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  1. #1 China, West to East (Urumqi,Xining,Xian,Yantai) 
    C-Moto Regular cryptographicide's Avatar
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    China, West to East

    It seems that everyone who comes to China and wants to travel eventually starts talking about tibet and Lhasa. I'm no different, but in the end we decided to skip Tibet on a motorcycle. We did it the regular way. But we still wanted to get a big Chinese bike trip in. So here is the plan in short: Take a train from Yantai, Shandong to Lhasa. Spend a few days in Lhasa, then take another train to Urumqi, Xinjiang. We meet the bike in Urumqi, having sent it there the week ahead of time. Then we ride from Urumqi to Yantai. Baidu maps says it's 4500km. Simple enough. I'm going to be working on putting the ride report together in the next few days.

    1995 Suzuki Intruder (2005-Present){Canada}
    2003 Daelim Daystar (2011-2012){S. Korea}
    2014 Jialing 200 GY5A (2015-Present) {China}
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  2. #2 China, West to East (Urumqi,Xining,Xian,Yantai) Prep 
    C-Moto Regular cryptographicide's Avatar
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    Prep
    The first thing I had to do was ship the bike to Urumqi. Sending the bike was tedious and annoying but not difficult by China standards. I looked into sending it by truck, my first quote was 4000元. That guy got a huge "No thanks". I checked out some of the larger, national chains. Their cheapest price was 2300元。 So, I cruised on down to my local train station and asked China Rail Express. I said my bike is 230cc. They said, oh that's an oversize bike, the rate is extra. The weight of the bike is determined from the engine size. They said sending a 230cc bike (1cc=1kg, according to them) would be 1700元 + insurance. Insurance was 1元 for every 100元 that the bike costs. So, if you want 20000元 insurance, it costs 200元。They didn't want it wrapped or packaged or crated. They said the top box could be shipped but it and it's contents are not insurable. The shipping time would be about 6-10 days. I just roll the bike into the station, they do the rest. The bike can't have fuel or a battery on it. All Cool Baby.

    So I return ten days before I am to pick it up in Urumqi and give them the bike. However, this time, I tell them that this bike is a 125cc bike. The engine size isn't printed anywhere on the bike, except in tiny letters over the exhaust pipe. It says JH-200GY. Those numbers are mostly meaningless, right. But 125cc is a pretty standard size and no one questions it. For that little bit of cheating, I saved 500元。 The fuel needed to be syphoned and the battery had to be removed. There wasn't a bit of fuel left but the old fat guy who was ordering all the other younger guys around needed to make a point, so I had to buy a cheap towel and put it in and take it out a few times to show that it indeed was dry inside. Tedious but not difficult. This is a picture of me, a small distance from the door of the station (more safety) showing the old man, who is standing in the door, that it is indeed dry.


    I also sent our helmets, the tent, and my body armour with the bike as a separate package.

    Here is a gif or our packing and all the things we took with us. Save for the tent and sleeping bags, this is all we took with us.
    Last edited by cryptographicide; 08-17-2015 at 08:54 AM. Reason: Replace photo links
    1995 Suzuki Intruder (2005-Present){Canada}
    2003 Daelim Daystar (2011-2012){S. Korea}
    2014 Jialing 200 GY5A (2015-Present) {China}
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  3. #3 Re: China, West to East (Urumqi,Xining,Xian,Yantai) Prep 
    foreign China moto dude bikerdoc's Avatar
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    No photos? If you're using hosting and linking your photos from 'onedrive' the photos don't seem to be viewable...
    Try uploading using the <insert image> button at the top of the 'Quick Reply' window to post the individual photos to the thread directly. You can control the placement of the photos by the usual text format options of where you place the cursor within the 'Quick Reply' window frame as you attach and upload each photo. You can even drag & drop a photo within the 'Quick Reply' window frame if you prefer the photo to appear in a specific location or order etc interspersed with text.
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  4. #4 Lhasa 
    C-Moto Regular cryptographicide's Avatar
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    Alright, the photos should be fixed. They are visible for me now if I'm logged into onedrive or not in both chrome and IE. If it still doesn't work, then I'll start hosting them using MCM.

    Yantai to Lhasa


    We left on June 28th, and took the daily train to Xian from Yantai. Then we stayed overnight in Xian and got on the early train to Lhasa. It was great being able to take the train. The slow increase of elevation made acclimatization easy and being able to see the country is so important for me when I travel. Just hopping from one place to another by plane takes away so much from experiencing a place. What lies behind that mountain? Are there animals? How do the people live outside of the city. It's one of the reasons that I prefer to travel by road. On a train you get to see all that. The railroad to T!b3t starts at Xining. You transfer to a diesel train and then start toward Qinghai lake. By the time you get to Qinghai, the elevation is high enough that you no longer see trees. Also, the yaks are everywhere. Hills of short, tough looking green grass roll into the horizon. Occasionally, a mountain can be seen far off. As you progress into T!b3t, these mountains get closer and more often covered in snow. Small streams like to line the hills. Again, not a tree to be seen. The clouds in T!b3t seem closer than they do elsewhere. Imagine yourself three kilometers into the sky and staring at the clouds. Flying a kite might peel off a thin wisp for you. It took 36 hours from Xian to get to Lhasa. The city of Lhasa is settled into a valley, much lower than the surrounding plateau. Potala Palace stands on a small mountain in the middle of the valley and can be seen from miles away. Because we didn't have the bike during this part of the trip, I'll just post a few pictures with some explanation and move on the the motorcycling part of the trip.






    The city of Lhasa. You can see the Potala Palace on near the center when you come into the city.



    My wife and I in front of Potala Palace



    A Nomads supper, tsampa (barley flour and yak butter, on plate), and shaptrak (raw ground yak meat, in steel bowl). Shaptrak has a really interesting taste. I'm assuming it tastes really close to raw ground beef. This dish was sweetened with honey and had some vinegar and hot peppers thrown in.



    Local architecture.







    A pass at 5600m, prayer flags at the pass.



    This is Namsto Lake, about 250 kms from Lhasa. It's a 5 hour drive, we went for a day trip as part of the tour.

    Our trip to Lhasa was good. It was really short, we only stayed 3 days. But I feel as though I saw lots of culture, not just the touristy stuff. We saw a local house and met a few families as part of the tour. I picked the ear of the guide until there wasn't a question that I already didn't know the answer to. I asked her about everything, weddings, recreation, family life, funerals. I stayed clear of some of the more political topics, though.

    If I had to do it again, I'm not sure that I would do it by motorcycle. T!b3t is huge. And, for the most part, it's all the same. It would be like driving through 2000km of Wyoming. Now, Wyoming is nice, but straight roads and unchanging scenery make the roads feel that much longer.
    Last edited by cryptographicide; 08-17-2015 at 09:00 AM. Reason: Replace photo links
    1995 Suzuki Intruder (2005-Present){Canada}
    2003 Daelim Daystar (2011-2012){S. Korea}
    2014 Jialing 200 GY5A (2015-Present) {China}
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  5. #5 Re: Lhasa 
    foreign China moto dude bikerdoc's Avatar
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    Unfortunately, it seems the photos still not displaying...
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  6. #6 Re: Lhasa 
    Senior C-Moto Guru MJH's Avatar
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    Technical difficulties...
    Last edited by MJH; 08-16-2015 at 12:11 AM.
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