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August 10th, 2008 | categorizilation: all categories,China (Gansu)

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Today’s distance / ???????: 59.3 miles / 95.4km
Average speed / ????: 9.6mph / 15.5km/h
Time on skateboard / ????: 6h 10m
Total skateboarding distance to date / ????????????: 5931mi plus 377mi (?) / 9545km plus 606km (?)
Ascent / ??: 620m
Descent / ??: 745m
End-of-day GPS coordinates: N35°41′26.60″, E105°03′19.70″

Narrow and busy China National Highway 312 near Gantsaodian, Gansu Province, China

It is a curious thing, asking Chinese locals how far it is to the next town. They take one look at my mode of transport, and the distance suddenly becomes twice the actual distance.

“To (insert town name)? Oh, that’s about 70km, I would say,” one woman said to me.

I pointed to the map, and explained that from Lanzhou to Gantsaodian, where we were, was 60km. Assuming the map is to scale, the distance to the next town could not possibly be 70km.

“No, no, I have been there. It is a very long way. And the road is very bad. Very steep,” she said, indicating a near vertical slope with her arm.

“So it is impossible for me on my skateboard?” I asked.

“Oh yes, impossible. You should take a bus.”

I thanked her for her help, and skated away. Further down the road, a road sign told me in big, bold lettering that the town that was 70km away, was actually 26km away. I just took a deep breath and skated onwards, no longer concerned about the possibility of having to skateboard up a cliff face. I arrived at the town less than two hours later, having skated on a wonderful smooth surface all the way. Granted, I had snuck onto the expressway…

Long tunnel east of Gantsaudian, Gansu Province, China

Like yesterday, trucks carrying bee hives were periodically speeding past, leaving a smattering of disoriented and annoyed honey bees. I escaped any stings, but a bee in the face as you’re screaming down a hill hurts.

The entire area I passed through today was made of clay. The hills, the cliffs, the houses.

Climbing up pass east of Gantsaodian, Gansu Province, China

Deep water-gouged gorges accented the scenery.

Deep clay gorges east of Gantsaodian, Gansu Province, China

The hills were terraced, growing mainly corn and potatoes. Here and there people were ploughing the fields, all using donkey-drawn ploughs.

Entering pooer parts of Gansu Province near Gantsaodian, Gansu Province, China

The day was either up or down. Two solid one hour plus hill climbs kept my mind alive. I marveled at how much stronger I am feeling now that I am eating and sleeping better (compared with Xinjiang Province).

Terraced hills west of Huinishan, Gansu Province, China

I passed kilometer marker 2,000 on China National Highway 312 today just before the town of Huinishan here in Gansu Province. At the pace I am at at the moment, I should have no problem arriving in Shanghai in time for my flight home to New Zealand on the 7th of October.

2,000km to go to Shanghai (west of Huinishan, Gansu Province, China)


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    Permanent Link     Comments (8)

Comment by Steve Ruelle — August 11, 2008 @ 8:30 am | post a comment

Hey man, you're rocking along there! Just a tip about expressways, once you pass Xi'an or you start hitting the core East China provinces, the police get super strict about non-motor vehicles using them. They also put up these huge green fences, even around cliff faces, and sneaking on is near impossible.

For now enjoy it, but just a heads up. The 312 highway gets real good closer to Shanghai though in 'compensation'.

Oh, and as for locals, what you saw was typical in East China. Most think that 10km is far, or anything outside their immediate vicinity. On that note, you can get a very different experience just by skating 10 km down a road and runnning into a new town.

Comment by malcolm — August 11, 2008 @ 5:25 pm | post a comment

ploughing photo is a gooder rob.

Comment by Daniel N. Lang — August 12, 2008 @ 11:34 am | post a comment

Hey Rob!

Just had a few minutes to catch up with your adventures in China and it´s absolutely stunning again what I´ve seen! I wonder from where you take the time to update that regularly, wonderful job! And the panoramas and pictures are fascinating as always!

I remember cycling on a northern route around Lanzhou about 10 months ago – back then it was pretty cold in the area and the air was a lot dirtier with worse views!

And congratulations to your 10.000th kilometer on the skateboard, I guess my feet would fall apart after only 1000km – the distances you cover daily are enormous!

Greetings and great adventures from Popayan, Colombia!

Comment by Aunty Les — August 12, 2008 @ 5:01 pm | post a comment

Interesting country side. I wonder if there were any forests around years ago. I guess Chinese civilisation is so old that no one remembers.

Comment by Winnersh — August 13, 2008 @ 5:09 am | post a comment

Hi Rob. So much respect for you having inspired me to get out on the road and go on my own 'little camping trip'. We had a few hills to deal with and I can't imagine pushing up them for over an hour laden with gear.

Comment by malcolm — August 13, 2008 @ 4:19 pm | post a comment

Rob – are you getting this
crazy to think that we (blog followers) know of this place because you went there – and now it's a bit messy. probably quite a bit crazier for you as you know people there.

Comment by Rob Thomson — August 15, 2008 @ 10:28 am | post a comment

Malcolm, yeah, South Ossesia is a mess indeed. Marija Kozin is cycling home to Slovenia, and happens to be in Georgia right now. As a result, she is unable to carry on at the moment. http://www.marijakozin.com. Nuts.

Comment by Rob Thomson — August 15, 2008 @ 10:32 am | post a comment

Winnersh, the uphills, so long as they are smooth, are one of my favourite things on my trip. After a few days the body adapts, and the instant visual results that you can see after pushing up the hills are a great reward.

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