14degrees off the beaten track
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June 23rd, 2008 | categorizilation: all categories,China

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Today’s distance / ???????: 56 miles / 91km
Average speed / ????: 8.6mph / 13.8km/h
Time on skateboard / ????: 6h 37m
Total skateboarding distance to date / ????????????: 5110mi plus 377mi (?) / 8224km plus 606km (?)
Ascent / ??: 225m
Descent / ??: 85m
End-of-day GPS coordinates: N40° 34′ 29.30″, E096° 48′ 13.10″

Well I ended up staying the weekend at Guazhou, and saw no more of the city than the inside of an internet cafe, as is often the case on rest days. I did get out and search out a fix for the rattling trailer hitch on my skateboard. Some hard rubber washers did the trick, and now the trailer is as quiet as a mouse.

New washers on the trailer hitch reduce rattling noise (Guazhou, Gansu Province, China)

About 10km west of Guazhou, National Highway 312 turns into a new expressway, the GZ45 expressway. It is a beautiful smooth 4 lane highway (two lanes each side, separated) with a massive shoulder. Entering the highway through the toll gate was no issue, and in fact I was encouraged not to take the side access road. “That small road is too rough for you,” the toll gate people told me. “Also, too narrow, and too many trucks.”

Indeed, the access road was rough chipseal and only one lane wide, with old trucks barreling down it, dodging each other with one set of wheels on the pavement, and the other holding on with dear life to the gravel on the side.

I was happy to be on my expressway.

Skating the GZ45 expressway east of Guazhou, Gansu Province, China

The scenery was again bleak and uninspiring, similar to Xinjiang, except more so. I kept my head down and found as best a rythym as I could, thankful for the smooth flat surface, as it required none of the subconcious balancing that can be tiring on a less than perfect surface.

Rolling well on the smooth GZ45 expressway east of Guazhou, Gansu Province, China

There were some welcome diversions however, in the form of road signs. I’m sure the one on the left is a departure from the intended message.

Sign on GZ45 expressway near Guzhou, Cansu Province, China Sign on GZ45 expressway near Guzhou, Cansu Province, China

I did feel tired all day, and as the day wore on I began to feel a hint of nausea. Towards evening I stopped at least three times and bent over waiting to throw up. It never came, and although I was convinced that a good chuck would clear the nausea, I was not game to stick my fingers down my throat (although I certainly considered it). I’m at a loss as to why I felt this way, and my distance for the day belies the way I felt. 91km in a day is a good day. I guess it was something I ate.

The nausea killed my apetite, and I could only stomach dry noodles for dinner.

I wrote in my diary these words at the end of today:

I want to go home. Kind of.

I am tired of being tired and sick. I am tired of the uninspiring scenery. I am tired of the mental effort of communicating in a language I only know such a small portion of.

I am tired.

But, believe it or not, it’s this skating palava that’s keeping me going. I’m sure that this form of transport is not to blame, and I’m still committed to seeing it through till Shanghai.

On a side note, I must get myself some nylock nuts for my truck attachments. I had to replace some bolts a while back, and couldn’t find any nylock nuts in the small town in Xinjiang that I was in. The nuts I have at the moment can vibrate loose, causing bolts to disappear. Goodness knows when I lost this one today.

Oops, missing a bolt after a day of skating from Guazhou along the GZ45 expressway (Gansu Province, China)

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    Permanent Link     Comments (5)

Comment by Rob Thomson — July 1, 2008 @ 5:57 am | post a comment

I just had a comment from Mike1727 on the photo of the expressway, saying that that would be a long rail slide.

For your entertainment, please take a look at this MTV episode where professional skater Rob Drydek breaks 21 skateboarding Guinness World Records in one sitting, including the longest railslide.


He didn't quite make it to the longest journey by skateboard, but we won't hold that against him…might be a little tough to skate 9,000km in one day.

Fun, fun.


Comment by Kirk — July 1, 2008 @ 11:28 am | post a comment

Maybe if you put the bolts on top and the nuts on the bottom, when the nut vibrates off, at least the bolt may stay installed. Also extra nuts take up less space and weight versus extra bolts. Also try getting split washers or star washers and put them under the nut. That will hold almost as good as a nyloc.

Comment by Aunty Les — July 1, 2008 @ 11:59 pm | post a comment

Pity about the boring scenery. Such a great surface to skateboard would allow lots of looking about and admiring the scenery if there was anything to look at!

Do you think you need something other than noodles? I seem to remember you had problems when on the Pamir Highway and your diet seemed to be noodles then.

Comment by Rob Thomson — July 2, 2008 @ 3:54 am | post a comment

Kirk, I ended up just adding another set of nuts on top, and tightened both nuts onto each other. That seems to do the trick. As for the upside down bolts, that is so I can install the mudguards quickly.

Comment by Jean — July 2, 2008 @ 3:21 pm | post a comment

Hey Rob,

a smidge of blutack – or chewing gum might be easier to find, would probably also work to keep the bolts on… Keep it up, you'll be home soon


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