Monday 24th September
Tuesday 25th September
Jeff arrives at the border at 9.30 and meets up with the guide for the remainder of the trip, ‘Abdul and his driver Woo, real nice people’. Abdul sorts all the paperwork out for the group and an inspector stencils all the chassis numbers and an hour later they are checked again. They queue for another hour to have their photo taken. There is one slight problem, ‘they don’t let anyone over 60 ride a motorcycle’! They all have to queue again, and their licences are inspected a second time. ‘I’m last… and over 60, he looks at me talks to Abdul and smiles. I get my licence, yippee’! They then have to cross the the road to have the bikes MOT’ed. ‘Getting across the road is a feat in itself, there is traffic from all directions, you just have to leap in and go for it’! The MOT consists of ‘putting the lights on, the indicators on and pulling the brake on’! There are crowds of people watching the group and the bikes ‘Kenny’s KTM attracts the biggest crowd, they all want theire photos taken with it…the lads on the BMWs hate him’!!
That evening they go for a meal ‘to a place you wouldn’t even take your dog to’! They go in and its a small, family cafe and all the locals are there. They sit down around a table that spins and ‘wait with baited breath to see what we’re gonna get. It turns out to be one of the nicest meals I’ve had, beef stir fry chicken something… more then we could eat, less then £4 each, with as much red tea as you want’. The hotel, however is a different story and isn’t up to Jeff’s usual standards. His ‘room stinks of electric cable burning’ so they move Jeff from the bottom floor to the very top. Unfortunately there are no lifts so ‘that will teach me not to complain’! There is also a wedding on at the hotel, until 4am but ‘they invited us in and were all happy to see us’!
Wednesday 26th September
Jeff and the group finally get through border control, or in his words ‘Hurrah, we made it! Thank you all, especially Maria for making this possible’. The group leave for Jinghe and ‘there’s a guy brushing the main 3 lane highway, with a brush the size of a Xmas tree, no traffic cones or flashing lights, how he didn’t get hit’! They have a nice ride to the first mountains, ‘it was fantastic, I had to remember how to take corners again’. The road went through the mountains and tunnels and on coming out one of the tunnels Jeff was met by ‘a cow and how it got on the road I don’t know’!
Saturday 29th September
Jeff and the group arrive in Urumqi, ‘a big mad city with 3 million people’. They spend 3 hours looking for the restaurant for the evening, but couldn’t find it and ended up in a Pizza Hut.
Sunday 30th September
Jeff and co head out to the desert, Turpan, for a bit of fun on the bikes…
A little picture I couldn’t resist …
More to follow next week!