14degrees off the beaten track
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June 24th, 2008 | categorizilation: all categories,China

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Today’s distance / ???????: 26.8 miles / 43.2km
Average speed / ????: 9mph / 14.4km/h
Time on skateboard / ????: 2h 59m
Total skateboarding distance to date / ????????????: 5137mi plus 377mi (?) / 8267km plus 606km (?)
Ascent / ??: 190m
Descent / ??: 45m
End-of-day GPS coordinates: N40° 17′ 03.20″, E097° 01′ 55.30″


The 43km into Rumen today was a struggle. Good thing I had a slight tailwind. Good thing that Rumen is an oasis of wondorous green.

Green at last (approaching Rumen City from the west, Gansu Province, China)

I thought of home a lot as I skated. In fact, it was what kept me going this morning. I was hungry, tired, and just wanted to rest. I had not slept well last night in the culvert under the road, as the wind was strong. Smelling the fresh cool air of the fields and hearing the trickle of water in the irrigation channels, this is what I daydreamed about:

I am sitting in the cool shade of a lake-front cafe. In front of me I have an apricot danish. No wait…a big slice of gourmet pizza with feta cheese and olives on it. And an apricot danish. And a bowl of hokey pokey ice-cream. Around the table sit my brothers and cousins and parents and relatives. Just another end of year family gathering. It might be Lake Te Anau, it might be Lake Wakatipu. It is early morning. 9am. Tourists wander the streets, but it is quiet. The stillness of the morning calm swallows the sounds of muffled footsteps. Out on the lake there is a tourist boat putting along, cutting through the glass-calm water. The engine sound is far off in the distance. The sounds make their way to the distance hills first, then slowly float back in my direction. The sky is clear, the air is crisp. It will be a glorious February day. Children are already on the pier jumping off into the clear water. A group of students wander along the lake front, sleepily, walking off last night’s hard drinking, now drinking in the cool calm of the morning. They are barefoot. Enjoying the cool soft green grass beneath their feet.

In that moment I was home. Home in New Zealand. I relived this day dream for at least an hour as I skated. It took away the agonising slow pace of my sick body as I pushed towards Rumen. Time to go home, I thought.

I have thought about many more possibilities for my journey, including doing siome skating in Australia, and thought very seriously about skating to Tibet. But they will not be happening this time round. They will still be there in a year’s time. Or two, or five.

A pair (approaching Rumen City from the west, Gansu Province, China)

I finally made it to Rumen. It was 11:30am. I checked into a hotel and decided to stay the rest of the day and tomorrow. I need to get rid of this bug in my tum.

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    Permanent Link     Comments (1)

Comment by Aunty Les — July 2, 2008 @ 12:04 am | post a comment

Great dream but I doubt if any of the rellies would be walking around in bare feet here in NZ at the moment as it's 7-10deg max these days.

By the way, Rach stayed here last night. She went on to Palmerston North early this morning for a business meeting and will now be back in Dunedin. She is looking well and is back to her usual self. Evie is progressing well, although behind milestones of other babies her age.

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