I am writing from the desert and the winds are strong! Throughout our travels today we came across a few camels that were relaxing and it seems less likely that we will come across beautiful women playing volleyball out here in the desert...
We have long stretches where we don't see anyone and when we reach Golmud those distances will increase. At times we see travelers heading in the same direction, but eventually they will head to Lhasa and then the two of us will try to conquer the natural strength of the desert.
We only came across a few kids today. One child we met lives in a very remote area along the highway and during his spare time he removes rabbits and snakes off the highway to make sure they don't get hit by cars and they stay safe...We gave him a football so when he has time from saving the snakes and rabbits, he can enjoy a little sport.
We reached an elevation of 3672 meters and we continued climbing once we dropped from our highest point, we continued to ascend through a strong headwind.....However, battling the forces of nature is always fun and often I find myself speaking to the gods encouraging our fight through wind, rain and tough terrain...
We are getting closer to Golmud which will be our last stop at civilization for awhile. Looks like snake is on the menu to tonight! Bye for now...
Now we can officially say goodbye to Qinghai Lake....We found out yesterday if you travel the lake counterclockwise you will experience bad luck which is a Tibetan belief.....and now looking back we were the only two people traveling in the wrong direction! In addition, we traveled through many cities that were restricted and we somehow kept a low profile from the police and we were camping during the night in secluded areas. We also found out that the route we took to Tianjun was where the current Dali Lama was discovered...
Yesterday we had an early start and we had a few problems...broken chain, flat tires, collisions and personally I was battling stomach pains due to a "nuro lamian" that I ate for breakfast....We had our toughest climb yet and we reached an elevation of 3817 meters. The climb was 30 km and there were numerous herds of mountain goats and sheep along the mountain side.
Along our climb we were greeted by many pleasant faces. There are many families that live throughout the mountains who live a nomadic lifestyle positioning tents along the mountain sides. We distributed many footballs because of the natural grass surface. I hope when we return we will see large football games played throughout this region....
Yesterday was a battle and we are still standing! We are now heading to Golmud which is southwest from Qinghai Lake and we are heading deep into the desert....We have traveled through so many landscapes that China has to offer and we have met so many genuine people. I hope these images inspire you to explore this wonderful land...Jiayou!
We had some unfortunate circumstances yesterday.....but we are back baby! We had to go to Xining and speak to the foreign bureau about where the restrictions are located for foreigners. We have to change our route to avoid getting in trouble with the police....but now we have a good idea of the regions we are allowed to visit. We are now doing the tour of Qinghai Lake as we had to back track 300 km and now we are cycling the southwest route...It would have been a tragedy if we didn't get to experience the culture and scenery of the southwest route....The views are unbelievable and it feels like we are cycling through the art room of the artist formerly known as Ma Young.....Ma this would be a great place for you to do your morning tai chi routine!
I was a little upset about the events that transpired with retrieving the equipment; however, naturally there will be obstacles that we will need to overcome. We will need to work extra hard to makeup distance, but we will try our best to push through the long days we have ahead of us. Our spirits were raised quickly looking back at all the great people we have met and all the great places we have traveled through...
Every morning I am excited for the adventure that awaits us...This is my duty to share my passion because this is the way I know how to contribute to the well being of this world. We are now heading towards Golmud and it is time to see what these legs are made of....!
Yesterday we experienced some unfortunate circumstances when we reached Tianjun....but before I go into detail about the problems we encountered let me tell you about our day leading to our arrival to Tianjun...
We said goodbye to Qinghai lake and started to make our way west towards Tianjun. When we woke up we didn't have a clue where we were because we had to change campsites in the middle of the night because a local of the area said we were not permitted to stay there. We walked down the road and when we started our day we were right near the lake.
In this region there are many Tibetans and we met this one gentlemen who was herding his sheep along the highway. We shook hands and then he brought out his prayer wheel...I am
guessing he was wishing us safe travels and hoping we would receive good karma....
We are cycling through very remote areas and I made a solo stop at a village because Ho Young turned on the jets! I drew a big crowd and I was acting out in the form of charades because most of the people didn't speak Chinese. They were very nice and we shared a few laughs because I am guessing they were wondering what exactly I was doing there! In the end they really appreciated the donations and I wish I had more to give.
I met back up with Ho Young and we met a lady and a monk at a small little shop. The lady who owned the store gave us some yogurt which I thought was congealed butter milk ....but this yogurt was the best I have ever tried and she could tell we were hungry so the yogurt kept on coming! The people we have met have been so generous which has made our travels much more enjoyable. I tried talking to the monk about reincarnation...but in the end we both just laughed because we couldn't understand one another.
We continued our way to Tianjun and then we ran into trouble....20 km out of the city we were stopped by the police. Ho Young was ahead of me and he basically tried to bolt past the authorities, but when I passed they formed a road block so I couldn't get through....I had no idea why I was getting stopped and I told them I was traveling with my student so they drove ahead and retrieved Ho Young to the location I was positioned. Tianjun has a restriction on foreigners entering the area....and you can only pass through by train, not by bicycle. We were disappointed because we were making such good progress, but the worst part about the whole situation was the authorities wouldn't let us retrieve our equipment from the post office which is in Tianjun...We were asking politely if they could help us enter the city and retrieve the gear, but they told us it is not their duty...There has been no postings to be found that states foreigners are not permitted in specific areas, only in Tibet...I understand there are restrictions, but I am upset that they we couldn't retrieve the equipment from Tianjun when it was so close. In the end the head official said we were not allowed to pass through and we got directed all the way back to Xining....I am going to speak to the authorities right now about where there are restrictions so we can get back on track....I will keep everyone posted and take care...
Yesterday we woke up a early to get fresh start. We are meeting so many cyclists out here in Qinghai doing the the tour of the lake and we are the only riders rocking a t-shirt and shorts....We are consistently riding now at an elevation of 3500 meters so it gets very cold in the mornings and evenings... so Ho Young and I decided to purchase a couple of stylish Tibetan jackets in a town called Gangca. We are already carrying a heavy load and I don't know exactly where the jackets will fit, but we look good!
In China there are many three wheelers called " San lun Che" and the farmers are usually sporting these rides. We are constantly battling these beauties uphill and we are always trying to beat these vehicles because we are trying to escape the black smoke that comes out of the xhaust...We had a great battle with one family and we took the victory. We gave the boy a soccer ball once they reached the top of the hill.
We are getting far west and we are at the northwest tip of Qinghai lake. The towns are very stretched out, but we are coming across small villages in which we make our visits. Even though we are traveling through impoverished areas the people are still showing us acts of charity...Yesterday we received a jar of honey for giving a family a soccer ball, we tried to resist, but they were adamant that they give us something in return...
We made a stop in a small village before Gangca and a boy escorted us to find the children. The boy who directed us to the kids spoke a little English and was taking control making sure everyone was satisfied, I referred to him as the "boss". He was very helpful and you could tell he will be a great leader. He was the gentlemen to the left with the sideways hat.
Before we finished our day we came across a small community that was in very poor condition...There were many children playing on a rundown basketball court so when we showed up with some gear they were losing their minds! Play creates chaos especially at the beginning stages and when I watched these children I really felt that our vision was being fulfilled. These children don't have much and you could see how much it meant to them receiving a gift. It was a nice way to end the day.
We have now delivered six loads of equipment to children and youth across China. Everyday we get closer to our final destination which is Kashgar...Last night we got booted off someone's property at 11:30 pm so we had to move our camp to another location...We are going to start a little later today because our sleep was disrupted...Wish us luck as we cross the desert and keep on pushing west. All the best!
Ho Young and Hayes.
We have reached Qinghai lake and we are spending the night in a beautiful grass field surrounded by horses. We met a gentlemen who owns the property and he said we could spend the night. We are currently at an elevation of 3000 meters, so it is going to be a little chilly...I didn't pack any warm clothes and I have a sleeping bag liner to keep me warm.....
The stars out here are spectacular and in the distance we can hear instrumental music that sets the mood for a relaxing evening. It is a special place and we wish our friends and family could be here with us to share this beautiful setting.
All day we were climbing and visiting families along our way to Qinghai Lake. We met one gentlemen who is disabled and he has always wanted to have a basketball to shoot around in his local community. He is 25 years old and today he received his first basketball.
We made a stop at a local farm and we saw three kids working hard. We came bombing down a dirt path with our bikes and the haul 2 play circus had arrived! They had a pet goat without a name, but I told them the name "Louie" had a nice touch. We gave the two boys a basketball and the little girl a frisbee. They were very polite and this was the first time they have ever seen foreigner...
我们在当地一个农场停了一站，看到有三个小孩子正在卖力干活。我们跌跌撞撞地骑车超过一条很脏的道路，告诉他们我们“haul 2 play circus”来了！他们有只宠物小羊，没有给它起名字，我告诉他们就叫它“Louie”吧。我们给了两个男孩子一个篮球，那个女孩子一个飞盘。他们非常有礼貌，这也是他们平生第一次见到外国人…
We made a stop in the city of Huangyuan and we met a few friends. We played basketball and soccer with the children before continuing our push towards Qinghai Lake.
Today was one of our more difficult riding days...We were climbing hills at a high elevation and we were battling a strong headwind. At times we felt like we were going backwards....however, the scenery is stunning which makes the forces of nature extinct.
We will be touring around the northwest section of the lake tomorrow. There are many cyclists around the area who are getting ready to cycle around the lake. We might not be the fastest, but we ride with passion and our spirits can never be broken...Haul 2 Play signing off.
明天我们将在青海湖的西北部骑行。这一带的骑行者特别多，他们准备环湖骑行。我们可能不是最快的，但是我们有激情，我们的精神永垂不朽…这就是我们“We Haul 2 Play”的宣言！
Today we made a stop at the post office in Ledu to pickup equipment and the locals were surprised to see the "loawais." I over heard a conversation between two old cats about their thoughts about our journey..."Zhèxiē wàiguó rén shì fēngle baby! These foreigners are crazy baby! Wǒ zhīdà máoróngrōng de rén yǐjīng shīqùle tā de tóunǎo...I know...the hairy one has lost his mind..." My favorite part of our journey has been interacting with the people. We are so blessed to have this opportunity to give back and tour this amazing country.
It is important to be alert at all times when you are on the road...Yesterday, a crazy pig got loose out of his pen and was running around the road embracing his freedom...The pig almost got hit by a car and almost speared Ho Young off his bike....but in the end no harm was done to the pig or Ho Young...My job is to protect my student, but wild pigs....I can't control! This trip has been very educational for Ho Young and myself. We are learning about the land, religion, history of cities, inhabitants of specific regions and cultural traditions. Ho Young has also been learning that if a women thinks you are 24 years old, you kindly respond by saying, "actually I am 27 years old finishing up medical school and volunteering my spare time to humanitarian work..." Ho Young is eager to learn and is an individual who is true to himself. I respect that quality about him because at times people tend to lose themselves and veer off in the wrong direction...but Mr.Yoo has strong beliefs that guide him in the right direction and it has been a privilege to ride along side this amazing young man.
I feel blessed that I have the privilege to follow my dreams and share my passion with the people of China. It is difficult to predict the outcome of our efforts, but I hope it provides people with an opportunity to enjoy themselves and feel inspired by our energy. It is important to share your passion because you never know whose life you will change....
Tomorrow we will be heading out to Qinghai Lake which is 150 km from our destination. We will be on our horses early in the morning...goodnight.
Yesterday we said goodbye to Lanzhou and we started our journey into the west. We are now in Qinghai! We are very close to a town called Ledu and we decided to setup camp right outside the city. Today a goat ventured up to our tent to greet us for our wake up call and now we are getting ready to head into Ledu to refill the trailer at the China post.
We are starting to cycle through dry desert conditions. We are surrounded by towering mountains and we have been going through valleys cycling along the "Huang He".
Many of the towns we are passing through have many abandoned factories and closed down businesses. The further we go west we tend to see more struggling communities; however, the people we meet are very encouraging and are excited to hear our story.
Today we are going be making many stops to handout equipment. We are going to be heading past the capital of Qinghai which is Xining and heading closer to Qinghai Lake. Time to get pedaling...."let's go Ho Young!"
Ho Young outside of a town called Hong Gu.
These nice ladies cooked us a great meal. This shot was taken in the town of Xihexiang outside of their restaurant.
We are now in Lanzhou and we arrived yesterday afternoon. We are excited to hit the road every morning and we are feeling stronger than ever. Your support motivates us to cycle with passion and we thank you for following our journey across China thus far...This picture was taken on the Zhongshan bridge which crosses the second largest river in China known as the "Huang He".
Yesterday we encountered rain, but throughout our trip mother nature has been on our side. I forgot to bring my rain jacket so I purchased a stylish Chinese raincoat to stay dry...They actually work quite well and I find myself becoming more Chinese everyday.
Our first day of our trip some kids told me I look like a "laohu" which means tiger in Chinese....so I decided to introduce myself as "laohu" anytime I interact with the children. They think it's hilarious so the name will stay for a short while.
We have now cycled over 2300 km and we are now moving into the wild west! Cheers to the adventure that is still to come....Zaijian!
Today we woke up to beautiful scenery and we had a very peaceful sleep. Many farmers that were out early in the fields were puzzled of our existence....We had some fruit for breakfast and then we jumped on the saddle.
We met many cyclists today...A few gentlemen had the Truong Huynh setup of plastic bags for panniers and one duffle bag on the back rack....The only thing missing was a oil can and hammer dangling from the handle bars....When I compare our bikes to other travelers, we are rocking mobile homes....
我们今天遇到了很多骑车的人…有几个人的装扮像Truong Huynh 一样，用塑料袋当侧边篮，后面的架子上放一个帆布包…只差一个油罐子和挂在自行车把手上的锤子…和他们比起来，我们的车子强多了，简直就是移动的家。
We covered a lot of ground through the mountains and we stopped for our daily Muslim fix in a city called Hui Ning. I ordered a dish that is typically for two and the owner believed that it was too much food for one person...l tried making a bet with the owner that if I finish the plate, I would get one free...but he learned quickly that I can put away large amounts of meat.... It was a great place and the owner gave us a little tour of the city to make sure we continued on the right path.
After lunch we continued up into the mountains. The scenery has been unbelievable....We are surrounded by beautiful canyons and valleys. Everywhere you look is stunning and the uphill climbs don't seem so strenuous when your views are so spectacular.
The children throughout the mountains work very hard at a very young age. I thought I worked hard when I was young delivering papers three times a week....It is nice to perform a random act of kindness to these people and they always offer something in return.
We are getting very close to Qinghai! We are looking forward to jumping in the lake and going for a swim! We are pushing hard up these hills everyday and we are looking forward to the road ahead of us.....Jiayou baby!
Elevation of 2075 meters outside of Ding Xi....it was an unreal
Beautiful lady working in the fields of Gangsu.