7.09.01
55 km
5 hrs

Spent the day in Ali resupplying. Food, bike tires, internet (brand new in town), and made frequent trips to restaurants. At dinner JP, an American student from Kalamazoo, who spoke Chinese, stuck up conversation with some officers from the People’s Liberation Army.  Next thing we’ve got our 2 tables pulled together.  The officers are ordering loads of food and rounds of Pabst Blue Ribbon. After a big toast the officers loaded the table with more beer and departed with instructions to the owner that anything else we ate or drank was to go on the Army’s tab.
We are now legal after Ali. We paid a $45 “fine” to the chief of police for traveling in a restricted area of China and he gave us travel permits.  
week 4:  road to ali
7.05.01
71 km
6.6 hrs
Clear day, late start. Washed yesterday’s mud off my bike in a river, changed brake pads, let clothing dry. Yesterday’s mud still around; first 6km took 1 hour but sun dried the roads by noon. Over pass (5400m) at 11k, then 60km of slow downhill. Running out of good food, down to mostly rice and noodles. Next town with stores 300km. To bed a bit hungry. Partial eclipse of the moon tonight.
7.06.01
72 km
6.6 hrs
First english speakers we’d seen in 17 days.  Tourist,  2 Dutch and an American in a Jeep headed our direction. Brought some pieces of good news: Martin is 200km behind us and doing well, also Rotok check point should be easy to pass without problem. Camped at a lake with ducks, flies, and mosquitos, made me nostalgic for Michigan. So busy cycling, camping, etc. sometimes I have to remind myself I’m in Tibet. Full moon tonight.
 
 
7.07.01
74 km
7.3 hrs
Early start, long day. Hoping to reach Ali day after tomorrow. Dust storm hit us 3km from Rotok. The wind was too strong to ride against, had to push.  Cross paths with a French geologist said checkpoint in Rotok is no longer an problem for travelers. First hotel room in a long time. Hope the PSB does not burst in at 2AM.
7.08.01
76 km
9 hrs
Nothing ever goes according to plan here, there is no normal day of cycling; mud, hail, rain, wind, rocks, river crossings, mechanical problems, dust storms. Today it was rocks – a road covered with them. Averaged under 5 mph over 9 hours. Hard, slow, typical. Crossed the 1000 km marker on road 219. I peed on it. Later the PSB pulled us over, said lots to us in Chinese, checked our passports, then indicated we needed to go to Ali and talk to the PSB there.  I think it’s just too big of a pain in the ass for them to kick us out.  It’s 1000 km either way.  Ali tomorrow thank god.
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The road from the Askay Qin to the regional capital of Ali is a rolling jeep trail through classic Tibetan scenery; barren hills, sharp shadows, turquoise lakes, and high passes (the highest of the trip at 5400 m).  It’s beautiful riding, but slow going.
route
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