CHINA, 5th February 2018
We woke up early this morning, as we’d decided that rather than taking two days to cover the 104 kilometres from Fukang to Jimsar, which would mean a night camping, we’d give it a go at getting in done in a single day. We were tired, because there had been a little mouse in our hotel room, which kept waking us up by rustling around. But we packed up our bikes and enjoyed the hotel breakfast, then left at first light, which, because all of China is on Bejing time, was at 9:20 a.m.
Again it wasn’t too cold, relative to what we’ve been through, though it was still well below freezing. I felt energised by the thought of making it to Jimsar. Do that, and we’d be only two days away from Mori. A crazy thought. Dea didn’t seem to have quite so much energy and was saying she felt tired, although at least her knee wasn’t giving her pain. I hoped she would be able to cycle to Jimsar. There was a lot of snow in the fields, which would make camping difficult, and leave us exposed. I feared we’d be spotted, by the police, or by a local who might call them if we did camp.
We took a smaller road which was actually more direct. It was a good one too, most of the time, wide and fairly flat, without too much traffic. The hours passed quite uneventfully. We came upon a couple of police checkpoints, but both times we were waved through without even having to show our passports.
As the afternoon wore on Dea really began to look and sound tired, but she kept plugging away. At 90 kilometres we took our last break. The sun was almost disappearing behind the mountains away to our right, but Jimsar was almost within reach, we couldn’t give up now. “We’re only 140 kilometres from Mori,” I said to her. “If we can just get to Jimsar tonight, we’ll have a rest tomorrow morning in the hotel, a short 40 kilometre ride to Qitai in the afternoon, and we’ll be able to get to Mori on Wednesday.” Dea smiled. “We can be in Mori in 48 hours.”
I’m not sure if this conversation inspired Dea, but she went off like a shot after that break and I could barely keep up with her. More likely, perhaps, it was the two Snickers she’d eaten that had given her the energy. Whatever it was, it meant we made it to Jimsar just in time as night fell. We found our way to the Xinxing Hotel and to our delight it accepts foreigners (thanks Jia!), although it took a monumental amount of patience from us to go through the check-in process with the only receptionist working, who is a giggly teenager, not really very good at her job.
But we finally made it to our room sometime after 8:00 p.m. A long ride today, hard work, but the reward is clear for anyone who cares to look at the map of our route and see how unbelievably close we are to Mori. A short day tomorrow to Qitai, and hopefully we’ll be ready to push for the finish line on Wednesday. Mori in under 48 hours? Maybe… just maybe…
Distance to Mori: 120 kilometres