Thursday, October 14, 2010

Cotton and Chilies

Heading further west on the 101, the landscape continued to present a stunning backdrop to wind our way over and through. Massive red rock cliffs made the valleys we were cycling through all the more pronounced. There were several small homesteads situated along the roads, most of them seem to be the homes of herders, made out of mud bricks giving them an adobe-type look.

In the afternoon of the second day we came upon the X-247, a paved side road that would take us out to the main road. After having watched Kevin patiently fix his third puncture in two days, we decided that perhaps continuing on this unimproved road may cause more problems than it worth as we had now passed through much of the sandstone valley ways.

Once out of the mountains and into the valley, it became clear why this area was known for its cotton, corn and red chili production. We passed whole roads taken over for the sole purpose of drying ears of corn, seeing migrant workers begin picking cotton just as the sun began to rise and continue after the sun set. Huge swaths of land became red with the drying of red chilies. Riding through the flat brown landscape was at time challenging as it was long, flat and straight.

Although, at times, looking to the south we could see the brown shrubby earth slowly rise toward huge snow capped peaks in the distance. Yet the foreground would come alive with the bright red color of drying chilies, the white of nomadic yurts dotting brown land and the movement of people working to spread, flip and move the drying harvest. We passed expansive cotton processing plants with tall walls that only revealed the tops of mountainous piles of cotton.

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