13-Sep-2006 -- This is the 9th confluence visit on a bicycle trip from China to Central Asia. The story starts at 32°N 107°E.
After successful visit of 44°N 90°E in the morning, kept cycling westwards towards Ürümchi (乌鲁木齐) until the next confluence came up.
It was already 19:00 pm when I approached the confluence and my odometer let me know that I had cycled 147km. When I reached the sign “Ürümchi 142 km” the remaining beeline distance to the confluence was 750 m. Right at that moment when I took the picture of the sign, a car stopped and the passengers got off. To my surprise, it was the Electrical Engineer, whom I had met near 44°N 90°E in the morning and again in Qítái (奇台) to have lunch! What a small world.
I invited the Electrical Engineer to join me for a confluence hike, but I guess he didn’t get the point of confluence hiking. Confluence hunting can be addictive, can be a hobby or even change someone’s life. But not everybody’s life. Most people just don’t get the point and my engineering friend was no exception.
Well, I went alone to the point. The topography was flat and the vegetation almost nonexistent, so access to the point was easy. To the south the Bogda Shan Mountains are visible. Bodga Feng is 5445m, the peak in the southward picture
4483 m high.
Getting back to the main road was not as direct as expected. An unnecessary fenced strip along the road kept me from getting there. I should have taken the same route as I came. Well, after pushing the bike for 1 km, I finally reached the main road. So far so good.
Another kilometer later, I noticed low air pressure in my tire. An examination resulted in finding the reason: a thorn had punctured it. But a closer examination gave me much more reason to worry about: my front tire had four thorns and my rear tire a countless number of them. Each removal of a thorn resulted in a “zschsch” noise that indicated air coming out of the tube. I counted the number of patches: 4 left. Even cutting them into 2 small ones each, was probably not enough to get the problem solved. I begun to put patches
on the holes. But I was also running out of time – the night was about to come. In this situation, I asked for a ride in a car. The first vehicle stopped. It was an empty tourist bus being transferred from Eastern China to Ürümchi. They let me get in and dropped me off at Fùkāng (阜康) where I spend the night.
CP visit details:
- Time at the CP: 19:00 p.m.
- Time to reach the CP from the road: 10 minutes
- Distance to a track: 500 m
- Distance to a road: 500 km
- Distance of bicycle parking: 0 m
- Distance to houses: ca. 800 m
- Topography: flat, high mountains in the South
- Minimal distance according to GPS: 1.52 m
- Position accuracy at the CP: 6 m
- GPS height: 791 m
- Vegetation: uncultivated land, hardly any vegetation but some tiny thorn prairie.
- Weather: sunny (24° felt temperature)
- Description of the CP: In Xingjiang Province, in the (relative) low-lands. Arid and flat alluvium soil. Partially cultural and irrigated land. The traffic on the main road between Qítái and Ürümchi is visible. Impressing views to the alpine mountains in the South.
- Given Name: The Countless Punctures Confluence
Story continues at 44°N 88°E.