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China : Sìchuān Shěng

4.9 km (3.0 miles) SE of Longzhen, Sìchuān, China
Approx. altitude: 450 m (1476 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest Multimap world confnav)
Antipode: 30°S 76°W

Accuracy: 5 m (16 ft)
Click on any of the images for the full-sized picture.

#2: From the confluence point looking north, east south and west / 交汇点以北、以东、以南及以西的风景 #3: (l to r): Zhao Wanhui, "Happy", "Small Boy" Larry, Li Longchuan, Yuan Lei, Tom Donovan, Peter Snow Cao, Chen Naxin, Mike Tan, Godspeed / 点之猎者(由左至右): 赵万辉,张玫,小儿郎,李龙川,袁磊, Tom Donov #4: Walking bikes along the rice terraces and cliff on the way to the confluence / 在稻田和峭壁间,扛车而行 #5: Closing in on the confluence, turn off the main road and a big climb / 主干道,向小路奔攀交点 #6: Dusty roads, enthusiastic riders - taking a middle of the road break - Larry lending a helping hand / 沙尘滚滚,骑风不减及小儿郎助人为乐 #7: Group photo and GPS at the confluence point / 交汇点,长征者的笑容和G.P.S #8: Boat on the Fu River and fields full of flowering rapeseed / 府河船家和灿烂的油菜花 #9: Panoramic view of terraced fields on the way to the confluence / 山川秀丽——梯田风光 #10: On the bus - back in Chengdu - Victory dinner / 人车共处 11、回到成都 12、庆功宴

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  30°N 104°E (visit #1)  

#1: X marks the spot of the confluence looking south as we saw it from the trail / 交汇点以南的光景

(visited by Peter Snow Cao, Mei Zhang, Lei Yuan, Tom Donovan, Longchuan Li, godspeed540, Naxin Chen, Michael Tan, Xiaoerlang "Small Boy" Larry and Wanhui Zhao)

Chinese Narrative

22-Feb-2003 -- This is the third confluence point to be visited in Sichuan Province. I (Peter Snow Cao) sent out an invitation to my Bike China Adventures tour guides, the members of the local football (soccer) team, and several other friends. The plan was to cycle the 100+ kilometers to the confluence point and then return by bus. Several people expressed interest, but with a 7:15 AM start time and it being early Saturday morning, I had my doubts on the number of people that would actually show up.

It was still dark at 7:15 when I arrived at our meeting place, across from the U.S. Consulate. Assembling at that early hour were an astounding ten of us. Four of us had been on pervious confluence hunts: Peter Snow Cao, Chen Naxin, Godspeed, and Xiaoerlang "Small Boy" Larry. New to the act of confluencing were: Li Longchuan, Mike Tan, Tom Donovan, Yuan Lei, Zhang "Happy" Mei, and Zhao Wanhui.

The maps indicated that 30°N 104°E lay SSW of Chengdu about 74 km, as the crow flies. I had decided to make this a bike and bus confluence hunt where we would cycle to the point and then return to Chengdu by bus. I knew the roads were in pretty good condition for the first half the route to Huanglongxi (means Yellow Dragon Stream). The second half was unknown.

We had a fast start, with everyone eager to hit the road. Due to the massive road construction in and around Chengdu, streets change frequently and what was once a standard way is obliterated. This resulted in a bit of confusion at the beginning having use a pedestrian bridge to cross over the airport expressway.

We stopped at a small town on the outskirts of Chengdu, where we bought some water, mianbao (steamed bread), xifan (rice porridge), and baozi (meat filled bread). At this point, our group broke up into two groups using different roads. The fast riders used the big, new wide road, while the rest of us used the old road. We used the mobile phones to keep in contact agreeing to meet in Hunaglongxi.

The day was turning out to be a good one, with temperatures climbing from 14°C to a high of 21°C. The sun was out, a rare occurrence in Chengdu, so everyone’s spirits were high. The road was lined with farmland filled with farmers attending the rice, winter wheat, and rapeseed in bloom with yellow flowers. Oxen are still used in this area as work animals.

As we approached Huanglongxi, and elderly couple was beside the road. The woman was sitting on the flatbed of a tricycle and the man was trying to push her up the hill, but had given up because the hill was too steep. Larry stopped to help. As Larry pushed the tricycle from behind, the old man steered and expressed his gratitude for the help. Tom brought up the rear by carrying his bike while pushing Larry’s.

Arriving in Hunaglongxi at 10:30 AM, the ten of us regrouped and talked about the ways we had come while munching on bananas and snacks. Chen Naxin was very hungry and eagerly ate Tom’s extra mainbao. We discussed the next part of the route. The direct route was 55 km away and passed through a series of small towns: Fuhe, Jiangdu, Jiangkou, Huangfeng, Liren, Guangxiang, to where the 30° N 104°E confluence lie in Longzheng.

The locals said the road was not in good condition; it was a rock and dirt road full of pot holes. Fortunately, traffic was light, so dust was not a big problem. We followed the Fu River, over lightly rolling terrain. At Jiangdu a new road was being built but not yet open to traffic. We climbed over the barrier and cycled on a much better road to Jiangkou. We arrived in Jiangkou at about noon and everyone was hungry. Godspeed and Yuang Lei got flat tires at the same time, so while they fixed them Larry went in search of noodle restaurant.

It turned out to be in the old section of Jiangkou, that dates back to the Ming dynasty where it was a military strong hold. We descended on the restaurant with a vengeance as everyone had worked up a big appetite. The cook was making noodles as fast as he could but couldn’t keep up with the demand. In the end, the ten of us consumed 18 bowls.

We consulted the local intelligence on the road conditions to Longzheng. The direct route reportedly had more bad roads while the long way was all good roads but an extra 15 km. There was a discussion on which way we should go. Four people wanted take the good roads, while the rest of us wanted the bad roads. It looked like we were going to split up again, but in the end everyone decided to take the bad-road route.

The road to Huangfeng was newly paved road over rolling hills through picturesque farmland, truly a pleasant surprise after the rough road we covered. In Huangfeng, we stopped for another snack of oranges. Larry bought several kilos, and loaded them in his rear baskets.

The locals said the next section was going to be rough, and they weren’t kidding. It was a series of steep hills on rough dirt. Going down provided a vigorous hand massage as we gripped the handlebars for dear life. The oranges in Larry’s baskets were bouncing around like mad and several jumped out and rolled down the hill after him.

This was Happy’s first long ride and she was doing very well, never complaining and always smiling. Her friends, Yuang and Zhao, provided a non-stop encouragement and gave advice on how to make the cycling easier and more comfortable. Li said that his wife wanted to come along, but she was afraid that the distance would be too far for her.

When we arrived in Longzheng, it was almost 4 PM and we were 3.5 km from the confluence. We had about two hours light to track down the confluence and then find a bus back to Chengdu. I knew from experience that the tracking down the way to the confluence through fields can be very time consuming. It looked like time was going to be tight.

We cycled east along a new four-lane divided highway that felt like riding on glass after the last 40 km of rough roads. The distance to the confluence point was dropping fast and arrow was swinging to the right. There were several big hills in the direction of the confluence. At 1.46 km away, the arrow was pointing due south, and we stopped for directions. Chen asked a local if there were any roads leading in that way. The old man said there was a small dirt track about one kilometer up the road.

We took off and had to climb a fairly steep hill. At the top there was a turnoff just like the man said. There was another steep climb and most people walked their bikes up. At this point we were 1.8 km away, so we had lost some ground. There was a small dirt track running more or less level along the ridge. From where we were, it looked like the confluence was beyond the next big hill.

The small track turned into a footpath between fields of rice and rapeseed with pine trees on the hills. We followed the GPS arrow over hill and through dale. The path lead to a road and we followed it a short distance where it ended at a stone quarry. Backtracking, we found another footpath up a steep hill and lugged our bikes to the top of that. At this point it was 5:15 PM and we were still 800 meters away with no clear way to get there.

The view from the top showed that our objective was down in a valley. While the others were catching up, Tom and Godspeed volunteered to scout out two separate paths. Godspeed’s trail panned out and after 200 meters we stumbled across a small road leading in the direction of the confluence. This was a terrific break, and we eagerly peddled along it watching the distance to the confluence point drop fast.

The road curved around a small valley and we were about ride within 43 meters of the confluence which lay in a middle of a terraced planted field. We brought our bikes down into the field for the final spotting. Several local boys joined us in the celebration and poised with us for victory photos. A nearby cabbage head provided a convenient but odd looking stand for my camera as I set it up for a self-timed group photo.

By now it was 6 PM. The sky was clouding up fast and the light was fading. As usual, we were able to find a much easier way out, cycling along a narrow, but paved road into the town of Longzheng. There we found a bus that agreed to take all of us and our bikes to Meishan, the small city 18 kilometers away where we thought we could catch another bus back to Chengdu. We loaded the confluence hunters in front and the ten bikes in the back of the bus where, fortunately, it had only short benches.

When we arrived in Meishan, it was 7:30 PM and dark. We were dropped off at the bus station, but it was deserted, not a good sign. The local bus drivers said there would not be another bus to Chengdu until tomorrow morning. Spending the night in Meishan was not on the agenda, so we asked around for other ideas. One of the bus drivers said we could ride to the edge of town to the Leshan-Chengdu Expressway ramps and wait for a bus dropping off passengers to stop and maybe get a ride that way.

With no other choices, we slowly made our way through the dark to the highway. The road was about a 20-minute ride out of town. At the toll gates the attendants told us conflicting stories about where to get a ride. So between the ten of us we working on all fronts on getting back to Chengdu. Larry was manning the off-ramps, Zhao and Yuang were checking with a student truck driving school for an available truck and driver, while Happy waited at the on-ramp toll gates looking for an empty truck heading to Chengdu.

After about 30 minutes, Happy hit the jackpot with an empty canvas-covered truck heading to Chengdu and was thoroughly applauded . We piled the bikes and eight of us volunteered to ride in back. The canvas cover had some small holes in it so I could monitor our progress by sticking the GPS outside the truck. We used a bike light in the back so it wasn’t pitch black inside. The noise from the truck prevented any conversation, so we reviewed the day’s events on our digital cameras.

At about 9:30 PM, the driver dropped us off at the end of Chengdu. Tom and Li were ready to go home while the rest of us decided to go to a local restaurant for a victory dinner of noodles and barbecue. It was a fitting end to a great day and a successful confluence hunt.

I would like to express my appreciation to all those participating, and hearty congratulations for a successful confluence hunt.

Chinese Narrative

22-Feb-2003 -- 百里河山,一口气拿下     二OO三年二月廿二日

目的地:北纬30度东经104度交汇点。据地图上显示离它最近的小镇——龙镇,与成都直线距离74公里,自行车程120余公里。

职务分配:曹雪磊。 财务:赵万辉。 摄影:陈纳新。 殿后:小儿郎。参加总人数:10人。

且看咱们每个人的心路历程吧!

一、曹彼特:清晨7:15在美领馆门前摸黑集合,居然来了十员大将。其中还有娇娃一名,足见本人魅力不凡。人多就势众,相对的,责任大增,压力不轻啊!来者有六个新手,不知道他们的车况和耐力能否支持如此长途的跋涉?咦,小儿郎换了辆铝质新车,看样子不会再任意抛锚拖我们的后腿了。

成都的道路在大力整顿之中,平常的路都在改道,我们得扛车翻车过往双流机场的高速路才出得了城。在路边小摊用了早餐。出发后不久,队伍很快就失控了。我用手机与那批在马路上冲锋的骑士们联络,约定途中在黄龙溪会合。我个人比较偏好人少的乡野小道,安静不说,还可欣赏沿途的人物、风光。沿途路况平坦,但见油菜花儿盛开,碧绿的枝干撑着灿黄的花朵,一片片的展示在农舍之间,风姿招展。快到黄龙溪时,我们遇见一对愁眉苦脸的老夫妇,老妞儿坐在板车上,老爷子面对着陡坡直摇头。助人为快乐之本,几下子我们就摆平了这场面,众人皆大欢喜。10点半,队伍重新会合。往江口的路颠得很,两匹马儿不幸同时爆胎。由江口往龙镇的路前半段极好而后半段简直可以“惊心动魄”来形容。坡度极大不说,且路面遍布鹅卵石,骑士们遭到了最大的考验。黄丰是柑橘产地,向农民购得一个月前的剩货,居然出奇的汁多味美。行行重行行,又翻过了包含了峭壁的两座山,终于在天黑前,达成了任务。我将我那新购的相机小脚架搁在一颗饱满的包心菜上,用数码相机拍下了一张风尘仆仆的团体照。

二、李龙川:第一次参加这疯子似的行程,累坏了!所幸爱妻没来成,否则罪可有得受。我是租的车,没车筐,把水寄放在一个傻大个儿那儿又被偷喝,亏大了!不过全程刺激好玩儿,整天与电脑机械打交道,能有机会出城走走也挺不错。以后还要再来参加磨练,也许能怂恿我那伴儿也来试试。

三、袁磊:是谁说的,路很好走,教我骑了那细轮赛车前来。它在平路上表现不俗,但碰上了石子路,还是极陡的上下坡,可把我整惨了!两手发麻不说,就连整个心肺都几乎被震飞。我那挑战极限的车技几乎没有发挥的余地。但无论如何我还能赶在队伍的前头,为后面的大哥大姐们打气。

四、陈纳新:在这快速前进的队伍中,摄影可不是人干的。每人的平均时速达到30公里,焦距还没对好,人就不见了。每一停顿,要再追上去可又得辛苦半天,想要拍些古镇江口的优美景色更是难上加难。这种疲于奔命的旅游方式得有改良的必要了。半途,肚子饿得难受,所幸Tom的口粮丰盛,讨得了聊以充饥的包子。总体说来,整日在电脑前操作的时间过长,能把握一个锻炼的机会,也是难得。应该长此以往,能增强体魄不说,还能保持个好身段。

五、Tom Donovan:从纽约州老家Glen Falls来到成都西南民院学中文已有一年多了,今天还是头一次有机会同这批骑手同游。我虽然糖尿、肾脏诸病缠身,骑车却难不到我。你不瞧,我总是走在前面领队?Larry的嗓门可见不小,单单一句“嗨哟咿唷咿唷哼嗨哟”就唱了半个小时。不过,这支歌的韵律颇佳,学起来很容易。在回城的路上,我还能跟大伙儿合着轮唱呢!

六、伍士凌:别的不说,骑车的速度和冲锋陷阵的能力,我可一点儿也不含糊。今天可把我乐颠了,在别人都在叫苦的当头,我却好象上到了天堂。本来嘛!在车技上高人一等,的确值得炫耀。何况队伍当中我的年龄还是最小的呢!听说和小儿郎一般,并列19岁。此乃后生可畏,前途不可限量。但是也不能志得意满,得继续加强锻炼才是。

七、张玫:要不是老赵借了我他那最好的车子和伙伴们的不断鼓励,我这无车阶级可还无缘与众英雄们共赴沙场呢!很幸运的我来了,又满载而归。有人笑我,吃碗面还要补妆,简直是臭美!可当看到我后来在险象环生的陡坡上英勇奋战,英姿飒爽;在悬崖上骑车、扛车;又在夜黑风高的夜晚拦下回城的货车为大伙儿建奇功的表现,令那些大男人们刮目相看。如此精彩的旅游,令人毕生难忘。身为万绿丛中一点红的我,为群体生色,更为女性争光。总的来说,面对这次别开生面的挑战,能够努力坚持下来,今后再艰难的事儿,恐怕也都能应对自如了吧?

八、赵万辉:莫名其妙的来了,又匆匆忙忙的回去了,感觉到一种盲从的悲哀。没时间欣赏沿途的风光不说,连哼哼小调的心情都谈不上啊!对了,小儿郎介绍的那首Tumba,可是个节奏鲜明的合唱曲。 颇有电影上印地安人鼓舞士气的战歌的味道。今天的行程对我这个足球健将而言,只能算是小菜一碟,能让我赵某人叫苦的境遇还很难碰上几回。

九、谭朝晖:对于骑了一部笨重又无后坐力的老车,还带着腰椎键盘突出毛病的我而言,这趟百余公里的车程,可真教我耗尽了吃奶的力气,可以称幸的是再苦再累我还是坚持下来了。这回感触最深的是见到众人团队精神的发扬,爆胎了,大家群策群力一齐来补;有人饿了,他人慷慨解囊,是一群可以患难与共的好朋友。最后,我腿痛难行,又有人不断鼓励着我不泄气的跟进。他因此遭到领队的指责不说,还没能跟上队伍抵达交汇点。结果他却说他追求的只是过程罢了,令人很是感动。

十、小儿郎:在此次旅程中向曹队长学到一个新词:“sweep”。他说在自行车旅游行业中,这个词是殿后的意思。几经思考,这“将一切扫光”的含义也就更为有趣。写下以上的人物心态,也算是“殿后拾遗”吧。

2003年3月 小儿郎写于四川 成都

(有关“探点”活动的起源,请查看31°N,104°E记录后面的说明)


 All pictures
#1: X marks the spot of the confluence looking south as we saw it from the trail / 交汇点以南的光景
#2: From the confluence point looking north, east south and west / 交汇点以北、以东、以南及以西的风景
#3: (l to r): Zhao Wanhui, "Happy", "Small Boy" Larry, Li Longchuan, Yuan Lei, Tom Donovan, Peter Snow Cao, Chen Naxin, Mike Tan, Godspeed / 点之猎者(由左至右): 赵万辉,张玫,小儿郎,李龙川,袁磊, Tom Donov
#4: Walking bikes along the rice terraces and cliff on the way to the confluence / 在稻田和峭壁间,扛车而行
#5: Closing in on the confluence, turn off the main road and a big climb / 主干道,向小路奔攀交点
#6: Dusty roads, enthusiastic riders - taking a middle of the road break - Larry lending a helping hand / 沙尘滚滚,骑风不减及小儿郎助人为乐
#7: Group photo and GPS at the confluence point / 交汇点,长征者的笑容和G.P.S
#8: Boat on the Fu River and fields full of flowering rapeseed / 府河船家和灿烂的油菜花
#9: Panoramic view of terraced fields on the way to the confluence / 山川秀丽——梯田风光
#10: On the bus - back in Chengdu - Victory dinner / 人车共处 11、回到成都 12、庆功宴
ALL: All pictures on one page (broadband access recommended)