July 19th- 220km – Beijing to Chengde
Getting Out of the House
It has been a very hectic week and it was in many ways a huge relief when it was all over and we were finally on the road.
The day before we left, the whole house was a mess and we still had to sort through all of our stuff. On top of all that though we were also filming our interview with the reporter from BTV from 10am to about 2pm. We also had our friend 大何 (Da He- a Dakar rally racer who has given us a ton of help planning, especially for the western part of the trip trough Xinjiang and Tibet) who offered to show up for the interview. CFMOTO was also kind enough to lend him a 650-TR to ride with us for the filming.
Despite the scramble, my goal was to leave on schedule on the 19th (which wasn’t completely on schedule either since we pushed back a day to due to bad weather earlier in the week slowing us down). Even if we only did 100km on the 1st day, my thinking was it would be worth it to at least get a foot out the door. So we stayed up until about 1am on the 18th and were still packing the next ay from about 8am until 1pm on the 19th when we were finally ready to go!
The Road to Chengde
We had decided that we were going to take it easy on days 1 and 2 as we settled into our routine. First 220km to Chengde and then a day off the next day would give us an opportunity to sleep in for the first time in what seemed like a long time.
The roads north of Beijing are really a pleasure to ride. This was overall a much better experience than our trips south. Rather than boring roads packed with trucks, this road wound its way through the mountains to the north of the city, often cutting through them too as we passed through at least half a dozen tunnels.
One thing that made me really worried though was that the fuel guage on the bike was telling me that at 150km our gas tank was already empty. So for about 20km I was panicking over the idea of having to push the bike for a few hours until we could find an exit. Even more worrying was thinking about how we would manage in more remote areas with fewer gas stations. Luckily we found one in time and when we filled up I could still see gas in the tank. This seemed weird to me, but I thought maybe it was just because it was a shallow tank (…?)
Drink the raw egg, it’s good for your health
We pulled in to the city at around 5:30 at apaprently one of the only hotels in the city that can legally accept foreigners. We had dinner a few hours later next door to the hotel. As we were eating we noticed a couple of guys at a table nearby and one had put a cracked egg on top of his beer bottle. We looked inquisitively at them, wondering what they were up to. This got them really excited though as they suddenly started explaining how it was good for your health and that I should try.
Before I could even say yes, he had already asked the waiter for another egg from the kitchen and was bringing it over to my glass. He cracked it open inside and then poured my beer on top. Though I figured I might as well, I wasn’t about to drink my beer egg alone so I told them they would have to do it with me too, to which they were happy to oblige. Gan Bei to our first day on the road!