OMG, what a day (Awesome riding, but a twist at the end)
|Travel From||–||MiYi, China|
|Ending Location||–||Liajiang, China|
|Miles Driven Today||–||203 Miles|
|Total Trip Mileage||–||12982 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|
A few thoughts…
I’m disappointed that I’ll be missing Roger and Karen’s Oktoberfest party this weekend. It seems that everyone that’s anyone will be attending, enjoying brats, beer, and the company. But, I guess there’s always next year, right.
No more passport checks
Entering China, we were facing passport checks at least 5 times each day. At the time, we wondered if this level of control would be present across China, but now that we’re traveling throughout other regions and provinces, we can now see that the passport checks are mostly a thing of the past.
That is to say that we occasionally see a check, but they choose the cars, trucks and motorcycles, rather than processing all of them. So, I say good riddens to these passport checks.
We left the hotel at 8:30, which has become a standard starting time. The weather was good, and we expected temperatures to continue to rise from 70 degrees F, to well into the 80s.
The first 90 miles
Wow, the first 90 miles of riding were pure bliss. At some point, I asked myself, how you would describe today’s riding? What words would make it clear how I felt. In the end, these 6 words seem to sum it up…
I could do this all day
And that was the case. Riding on such great roads, with great views, with great pavement, and a never-ending sequence of turns, each of which has to be dealt with, but it allows you to test your aggressive side, alongside your finesse side. And so it went, 90 miles of amazing riding. We even stopped for a few photos along the way. Here’s a picture of one of the lush valleys that we rode through.
Then, we stopped at our expected lunch spot, and found out the bad news.
The lunch spot would have been amazing. It was a house, located on a hillside, about 60 feet above the road itself. We would have had to hike up some stairs, and sit in an outdoor restaurant, where we could enjoy an amazing meal. Except that this place has not been serving food for a couple of years now, and so, we go the bad news, and moved on to the next lunch stop.
Lunch was delicious, as it seems it is every day. It also included our favorite breakfast dish, which is scrambled eggs, with tomatoes. As it turns out, this isn’t really a breakfast dish, but I wish it was. At lunch, we found another group of locals, eager to take a picture with the “Big American”. So, I obliged, and we took photos.
The next 60 miles
After lunch, we rode another 60 miles, stopping occasionally, and then finally making our way into a town where a good amount of construction was taking place. As we rode through this town, we passed cars and trucks, just as usual. But, in the video below, you’ll see that I pass a truck, and expect there to be plenty of lane for me to drive through as I continue on. But, in an effort to avoid hitting a pedestrian, the truck moves left, over the center line by quite a bit, and he takes away just about all of my space.
I probably had about 8″ of free space on each side of the bike.
As we were exiting the town, there was an overpass that we rode under, and were immediately placed onto a mud, dirt and rock bed for the next 200 yards or so. I just love riding through this stuff, so I cracked the throttle, and passed a few of the other guys, and then started to have a little fun. Perhaps too much fun.
You see, as I was about to exit the dirt, I felt the bike get squirrelly (Lose most of its awesome road handling ability), and I immediately knew this feeling of a flat rear tire. So, I finished the dirt, and parked on the side of the road. All of the riders acknowledged me, and continued on, as they are supposed to.
I was alone, and I knew that I would need to get the tire fixed. I assumed that it was just a hole in the tire, and that I’d be able to put a quick patch in it, but that was not the case, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
I tried to park the bike, but the dirt I had pulled over into was at a bad angle, and I was afraid that the bike would fall over if I put it on the side-stand. so, I forced the bike back onto the road, did a U-Turn, and tried to find concrete to park on. The concrete was 50 feet away, but was at too steep an angle, so I did another U-Turn, and pulled in front of a facility with a bunch of cars, in various stages of repair.
At this point, Bruno showed up, and offered some help. He stayed on the road, waiting for the van, while I entered this facility, and parked the bike. A few minutes later, the van showed up, and so did Mike, the guide for the day. The 4 of us discussed the problem, and we agreed that we’d use one of my unused Michelin tires as a replacement for the punctured Heidenau tire.
Bruno and Mike would head to the hotel, and Marc would stay with me, and get the tire fixed.
Getting a motorcycle tire repaired?
You’ve heard me talk about the folklore of the Heidenau K-60 Scout tire. It’s known for great traction, long life, and for being almost indestructible. But, even the K-60 gets a flat now and then. But when they go flat, you really need the right tools to dismount them, and mount a new tire.
Being that this was a car repair shop, and not motorcycle repair, and given that this is China, and not the US or Europe, it is not a surprise that they lacked the proper tools. So, I watched them mar and scratch my rim, as they tried to get it done, so that I could be on my way.
I’ve included the tire repair process in today’s report from the road.
The work they did was not easy, and not really familiar to them, but in the end, they got it done. See my report from the road for some footage of the tire repair.
The next 20 miles
With the tire now repaired, it was time to be on our way to the hotel. The hotel was still 60 miles away, and our starting altitude was about 73=200 feet, and we’d need to climb to over 9000, through the pass, as it got dark. Marc and I discussed the situation, and I said that I’d ride as fast as I could, and maybe we’d make it, without needing to put the bike in the van.f
So, off like a rocket I was, and into the softly fading sun. My starting time was 5:55, and the sun would set at about 7:00, perhaps earlier in the mountains. But, off I went.
The final 40 miles
I was riding as fast as possible, but, the bike was not handling well at all. You see, by putting a bias ply tire on the font, and a radial tire on the back, the bike was expected to be a bit unpredictable in the turns. Adding to that level and discomfort was the fact the rear tire was at only 34PSI, when it is supposed to be at 42.
This combination, along with wet, and drying roads, a darkening sky, and twilight hitting me like a Patagonian wind, I had to accept the fact that It would not be safe to ride the remaining 40 miles. So, we loaded the bike, into the van, and had a nice conversation on the way to the hotel.
Well, by now, you may have figured out that the meal that I ate in the hotel has caused me to suffer with gastrointestinal issues, from midnight onward.
I ordered a hamburger with bacon, and mushroom soup. The mushroom soup was cold, and generally not great. The Hamburger had a strange filling, added to the beef, and the bacon was under-cooked. In addition, they provided a small Caesar salad, which had anchovies, which also were not exactly in my regular diet.
So, to net it out, 3 hours after finishing dinner, my whole world literally exploded. Vomiting, and diarrhea started in the night, and have continued to noon, the following day, which is when I’m writing this blog post. So, it was “somfin I et” that caused the problem.
Report from the road
Sorry folks, this report is one of the longest yet, but It’s full of details and explanations of a dramatic finish to a great start of a day.
What will tomorrow bring
Wow, what a question… It looks very likely that I’ll keep the bike in the van, and ride in the van to the next stop. There is simply no way that I’d be able to have the strength to ride the bike in my current condition. But, we’ll see…