The town of Lijiang is overlooked by the beautiful snow-capped Yulong Xueshan (Jade Dragon Snow Mountain). I saw this as I walked to my breakfast and was startled as two days before I was in the metropolis of Shanghai and now I was looking at this mountain with its snowy peak standing on a bridge over a canal.
I rode out to the mountain. I pulled up in a cold wind and happened to stop next to a parked car full of Chinese men they asked me in a bit of a hostile way “What are you doing?” I realised someone pulling up on a motorcycle with a mask on next to their car was a bit suspicious “Taking pictures” I said. Then five guys piled out of the car and started grinning, all taking selfies with me and the bike. They had ridden from Guangzhou together and this was their destination. Several days together in a car.
On the way to the mountain, some big adventure bikes zipped past me, weaving through the traffic-mostly tourists mixed with the white slow speed control cars which patrolled up and down the road to the mountain at a crawl to stop traffic.
I met the BMW lot in the rough looking dirt car park outside the national park. They had two expensive BMW 1200GS’s and a fancy looking Toyota four-wheel drive. Girls were standing on the roof of the four by four taking pictures. I and took pictures of myself, the bike and the mountain and left. As I was going, one of the riders said Anquan Xian (Saftey First. ) I found that touching, as I was riding alone.
I was heading towards a Naxi village in the mountains. I had hoped I could stop here then go on to the more remote Lugu lake further North.
This wasn’t to be. After a day of riding, I was in the hills and the light was fading. I came over a rise and defended steeply into a valley as it got colder and the sun went down. I pulled into a town on the steep slope into the valley. The road was strewn with trash as there had been a market there and stray dogs mooched around. I pulled the helmet off and asked a store holder packing up if there was anywhere to stay. She directed me to an inn further down the road.
This place was great. Like a homestead on the hillside. I parked the bike inside the gated courtyard of the house and watched the chickens running around inside. I was given a meal of Fresh chicken soup and a fried dish with rice which was delicious. I slept well in the cold room but rose before sunrise, somewhat uneasy about the ride ahead. I thought I’ll just turn round now, Then when it came time to leave, after visited the outhouse in the morning and saw may massive spider’s webs slung across the trees around in the morning light. Their hosts waiting for breakfast. There was even one on the sunny door.