Our Tracker has Sadly Ceased Operation

Hi .

Three days or so ago our InReach failed in its’ operation and will not turn on or charge, so we can only assume that the battery has failed so sorry to anyone that has been looking at it.

We are having a fantastic time with just awesome experiences and scenery. Penny is  going extremely well other then a few little head light issues that we fixed this afternoon instead of writing as planned.

We are in Zanda at the moment heading for Kashgar over the next three days.

In between altitude and driving  I have not had time to post and don’t see myself getting to it until we have a few days in Kashgar over the weekend.

So till next time sorry about the short post and thanks for following us on this adventure.

The Weather Gods Smiled Upon Us Today.

Hi .

Today was Qommlangma,  Sagarmatha, or Everest day depending whether you live in Tibet, Nepal or else where and it was the second day of the trip with clear skies and no clouds on the mountains.

The drive up over the Gyawula Pass with its 42 hairpins on the way up and 51 down the other side keep me busy and the reward at the top was the first good view of the Himalayas and that was just jaw dropping.

You are not allowed to drive to the Rongbuk Monastery any more so the last 20 k is done on the new Ecco buses.

I will let the photo’s tell the rest of the story as I can’t put it into words.

Julie will have beautiful words to describe today as I’m lost for words.

Yesterdays drive from Shigatse to New Tingri  was punctuated with a visit to the Sakya Monastery in Sa’gya about 20 k’s off the 318. Sakya is one of the 4 main sects of the Buddhist in Tibet and is recognised by the dark colouring on their houses and monasteries. It is the most important monastery for that sect because of what it holds.

Being off the beaten track this monastery has low visitor numbers and was the most authentic I have ever visited. It was so humbling to be witness to the young monks on the top story learning to play the trumpet and horns form their masters, then go to another room  with another more young monks leaning how to draw a Mandala.

We then entered the chapel of the monastery and the highlight for me was this monastery has a hugh collection of 84,000 scriptures dating back to the Sakay kings all written from 11th to 16th centuries. The walls filled with scriptures was 10 metres high and about 60 metres long.

The whole temple was constructed from timber in 11th century and the main wooden pillar are whole tree 10 metres high and bigger than 600mm in diameters. All this timber was transported here in the 11th century  as this monastery is above the tree line and in a desert area.

We returned to Tingri for the night to catch up on the blogs before heading off on the 219 into western Tibet than Kashgar.

Until next time please enjoy.

The Drive Out of Lhasa.

Hi .

What a drive today with many varied conditions. We headed north to the hot springs area but decided not to stop as we had a drive with unknown condition on route due to 150k’s of road construction and a big pass.

The 150 k’s was in various forms of completion with nothing too bad in long stretches to slow our progress. We came across the construction gang in the process of putting all the gravel in place at about 5000 metres. The crew very kindly moved their gear f the road to let us continue to the top. Stopping at the top the sign said 5300 metres but both the GPS’s in the Car and all the maps said 5440. We where both feeling very very good for the altitude with me having only a very faint headache and some people say “a head like mine should ache”.

The heads of the crew that let us through came up to the top for a look and photos and informed us that another gang was just down the other side with the road blocked. They followed us down to that gang where the road as completely blocked with a paving machine working. The 2 boss’s had a chat and told us that after they spread the next 3 trucks they would pull the machine of the road to let us through. He said that they normally don’t stop the machine to let traffic through until end of the day at 6.00pm. We felt very special so after lots of photos and looking at the engine and all we where on our way. I will let the photos show how spectacular the drive was.

Progress was great for the next hour or so through high Tibetan pastures at 4500 m’s covered in Yaks and sheep with harvest busy every where. Progress took a turn for the slow when we meet the next crew with  an paving machine closing the road with no intention of shifting for us. the option was a reroute through a couple of villages on some real local roads so we headed off piste. At one stage I let the revs get too low on Penny going up a hill and it all came to a halt with no intention of any more uphill progress. This was solve by backing down to a flat part of the climb and starting again with more revs and not slowing as much for the rough bits, this got us over the crest and back on to the road.

We arrived in in Shigatse for the night at 5 after 360k’s and not getting lunch till 3.00 pm with us all ready to eat a horse and chase the rider at that time.

In the last week or so of traveling over high passes I have worked out that engine heat is very important in a slow revving engine like Penny’s at altitude. If the temp gets too cold at altitude she has no power with very poor fuel burn. We’ve been tapping up 1/3 of the radiator and keeping the temperature over 190 F and she pulls extremely well with her going over 5440 in 2nd today and the other day she just made it over 5000 in 1st when cold at about 160F. We are lucky that we are using waterless coolant and can get to these temperatures as water boils at 181 F if not under pressure at 5000 metres

YAll in all a fantastic days traveling.

Our time in Lhasa.

Hi .

Sunday was temple and palace day. Danzeng went to the Potala Palace early to get our tickets only to find it wasn’t opening till 12.00 due to rehearsals for the 70th anniversary celebrations.

We started the day visiting the Jokhang Temple built in the 7th century. Danzeng gave a great narration as we walked through the palace with the crowds due to the Palace being closed. we entered the Temple past all the people Prostrating with some of them in the process of completeing 1,000,000,000 Prostrations during their life. Once inside there is no Photos sorry,

At the Potala Palace ticket office, Danzeng queued while we sat in the shade of a tree. Just as well we didn’t have to queue in the sun because the 12.00 opening didn’t eventuate till 1.30. Then the climb started which we both handled a lot better then expected, maybe the fact that we have been at over 3000 metres for a week paid off.

The Potala Palace also dates back 7th century in parts with it mostly being 17th century forward with bits added by each Dali Lamas until 1959 when the current Dali Lamas left for exile. I enjoyed the tour greatly however I did struggle to keep up with the history of the Dali Lamas’s, however the one things that I was in awe of was all the scriptures in the walls and some dating back to the 7th century.

Monday was planed as a driving visit to Yandork Co Lake however we call this off after Julie and I enjoyed to many cups of Chia Marsala tea which later found out is loaded with tea and caffeine that kept us both unable to sleep till 5.00am. We were too tired and had a late start wandering the alleys of the old town around the Jokhang Temple. This lead to some interesting shops brining discovered, like stumbling upon a shop that was carding the bags of wool for a local farmer so that it could be spun and woven in the village, a very small factory pressing Rape Seed for oil, and then an area that was the main market for trading dried Caterpillar Fungus, some web sites have this as the viagra of China and trades at twice the price of gold.

However the highlight for Monday was in a back alley near a hand craft shop we visited we came across 10 or 12 local working on beating brass sheet and casting lead moulds while making Buddha’s of different forms. The horse statue in the photo we found out had taken them over 2 years to complete

You can always count on local Workplace safety being a low priority when you see the cranes being used for building repair work and all the pedestrians are just walking around and under them as life goes on regardless.

Today was spent just wandering around town a while Julie visited the Nunnery then it was lunch before getting the car organised ready for an early start tomorrow, this took longer then planed with all the visitors and questions from both tourist and locals with one remembering the RallyRound group that was in Lhasa in May,

Tomorrow we head  north to Yangbajing for hot springs then over Shuga La Pass at about 5400 according to the maps we have looked at.

The next post will most likely be after we have visited Everest on Friday.  The weather is not looking great for this Friday but we are keeping our fingers crossed.