We flew out of town this afternoon (when your hotel has a 1pm checkout it only makes sense to take advantage of it) with another lovely tailwind. As we were heading out to the mountains the road was generally sloping uphill but with such a strong tailwind it wasn’t noticeable all that much. We passed through the heavily irrigated outskirts of Qiemo and then to the more arid, stoney fields that followed that. It was hot but the ever present haze and strong wind kept it from feeling too overwhelming.
The road was perfect, wide and smooth but it was just heading off through the desert to the mountains, we weren’t sure what it and been built for; who was it supposed to service? Eventually the road forked. To the right it went off to presumably some town or village given to that to the left there defectively was nothing except desert and mountains. We took the left path which took us over a bridge, a huge two lane bridge that must have cost I don’t know how much to build, and gets used only a handful of times a day at most. I suppose that’s just China.
Once over the bridge we left the rocky desert and got into sandy, duney desert. The wind whipped across the road for a bit blowing that sand into our side as we peddled until we turned our backs to it again. The haze hung, ever present and we wondered when we might get to see the mountains we were pedalling to. We rode along this straight road, slightly uphill, for another two and a half hours.
We camped behind the wall of a cell tower substation, the only building we’d seen since the bridge, to get some shelter from the wind. But not too close to the wall as the ground there was infested with Giant Monglian Camel Ticks. They lie in wait at places the camels like to rest, and I guess in the sun that wall provides some good shade.
As we sat out enjoying the sunset the haze started to clear and we could at last see the beginnings of the Kunlun mountains we were heading into. At last, a notable geographical feature after so many days of boring desert! We were excited to get going tomorrow, to leave the desert behind and get up into the mountains.