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.
3 thoughts on “Driving Snow, China’s Energy Crossroads, and the Desert End of the Great Wall: 16 Photos from the Road”
One of the most entertaining, exciting and informative of your blogs. Pictures are terrific, captions relevant and insightful.
I’ve been impressed by the massive scale of infrastructure in China, especially in comparison to the recent obstruction even of maintenance and repair by the R’s in US Congress.
Thank you Forrest, glad you continue to be safe and held in your adventure. The photos really bring me in to your beautifully told story. You are often in my thoughts and prayers!