week 7:  to nepal
7.30.01
37 km
5.3 hrs
Left highway 219 after 1847.5 km. Took a current powered ferry across the Bhramaputra river and began the ride to the border.  Crossed 2 4900 m passes in 30 km. Pushed up most of the second one, too steep, too rocky to ride. Cooked a big dinner with fresh veggies from Saga.
7.31.01
40 km
4.5 hrs
Nice weather. The Saga short cut road shows as a “passable track” on my map, but the conditions so far have been relatively good. Headed due south today so had to fight monsoon headwinds up from the Himalaya. Camped early (3pm) for the first and only time on the trip. Drank coffee and relaxed. Getting close to border and confident we’ll make it before our visas expire.
 
 
8.1.01
47 km
6 hrs
Martin the Dane caught up with us today. We hadn’t cycled with him for over 1800km. I’m glad he caught up and he’s in good spirits. He’s given up trying to ride to Kunming and is headed to Kathmandu with us.  Great view of Shishmapagma (8000M peak) in the afternoon.
8.2.01
53 km
7 hrs
The saga short cut is a shit road, but is saves time and avoids checkpoints we don’t have permits for. It’s a jeep trail though and I was uncertain if we were going the right way today. 46 km of rocky road and a 5000 m pass brought us back to the Lhasa - Kathmandu Friendship Highway; a happy moment 2300 km from Kashgar and the end of the West Tibet road. Took a moment to celebrate as it now seems that the hard work is done. I’m back on familiar ground too, I cycled this road in 1997.
 
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8.3.01
63 km
6 hrs
Up and over our final pass in the AM, 5100 m. From here it’s a 3 day 16,000 ft descent into Nepal. It’s hard riding though; rough roads and howling monsoon headwinds. Stayed in a grubby Chinese hotel. First building we’d seen with indoor plumbing since leaving Kashgar.
 
The short cut road from Saga to the Nepal border crosses the Bhramaputra river then heads south east to join the Lhasa - Kathmandu “friendship highway”.  The route provides great views of the high Himalaya including Shishmapagma.  After countless km of climbing since leaving Kashgar we cross a final 17,000 ft pass then start the longest road descent in the world; 15,000 vertical feet into Nepal.
route
8.4.01
44 km
5.5 hrs
Plants. Have crossed into the Himalaya finally, after so long in the desert landscape of Tibet it’s amazing to see plants.  It’s dumping rain and there are waterfalls everywhere. Crossed the border to Nepal without problems and celebrated with Dahl Bhat, Coke, and Snicker’s Bars.
8.6.01
35 km
3 hrs
Each morning for the last 2 months I’d begun the ride by saying to Stephan “lets go to Kathmandu”.  Was a bit sad to say it for the last time.
 
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