Good Morning Tibet

We were somewhat groggy after our first night spent at high altitude (over 4000m) and this feeling was going to stay with us over the next two weeks as our bodies fought for oxygen, I would find myself waking sometimes many times each night gasping for air, with my heart thudding uncomfortably  and then unable to get back to sleep. That first morning I was also able to get a closer look at our late night intruders, although there wasn’t much to see beyond the tops of heads sticking out of the quilts. They were obviously on a different timetable to us because they didn’t even stir when 13 bikes revved up and left the village. Mark had been surprised to see the truckers on our sleeping platform and admitted he must have slept through the whole episode. Hmm, just as well I hadn’t been relying on him to defend my female virtue from these uninvited roommates.

Noodles are the order of the day when eating in China, something that suits me as I love them so quite a welcome sight at breakfast that first morning, and subsequent breakfasts as well as lunch and tea. Hot cups of tea all round and even the instant coffee was unearthed from the back of the van to be shared out amongst those needing more of a caffeine hit. The lack of washing facilities was waved away as a minor thing, and we were lured onwards with the hint of a promise of flasks of hot water to wash our faces and hands with at the evening’s stop. First we had to get there...the improbably named Reed Willow Beach – someone with a warped sense of humour must have named that place. There's no sign of reeds, willows and definitely not a beach in sight as we found when we get there. However I’m getting ahead of myself here as first we had more than 150 miles of some of the toughest riding I’ve ever endured to be got through. The terrain varied a lot- the only constant being that there was NO tarmac. We rode through just about everything else including some river crossings, luckily none of them deep.

Our first full day of riding on the Tibetan plateau and we were rewarded with clear skies and sunshine, life felt good and we all had a sense of achievement in having reached this beautiful part of the planet.

Tibet is possibly the most beautiful country in the world, it seemed that whatever direction I pointed my camera and clicked the button, the photos were stunning. Huge mountains, blue sky, pure, clean air, incredible scenery and whatever other indefinable factor it is that makes a photo look good. With or without a motorbike in the foreground.