Post 6- Riding in China

This will be the first blog from mainland China. Have to be honest this clumsy single finger keyboard pecking on the tablet is enough to make my Pastor swear. So,if you see spelling mistakes, accidental gramerical errors,or ,generally a few cuss words slip thru. Count yourself lucky because the really bad ones lay here on the editing room floor. As I attempted to state in the beginning, this is a journey of two men, not a simple trip. My darling wife, my compass when all seems lost, the mast of our family ship, she gave me a talking too about 2 nites ago,when I was ready to quit the whole affair.
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The street were Pine and I found some great noodles.
There are 4 very seriuos trip ending problems going on at the moment.
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Chicken grissle and peppers is how the menu should have read…….all goood.
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Lady wore out 3 rocks trying to polish this old spatula while we waited for the train…..percy veerance.
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A few bugs to eat before we get down to seriousfood.
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Wash down the dried salted bugs with a little Dragon Fruit

Number 1, I just aint as young as I used to be, I can feel those 8 years since my Across America trip, even though I do ride virtually everyday.

Number 2, the total bike weight, we are half loaded right now and each bike is about 175lbs. When we hit Mongolia, withthe added water and 12 days worth of food, we will quickly top 200lbs.Number 3, China is in a current heat wave. We had 116 on the rode for 2 days in a row. Each day, we consumed over 8 litres of water, and peed enough to fill a dixie cup at the end of the day.
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Our first night camp, in among the 3 bajillion trees that Chinahas planted.
Only a handfull of roadside truck stops carry anything refridgerated. Onetime we stopped in particular because Pine called out FREEEZER CHEST. We rode eagerly over to find nothing but the frozen front legs of a goat. Our tongues were glued to the back of our throats, so speach was slurred at best. But I am sure I heard Pine say “Goat-sicle”. We really thought of buying it just so we could lick it. So staying hydrated and even a little refreshed has been a chore.Number 4,  And finally maybe the biggest concern, a brutish wind. We had winds of 10mph as a minimum, 2 days of continuous winds clocking 35 miles per hour. The locals tell us that the bad days will hit as high as 70 or 80mph.
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Vegiie and fruit vendor heads to work
These are some fierce winds that blow down out of Mongolia towards Beijing all summer long, there is a name for them but at the moment, I am forgetting what it is. These winds are a head wind for us everyday.These same winds are killing me, along with bike weight and heat……..heck, I would sooner behung twice with rotten rope.Let me just intervene here for you folks who find God a hard thing to grasp. First let me say get over it, its real. Second, Hell is full of small, hot,dark rooms…….and you spend all dang day (cleaned up for my Pastor) there typing on tablets 2. My dear God, but this is aggravatingMy left knee and hip started to become a problem on day 3, and have only gotten worse as we go.
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A fairly clear day awaits us.
Hence, the claim of this being a Journey with my son whom I have always loved of course, but as of today I have a different sense of respect for the man he has turned into. I still don’t like his hairdo. We have arrived in Beijing, and will take a slow train to Ulanbaataar. It allows my knee a few days to rest, gets us out of some heat.So food did I hear someone say………….for instance I never knew an earthworm had 2 anusses and no eyes. But they do, I know because I snuck right up on one with my chopsticks……….he didn’t even see me coming………and that is how he tasted too. We have had some strands of mystery vegetable soaked in salt and served with hot flat bread then dipped in cold chicken broth????? Nummer dude.
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A bowl of Tofu Soup, eaten down at the street level with a fried onion bun makes for a great start to thedays pedalling.

Tonight we had stir fry veggies, with strangled beef and peppers, and some sort of dumplings we dipped in red hot chili paste……….as I type this I’am sitting on a popsicle……..not sure what flavor, it doesn’t really matter.So tomorrow, we figure out how to get 2 bikes and us to Mongolia by way of a Russian train. Yes, I am betting it will be fun.
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Waiting in the train station……….eating noodles.
So long for now good night, and may God continue to bless us, and we ask those same blessings for all of you.
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Post 5 -It has begun, we are in China

The trip has started, and we are landed in north central China in the coastal city of Qingdao. We will spend a few days assembling the bikes and gear. Hoping to be ready to ride on Monday morning. There will be plenty of work to do,  not really a sight seeing trip while Colleen is with us.

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What you see above, is in fact Pine’s breakfast on the flight over. It is what is called Congee and it should be said that there are indeed many types and flavours of Congee. It is in essence the Asian version of what a good Scot calls “PORRIDGE”………..although you maynot know i, nor believe me. Congee is made of such grains as Millet,Rice and even beans. To that many things are added depending on region and flavour desired. This is rice Congee with steamed Pork strips, green onions which they eat tons of over here, and a slice of salt cured Tea Egg. Believe me it tastes a lot worse than it looks. I should say that I have had it more often than Pine, and I really dont mind the Congee’s at all, my own favorite is the Pumpkin Congee.
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This is taken as we are leaving our home town of Coalinga, we stopped by the Church to get Prayed over and travel mercys. My Pastor is Mike Marley on the left side, Pine, Jeremiah and our youth Pastor Bruce Yeager. Thanks fellows for taking the time to send us off proper in God’s eyes.

So, we began the day with a Durian Pie and coffee, bit of a taste bud assult in my tongues opinion. Let me explain, the pie is a small round pastry covered concoction of maybe 2.5 inch diameter. It arrives to your table with a fruity sweet smell, and combine that with coffee aroma………and your thinking heaven, right. The sweet fades away the instant it is bitten into, and what assails the tongue is a strong Onion/Garlic combined with a course grainy bean curd consistancy. My tongue rolled up like a cheap garage door, knocking solidly up against that punching bag thing at the back of my throat.Those first few words that exited my mouth, were those of a different being or person. Surely, I would not speak insuch phrases………the realization is……..yup,that was me. All this is followed by a distinct gagging reflex,, once that is reswallowed you ask where the nearist confessional is located. And the next bite is worse. Upon recovery you look over at that cup of coffee, it’s enough to cause words of praise to fall from a disbelievers lips……..”thank you God for coffee”.
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In China you que/lineup for everything, heck in some ways you even que in your cars while driving in China. So, we are back to getting used to Chinese lineups, thats were you stand in loose assembly waiting to be cut off or be shoved hard enough that nine offenders can slip thru. I really think that queing in China is the birthplace of that now infamous saying- “Stand firm and be a rude American”. A few more days and we will have it mastered me thinks.

Had agreat visit with a computer tech Prof last night on the plane. He was born in Xiamen,China, now teaching at Cal State Northridge. It was interesting to hear his perspective on how US students achieve in comparison to those from out of country. His words not mine, that the more affluent a society becomes the less ambitious  each generation becomes. Life eventually becomes so robust and rich within a Nation as a whole that all desire for upward mobility are lost as it pertains to the largest part of the population. Sadly, this has already begun in China.The newer student arrivals do not do so with the same vigor and focus of even just a few short years ago.

It’s now Saturday morning, we will get started putting the bikes together today. Certainly looked like the bike boxes took a severe beating on the trip over. My box was badly torn open so we are all Praying that nothing is missing. There are a fair number of folks who maintain the best method to ship a bike, is within a large clear plastic bag………..seeing the results at hand makes me think I would have had a bag full of bike parts. We might put this notion to the test when Pine ships home frm eastern Europe at the end of the summer. He would like to make it as far as Romania…….we shall see how it all pans out.
Well, we spent the day putting the bikes back together, took a lot longer than we had thought. Several parts got bent and busted during the trip over. We are somewhat jury-rigged as we leave but determined to make it all work. Really un-phappy withthe brand new Son hub and the very questionable wiring method used. It looks to us to be basic poor engineering and not to well thought out – but hey it’s a german manufactured item and they usually excell at well planned items.