Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Breckan- Hey Spence, is that chapstick?

Spencer- (staring at a package that might or might not be chapstick) hold on, let me see what it says.

Contain the natural mint essence, with the aloe essence, amino acids, the vitamin E, to keep the pure quality of the original natural composition, the marvellous quality of water, can dissolve into a lips quickly, live to into lips constantly andc continuously ample of water and nutrient, have 24 hours to moisten, protect wet, Repair and maintenance, defend the jelly and defend etc. effect, the double moistens a pair of lipseses, and plentiful a lips that let is lustrous, Send forth the charming brilliance.

Breckan- S0... is that chapstick?

Spencer- What the hell is a lipseses?!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

On and On.

Every day has begun to feel epic. The passes have gotten higher and the tempature seems to be dropping. Today we are in the Tibetan city of Litang and it is awesome. The town is full of stores that would make a nomads heart swell with joy. Tent-makers, cobblers, stove-makers, tinners, tailors, sellers of prayer flags and yak butter compete for sidewalk space with beggars and horsemen, nomads riding motorcycles and pilgrims with prayer beads. The streets are awash in Tibetans you hoped existed but thought maybe were relegated to the pages of National Geographic. Tall men with sun stained faces and red yarn braided into their waist long hair. Men in flat brim hats and women bejeweled in turquoise and red coral. Spinning prayer sticks and trading dried yak meat. It is fantastic. Absolutely fantastic. It is unlike anything I've ever seen.

We rolled into town yesterday after two and a half epic days and decided to take a day to recuperate. Several days ago we knew we'd have some monster mountains to climb and stocked up on food at our last real town. The first day began early as we passed through small tibetan towns perched on ledges above a river. We pushed up hill all day and around 4 pm I started running out of steam. We looked up the mountain and saw several more switch-backs ahead of us. It turned out to be more than quite a few. The passed topped out at 14,900 ft. and it found all of us gasping for air. We were well above the tree line, the wind was blowing something fierce and it was almost seven o'clock. Like the day before, the view from the top brought no sight of town. It felt like bad things were going to happen. We took a picture and started heading down.

As the sun set, we descended 15 kms into a small valley that held the most amazing little town I've ever seen. The entire town was filled with tiny littly castles. Gone were the giant Tibetan mud houses and in their place were hundreds of little stone castles. It was great. It was epic. We found a guesthouse and after registering with the police, we crashed for the night.

The next day found us riding above 13,000 feet most of the day. We stopped at some lake and made ramen for lunch. It was high. The day rolled through monster landscapes where you couldn't judge distance. We found a grazing field next to a river and set up camp. Around 2 am it started to snow and then turned to sleet and then turned to rain. We woke in a wet dawn and packed up camp. I felt spent. I think we all did. I had the hardest time climbing yesterday morning. Caravans of Tibetan yak herders, in their little tractors/trailers passed us during the climb. All of them cheering us on and yelling hello. We raced a snowstorm into Litang and arrived in the city before it broke across the mountains.

Last night two waitresses from our hotel took all of us to the local disco. We jammed with the tibetans until 11 pm. An impromptu game of spin of the bottle led to charlie getting more action then he has in months. If kisses on the cheek can be considered action. This trip is amazing.


Heading out to our campsite

Ramen at 13,000 feet. Also, my jacket is awesome.

The World's Oldest Man

Safety First

Castletown, Tibet

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Did We Get In?

We might of done it. It is beginning to seem like more and more of a possibility. Every cop car that passes and only honks us and every checkpoint we roll under, makes it seems like more of a possibility. I hope it worked.

About five days ago, after our trip through Tiger! Leaping! Gorge!, we faced a hard decision. The hardest one we have had to make this entire trip. We had planned our trip around the fact that Tibet proper would be impossible to sneak into, but the Tibetan regions that surround the province of Tibet would be open. In January the Chinese government locked down the province of Tibet and all surrounding regions. We went on with our original plan hoping our route would reopen soon. It didn't. It still officially hasn't. Tibet opened up on a limited basis, but our route through the tibetan regions remained firmly locked dow. Everyone told us our route was impossible. It couldn't be done. We'd have to go weeks out of our way. Sorry.

So there we sat outside of Tiger! Leaping! Gorge! The road forked. One road went the open way; the incredibly out of the way route. The not scenic, not Tibetan route. The other road was the one we planned on pedaling down. The one that led to giant mountains. 14,000 foot passes. Tibet. No one can go that way, it's closed.

We got on the internet and found a forum that linked to a french cycling forum. A poster had written two days before, in french (thanks babelfish), that he had cleared the checkpoints on the route he had wanted to take. He had made it in. It worked. "Oh come on!" I said. Let's make this work. Let's do it. Everyone agreed. We would be committing. If it didn't work, we would be wasting a massive amount of time and effort. It would have to work.

We set off and instantly began climbing and climbing and climbing. We climbed all day and never went down. We climbed for over 5 hours and when we were done we were 11,000 feet above sea level. The jungles gave way to tibetan plateau and tibetan houses and huge spaces. The next day we set out late and rolled past yaks and storms sweeping the plateau. We camped and had a camp fire. The next morning we passed a checkpoint and were nodded through. Then we climbed some more. 13,500 ft. Over the pass and down. We spent the night on a river and made ramen and watched the stars. The morning brought more climbing and no food. No water. No towns. No cars. Nothing. 13,800 ft. The pass brought no site of towns. Only more wilderness and a dirt road. We rode for hours without cars. We stopped and pumped water.

Around 4 pm the gas ran out of my tank. I think it did for Breckan as well. We were spent and were in the middle of no where and we hadn't eaten in 8 hours. Up and over another pass. Still no towns. Breckan was draggin so we started talking about food. Breckan loves talking about food. It passed the time. Finally at 6:30 we spotted a town far below us in the valley. The descent was maddening. The road was gravel and large rocks. It went on for two hours. We pulled into the town in the dark and then climbed some more. The stars came out. We rode towards what we thought was a hotel. 9 pm.

Here's were it gets awesome. The one hotel; the only hotel in town, was built on a freaking hot spring! It had a giant, neck deep, hot tub. The had only ramen, but they had a hot tub. It took 30 minutes to wash the dust out of our skin. Ramen has never tasted so good and giant tibetan hot tubs have never felt better. We stayed in the water and watched the stars circle over head. We were in. We had done it. "Oh come on!"

A Campsite.

Charlie rolled pass the wheat fields, and prayer flags and women with scythes. The stone path turned to an alley, and the alley became tighter and tighter, as we pulled into a town made of mud and straw. Tall, brown walls encompassed us on all sides. The yangtze was a hundred yards away and we needed a place to sleep. We stopped at a mahjong table that had been set up in the alley. We showed the people the picture of a tent on one of our cameras and pointed to a the chinese word for camping. Everyone laughed. Everyone. The dog started laughing. Yes? Thumbs up? Thumbs up! We paused and shook hands and hi-fived and pushed our bikes past where their cattle grazed and down a dirt path and onto a rocky beach on the Yangzte. We stripped down and washed 120 kms of dust and dirt and stink off of us. The sun was setting fast as we set up our tents and lit our stoves. The river glided past, and tomorrow the road would bring us to mountains. Real mountains. Snow. We made our ramen as a man steered his boat across the river and sung to himself. The sun set.


Prayer Flags.

Prayer flags, BUT in Black and White!!!!

Water stop.

Another water stop.

Breckan and Spencer and 13,640 ft.



Something over 12,500 feet.

A road.

An another road.

A gompa.

This lady thought Breckans skin was pretty. That or she kept telling Breck to put lotion on. I don't speak mandarin, so...

Our first fire. Also Charlie is wearing a super hot purple sweater.

A yak.

This one is for the ladies.

This one is also for the ladies.

This one is not for the ladies.


Tiger! Leaping! Gorge!

A goat.

Breckan going all Japanese in Tiger! Leaping! Gorge!

In the dirt town next to the Yangtze.

Outside of the dirt town next to the Yangtze.

All animals should come dyed for my pleasure

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

solid man, solid.

today we consumed the following:

loaf of white bread
wood fired pizza made with homemade ricotta cheese
fresh strawberry cheesecake also made with the above-mentioned ricotta cheese
chips ahoy
original pringles
soft serve ice cream (twice)
kill bill 1

all before dinner. thank you dali.

Monday, April 13, 2009