August 2nd-3rd; 332km/302km; Youqi to Wuchagou to Tuquan
Aside from some pretty nasty crosswinds as we continued our way through the plains, we had a pretty tame couple of days making some relatively good progress.
One Bad Ass Biker
We met one very interesting guy as we took a break on the side of the road. He was passing by on his bicycle. He had clearly been on the road a while as he was quite tan and his gear looked pretty worn. He was riding a pretty normal looking bicycle that it looked like you could get for a few hundred RMB and was biking in slip on sandals, shorts, and an unzipped wind breaker.
It was nice to talk to another traveler though as we got to talk about more than just where we were from and how much our bike cost. In fact, I don’t think he even asked those questions. We talked about the road, how long we were traveling, why were doing what we were doing, and other similar things. It turned out, this particular person was doing a similar thing as us, traveling around all of China. The only difference of course was that he was doing it fully human powered! Definitely gets the award for most hardcore person we’ve met so far on The Great Ride!
On the 2nd we ended up staying in what looked like a little mining village. Tucked away in the hills (with a beautiful approach road), it has a lot going on with lots of “guest houses”, convenience stores, and repair shops. The accomodations actually ended up being pretty nice as we actually had our first internet connection in 3 days and 1st in 2 with a shower!
The Roads Just Couldn’t Last
I mean that above headline quite literally. We started off with the roads just as good as they had been the past few days and soon we got to a construction detour and then… the road pretty much just ended. We got re-routed through a village which seemed alright for a little while. The roads we were on though weren’t on our GPS, but we were able to follow some traffic that seemed to have also come from the highway. Soon, the road left the village as we were on a road that cut through some fields. Then it looked like we got to a construction site as there were a lot of large tractors and pickup trucks around.
It turned out that rather than a construction site, we had come across a river/stream that cut right through the road. We spent a while deciding what to do as a few workers came over insisting they could push it across. We watched on as some cars drove through, one bike got pushed across, and one truck tried to go through but the engine flooded and it stalled.
Eventually we decided we had no choice and unloaded everything from the bike so it could be pushed. Two workers pushed it as we carried our bags across. Luckily, it came out ok! Then one of the workers told us there was another ford, deeper than this one, up ahead. He recommended we look for a path that cut through a field that would be ok for a motorcycle to go through and would take us back to the main road.
Luckily we found the path and managed to get around the second ford. Overall we made it through ok, though later on down the regular road, a stream had flooded over and though I could drive across, it was deep and slippery and both Amy (who walked across) and I got our boots completely soaked.
By the end of the day we were on our road taking us back west, which was the first time of the trip really so far. The road was beautifully boring, wide and paved, which allowed us to make up some time after all the earlier excitement.