Pedaling from the Black Forest to the Yellow Sea
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Category — China

Day 251 (China): Quan He - km marker 82 on G310 (almost there)

daily distance: 124km
total distance: 15,343km
riding time: 6-7h

It was an early out after the night with the farmhands and surprisingly little snoring. I had some wind from the front and some cold temps in the morning, but other than that things seemed to be OK. Body was better than yesterday. I took an early break after about 40km to do some updating so as to be reasonably current with the website and then moved on.

The rest of the day was riding through very mildly rolling terrain, where all sorts of things were sold among them trees and these guys …

And lots of other things …


And if someone thinks that I am loaded down, look here.


I crossed a ton of rivers and canals along the way. The going got rougher towards the end of the day. I was spent again, out of fuel and couldn’t go much further I felt. But on the other hand I feel confident that I can get to the coast tomorrow. See here why I feel this way.

The closer I get now the more images of the tour come back to me. Things like getting Easter Eggs early on while still in Germany or images of Greece where people helped me out when things weren’t the best that night.

I found a place to hunker down for the night … twice as much as last night, but what do you get to when you double next to nothing. It was a good place after all.

November 29, 2008   3 Comments

Day 250 (China): Dangshan - Quan He (making it somehow)

daily distance: 120km
total distance: 15,219km
riding time: 7-8h 

I have had stomach issues throughout the night. Add no sleep because of the noise below the window which seemed to be getting worse and worse the longer the night went on and you get the feeling … maybe. My whole entire body seemed to be seizing up. I felt literally down and out.

Somehow though in the morning I crawled out and left Dangshan and decided that I would try to move on somehow. And I pedaled one stroke at a time. It was slow going, but it worked. I covered 10, 20, 30 … and so on km until I got to the Xuzheng, another one of those big cities where I found an internet cafe to update and then pedaled out again. I was intent to not go for a long time and didn’t. Only 30km or so more after Xuzheng and that was it really. I stayed in a farmhouse which cost practically nothing but was the only place in that village. The alternative would have been a 20km detour. Not having that right now.

I ate easy stuff throughout the day, bananas, apples and some cookies. It sort of worked and feel better now stomachwise. Though I am officially worn out now. I don’t want incessant honking or headaches or weakness to continue. I just want to get to the ocean now. It is about 200km from here, so two more days and then I am done.

On the other hand, I looked at this map a litte bit ago and realized how far of a way it has been crossing the continent. Oh man …

November 28, 2008   No Comments

Day 249 (China): km marker 468 on G310 - Dangshan (15,000km & and a Pretzel dream)

daily distance: 143km
total distance: 15,099km
riding time: 7h 

Tonight was a great dream … Pretzels and Nutella. Oh my goodness, that will one of the first things I will eat when I get back to Dland. My father squirms at the thought I am sure, but hey …

This was a long day again, during which not much did happen. I passed this mark

then this …

and also this …

It is flat country with a whole bunch garbage unfortunately strewn all over the place. It seems like the environment is a good pit for pretty much anything you can come up with in your head.

I am pretty focused on finishing up now though the long days seem to be catching up with me quite a bit now. Today was no exception. It was much longer than I had wanted it to be and I just hope that the body holds up somehow. As I am writing this in Dangshan (pretty gruesome town with a pretty gruesome hotel - the bathroom in the only room with a shower was a definite no-go), I am feeling pretty out of it and not well at all.

November 27, 2008   2 Comments

Day 248 (China): restaurant at km marker 652 at G310 - km marker 468 on G310 (how much longer can I sustain this?)

daily distance: 165km
total distance: 14,956km
riding time: 7h 

It was one of those days that had the best and the worst. The best was at the beginning and in the afternoon. The worst at night. So this may blemish my view a bit.

The morning saw the folks from the restaurant taking such good care of me. We had already figured out that they were Christians and were keen to help me for that reason. I now also understood why one of them kept repeating the phrase “one book” over and over again. Once I took a look at her book (or rather at the maps in the back) I understood what she meant. They were amazing … thank you very much.

And again, I can’t post the pictures in the size I would like to … my apologies.

The night though was terrible, too much noise from the road which was right adjacent to the building and lots of honking going on. Ouch …

Once underway I had a huge massive tailwind into Zhengzhou, overcame the last hill for the trip (this time I am certain - all is flat as far as I can see) and plunged into this mad and busy city. After construction kept me moving in the wrong direction at first I got into the center - very disappointing - and moved on and out. I for some reason found the right road. It wasn’t G310, but who cares about it when you get this.

Granted, it was boring, but when you want to cover miles this is great. The wind pushed and pushed and pushed and I moved along nicely. I reached Kaifeng, my goal for the day at 1:45pm and after some time on the web moved on. I thought about going to Lankao, but moved past quickly and went further. It seems like I just want to get to the end of the trip now. But there is still some distance to go.

So, I get to a place and it is a hotel. People are happy and excited … except for one guy. The owner. He wants nothing of the foreigner. It was frustrating to say the least and made me angry for the first time in a long time. Really angry. The typical hand waving: No, No! And I couldn’t help but get in his face for this. I shouldn’t have and didn’t want to in the end, but that’s what happened. I left and had to go through the darkness for another 5km before finding a grubby and smelly place that I could stay at. But the food in a little place not far away was good at least.

This was the first time that I felt that the end of the biking part of the trip is drawing near. And I feel slightly nostalgic and melancholic about it. Not sure … but I suppose this is normal.

November 26, 2008   1 Comment

Day 247 (China): Luoyang - restaurant at km marker 652 at G310 (more ups and downs)

daily distance: 151km
total distance: 14,791km
riding time: 8h 

I was able to circumvent Luoyang on G310 and thus did not have to contend with city traffic after crawling out of the little shed for the night. I was woken up by heavy motorcycle traffic on the path next to the shed and some factory brigades running around military style less than a couple of hundred yards away.


And there were more power stations along the way. Nothing unexpected any longer. The going was rough at first and I took my first break in Yanshi after about 50km. Afterwards I took the wrong road, but got quietude for a while.

Then lousy surface and despite signs pointing in the right direction I must have missed a turnoff at some point. Once I realized where I was, I decided to ditch where I wanted to end up for the day (Zhengzhou) and took a look at the Yellow River instead. Here it is …

The whole thing was a big detour, but I thought worth the effort. I wouldn’t have seen it any more otherwise. The road to Zhengzhou looked flat on my map, but it so wasn’t. This was some major climbing as evidenced here … (me thinks at least)

When I wanted to do some last minute shopping at some place it turned out to be a restaurant. Darn. I asked whether there was a hotel … no, there wasn’t. But I was invited in and eventually they said that I should stay at their place. It was great. The restaurant had extremely yummy food for a starving biker and the people were super nice. A departure from the days prior. The man of the house was insistent on sleeping in the same room which I could avert by pointing to my bike. And so I slept in a place to myself.

On another note, I heard the last show of Real Time with Bill Maher today. This one was with me almost all the time … and yes, I did like it.

This was a tiring day, but sunny and the scenery was good. I am now anxious to reach the Yellow Sea, I must admit. I will see whether I will be taking a rest day along the road as I planned and really should do. But who knows ….

November 25, 2008   No Comments