10-04 Day 86 (Foping, China arrival)

Not much to do in Foping


Travel FromXian, China
Intermediate Location 
Ending LocationFoping, China
Starting Odometer36,317
Ending Odometer36,474
Miles Driven Today157 Miles
Total Trip Mileage11931 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

With the completion of today’s journey, I’ve completed just under 12,000 miles since leaving South Carolina. I’ve done this in 86 days, and the tour has only 3 weeks left, until we arrive in Bangkok on the 24th of October. So, I’m already beginning to see the end, and for sure, I have mixed feelings.

I’m looking forward to seeing Christopher, Isabella and Toni, and I can’t do that until the tour comes to an end. And for sure, the pace of the tour is rapid, and it demands much from all of us. But, at the same time, I’m really enjoying riding into strange new places each day, traveling roads that are off of the beaten path, and stopping in places that are only available to you if you spend the time, and have the local knowledge. So, I’m still loving the tour, but like I said, it will be good to get back to some form of normality again. More on this, in subsequent blog posts.

Today’s ride


We left the hotel at about 8:30, and the rain started shortly after, perhaps at 9:00 AM. It seemed to all of us that today, just might be a tough day.

The morning ride

Throughout the morning ,we climbed, and descended the mountain passes. There were two that were prominent. The first had an elevation of about 6000 feet, and the second had an elevation of about 6800 feet.

While riding in and out of the rain, we also saw a few other motorcycle groups, who were braving the weather, like we were. I was surprised that we barely acknowledged these groups. I had expected the tour guides to extend a hand, and open a conversation, but they did not. Perhaps they were busy, or we were simply too rushed.

To be fair, I was riding with the back group, and we would often arrive several minutes after the lead group, so our time at any of these rest stops was often shorter, due to the late arrival.

We reached the summit

After reaching the summit of one of the peaks, we did manage a brief chat with one group. I did my best to welcome them, and as a gesture of friendship, I kissed the helmet of one of the girls from the other group. They all started to giggle, and it was a good laugh, as these Chinese women are usually very reserved, and a big American, making such a bold move must have thrown them for a loop.

Gas stop

today was a day where our gas stops produced no drama at all. that is to say, no drama, no passport checks, no permission slips required, no nothing, just gas. It seemed quite civilized, and it was refreshing to see a brief return to normalcy.

But, all was not peaches and cream at this gas station. In fact, there were neither peaches nor cream. For that matter, there was nothing in the gas station for sale at all. The entire place was empty. Shelves were empty, everything was empty.

A very strange sight indeed.

The rain

I mentioned that it started to rain at about 8:50. Well, that’s not nearly the end of it. You see, my new Sena helmet is a particular shape that places the visor too close to my breath, and on top of that, there is virtually no ventilation in the helmet. In fact, with the vent open or closed, I can feel no difference at all.

And so, the helmet will fog within 3 seconds of closing the visor. I’ve tried every combination of open, closed, a little open, a lot open, fully open, but nothing works. This helmet is poorly designed, and it causes me to lose visibility in very high humidity situations. I can’t call Sena, and if I send them an email, they will simply not address my question, and give me a poorly thought out answer to my question.

And so, when I get home, I will simply ask for a refund. Hopefully, having logged numerous software defects, blah, blah, blah

When the visor is fogged, I can’t ride

With a fogged visor, I lose visibility to critical areas on my dashboard, in front of the bike, and far in the distance from the bike. Here’s the impact.

Lose visibility to the dash

If I can’t read the dash, I can’t see the upcoming turns on the navigation system, making it very hard to anticipate, and properly ride the hairpin turns. Also, without the ability to judge distance to the hotel, or distance traveled, I can’t make guesses about when we’ll stop next.

Lose visibility in front of the bike

Without visibility to the objects immediately in front of the bike, I’m unable to leave parking spaces, not knowing where the curb is, if there is a pothole, what conditions exist in the mud, dirt, gravel or tarmac. So, this is very dangerous indeed.

Lose visibility to far distance in front of the bike

If I can’t see far ahead, I can’t ride fast, and I need to slow way down. Slowing down affects balance, and without balance, you look like a rookie, and you put yourself in greater risk of incorrectly judging distance, or the radius of a turn.

Report from the road

About the Author

Cliff Musante

Cliff Musante is a technologist, business leader, motorcycle enthusiast, father, grandfather, and more. In June, 2013 his passion for motorcycles was revitalized, and he set out to ride across Patagonia. Since then, he's logged thousands of miles, ridden across the US, and on July 10, 2019, he began a 120 day trip through Europe, and then on to Russia, China, and parts East. This 'Blog is the story of all of his adventures.