Kunming to Kunyang

45 miles (2010.10.16)

First day on the road, and not a particularly auspicious one. Didn’t get the bikes ready and packed till half ten, but after a few false starts,  we left Kunming at 11 am. Getting out of the city included nasty traffic and pollution coated greenery. Took Caiyun Bei Lu out of town hoping that it was the G213 (which, according to our maps, winds its way all the way to the Laos border, 350 miles away).

It wasn’t the G213.  Lack of road signs prevented us from actually discovering that fact until the late afternoon. We ate lunch at the intriguingly named University of Nationalities (Chinese name ‘University of Ethnic Minorities’…but in what capacity I don’t know) in the middle of nowhere. At this point we were following signs to Jinning (a theoretical stopping point for the night) but essentially didn’t know where we were.  GPS had us off any labeled portion of the map and all the roads unlabeled.

We continued heading South West with optimism and some directions from locals.  Those directions led us to a brand new road.. that wasn’t finished.  It turned into a messy, muddy, dirty, rocky, pot-holed, construction site of a road.  Locals assured us it was the correct way to Jinning.  It led us to a small, dirty town (imagine an American frontier town, modern day, in China) that at least provided the hope of civilization being nearby. Passing through that town and many more fields and dirt roads we reached a decently paved road going the right direction. We have yet to ride on the G213. But we’ve managed to mostly stay on roads that the GPS claims parellel the 213.

The various transportation sharing the road with us was impressive.  It included horse drawn carts, trucks modified to have their engines on the outside with their exhaust on the right (to better attack cyclists), numerous cobbled together vehicles, and motorbikes.  Many of the trucks functioned so poorly on hills that even we were overtaking them. Or maybe we just have legs of steel.
Many hills and trucks later, we arrived at Kunyang (which turns out is essentially Jinning).  Stayed at what we expect will be one of the nicest hotels of the entire trip; we were really splurging at $22. They even had free internet access, which we failed to take advantage of.

~ by Elephants on October 18, 2010.

One Response to “Kunming to Kunyang”

  1. Will be interesting reading up on your adventures. I also wanted to comment on the muslim town you went through. From what I gather (mostly from my parents) A good number of Chinese in the Southwest part of China are Muslim…mostly due to the trading along the silk road. My grandparents on my mother’s side are from Hunan – and they are both Muslim. I have a tiny bit of arabic blood from generations and generations ago..

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