21-Jul-2008 -- Story continues from 37°N 121°E.
We get our minivan driver to take us 8 km north to Xújiādiàn Town (徐家店镇), on the road we'd travelled the previous evening. In Xújiādiàn, unlike Fāchéng, there are many passing buses back to Láiyáng. When we arrive at the Láiyáng bus station, we're able to immediately transfer onto a bus going SW to Píngdù City (平度市).
The rain becomes heavier and heavier the further we go, so we decide, even though there may still be time to do another confluence, that instead we'd call it a day in Píngdù. The bus unfortunately drops us off in the pouring rain at a desolate petrol station, miles out of town. We stand there in the shelter of the petrol station, wondering what to do next, when a tuk-tuk miraculously appears, and we ask the driver to take us to a good hotel. He takes us to the Jin Kun Hotel, which leaves a lot to be desired, but does have one redeeming feature: our room has a massive TV with a very clear, crisp picture, perfect for watching the German Grand Prix tonight. Surprisingly for China, the TV also boasts a free porn channel.
The next morning it's sunny. We check out, and take a commuter bus to Píngdù's main bus station, where we board a bus north to Dàzéshān Town (大泽山镇), departing at 8:40 a.m. Along the way, we pass an endless series of stone processing works. Upon reaching Dàzéshān, the bus doesn't terminate as expected, but, passing under a sign promoting Dàzéshān as the "hometown of the Chinese grape", turns east, and continues on towards Dàtián Town (大田镇) - just the direction we want to go. We are able to get off at 36°59'29.4"N 119°58'49.7"E, just under 2 km SW of the confluence.
We walk up a side road towards the confluence. The roadside is littered with thousands of slabs of rock from the nearby quarries. There are also trucks going past carrying enormous chunks of rock. Eventually we reach the entrance to Běitái Village (北台村), where we make a mistake.
Instead of turning right into the village, we continue north on the road, then turn right into the quarry a few hundred metres further on, when the confluence is 730 m SE. This forces us to climb up through the quarry, cross a steep hill, descend the equally precipitous other side, then pass by some heavy machinery guarded by four barking dogs, the three most savage-looking fortunately chained up. We could have avoided all of this by entering the quarry from Běitái Village.
Nevertheless, we eventually reach the point. The surrounding area is totally unrecognisable compared to how it looked when Ray Yip and co. were here two years ago. Gone is the quarry workers' stone shed, and everything around. We take the GPS shot, then record the new views to the north, south, east and west. Just beside the point is a small stream, which runs underground for most of its course, but surfaces for a short distance next to the road where the confluence is located.
We are quite surprised that nothing much seems to be happening at the quarry, so on our way out, we ask a resident of Běitái Village. She explains that work has been suspended on account of the Běijīng Olympics--there are not supposed to be any explosions during this time!
Story continues at 37°N 119°E.