05-Aug-2008 -- This is the very last out of 23 confluences that I visited on my bicycle trip to the North-East of China. The story starts from 40°N 117°E. The previous confluence was 49°N 125°E.
Having bought a train ticket from Nènjiāng back to Běijīng for the evening, I had – for the first time on this trip – a strict limitation in time for visiting a confluence point. A normal traveler would have used the last day to relax in town, but not a confluence-addict.
I got up at 3 a.m. in my hotel room in the city of Nènjiāng (嫩江). GPS told me that it is 60 km beeline to the point. I found some breakfast places open near the rail station. At 4 am I headed out of town. My plan was to follow the main road towards the city of Wǔdáliánchí (五达连池). From that road I would have to find some tracks for a couple of kilometres in order to reach this confluence.
As I had left town I realized that my expectation on that road was too high – assuming it to have an asphalt cover. In reality it had a difficult-to-ride on rocky-sandy surface. This kind of road would slow me down a lot, so I had to hurry a bit. Half-way, I reached the market place of Nènjiāngnóngchǎng (嫩江农场). For such a tiny place it had huge buildings and a nice lake with an pagoda-island. I continued the trip until I saw the first outskirts of a little town called Qīxīngpāo (七星泡). I expected the confluence to be some distance behind Qīxīngpāo, but in fact, when I turned GPS on, I was already gone too far. The GPS pointer directed me 2 km orthogonal from the road into agricultural land. On some farming tracks I got within 380 m. I hid my bike behind a bush and walked between two rows of trees to the confluence point.
The exact location turned out to be within 15 m into a soybean field. Anyway, there were soybean fields far and wide, so the chance of finding the confluence under soybeans had been rather high. 30 m from the confluence, some silos and antennas of Qīxīngpāo can be seen. Back to my bike, I had a second breakfast consisting of Chinese Dumplings (jiǎozi 餃子) that I had brought with me.
My way back was rather painful. In addition to the bad surface and the dust, a heavy headwind worked against me. But I reached Nènjiāng right in time for taking my 24 hour train ride to Běijīng. Now, as 28 days of cycling and confluencing have been over, I can clearly say that I enjoyed this trip from the first to the last moment. In particular the hospitable people along my way gave me a delight. Whenever I reached a place for the night or just for a meal, I would find locals that let me feel at home.
CP Visit Details:
- Distance to an asphalt road: 70 km
- Distance to a road: 1.9 km
- Distance to a track: 379 m
- Distance of parking the bike: 379 m
- Distance to houses: 1.4 km
- Time for hiking: 15 minutes
- Time at the CP: 9:00 a.m.
- Riding time (distance) from Nènjiāng: 3:50 hours (71 km)
- Measured height: 315 m
- Minimal distance according to GPS: 0 m
- Position accuracy at the CP: 5 m
- Topography: generally flat. Some slight hills.
- Vegetation: soybeans, soybeans, soybeans. The fields are separated by rows of poplar and larch trees.
- Weather: sunny, 22° C (felt temperature)
- Description of the CP: In the northern part of Hēilóngjiāng, in the southern most part of Nènjiāng (嫩江县) District, in the Community of Qīxīngpāo (七星泡农场) on agricultural land.
- Given Name: The Omnipresent Soybeans Confluence
Story ends here.