Today’s distance / ???????: 47.1 miles / 75.9km
Average speed / ????: 9.2mph / 14.8km/h
Time on skateboard / ????: 5h 07m
Total skateboarding distance to date / ????????????: 6329mi plus 386mi (?) / 10,187km plus 622km (?)
Ascent / ??: 385m
Descent / ??: 895m
End-of-day GPS coordinates: N33°41′57.8″, E110°19′34.0″
Well they say that the deserts are the worst for extreme differences in daytime and nighttime temperatures. I have to say, that that is not the experience I had last night. I was sweltering in a muggy 35 degrees Celcius during the day yesterday, and I was shivering last night in the tunnel with a cool breeze wafting through all night. A sleeping bag would have been handy.
Road workers arrived early to begin work in the morning cool. They were taken aback to see a foriegner curled up in a ball in the tunnel. They must have felt sorry for me; they gave me a big tomato to eat for breakfast.
It didn’t take long for the action to start once I got skating. First up was the tunnel at the top of the pass. This was the big one. At more than 5km long, with no lighting, it was an exciting skate.
Here and there workers were adding the finishing touches. Needless to say they were surprised to see a person on a skateboard in the tunnel.
Onwards to the light, it was a fast downhill skate until lunch time. With not many options in sight on the new expressway, I stopped and hopped the guardrail to buy a snack at a small store next to the expressway. I bought an icecream and a bottle of cold water, savouring the coolness in the heat of the day. A few locals, curious to see what the foreigner was doing, came over to chat. One of them was Chang Yong, a post-grad Computer Science student. He invited me to his home next to the store.
Chang Yong’s mother was very confused when he explained to her what I was doing. “You’re alone? How many countries? On a skateboard? Why not on a bicycle, at the very least?” she asked.
She was concerned that I would get lost since I was travelling alone. She was also concerned for my safety, travelling in so many countries. Chang Yong explained that his mother had never been outside the province she had grown up in, let alone outside the country. To travel alone around the world was a very foreign concept to her. “I would like to travel, like you,” Chang Yong said. “But I am afraid that my mother would worry too much. What did your parents say when you said you wanted to travel?” he asked.
I explained that in New Zealand it is totally normal to travel outside the country. Perhaps not as much as what I have ended up doing, but normal all the same. I explained that my parents were supportive of my idea. He just shook his head, amazed at the difference in thinking.
Chang Yong’s mother, obviously concerned with my immiment demise heading out on the deserted expressway again, insisted that I have lunch at their place. She made up a delicious tomato and egg noodle soup, of which I was made to consume two massive bowls of (not at all to any objection on my part). It was a wonderful rest in the heat of the day, and I was feeling ver refreshed as I made my way out again.
The entire area here is dedicated to corn growing. It is harvest time, and corn is being dried. I pushed on through the corn fields, finally leaving the expressway in seach for a place to stay in Danfeng.