Du - Ku Road - The Bikepacking Route In Xin - Jiang CH12




There’s heavy traffic with large trucks soon as I passed the village. I planned to wake up earlier to avoid traffics and burning sunshine. However, your companion's plan is not always be the same as yours, and it can even be said that it is usually different. So it’s said that a good travel companion is always difficult to find, even some people say that travel would ruin  friendship and even romance. My long-lost companion, Xiaolong, plans differently from me.



Just as I packing up after finished my breakfast, “Are you in hurry? If it’s not, the distance seems not too long today- only 50km, I’d like to play my ukulele for a while.” Xiaolong said. I thought to myself, "It's a bit late now, and today's mileage should not only be 50km, but more than 90km.” I knew he would not check the mileage carefully as we chatted before. Xiaolong is a quite good companion, it’s not because of we rode at similar speed or he got lots of experience, we share the same philosophy- it’s always okay to separate if we got different goal. I intended to start earlier, but it’s fate that we meet up again, I would like to finish DuKu road with him. To avoid large truck is my only reason and I’m definitely not in hurry since it’s last day of the trip. “No hurry, take your time playing.” I said. I go back to the tent for rest and listen to the melodious singing of Xiaolong and his ukulele. It’s such an exceptional leisurely morning I thought.


After the melodious music of Xiaolong stopped, we started to pack up and head for the last attraction of Duku road, the grand canyon of Kuche. The canyon is a scenic area which costs about 100 dollar for entry. I’m not a fan of scenic area, so does  Xiaolong. The Internet guide indicates there’s a deserted canyon 1km away from the scenic area, and the scenery is basically the same. I haven't been to the grand canyon  of Kuche, but the scenic of this canyon is spectacular. Walking in the red canyon gives me an unrealistic feeling, especially for a person who was in the snow-capped mountain and grassland two days ago. The red rock wall made me think of flames, just like Mountain of Fire in my imagination. Xiaolong has even deeper thoughts. He said that the bare mountains were like corpses and he thinks it’s a scary scenery. In his hometown, the mountains are green, and those mountains seems young. The bare, flaming mountains here were dead mountains. People goes into their bodies and dig their internal organs (coal mines). When I heard him say this, I was shocked. Xiaolong, it's a pity that you don't write an article. Let me convey your idea to everyone.


We soon faced gentle ascent after leaving the canyon. Xiaolong slows down due to his heavy luggage. He has to get off and pushes the bike sometimes. The speed gap between us grows and I decided to ride in the forefront. Soon I learned I will never met him before we arrived the destination if I go on like this. Therefore I stopped at a restaurant to wait Xiaolong for a lunch together, then told him that I would ride to Kuche’s hotel and wait for him. He accepted the proposal and we each go on riding on our own.


It was a boring route- there are Yardang and wrinkled landform in surrounding area but none of them catches my interest, plus upwind and a bit rainy. I just want to arrive the hotel earlier and get a full cleanup after whole week of riding. Finally I arrived Kuche security checkpoint, I heard that the security check was very strict here and my gas can might be found. Fortunately it just like other checkpoint, the bags on the bike will not be checked. Eventually I entered Kuche safely and ended this dream-like trip of Duku road.


There’s no cheap hotel for foreigner in Kuche, we got cheaper stay by the help of Xiaolong- he uses local app for discounted price something like 179RMB. Xiaolong could stay in local hostel for much cheaper price like 40RMB, so I asked him to share my room for the same price. I told him I can finally take a clean bath after have my body unwashed whole week and he replies “I haven’t taken any bath after leaved Urumqi, it’s 2 whole weeks!”. No doubt it’s the man who will continue riding the dessert road to Tibet, you got my respect! I just plan to see what the dessert look like then going back home.


I’ve been back to my work in Japan when you read this article. I’ve shortened my trip due to other reasons, but I think this breakpoint is quite good. After riding the Duku road into the city, I felt a sense of being pulled back to reality. The beautiful experience on Duku road is quickly eroded. The trip would become not so perfect if I continue to ride on the highway and in the city traffic. It's better to let the memories stay at this moment. As for the scenery of the desert highway, check the video posted by my best pal on the road- Xiao Long. Hope he travels safely and lead us to see the fantastic scenery of the Tibet highway.

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