Today’s distance / ???????: 51.8 miles / 83.4km
Average speed / ????: 9.1mph / 14.6km/h
Time on skateboard / ????: 5h 43m
Total skateboarding distance to date / ????????????: 5327mi plus 377mi (?) / 8573km plus 606km (?)
Ascent / ??: 300
Descent / ??: 475
End-of-day GPS coordinates: N39° 22′ 29.20″, E099° 48′ 55.70″
Mmmmm…delicious looking mountains tempted me with their snowy peaks for the day today as National Highway G312 made it’s way along the foot of these monsters, some as high at 5,000m or more.
On the other side of those mountains is Qinghai Province. Another province similar to Xinjiang. Lots of nothing, except at a higher altitude. A prelude to Ti ** bet, one might say. Indeed much of it was part of Ti ** bet until relatively recently (asterisks added to prevent censoring – you can’t be too careful).
An hour before lunch, I came across a herd of camels grazing by the roadside. Such wierd cretures. They were none too stoked by my presence, and wouldn’t let me get too near.
Signs on the roadside…all very aesthetic.
I had a run-in with miscommunication at lunch today. I pointed to the mushroom and vegetable stirfry on the menu. “I’ll have one of these,” I said.
“OK,” the waiter said.
“And a bowl of white rice to go with it,” I added.
“I’m sorry, we don’t have rice ready at the moment,” the waiter informed me.
“Oh, OK, well I’ll have the beef noodles instead,” I told him.
10 minutes later I had a plate of stir-fry and a plate of beef noodles. This was not what I ordered. I orderd only the beef noodles. At least, that’s what I thought was understood that I wanted. I thought that they understood that since they did not have rice, I did not want the stir-fry, since you usually eat stir-fried things along with rice. In reality, they thought that I still wanted the stir-fry, in addition to the noodles, since I did not expressly say that I no longer wanted the stir-fry.
It was no big deal, and the staff ended up eating the stirfry, as it was lunch time for them also, and I had my noodles. I felt dumb though for not making myself clearer.
After lunch the desolate skating continued. Nothing for miles around.
The road was smooth enough, although in its smoothness, it posed a particular kind of challenge. The road surface was tar, and it was getting upwards of 40 degrees celcius. The tar was going soft. As smooth and comfortable as the surface was, it sucked the rolling energy out of the wheels, and made progress slower.
Nearer to Gaotai however, new residential development meant smooth hard concrete cycle-ways.
I arrived in Gaotai, a city 8km north of National Highway G312, late afternoon. Entering the city, the outskirts are intensively farmed, with many hot houses.
The time for heading to Hong Kong to get myself a new visa is drawing nearer, and I am thinking I will start in that direction in a couple of days. The next big town from here is Zhangye, so I think I will skate to there, take a bus to Lanzhou, and then train from there to Hong Kong. Just hoping like mad that I will be able to get a new visa…I have had conflicting reports that suggest that getting a tourist visa is getting harder by the day.