Two and a half weeks into our ride, here we are in Xi’an, the terracotta warrior town, enjoying two days of much needed R&R before heading out for the more “interesting” part of China. 1,896 km ridden.
To get here, we’ve crossed a good chunk of China’s old industrial heartland. We’ve had days when it seemed that we breathed nothing but brick dust, and others when we’ve been covered in coal slurry. We’ve been baked at 31 degrees, and been wet and frozen at 3 degrees. Road surfaces have been variable. From completely empty, brand new 6 lane highways, to being slowed to walking speed on old country roads pounded into rubble by overloaded trucks. Yet here we are. Life is simple. Distilled to an essence of eat, sleep, ride, repeat. Hot showers and cold beer. Of course we’ve faced challenges; and every day has thrown an infinite number of ways at us to prove that the journey will be more difficult than we imagined. Translation, navigation, confusion, frustration. Of course, the issue is with my imagination, or the lack of it, rather than the journey. But there’s satisfaction, determination and exhilaration. We’re adapting, and possibly evolving, physically and mentally. Being old, we need our rest, and so I’m already looking forward to our next day off, 600km westward in Lanzhou “the gateway to nothing”