14degrees off the beaten track
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June 16th, 2008 | categorizilation: all categories,China

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Today’s distance / ???????: 42 miles / 67.2km
Average speed / ????: 8.7mph / 14km/h
Time on skateboard / ????: 4h 47m
Total skateboarding distance to date / ????????????: 4979mi plus 377mi (?) / 7853km plus 606km (?)
Ascent / ??: 180m
Descent / ??: 60m
End-of-day GPS coordinates: N42° 33′ 38.60″, E094° 08′ 45.60″

Run risin gover new stadium in Hami, Xinjiang Provine, China

I woke to a hazy, smoggy pale that hung over the sleepy city of Hami. I was feeling well rested after two days in the city relaxing and getting some good long hours of sleep in. “Money in the bank, Rob. Money in the bank.” That’s what Steve Dewhurst, the skipper of the yacht delivery I assisted on across the Atlantic would tell me whenever we arrived at a port. I made sure that I put many a deposit in over the weekend.

Hami was only just starting to wake up as I rolled out of town. People commuted to work on bicycles, butchers were carting their haul into town.

Meat anyone? (Hami, Xinjiang Province, China)

As I skated towards my old friend National Highway 312, I stopped to take a photo, and a sprightly elderly gentleman glided up on his bicycle. He told me that he had seen me going past as he was getting ready to head out for his morning bike ride. “You are very fast!” he spouted as he eyed up my longboard. He asked me where I was going, and told me that it was the same direction as his daily bike ride, so he would cycle with me for a while.

A cultural relic? No, a petrol station near Hami, Xinjiang Province, China

In the end he accompanied me for 15km. We parted ways near the beginning of highway Z501. This 35km long road runs more or less parallel to National Highway 312, but passes through a beautiful tree-lined area with many spots along the road to eat water melon and get supplies, whereas the main highway 312 bypasses the towns.

My cyclist friend drew me a map in the gravel on the side of the road to explain that Z501 was actually shorter than the main highway, and it would be much better for me to go the Z501 route.

Friendly cyclist draws a map for me near Hami, Xinjiang Province, China

I am glad that I took his advice. It was a very pleasant day of skating, with very few ups and downs, and well sheltered from the wind due to the many trees.

Near Huangtian, Xinjiang Province, China

Watermelon at roadside fruit stand near Hami, Xinjiang Province, China Fresh yoghurt in Huangtian, Xinjiang Province, China

Huangtian was a very pleasant town. It is about 30km east of Hami on Z501. Pleasant locals. Pleasant architecture. Very rather lovely and pleasant.

Muslim temple in Huangtian, Xinjiang Province, China

The Uyghur influence in the town was obvious not only from the above mosque, but also advertisements in Arabic here and there.

Water naer Huangtian, Xinjiang Province, China

I pushed on past Huangtian, and around 1pm felt the heat of the day getting to me. It was almost 40 degrees celcius, and time to get shelter for the rest of the afternoon. Conveniently, there was an old deserted mud house off the road. Next to it was a flowing irrigation channel. Perfect.

Midday siesta spot near Huangtian, Xinjiang Province, China

Afternoon sleep spot near Huangtian, Xinjiang Province, China Afternoon sleep spot near Huangtian, Xinjiang Province, China

It was cool inside the dark hut, and I slept well for almost four hours. At 5pm I made my way reluctantly out into the heat again and pushed on.

Wanting to test the carrying capacity of the longboard trailer even more, I bought a water melon and hauled it about 20km to Lotojue, the town I would end up staying at for the night.

Loaded up in preparation for two days with no services between Lotojue and Xinxinxia, Xinjiang Province, China

The poor melon didn’t handle the bumping around however, and was a little mushed by the time I got there…

Near Lotojue, by the way, there appears to be a town full of soccer fans…

Keen on soccer? (near Camel Loop, Xinjiang Province, China)

I checked into a 10RMB (1 Euro) a night truck stop, filled in my logbook, and hit the hay.

Updating my journal in Camel Loop, Xinjiang, China

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    Permanent Link     Comments (2)

Comment by mike c — June 24, 2008 @ 12:53 am | post a comment


Comment by Aunty Les — June 26, 2008 @ 12:23 am | post a comment

Hi Rob. It's good to catch up again on what you've been doing. My computer packed a sad Saturday week ago and has only been back in action since yesterday. Great photos.

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