14degrees off the beaten track
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June 19th, 2008 | categorizilation: all categories,China

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Today’s distance / ???????: 54 miles / 87km
Average speed / ????: 8.6mph / 13.8km/h
Time on skateboard / ????: 6h 20m
Total skateboarding distance to date / ????????????: 5010mi plus 377mi (?) / 8063km plus 606km (?)
Ascent / ??: 315m
Descent / ??: 385m
End-of-day GPS coordinates: N41° 04′ 24.80″, E095° 27′ 59.40″

Again I got away early today. 6:15am I was on the road. This morning I had a headwind. It was tiring. Headwinds are always tiring. But it was a beautiful overcast/sunny morning.

East of Xinxinxia, Gansu Province, China

A wonderfully welcome diversion from the once again flat, endless roads, was a watermelon stand in the middle of nowhere. As if it had been plonked there by chance. I stopped to buy a watermelon, but the friendly family manning the stand would have nothing of it. They fed me a big bowl of noodles and fed me rock melon till I thought I would pop. And denied any payment. “You are our guest!” they said. Stoked. Thanks guys.

Once I got out of the watermelon stand full as a tick, the wind had died down considerably. I am now in Gansu Province. The change in the landscape is quite noticeable. There is less stones and more small shrubs. The land is alive with birds and lizards and insects. Very refreshing.

Endless (National Highway 312 east of Xinxinxia, Gansu Province, China

Also refreshing, although not entirely welcome, was a short spell of rain today. The first proper rain shower in a good two months of being in western China.

Further along the road, these mysterious round rocks caught my attention:

Wierd round rocks on the roadside near Xonliuyuan, Gansu Province, China

They were only in one concentrated spot on the side of the road, so I can only imagine that a truck carrying the special rocks dropped them there. What are they for? I have no idea. Is this what they use to ‘stone wash’ jeans?

I removed the mudguards off my skateboard last night. For no other reason than because the board looks better without them. I have set the board up however in such a way that I can attach them easily should I need to.

The Longboard Larry distance pusher east of Xinxinxia on National Highway 312, Gansu Province, China

Passed kilometer marker 3333 today too. Nice.

MM3333 on National Highway 312 east of Xinxinxia, Gansu Province, China

At 4pm, I arrived at Xonliuyuan, the only place to get water or food (apart from the watermelon stand) for over 85km today. It was long day, but I had been able to push on throughout the day without my usual siesta. The clouds and rain and altitude kept the temperatures down.

I was considering carrying on, but decided against it, and called it a day in Xonliuyuan. Lucky I did, because an hour after I arrived in Xonliuyuan, a cyclist arrived at the very same restaurant I was eating at. Valentinas is from Lithuania and is cycling from Greece to Beijing, hoping to be in Beijing in time for the Olympics. I had the honour of translating for him in Xonliuyuan, as he needed a new SIM card for his telephone. Which makes it sound like I speak really good Chinese. Which I do not. Do not be fooled.

With fellow traveler Valentinas in Xonliuyuan, Gansu Province, China

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    Permanent Link     Comments (2)

Comment by Lee — June 23, 2008 @ 12:23 am | post a comment

So great that you're still meeting travellers along the way – must be a real encouragement, to them and to you.

I think the stonewash jeans rocks are pumice, actually, since I found a couple of tiny pumice stones in the pocket of a pair of new jeans once. So the ones you saw are probably not stonewash-ers? The mystery continues…


Comment by Aunty Les — July 1, 2008 @ 11:52 pm | post a comment

Have you found out yet where those round stones come from? Perhaps they're a kind of mini Moeraki Boulder!

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