25th May – Turpan to Kuytun

Are we really in China or France?

Today we have a 430 km drive to Kuytun on the highway and we see the biggest wind farm that we have seen so far, it stretches as far as we can see on both sides of the road.

Our morning tea stop is at a salt lake off the highway where we find some trees for shade and there is a nice breeze to keep us cool. The temperature is expected to get to 39 degrees today.

The scenery changes from the pinkish brown hills to the snow capped mountains in the distance.


This must be wind farm territory as we see another enormous wind farm, but this time there are lovely snow capped mountains behind.

Burgundy develops a problem and Tony reports over the radio that it is missing under load after the car got quite hot while we were waiting at a toll booth and Police Check.  After a few questions and discussions it is suggested that the spark plugs are starting to deteriorate and they will change them tonight.

We are booked in with a tour of the Chateau Changyu, Baron Balboa Winery so we decide to stop & buy our lunch and we sit under the trees and eat it when we arrive at the winery.  The buildings look like a French Chateau, it’s hard to believe that we are in China.


This is a very old winery it was established in 1892 and the first winemaker was an Austrian/ Hungarian Baron Balboa.  They won a medal at the San Francisco exposition in 1915 for their wine.  The exposition was celebrating the opening of the Panama Canal.

The winery is quite large with many barrels in the cellar and some of the previous vintages and special orders in storage.


There is some fabulous paper cutout art on the walls.

This is a popular place for brides & grooms to come and have photos taken prior to their wedding, and today there are at least 8 couples here with their photographers.  Apparently these photos are used on posters on their actual wedding day.  It’s not uncommon for couples to travel overseas to have these photos taken.

We get to taste a Riesling and a red wine that is made from a Cabernet Franc blend.

After the tasting a few of us buy some bottles before heading to our hotel.

The road we take is having some much needed work done & its very slow going as it has deep ruts and is muddy & slippery in places.

In the western provinces of China we have to queue for fuel at a boom gate outside the service centre.  We are only let in once Green swipes her id card, which she has to do for each car as the boom gate goes up & only lets in 1 car at a time.

Once in an attendant fills up the car until the pump clicks off.  To get as much fuel in the tank as possible we shake the car to remove the bubbles, it usually lets us add an extra 10 litres of fuel and gives the girls some arm exercise.

Shamrock dislodges its sump guard & Burgundy has hit its exhaust quite hard & the nuts on the bolts holding it to the manifold had fallen off. After we fill up with fuel, the boys jack up Burgundy & replaced the nuts, so it is good to go again & much quieter.

We are quite late getting into our hotel, it’s 9:15 before we get our keys, but we are presented with a warm welcome.

It’s up to the room for a quick wash and down to the hotel restaurant for a very nice meal before retiring.

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