13-Sep-2006 -- This is the 8th confluence visit on a bicycle trip from China to Central Asia. The story starts at 32°N 107°E.
7:00 am I got up in my hotel room in Mule. After having a big breakfast I rode my bike further West towards Ürümchi (乌鲁木齐). This confluence was conveniently located on my way to Xinjiang’s capital. Just 34 km beyond Mule I passed a village called Mǎliántāncūn (马连滩村) from where the confluence was 5 km to the north.
In Mǎliántāncūn a sealed highway towards Qīnghé (青河) intersects. Following that road, the beeline distance to the confluence shrank from 5 km to exactly 1 km. From there, little tracks between the fields directed me to the point. Farmers were harvesting the famous Xinjiang Honey Melons when I past through. Since the area is totally flat and populated, it was not a challenge at all to reach the point.
Interestingly, there is a water pump for irrigating the crops, right next to the confluence. The fields on the confluence were already harvested, so I was able to zero it out.
Just being back to the main road, I met Gorgo – a Spanish biker, who had cycled all the way from his homeland via France, Germany, Poland, Russia and Kasachstan. He was the first very long distance biker I met on this trip (if not at all in China). We both were heading for the same route, only in different directions. So we could exchange our maps, experiences and useful information. Shortly after, a team of Electrical Engineers stopped and joined our conversation. I soon played the role of an interpreter from Chinese into English, since Gorgo didn’t speak Chinese. Before we split, one of the Engineers gifted us a huge amount of apples, that he carried in the back of his truck. I gave him my name card.
When I reached Qítái (奇台), which is the next town in 25 km distance, the Electrical Engineers gave me a call and invited me for a lunch. This invitation came straight right as hungry as I was. We had giant plates of lamb, chicken and potatoes. They also helped me to buy a new bike rack, which I urgently needed.
That day went so well, that I managed to reach another confluence point.
CP visit details:
- Time at the CP: 10:36 a.m.
- Time to reach the CP from the road: 10 minutes
- Distance to a track: 33 m
- Distance to a road: 1 km
- Distance of bicycle parking: 33 m
- Distance to houses: ca. 500 m
- Topography: flat
- Minimal distance according to GPS: 0.38 m
- Position accuracy at the CP: 5 m
- GPS height: 862 m
- Vegetation: irrigated farmland. At the CP harvested crops, probably wheat grain. Nearby melon and cotton fields.
- Weather: sunny (22° felt temperature)
- Description of the CP: In Xingjiang Province, in the (relative) low-lands. Arid and flat alluvium soil. Populated cultural land. An overhead powerline is nearby.
- Given Name: The Spanish Cyclist Confluence
Story continues at 44°N 89°E.