wait for the guides. The team had also nicely had arranged that we could check in to the hotel when we arrived at 930.

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    We spent most of the day in the room with the heat on and under the duvets. It is bright and sunny out and the air temp is about 8, but when the sun hits your skin it is like a laser. We are at 4300m. We did a slow walk of the town, which consists of a few small hotel and guest houses, a gas station, restaurants, and tons of small grocery shops. Orvar has decided he will not ride the bike to the base camp, but will go in the van and he also says he will hire a truck to take the bike back over the mountain (too cold and bad road). We thought it was cold, but not horrible and mostly our toes and finger tips suffered.

    We had dinner at at local place and our driver had words with the kitchen because the portions were so stingy (this is so not the Chinese way).

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    There is solar hot water here and they turn it on at 7, but when we came back from dinner there were two large tourist buses at the hotel and of course no more hot water. Kettle boiled water and a sponge bath it is.

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    marior97, MaNDan, Saso and 2 others like this.
  17. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,932
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    The plan for the day is to ride 118 km to the Everest Base Camp at the top of the world.

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    We can not talk Orvar into going at all now, which seems so crazy as we have ridden all the way here for this! We had a expensive and marginal breakfast at the hotel and set out at 8 to the gas station. The fueling of 3 bikes took a total of 20 min! It was 0.5 degrees when left town. The first stop is the military check point 7 km from away. Here everyone must go into the building and line up for the 1 officer who is entering the ID data by hand into a ledger by hand. Another 20 min here.

    There is an incredible new paved road to Everest Base Camp at 17,050 ft or 5200 m. The road crosses multiple 5,000-meter-passes with incredible views of five 8,000-meter peaks.


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    After the check point you then ride another 5.5 km to the entry point for the newest section of the “Friendship” (Chinese-Nepal) highway from Lhasa and pay the 180 RMB each (36$) to pass. The gate is 98 km from the base camp.

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    marior97, thwak, MaNDan and 2 others like this.
  18. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,932
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    The first part is across a flat valley bottom and then rises over switchbacks to the 40 km mark for the first view point for Everest.

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  19. SavannahCapt

    SavannahCapt Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2009
    Oddometer:
    3,145
    Location:
    SE Georgia
    Congratulations! That must have been a thrill.:clap
    Saralou likes this.
  20. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,932
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    "EPICLY" EPIC!!!
    MaNDan and SavannahCapt like this.