Today we have just 180 km to “The Ancient City of Dali” The road except for the last 45 km in toll and though motorcycles are allowed, pillions are not so it is the van for Sara for most of the day.
The scenery is hilly and much greener and there are lots of crops growing.
Arriving to Dali we found we were in a very nice boutique hotel and with a King bed!
First for some lunch at a roof top place.
We did a bit of a wander in the old town and up to the Ming Dynasty South gate.
Then we headed to Foreigner street where they have a wide selection of COLD beers.
The Camellia park.
The guys also managed to find a whiskey bar 2 blocks from the hotel.
It poured rain all night and was still raining heavily when we left the hotel at 730. We have 543 km to go today to Lancang and it will be very painful if it rains the whole time.
It took 40 minutes to get from the old city, thru Dali, and then onto the 214. It was still pouring initially, but only lightly raining 45 min later. By the time we stopped for breakfast after an hour it had cleared up.
It was slow going with the traffic and the very curvy road. We had only made it 250 km by the time we stopped for lunch near Mayiduixiang.
This meant at 3 pm we had 300 km to go. We left the guides behind and booked it. We got way ahead of the other 2 guys and did 150 km in 2 hours before the next break. We missed several rain showers that the other 2 managed to get soaked in.
We arrived to Lancang just after 630, got gas and headed to where the hotel was located according Toni. It was not, but we asked at several places and the last was our hotel. We checked it just before 7. We had the English name from the guides, but it was not in English on the building signage.
They were expecting us of course as Toni had called them. We had not see the other two since lunch, but I did tell them to route to the only hotel listed in the GPS, which was just around the corner. Dan went over there but there was no sign of them after 20 min and so he came back.
They did arrive there eventually about 730 and the waiter from the restaurant of the other hotel sat pillion on Trevor’s bike to show them the way to our actual hotel. They had been stopped twice for heavy rain and once for 20 min at the Military check point where they did not even stop us. We had pulled over near by to buy some drinks and they just ignored us. All of us were too tired to go out and so we ordered fried chicken delivery! Toni and Mr Tang made it by just after 830.
Today it is cloudy, but looks like it will not rain. We have 298 km south to Mengla. The first 170 km is on the 214, which is a 2 lane winding road with not much traffic, but it still made for slow going. This ends in Xishuangbanna, which is a large and very nice city and we pulled into get some lunch.
Leaving the city you enter the toll road G86, which is not even on the GPS. The old route continues on the 214, but would take you ages. We scooted on here to Mengla service center and waited for the guides and the other 2 to show up. It was just another 11 km to the hotel. We arrived nice and early just after 230 and had time to rest and organize and repack our gear after a month with a support van and disarray.
We have had a ton of help from Andy at Manichan Guest house in Luang Prabang. He picked up the shock and has spent the last 2 days trying to get it shipped to the border for us. He was back at the bus station this morning at 630, but the Chinese driver refused to take the package. The bus station manager said that there will be a Laotian driver tomorrow and he will likely agree to do it, but that gets the shock to us too late in the day. We are back to plan A to hire a pickup at the border, which Chris from Moto Laos said would be easy…. Tonight it is Thai food and then the men all went out to karaoke!! Toni is mad for it.
We only have 46 km to the border today and it is again on the G85 toll road. Sara was pillion, but after the toll gates we stopped for gas and she switched to the van as riding pillion on the highway is illegal. Fun to see the elephant signs.
We arrived to the Mohan Border zone at 9 am when it opened and the bikes and the van were let thru the security gate to the actual border area.
Here we unloaded Lulu and put the windscreen back and moved the bars back into position. Dan used one of our tie downs to strap the shock so it could not move or rebound for the km ride thru the Chinese border and to the Laos border. We loaded all our luggage back to all the bikes.
Toni and the 4 of us then headed 200 m over to the immigration building. Here you fill in a departure card in English, but they do not even look at it and Toni was told to fill in the triplicate forms in Chinese. We then had the documents checked by and agent and were sent to get in line for a passport exit stamp.
When Sara got to the front of the line they said they had to scan every page of our passports for their data base. While doing this they noted the Iran visas and freaked out. The supervisor was called over and we were all pulled out of line. They then spent 20 minutes discussing the fact that we had been in Iran and Turkmenistan. Remember we are trying to LEAVE China not enter. It was totally ridiculous. They made an even bigger issue of the fact that Orvar did not have these 2 visas in his passport and why not!? Of course he has 2 passports and they are in the other. He showed them both passports and this seemed to satisfy the agent.
We then had to get back in the line for an exit stamp. Then it was back 200 m the bikes and we had to walk winding our way thru the masses of trucks now parked in the lot after the hour and a half we were gone.
We now had to wait for the customs agent to show up. We said our goodbyes to Toni and Mr Tang and rode over to the exit gate finally after almost 2 hours. Here the Officer checked our passports, but the customs agent never even looked at the bikes. She just stood there as we rode past her. We rode thru “one by one” so the police could check our documents and then finally out of China.