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.