11 July – China (Shanxi) – ~262 miles
Another day of “eating up the miles” or “just getting to where we’re going”.
Another day of red trucks, coal-dust/soot, traffic, fairly boring roads.
Another day of getting the fun in where you can – whether it be ridiculous overtaking manoeuvres, running red lights, ridiculous overtaking manoeuvres past police cars while running red lights, or just lunch with locals.
But – it was our last day on the G108… it was actually fairly sad to leave her. I made sure my lunch was had at the last possible moment before splitting – in a small town obviously existent solely to serve the local miners/truckers… a laowei stopping in for lunch on an “ultra-modern” motorcycle was quite the event.
But – the 108 and I had different goals, so I had to leave her after one final goodbye meal, and then started my relationship with the 208. The 208 seems slightly less grimy/sooty thus far, but after an initial honeymoon period – the omnipresent red trucks appeared again. And she tried to insert a little bit of ‘magic’ – a very short stretch of twisty roads over a pass… but after the magic of the 318, and the relatively frequent spurts of adventure 108 turned up… I don’t really know how any road will ever live up to those giddy heights.
I managed to capture a little video of some of the infamous “red trucks” – in case anybody doesn’t believe just how many of them there are – including some fairly typical passing, as I’m filtering between the oncoming queue of stationary trucks, and the outgoing queue of 40mph trucks, all displaying very un-chinese standards of driving as they seem to be checking the rear-view mirrors and moving slightly aside to let me zoom up the centre-line.
There were also some fairly standard navigation issues, coming across roads which were non-existent, in the process of being built, or some-such. In most cases, a little bit of riding down through inappropriate alleys, road-works, rice-paddies, and pretty much anything heading in vaguely the right direction – worked out well.
Arrived in Datong – staying in the middle of the “old city” – but this one looks like it’s in the process of being rebuilt/restored to become the next big chinese tourist centre… so fairly uninteresting in its current state.
An effort was put in to cleaning up the stock of spirits bought in various countries over the last 3 months. Tonight, the focus was on the Kazakhstan Brandy.
Tomorrow – the last day of “solo riding”, before the group ride into Beijing.
The reminiscing started last night, continued tonight… I’m not really sure I’m ready for any of that yet. I’m pretty keen to just get to Beijing, spend a few days, then turn around and ride back to London, maybe with a slightly different route – just to mix things up a bit.
Anyway, some photos of 208’s attempts. It’s nearly embarrassing.