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October 25th, 2000 · No Comments

Rong’an to Liuzhou

Day 299

The DRG warned us today the first 53 kilometers were through construction. TK&A would be busing the cyclists through this area, because it was that bad. We loaded up the Kristal buses and set out. We hit construction shortly before getting out of the city. It was a mess. The streets were completely torn up and extremely muddy. It was going to be a long day.

Bad road in ChinaTo make matters worse, the traffic was very heavy, going both ways. Of course when the Chinese tear up a road, they do a good job, there was no road left, it was a mud path! Sometimes one side of the road or the other would be so muddy, traffic would have to take turns going over the “better” side. This process slowed things down considerably.

Our driver was very cautious but did get stuck deep in some mud once. We alldirt road in China got off the bus and he flagged down a big truck to tow us out. While all this was going on, traffic piled up in both directions. Of course both directions jockeyed for first position for when the road was clear. They caused a worse traffic jam than before since no one could go either way because everyone was in each other’s way! What a weird way to drive! We all chuckled, this is China!

Motorbike cartAfter 53 kilometers the road was back to normal. We turned the bend and the bike truck was there with all the bikes unloaded, ready for us to hop on and ride. It had taken us 4 1/2 hours to go 53 kilometers by bus! The cyclists that braved the road, beat us!

I rode the last part of the day. It was a great ride, typical of all the fascinating things happening that makes in fun to ride in this country. At one point I had to stop while a huge road crew was chopping down trees. There must have been 80 men and women on the crew. They would use a chain saw to cut the tree andTree trimmers ropes to direct it to fall onto the road! Once it fell the majority of workers would run into the street, cutting the tree into sections, while the traffic waited for them to finish. It was funny to watch.

After awhile I was motioned to go through, they were still cutting and chopping and the traffic was getting more backed up than ever. Oh well, nobody seemed to care!

Building a wall in ChinaThe temperature today got up to 104 degrees, the humidity was high too. By the time I got into Luizhou, I was pretty well spent. In the elevator to my room I nearly passed out. I was dehydrated and hungry. It had been a long time since food.

Our hotel for the night was the best accommodation we have had since we hit China. The rooms were air conditioned, there was a western toilet, bathtub and shower. They even served western style food, I could eat! I made an instant decision to stay for another night and catch up by train. I needed to have an extra day to get clean and rested. This hotel was like an oasis in a sea of dirt. It would be my home for 36 hours.

The next morning as the cyclists and the Kristal buses left for Binyang, I waved “good-bye!” I was free from the responsibility now. It had been fun and I loved every minute of it. The buses were a welcome treat for many, as I was told over and over again.

Tim Kneeland didn’t like the buses at all. He actually yelled at me this morning for causing so many problems. He said I was rude and inconsiderate for not supplying him with a list of the riders. I was not clear where he was coming from, since I saved him and Odyssey money (assuming that actually have some) not to mention time for the staff who would normally be having to pull people off the road, making numerous trips. No, that consideration was not made. No thanks you’s were forthcoming. He was just upset, because he had no control.

As for giving him a list I said “sure.” I didn’t tell him what year.

My thoughts on supplying a list are “no way.” By doing so I would only put the people on it in jeopardy. As soon as staff had a question as to where one of them were, they would write them off. Even if they were on the road and needed assistance. The system stinks, but they continue to use it.

Oh well, it’s my day off and I plan to rest and enjoy it. I feel a cold coming on, it’s feels good to be somewhere for a day, just hanging around.

Apparently I wasn’t the only one who thought that way, there were 19 of us that stayed back in the hotel.

Tags: China · SE Asia