Today’s distance / ???????: 59.3 miles / 95.4km
Average speed / ????: 9.6mph / 15.5km/h
Time on skateboard / ????: 6h 10m
Total skateboarding distance to date / ????????????: 5931mi plus 377mi (?) / 9545km plus 606km (?)
Ascent / ??: 620m
Descent / ??: 745m
End-of-day GPS coordinates: N35°41′26.60″, E105°03′19.70″
It is a curious thing, asking Chinese locals how far it is to the next town. They take one look at my mode of transport, and the distance suddenly becomes twice the actual distance.
“To (insert town name)? Oh, that’s about 70km, I would say,” one woman said to me.
I pointed to the map, and explained that from Lanzhou to Gantsaodian, where we were, was 60km. Assuming the map is to scale, the distance to the next town could not possibly be 70km.
“No, no, I have been there. It is a very long way. And the road is very bad. Very steep,” she said, indicating a near vertical slope with her arm.
“So it is impossible for me on my skateboard?” I asked.
“Oh yes, impossible. You should take a bus.”
I thanked her for her help, and skated away. Further down the road, a road sign told me in big, bold lettering that the town that was 70km away, was actually 26km away. I just took a deep breath and skated onwards, no longer concerned about the possibility of having to skateboard up a cliff face. I arrived at the town less than two hours later, having skated on a wonderful smooth surface all the way. Granted, I had snuck onto the expressway…
Like yesterday, trucks carrying bee hives were periodically speeding past, leaving a smattering of disoriented and annoyed honey bees. I escaped any stings, but a bee in the face as you’re screaming down a hill hurts.
The entire area I passed through today was made of clay. The hills, the cliffs, the houses.
Deep water-gouged gorges accented the scenery.
The hills were terraced, growing mainly corn and potatoes. Here and there people were ploughing the fields, all using donkey-drawn ploughs.
The day was either up or down. Two solid one hour plus hill climbs kept my mind alive. I marveled at how much stronger I am feeling now that I am eating and sleeping better (compared with Xinjiang Province).
I passed kilometer marker 2,000 on China National Highway 312 today just before the town of Huinishan here in Gansu Province. At the pace I am at at the moment, I should have no problem arriving in Shanghai in time for my flight home to New Zealand on the 7th of October.