Photo of the day: Caption Competition
I took up yesterday's dinner invite after much suffering for the first 120km. Timing, hospitality and kindness meant I got a lift the remainder of the way to Yinchuan. If you want I'll make it up tomorrow, but you should just take these photos as compensation.
The day started by battling the metabolism enabling virtues of chilli before I headed out into a rainy and flooded Wuhai. At my first breakfast stop my left trainer began to foam as I walked, which was a promising indication that there was more than just H20 in Wuhai's rain.
Google Maps need to change the software they use for identifying roads. On a related note I went on a surprise visit to a coal mine.
The morning misery continued with two punctures, one of which occurred right next to a coal powered factory. Grim.
Eventually I was out of the industrial horrors and into the small farms and beautiful mosques of Ningxia province. My early difficulties meant I arrived late for lunch with the Mas. After I washed as much filth off my limbs and face as I could we headed for the hotpot that culminated in the photo above.
The Mas and friends were desperate to show me some sites of Pingluo county, but I insisted I needed to be in Yinchuan by 7, because my less than capable friends would be arriving from Britain. We went to a beautiful steeply arranged Taoist temple before hospitality and kindness meant that they were putting my bike in a truck to drive me the remaining 60km.
I felt a little sad about breaching the integrity of the trip, but the fact I could have cycled but had more fun eating and seeing people more than compensated.
April 18: Wuhai to Yinchuan - 158km
Start Time: 06.40
Finish Time: 18.30
Hours Cycling: 8
Hours Enjoying Chinese Hospitality: 3
Minutes Being Driven to Yinchuan: Not very many
Photo Every hour - Today's highlight: The Acid Rain is making my trainer foam
Photo of the Day - It Looks like he's mugging me off, but he really isn't!
In some ways it was disappointing to see Wuhai clouded in smog as I approached after 155km of cycling, but when you've been waiting two months to have this blog title in many ways it's a relief to coat your lungs in metallic debris.
A great day. A proper this is why your doing this day. Following the most arduous check out yet - 18 minutes - I joined Linhe's pensioners for their morning turn about the square before hitting the 6.20am rush hour to school. Yes that's right, six and twenty. Linhe has a definite charm to it, I'd love to come back.
Out on the road it was a day of monuments and men (and a woman). I passed the 1000km mark, the G110 passed its own 1000km mark and I crossed one of China's great rivers; the Yellow one. Only the sixth longest river in the world, after all the ones you know about and the Yenesei, which you don't know about, or at least shouldn't know about.
More new friends today. Tomorrow if time allows, I'm off for lunch with two delivery drivers who passed me five times as they shuttled up and down the same stretch of road. Here they are.
Also had three or four other photo sessions on the way, the best of which was with the guy in the photo of the day. He was doing the reverse of me all the way up to Hohhot, on a grown up's bike.
Today was all about one long lingering moment though, as I cruised with a tail wind at 50kph (Mom - 20kph), with Idlewild playing, I gazed over to a glimmering Yellow River and the very first dunes of the Gobi Desert on the opposite bank. Better still, the Song 2 pun securing haze was also visible.
Wuhai also seems charming and has provided the best variation of Kung Pow/Gong Bao Chicken I've had yet, with a real "I'm not crying because it's hot, I'm crying because I'm happy" chilli flavour to it.
In other news, I've gone native and will happily eat a preserved egg from the plastic wrapper. You don't know what your missing.
Finally, another bath!!!!!!!!!
APRIL 17: LINHE to Wuhai- 151KM
Start Time: 06.20
Finish Time: 18.00
Hours Cycling: 11.666
Hours Pushing: 0
Number of Dead Dogs: 1 (told you it was a good day)
PHOTO EVERY HOUR - TODAY'S HIGHLIGHT: The Giant Padlocks STATUE
THE I DIDN'T REALLY WANT TO DO MISTRANSLATIONS AND ROAD SIGNS BUT SOME OF THEM ARE JUST TOO GOOD NOT TO SHARE SECTION
PHOTO OF THE DAY - My new best friend
What a difference a day and a 45kph reduction in wind makes. A joyous day, on the way to the edge of the Gobi desert where the photos do most of the talking. The man above and his colleague provided great entertainment as their frequent breakdowns and my frequent rest breaks created a situation where we overtook each other persistently for 50km.
Quite a few celebrity photos today, the best of which was with this young couple who flagged me down to present me with two cans of Red Bull.
Enjoy the photos. I don't want to waste valuable time in Linhe, which seems a lovely little city, or limit my time in the bath! Yes that's right I've got a bath!
APRIL 16: WUYUAN to Linhe- 83KM
Start Time: 09.00,
Finish Time: 17.00
Hours Cycling: 7
Hours Pushing: 0!
Number of Dead Dogs: 3
Number of Dead Sheep Rotting on the Side of the Road: 3 (not enough to put me off lamb for tea)
PHOTO EVERY HOUR - TODAY'S HIGHLIGHT: The Prancing Sheep Statue
The I didn't really want to do mistranslations and road signs but some of them are just too good not to share section
This is where I update on my progress. Expect lots of fabricated statistics and dated music references.