In order to be ready for the "China Olympics" total solar eclipse on Friday August 1st, 2008, a scouting trip in China and Mongolia was mandatory during the summer 2006. A recce in the Altai Republic, a Russian Federation autonomous region well known for its Altai Mountains and belonging to UNESCO World Heritage, has already taken place in August 2004. This new scouting trip in the Chinese Gobi along the "Silk Road" in the Xinjiang Uighur province and Western Mongolia had for main goal to get the best weather on all the eclipse path. The Great Gobi Strictly Protected Area was established in 1976 and was included in the World Network of Biosphere Reserves in 1990 as one of the largest biosphere reserves in the world (5.3 million hectares). The city of Dunhuang is situated at a strategic point along the Silk Road, at the crossroads of trade as well as religious, cultural and intellectual influences. Close to Dunhuang you’ll find the 492 cells and cave sanctuaries in Mogao, famous for their statues and wall paintings spanning 1,000 years of Buddhist art, the Mingsha Sand Dunes and the Crescent Moon Spring. The Mogao Grottoes belong to UNESCO’s World Heritage.