14degrees off the beaten track
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May 12th, 2008 | categorizilation: all categories,China

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Today’s distance / ???????: 20 miles / 32km
Average speed / ????: 8.4mph / 13.6km/h
Time on skateboard / ????: 6h 56m
Total skateboarding distance to date / ????????????: 4583mi plus 280mi (?) / 7376km plus 450km (?)
Ascent / ??: 265m
Descent / ??: 90m
End-of-day GPS coordinates: N43° 36′ 06.80″, E087° 46′ 36.50″

Summer has well and truely arrived here in the northwest of China. Marija and I spent most of the day chasing errands, and delayed leaving Urumqi until the heat of the day began subsiding at around 6pm.

Basically, Marija is also waiting on visa issues. She is due to travel to Kazakhstan to begin her cycle journey home to Slovenia, and she is waiting on Kazakhstan Letters of Invitataion for her visa application process. Urumqi not being the most tourist-friendly city on the planet, Marija is accompanying me on her recumbent bike until Turpan, 210km from Urumqi.

Reflected near Urumqi, Xinjiang Province, China

Skating out of Urumqi was simple enough, but highway G312 for 10km out of the city was dusty and dirty, with cement factories lining the highway. We stopped for a break as soon as we got out into the open.

“Arggggg!” Marija yelled just as we got back on our respective vehicles. “I have a flat.”

She was not a happy camper. The tyres she has been using have not lived up to expectiations. She is using Schwalbe Marathon tyres on the front of her bike, and last year when she was cycling around the south of China and in Vietnam, she got no less than 20 punctures within about 5 months of cycling. Today was proving no exception.

Off comes the wheel, and for old time’s sake I had a go at repairing the puncture. We couldn’t find the tyre levers, so it was Marija’s spoon that did the job (the life-saving spoon kindly donated by the Lamut family in Suzhou only a week before).

Tyre lever / spoon near Urumqi, Xinjiang Province, China

A flat on the first day out! (near Urumqi, Xinjiang Province, China)

Flat repaired, we were on our way again.

We only did 35km before stopping for the night. We camped out in the lee of the wind behind a massive wind turbine blade that was lying on the ground ready for installation or repair.

Two modes of transport leaving Urumqi, Xinjiang Province, China

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    Permanent Link     Comments (3)

Comment by dave — May 16, 2008 @ 10:28 am | post a comment

Wow! That looks like a really really smooth road. Quiet too!

Comment by Aunty Les — May 16, 2008 @ 4:45 pm | post a comment

No shoulders on the road but I guess that doesn't matter where you are!

Comment by Nana — May 16, 2008 @ 11:27 pm | post a comment

I was interested in your comment that you have tummy trouble when you are stressed out. I seem to remember that you were very stressed in Texas but no mention of a "fire in your tummy." I think you have trouble with the food in that Asian part of the world. I think you had some trouble in one of the "stans" on your bike trip. In those countries you can never tell if the food you are eating is really clean and free from bugs of one sort or another. It is a pity they eat noodles and not rice. Noodles don't agree with everyone. I trust the food gets more civilised as you go east.

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