Today’s distance / ???????: 54 miles / 87km
Average speed / ????: 8.6mph / 13.8km/h
Time on skateboard / ????: 6h 20m
Total skateboarding distance to date / ????????????: 5010mi plus 377mi (?) / 8063km plus 606km (?)
Ascent / ??: 315m
Descent / ??: 385m
End-of-day GPS coordinates: N41° 04′ 24.80″, E095° 27′ 59.40″
Again I got away early today. 6:15am I was on the road. This morning I had a headwind. It was tiring. Headwinds are always tiring. But it was a beautiful overcast/sunny morning.
A wonderfully welcome diversion from the once again flat, endless roads, was a watermelon stand in the middle of nowhere. As if it had been plonked there by chance. I stopped to buy a watermelon, but the friendly family manning the stand would have nothing of it. They fed me a big bowl of noodles and fed me rock melon till I thought I would pop. And denied any payment. “You are our guest!” they said. Stoked. Thanks guys.
Once I got out of the watermelon stand full as a tick, the wind had died down considerably. I am now in Gansu Province. The change in the landscape is quite noticeable. There is less stones and more small shrubs. The land is alive with birds and lizards and insects. Very refreshing.
Also refreshing, although not entirely welcome, was a short spell of rain today. The first proper rain shower in a good two months of being in western China.
Further along the road, these mysterious round rocks caught my attention:
They were only in one concentrated spot on the side of the road, so I can only imagine that a truck carrying the special rocks dropped them there. What are they for? I have no idea. Is this what they use to ‘stone wash’ jeans?
I removed the mudguards off my skateboard last night. For no other reason than because the board looks better without them. I have set the board up however in such a way that I can attach them easily should I need to.
Passed kilometer marker 3333 today too. Nice.
At 4pm, I arrived at Xonliuyuan, the only place to get water or food (apart from the watermelon stand) for over 85km today. It was long day, but I had been able to push on throughout the day without my usual siesta. The clouds and rain and altitude kept the temperatures down.
I was considering carrying on, but decided against it, and called it a day in Xonliuyuan. Lucky I did, because an hour after I arrived in Xonliuyuan, a cyclist arrived at the very same restaurant I was eating at. Valentinas is from Lithuania and is cycling from Greece to Beijing, hoping to be in Beijing in time for the Olympics. I had the honour of translating for him in Xonliuyuan, as he needed a new SIM card for his telephone. Which makes it sound like I speak really good Chinese. Which I do not. Do not be fooled.