02-Jul-2012 -- Story continues from 37°N 113°E.
As we approach the southern outskirts of Yúshè County (榆社县), there is an earth wall across the road, and all traffic is restricted to a small section on the extreme left-hand side where the wall is not quite so high. As we attempt to negotiate this obstacle, the car’s left front wheel disappears into the void, and we crunch to a sudden stop.
“This is bad, really bad,” laments Peter, as we get out to survey the damage.
But every cloud has a silver lining, and in this case, it is that our car is now blocking all vehicular traffic in both directions. Because of this, it does not take long before a young minivan driver, eager to get past, produces a cable, attaches it to the back of our car, and tows us out of our predicament. Total time lost: 20 minutes.
We rejoin the freeway where we’d left it earlier, and continue north to Shòuyáng County (寿阳县). From Shòuyáng, we head northwest, past Xī Guōyì Village (西郭义村), then along a narrow dirt track, until we are about 270 m from the confluence. There is a parking bay here, presumably for the use of confluence visitors, and we avail ourselves of it.
We set off on foot for the confluence, which involves descending into a valley of cornfields, then ascending the opposite side. The slopes on either side are covered in scrub, and we both sustain multiple scratches to our bare legs (a badge of honour among confluencers).
Arriving at the point, we take the GPS and north-south-east-west photos. On the way back down to the valley, Peter conducts some business on his mobile phone.
This is our third successful confluence visit today, despite our earlier ordeal with the car, and there is still plenty of time to get back to Tàiyuán (太原市) so Peter can return the now somewhat worse-for-wear rental car, and make his 8 pm flight back to Chéngdū (成都市).
Altogether we did seven confluences in three days: half the province!
Story continues at 38°N 112°E.