12-Jul-2006 -- 39N – 108E Inner Mongolia，China
Line Hunting Date: July 12, 2006
The 8th confluence point of the Heart-of-China Expedition
This point was visited on the early evening of day 12 of our expedition. After an easy morning in Yinchuan (银川) including a visit of the tomb of Xi Xia kingdom, we resumed our drive toward Beijing.
We crossed Yellow river for the 11th time since the start of our trip and entered Inner Mongolia. We headed east on national highway 109 for about150 km and turned south toward the confluence point about 28 km away. Around 7 pm, we were still 3.2 km away from the confluence point after exhausted all the road, and faced with a fenced off area of mixed desert and grassland. There was not enough daylight left to hike to the confluence point and back. This is when the mountain bike on the back of our car came to the rescue.
Ray jumped on the bike and headed toward the nearest house to find a entrance to the fenced off area. A Mongolia family was at home and they gave permission enter their land. The first half of the bike ride on dried mud trial and grassland was easy going. However the second half of the approach was a rather strenuous effort as the ground turn to loose sand. The last 400 meters was a real struggle with biking speed no better than a leisure walk except 10 times the effort and sweat. The confluence point was reached after 20 minutes – a new record for slow biking speed.
After rejoining the waiting party right at sun down, we headed to the nearby county capital of Er Tou Ke Qi (鄂托克旗) and found a nice and empty hotel and called it the day. This turned out to be an interesting “Qi” or “flag” (equivalent to a county reflecting the Mongolian tradition of using flags to designate each location). This area is a major dairy production center and majority of the residents are Mongolian (uncommon in Inner Mongolia). The streets are cleaner than other rural counties we ever visited in Northern China. We had a late dinner at a Mongolian restaurant and had several interesting dishes we never had before. This is another fine example of interesting culture experience as a result of line hunting
Rating of this hunt :
Degree of Challenge:
3 – running of day light and trying to reach the point by bicycle on sandy ground made it more challenging than necessary (1= very easy - drive to the point; to 5= a death march – glad it is over)
2 – mixed desert and grassland (Scale: 1= not interesting at all; 5= take your breath away)
4 – A community of strong Mongolian culture, somewhat unexpected in this part of China (Scale: 1=dull; 5= most stimulating)