Day 28

28. May 2000, Kuche to Korla

We have been driving through the dry and hot northern parts of the Taklamakan desert all day. The engine was doing fine through all the dust and heat that we drove through, but we were just exhausted from the blazing heat. The road conditions were good except for short parts where the tarmac created waves in the street which guaranteed a very jumpy ride for about 10 minutes. On the side of the street we could observe how dozens of little tornadoes threw up sand and dirt in columns into the sky. The police closed off most roads for trucks for us, so that it was very convenient driving nearly all day. When we were watching a local performance of dancers in Korla after dinner, we saw a black wall of sand moving in from the west into the city. A few minutes later it was dark and we were engulfed in fine sand. So much for the car wash that we got just 15 minutes earlier. The fine sand just gets everywhere, in your hair, eyes, ears, mouth. Fortunately we were done driving by the time the sandstorm hit Korla.

TC 84: Kuche OUT
TC 85: Lun Nan
06 142 km
TC 86: Korla IN
21 262 km

Overall 1 hour 08 minutes penalty

The official results can be looked up on this website

Today we crossed the northern part of the Taklamakan desert which didn't offer us much variety in flora and fauna. After driving for hours through the blazing heat we know why.

The closer we got to the Tien Shan mountains, the more we saw these whirlwinds. At one point we could count 8 on the horizon.

And just like everywhere we were welcomed by curious spectators and here in Korla local fire fighters were gathering in front of their truck. Fortunately no cars caught fire that day on the parking lot.

Unimpressed by the sand storm moving over the city the dance ensemble keeps continuing their folklore dances. The white dots on the pictures are little sand corns in front of the flash.

Making new friends


Visibility decreased instantly as some gusts of winds were blowing up sand

Traffic was stopped for our arrival in Korla.

Korla is an oasis city on the northern part of the Taklamakan desert.

Heavy-armed guards protect our vehicles