This was probably the most beautiful ride of the tour thus far. We left early in the morning, snaking along Tiger Leaping Gorge, framed by misty mountains on either side, high above a raging Yangzi River.
We were sad to finally leave the gorge behind us, but we rode alongside the Yangzi as it widened out. There were plenty of cornfields and other crops growing on either side. It was a hot ride, and busy with traffic for a middle stretch, but grew more pleasant once we got back to the quiet back roads.
We reached a point along the river road where a very old wooden ferry helped chug us across the Yangzi. From there it was a short ride to the town of Shigu (Chinese meaning ‘Stone Drum’). Shigu is known as the town of the “First Bend,” where the Yangzi River changes course and turns 90 degrees on itself.
With the riding finished, we explored the small town which features a beautiful temple, a historical bridge, and charming thatched-roof houses in winding rows and curving alleyways. As with nearly every town, village and strip of houses in the countryside along our ride’s path, stray dogs followed our steps or watched from the sidelines. Apart from the ever present dogs, we also have encountered cows, yaks, chickens, goats, sheep, and pigs, many of them walking or running along or across our wheels!