I strung together about a week of 100k days and crossed the border yesterday late afternoon and made it here to Tacheng. The road varied from awesome smooth new pavement to climbing gravel hills. In one 10k gravel stretch where they were building a new roadway, I said screw this and got up on the new road, had it all to myself and figured I'd keep at it until someone yelled at me! No problem.
The Kazak people couldn't have been nicer to me all the way thru. In Urzhar, the hotel wouldn't let me pay and bought me dinner! In Taskesken a family took me in for the night and I had dinner and breakfast with them, same in Makashy. Incredibly good people. You know you've traveled too much when you arrive at the Kazak/China border and think "I'm almost home!" The Chinese border control point was more of the same. Once I told the story they got all excited. Uniformed guards with big hats and guns all broke out the cameras and thru the whole process they were clicking pictures. Taken into a building where they searched thru all my things but they were being so nice and polite I didn't mind. The head of the border station gave me a couple of bottles of green tea and kept asking me (thru a translator) if I was being treated well.
Pulling into Tacheng I asked a guy for directions (everythings in Chinese!) before long others were checking me out and joining us as we rode along and by the time I hit town I had a posse surrounding me. Tacheng is a big town I hadn't expected by looking at the map. Nice hotel for about $17, tied one on last night with three Kazak truck drivers staying there. Even got a needed haircut today, try to stay cool, the heat is getting turned up. I don't officially hit the Gobi for another week or so but you'd never know it. It all looks like desert to me. I've been actually putting on some good miles in the heat. Drink lots of water and keep rolling. Feels good. Thanks for checking in.