22-Feb-2003 -- This is the third confluence point to be visited in Sichuan Province. I (Peter Snow
Cao) sent out an invitation to my Bike China Adventures tour guides, the members of the
local football (soccer) team, and several other friends. The plan was to cycle the 100+
kilometers to the confluence point and then return by bus. Several people expressed
interest, but with a 7:15 AM start time and it being early Saturday morning, I had my
doubts on the number of people that would actually show up.
It was still dark at 7:15 when I arrived at our meeting place, across from the U.S.
Consulate. Assembling at that early hour were an astounding ten of us. Four of us had been
on pervious confluence hunts: Peter Snow Cao, Chen Naxin, Godspeed, and Xiaoerlang
"Small Boy" Larry. New to the act of confluencing were: Li Longchuan, Mike Tan,
Tom Donovan, Yuan Lei, Zhang "Happy" Mei, and Zhao Wanhui.
The maps indicated that 30°N 104°E lay SSW of Chengdu about 74 km, as the crow
flies. I had decided to make this a bike and bus confluence hunt where we would cycle to
the point and then return to Chengdu by bus. I knew the roads were in pretty good
condition for the first half the route to Huanglongxi (means Yellow Dragon Stream). The
second half was unknown.
We had a fast start, with everyone eager to hit the road. Due to the massive road
construction in and around Chengdu, streets change frequently and what was once a standard
way is obliterated. This resulted in a bit of confusion at the beginning having use a
pedestrian bridge to cross over the airport expressway.
We stopped at a small town on the outskirts of Chengdu, where we bought some water, mianbao
(steamed bread), xifan (rice porridge), and baozi (meat filled bread).
At this point, our group broke up into two groups using different roads. The fast riders
used the big, new wide road, while the rest of us used the old road. We used the mobile
phones to keep in contact agreeing to meet in Hunaglongxi.
The day was turning out to be a good one, with temperatures climbing from 14°C to a
high of 21°C. The sun was out, a rare occurrence in Chengdu, so everyone’s spirits
were high. The road was lined with farmland filled with farmers attending the rice, winter
wheat, and rapeseed in bloom with yellow flowers. Oxen are still used in this area as work
As we approached Huanglongxi, and elderly couple was beside the road. The woman was
sitting on the flatbed of a tricycle and the man was trying to push her up the hill, but
had given up because the hill was too steep. Larry stopped to help. As Larry pushed the
tricycle from behind, the old man steered and expressed his gratitude for the help. Tom
brought up the rear by carrying his bike while pushing Larry’s.
Arriving in Hunaglongxi at 10:30 AM, the ten of us regrouped and talked about the ways
we had come while munching on bananas and snacks. Chen Naxin was very hungry and eagerly
ate Tom’s extra mainbao. We discussed the next part of the route. The direct
route was 55 km away and passed through a series of small towns: Fuhe, Jiangdu, Jiangkou,
Huangfeng, Liren, Guangxiang, to where the 30° N 104°E confluence lie in Longzheng.
The locals said the road was not in good condition; it was a rock and dirt road full of
pot holes. Fortunately, traffic was light, so dust was not a big problem. We followed the
Fu River, over lightly rolling terrain. At Jiangdu a new road was being built but not yet
open to traffic. We climbed over the barrier and cycled on a much better road to Jiangkou.
We arrived in Jiangkou at about noon and everyone was hungry. Godspeed and Yuang Lei got
flat tires at the same time, so while they fixed them Larry went in search of noodle
It turned out to be in the old section of Jiangkou, that dates back to the Ming dynasty
where it was a military strong hold. We descended on the restaurant with a vengeance as
everyone had worked up a big appetite. The cook was making noodles as fast as he could but
couldn’t keep up with the demand. In the end, the ten of us consumed 18 bowls.
We consulted the local intelligence on the road conditions to Longzheng. The direct
route reportedly had more bad roads while the long way was all good roads but an extra 15
km. There was a discussion on which way we should go. Four people wanted take the good
roads, while the rest of us wanted the bad roads. It looked like we were going to split up
again, but in the end everyone decided to take the bad-road route.
The road to Huangfeng was newly paved road over rolling hills through picturesque
farmland, truly a pleasant surprise after the rough road we covered. In Huangfeng, we
stopped for another snack of oranges. Larry bought several kilos, and loaded them in his
The locals said the next section was going to be rough, and they weren’t kidding.
It was a series of steep hills on rough dirt. Going down provided a vigorous hand massage
as we gripped the handlebars for dear life. The oranges in Larry’s baskets were
bouncing around like mad and several jumped out and rolled down the hill after him.
This was Happy’s first long ride and she was doing very well, never complaining
and always smiling. Her friends, Yuang and Zhao, provided a non-stop encouragement and
gave advice on how to make the cycling easier and more comfortable. Li said that his wife
wanted to come along, but she was afraid that the distance would be too far for her.
When we arrived in Longzheng, it was almost 4 PM and we were 3.5 km from the
confluence. We had about two hours light to track down the confluence and then find a bus
back to Chengdu. I knew from experience that the tracking down the way to the confluence
through fields can be very time consuming. It looked like time was going to be tight.
We cycled east along a new four-lane divided highway that felt like riding on glass
after the last 40 km of rough roads. The distance to the confluence point was dropping
fast and arrow was swinging to the right. There were several big hills in the direction of
the confluence. At 1.46 km away, the arrow was pointing due south, and we stopped for
directions. Chen asked a local if there were any roads leading in that way. The old man
said there was a small dirt track about one kilometer up the road.
We took off and had to climb a fairly steep hill. At the top there was a turnoff just
like the man said. There was another steep climb and most people walked their bikes up. At
this point we were 1.8 km away, so we had lost some ground. There was a small dirt track
running more or less level along the ridge. From where we were, it looked like the
confluence was beyond the next big hill.
The small track turned into a footpath between fields of rice and rapeseed with pine
trees on the hills. We followed the GPS arrow over hill and through dale. The path
lead to a road and we followed it a short distance where it ended at a stone quarry.
Backtracking, we found another footpath up a steep hill and lugged our bikes to the top of
that. At this point it was 5:15 PM and we were still 800 meters away with no clear way to
The view from the top showed that our objective was down in a valley. While the others
were catching up, Tom and Godspeed volunteered to scout out two separate paths.
Godspeed’s trail panned out and after 200 meters we stumbled across a small road
leading in the direction of the confluence. This was a terrific break, and we eagerly
peddled along it watching the distance to the confluence point drop fast.
The road curved around a small valley and we were about ride within 43 meters of the
confluence which lay in a middle of a terraced planted field. We brought our bikes down
into the field for the final spotting. Several local boys joined us in the celebration and
poised with us for victory photos. A nearby cabbage head provided a convenient but odd
looking stand for my camera as I set it up for a self-timed group photo.
By now it was 6 PM. The sky was clouding up fast and the light was fading. As usual, we
were able to find a much easier way out, cycling along a narrow, but paved road into the
town of Longzheng. There we found a bus that agreed to take all of us and our bikes to
Meishan, the small city 18 kilometers away where we thought we could catch another bus
back to Chengdu. We loaded the confluence hunters in front and the ten bikes in the back
of the bus where, fortunately, it had only short benches.
When we arrived in Meishan, it was 7:30 PM and dark. We were dropped off at the bus
station, but it was deserted, not a good sign. The local bus drivers said there would not
be another bus to Chengdu until tomorrow morning. Spending the night in Meishan was not on
the agenda, so we asked around for other ideas. One of the bus drivers said we could ride
to the edge of town to the Leshan-Chengdu Expressway ramps and wait for a bus dropping off
passengers to stop and maybe get a ride that way.
With no other choices, we slowly made our way through the dark to the highway. The road
was about a 20-minute ride out of town. At the toll gates the attendants told us
conflicting stories about where to get a ride. So between the ten of us we working on all
fronts on getting back to Chengdu. Larry was manning the off-ramps, Zhao and Yuang were
checking with a student truck driving school for an available truck and driver, while
Happy waited at the on-ramp toll gates looking for an empty truck heading to Chengdu.
After about 30 minutes, Happy hit the jackpot with an empty canvas-covered truck
heading to Chengdu and was thoroughly applauded . We piled the bikes and eight of us
volunteered to ride in back. The canvas cover had some small holes in it so I could
monitor our progress by sticking the GPS outside the truck. We used a bike light in the
back so it wasn’t pitch black inside. The noise from the truck prevented any
conversation, so we reviewed the day’s events on our digital cameras.
At about 9:30 PM, the driver dropped us off at the end of Chengdu. Tom and Li were
ready to go home while the rest of us decided to go to a local restaurant for a victory
dinner of noodles and barbecue. It was a fitting end to a great day and a successful
I would like to express my appreciation to all those participating, and hearty
congratulations for a successful confluence hunt.
22-Feb-2003 -- 百里河山，一口气拿下 二OO三年二月廿二日
职务分配：曹雪磊。 财务：赵万辉。 摄影：陈纳新。 殿后：小儿郎。参加总人数：10人。
五、Tom Donovan:从纽约州老家Glen Falls来到成都西南民院学中文已有一年多了，今天还是头一次有机会同这批骑手同游。我虽然糖尿、肾脏诸病缠身，骑车却难不到我。你不瞧,我总是走在前面领队？Larry的嗓门可见不小，单单一句“嗨哟咿唷咿唷哼嗨哟”就唱了半个小时。不过，这支歌的韵律颇佳，学起来很容易。在回城的路上，我还能跟大伙儿合着轮唱呢！
2003年3月 小儿郎写于四川 成都