A long, and difficult day of riding
|Travel From||–||Aksu, China|
|Ending Location||–||Korla, China|
|Miles Driven Today||–||337 Miles|
|Total Trip Mileage||–||9564 Miles|
|Countries visited Today||–|
|Countries visited on trip||US, Canada, UK, The Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Finland, Estonia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China|
We’ve traveled about 700 miles in China so far. These days are long, and sometimes boring rides, with almost all of the miles logged on the highway.
We left the hotel at 8:30 and headed into the traffic of a Chinese city, as we’ve come to expect it. This city (Aksu), like most other cities in China has a certain chaos to it, and especially to the traffic patterns. So, we’ve become warriors, defending our space and our people, as we march forward, attempting to take territory.
For several days now, we’ve been on the G3012 highway. This highway looks to be brand new, but Charles assures me that while it may not be brand new, almost all of China has been built in the last 10 years. This highway proves that point, in spades.
These highways follow a pattern, where we’ll pass several gas stations, which are not operational, and then we’ll come to an Electronic toll collection booth, which we ride around, as motorcycles are not required to pay tolls. We then come to a security checkpoint, show passports, and eventually continue on. About every 250 miles, we need to stop for gas, and depending on the distance between stations, we sometimes stop more frequently.
Temperatures continue to rise
Over the course of the day, temperatures reached 98 degrees F. With all of the stops, border checks, etc, this kind of temperature is really unbearable. In addition, with the mornings being somewhat cold, or chilly, it’s hard to know how to dress for the day. I sometimes dress for the colder days, only to be surprised by intense heat. I sometimes dress for the warm days, only to be surprised by how long it takes to warm up. Sometimes, you can’t win.
We stopped for lunch in a local market, that was supposed to offer many tpes of food, and fresh fruit. It took us a while to negotiate our way into a parking lot, so that we could park the bikes for an hour. But, we eventually got the bikes parked, and headed accross the street, to the market.
As we hear the story, this market had seen better days. Attendance was down, and so was vendor support. It seemed that all of the vendors make the same dishes, which was a bowl of soup, with some noodles, and veggies in it. I talk about it in the report from the road.
I saw a nice dish, whcih had green beens, some other veggies, and rice. I asked for that same dish, with some meat added. I think I got it right, but we’ll never know because Martin, our Chinese tour guide stepped in to help. He clarified the order, and we quickly received tea, and waited just a few minutes for our meal.
The food was great, but I’ll have to admit that there was not a whole lot of meat in the dish. Ahhhh, shucks. Does it really matter?
The curious thing about gas stations…
You’ve heard me speak, ad nauseam about how difficult it can be to get gas in this part of china. Often, the person in charge of the station can be difficult, and they seem to invent new procedures and rules at each and every gas station. That said, the people that work there are often fascinated by us, and we often take pictures with them.
Today, someone initiated a conversation with them, and before you knew it, we were taking pictures with them, and with the Chinese flag. Usually, it’s either Bruno or Phil that initiate this type of stuff. Both of them are outgoing, and love to meet these folks. So, if there is a crowd gathering, it’s usually due, fully or partly due to Bruno or Phil.
Checkpoints, checkpoints, checkpoints…
Throughout the day, we’ve been stopped at Checkpoint after checkpoint. It’s very hard to keep track of them, as they happen so frequently, and each one is unique and different, yet they are all the same.
Today, the checkpoints were very long to get through, and at the last checkpoint, I was really hoping for quick processing and to be on our way. But it took longer than expected, which left us with 90-100 miles to go, perhaps another checkpoint, and we were departing from the gas station at 4:30. So, in all likelihood, I would arrive at the hotel after 7:00 PM, and then need to get changed, and hustle to the chiropractor.
Oh, yeh, I forgot to tell you about my back, and the pain that had developed from riding all day, on these long and hot days.
My Back is in spasms
My back has been getting tighter and tighter for several days now. So, I’ve really got to do something about it, and without my trusty chiropractor, Nathan, I’m kind of stuck. But, I’m open to trying new things, and when in China, resort to Eastern Medicine.
So, working with our guide, we managed to find a doctor who is both a chiropractor, and an acupuncturist. A deadly combination indeed. So, after a long day, and delay after delay, I finally arrived at the hotel. With a quick change of clothes, Martin and I ran to the end of the street, and grabbed a cab to the doctor’s office.
We arrived a little after 8:00 PM, but we had been communicating with the doctor, and he had offered to stay late, if necessary. I arrived, and did my best to show him the problem areas, and even explained a bit of my history with Chiropractic and Acupuncture. I think he got it, but Martin would have a 2 minute conversation, and then simply tell me to lay on the table, or something like that.
Lie on the table I did. I was first adjusted, as best he could. My back was so tight, the normal forms of manipulation did not work, and he was literally pounding on my back, trying to get it to release. In the end, we made little progress in this area, but continued treatment with acupuncture.
He placed needles in my back, and also in my neck, as I had described pain in this area, and he also felt it. To be honest, he seemed to be an excellent practitioner. After receiving chiropractic for 40 years, I can tell who knows how to diagnose a problem, and who does not. And Dr. Liu really knew his stuff, although he was “family trained”, and not certified. But, what the hell, I’m in China.
The next morning, I felt great, and did not suffer pain at all.
After the chiropractor…
After seeing the chiropractor, I found my room, laid down, and got a good night’s ‘sleep, waking up refreshed on the other side.