30-Aug-2006 -- This is the first confluence visit on a bicycle trip from China to Central Asia, following the route Sichuan – Gansu – Xinjiang – Kazakhstan – Kyrgyzstan – Tajikistan – Uzbekistan; cycling was 4000 km in 2 months. On our way (Elionora joined me in the 3rd week) we visited 21 primary confluences that had not yet been successfully visited. Using the bicycle as the major means of transport for confluencing can be a great combination, being independent of local transportation but also being able to see the small things along the way. Hunting confluences gives a bike trip a certain sense or goal or how ever you call it. Confluences are roughly 1-2 days cycling apart from each other and tend to lie off the road that one would normally choose. These deviations involve exhausting cycling on mountainous dirt roads. Therefore, the following incident affected us a lot: our memory flash card with 190 pictures taken suddenly had a hardware error. All these pictures seem to be lost now – a recovery service was not able to retrieve the data from the card. So, at the time of writing, it is not clear how many confluence visits we can just submit as ‘incomplete’ due to the missing pictures. Well, I know that the journey is the reward, and it is not the number of completed confluence visits – but it nevertheless gives us disappointment.
The trip to this confluence has been documented very well in the
write-up from my friend Peter Cao. With his detailed report, there is nothing to add. Only for those interested in a quick summary:
On the previous day we had taken a bus from Chengdu to Bāzhōng (巴中, 28 km beeline). The morning we rode our bikes to the mountain village Báimiào (白庙, 2.7 km beeline). After passing through a deep valley, we left our bikes at 880 m beeline from the CP and finally reached the confluence exhausted and dehydrated.
The whole trip was driven by Peter’s time constraints. The actual challenge was to timely optimize every single movement that day in order to visit the confluence within these tight constraints. However, rushing can also be enjoyable – in particular if the goal has been met within the given time.
CP visit details:
- Time at the CP: 4:22 p.m.
- Time to reach the CP from Bāzhōng: 8.5 hours
- Distance to a track: 180 m
- Distance to a road: 880 m
- Distance of bicycle parking: 880 m
- Distance to houses: 1200 m
- Topography: on a steep grade, almost on the top of a mountain.
- Minimal distance according to GPS: 13 m
- Position accuracy at the CP: 7 m
- GPS height: 1001 m
- Vegetation: deep mixed forest dominated by pine forest. On the ground thicket
- Weather: bright with the typical Sichuan haziness and mostly sunny, 33° C
- Description of the CP: On the Eastern slope of a mountain; located almost on the top. Actual spot probably on a nearly vertical face
- Given Name: The Rushing Peter Confluence
Story continues at 33°N 105°E.