Header Photo: Snowy mountains near Zhangye, Gansu, China
Lanzhou/兰州 to Jiayuguan/嘉峪关–452 km this section (Total Mileage: 6837 km/40,075 km)
The last few weeks have brought storms down upon me, and with my visa deadline looming, I decided to hitchhike and take a train through some of the more remote and energy-rich regions of Northwest China. I missed pedaling those miles, but I still learned some fascinating things about energy and climate justice in the region, stood atop the Great Wall (which means that I’m finally a true man in the eyes of Mao Zedong!), and made it through a big scary blizzard.
My route through Gansu from Lanzhou, heading Northwest. I hitchhiked through the central section, well, because…
From Jiayuguan, I took a train to Urumqi. I still hope to avoid using non-bicycle transportation as much as possible, but my visa was already running low and my run-in with the blizzard made me wary of early season passage through remote areas.
Nevertheless, I tried to be as energy-frugal as possible, hitchhiking with my trucker friends through the snowy section of Gansu and taking a train through the eastern part of Xinjiang (trains are both more energy-efficient than passenger buses and more consistently filled in China).
Sitting in my friend’s climate-controlled apartment in Xinjiang, I find myself missing all of that space I didn’t see and all those miles I didn’t pass slowly.