D43: 海丰 → 港口 - Oh Hai - CycleBlaze

November 22, 2019

D43: 海丰 → 港口

Today is the second time this trip that I've faceplanted. As with the first time this trip, it happened not on a crazy dangerous descent, not on a seriously technical piece of dirt road, not because of a pothole or roadworks; nope, none of those places where you'd expect someone to fall on their face and hurt themself; it happened on the way out of the hotel bathroom.

Last time I merely got a crop of bruises. This time I scraped my knee a bit and did something in the nerve damaged regions of my bad leg that didn't leave any marks or apparent damage but—at the time—burned like fire, felt like the sound of wet jeans being torn, and sure as hell had me convinced that once I got up the gumption to look that direction that I'd be dealing with a puddle of blood and a trip to the hospital.

On the plus side, all of this means that I discovered sooner rather than later that yesterday's mishap with the not quite sealed bottle of tea and the waterproof handlebar bag has wrecked my collection of my prescription painkillers. (I would have thought blister packs were waterproof.) On the minus side—even though the Tramadol I took wasn't sufficiently enough for the bruising and aches to make me want to get started on my day—the 'tendency to make poor decisions' aspect of Tramadol was still present  and I decided to take not one, not two, but three Codeine. 

I think my reasoning was that since they were all damp and mushy and I was going to have to chuck the lot of them anyways....I may as well take a recreational dose.

Considering how incredibly high I unintentionally got off of one of these back in Haikou when my leg was acting up shortly before I left, either the tea bath leached out some (most) of the active ingredient in the pills or I was really hurting from my fall. Other than a single purple bruise above my right knee that doesn't like to be poked, nothing was particularly grimacy or grumpy the next day, so I'm not sure what the deal was. In any case, Sober Me seriously can't believe Tramadol Me thought it was a good idea to take a recreational dose of Codeine on top of the Tramadol I'd already taken and then go riding.

The weird dreams certainly don't help matters, but the main reason I don't like Tramadol is the way it short circuits my internal warning system to 'stop doing that now'. I've long known that days when I take a Tramadol are days when I have to strictly enforce scheduled rest breaks* and things like that but where did this brilliant idea to get high and go riding come from?
And why didn't I stop myself?

I've so far managed 20 years of habitual narcotic usage without ever intentionally getting high off of them†. That I don't seem to have actually been particularly buzzed doesn't really matter. What matters is that the known tendency to make poor decisions on Tramadol extended to my making what could have been not just a poor decision but a really poor decision.

I started my day out on nice rural roads heading south from Haifeng towards the coast. Wandered in and out of a couple villages to check out temples, old buildings, or vintage propaganda (mostly 90s stuff). At least until I was forced on to the main road about 20 kilometers into the day, it was a beautifully sunny day of the quiet and relaxing sort. The pain pills had me slightly mellower than I might otherwise be (the thumpy music I usually ride to universally annoyed me and I ended up listening to belly dance tracks and classical instrumental instead) but it really is a gorgeously blue and sunny day with a light breeze and fluffy white clouds and distant mountains over yellow fields of grain.

For a while I thought my lack of a noticeable high was because the environment really was that awesome. Then I got to the truck road. Which was incredibly beautiful as truck roads go, but was still a truck road with giant speeding death monsters and cracked pavement and road debris. My reaction to the truck road being the reaction which I ought to have to the truck road (tense shoulders and all) confirmed that I just wasn't high, or, if I was high, the same 20 years of experience at never ever ever intentionally getting fucked up on narcotics and at knowing how to work through being unintentionally fucked up, also has me able to pay attention to the things that need paying attention to (like traffic) even when I am fucked up.

I'm glad to get off of the truck road when my route allows me to though it unfortunately means that the traffic I do get is, paradoxically, less respectful of my existence than the Death Monsters were. More than once I find myself being honked at when there's nowhere to go and once, near a conveniently located Buddhist Temple, I actually get run off the road. I take this opportunity to stop in at the temple, refill my water bottles, and read the plaque with the life story of the guy who decided to rebuild this place.

The cool dim interior, sound track of Buddhist chants, the pretty but not exceptional white jade statues, and the difficulty I've got in concentrating on reading the plaque from start to finish confirm that I did in fact take something a few hours earlier but, again, even in the sort of quiet environment that totally lends itself to going "wheeeee not only does my leg not hurt but everything else is jussst peachy", I'm nowhere near as buzzed as I would have thought I should have been for what I stupidly consumed. 

(Recent Googling indicates that codeine is highly soluble in water so my three slightly damp and mushy formerly 30mg pills likely weren't anywhere near that strong.)

Stop for lunch at like 3:30pm in the town of Huangbu [黄埠] and decide that even though there should be a ferry to Yanzhou [盐州], it's safer to take the bridge than it is to possibly have to turn around and redo 6 or 7 kilometers. As the small road round the cape to Pinghai [平海] which is now markered as a Provincial Road turns out to possibly have never been paved in that last little bit of round the mountain goodness on top of also having a sign about "significant rockfalls and landslides closing this section to cars" as I'm coming in to the last 15km stretch before my chosen beach town cheap hotel two streets off the beach, it's a really good thing that I ended up taking the bridge.

If the ferry had existed, and the ferry had been running, and it had been running on a schedule that allowed for me to cross promptly, I was pretty sure the coast was going to be hilly enough that I'd be riding in the dark for the last little bit. As it was, the coast not only turned out to be hilly enough, it also turned out to have some really gnarly unpaved stuff that really wouldn't have minded better illumination (going to have to either change this light or add a cache battery to it) while I was walking. Pretty sunset though.

My chosen cheap hotel appeared to be not open in the down season but the second marked cheap hotel was happy to have me. I meant to get showered and changed and go out for dinner but I laid down for a short nap.... and woke up 13 hours later.

* Not just rest breaks from biking. I've taken a Tramadol because my leg was being a whiny bitch, and then proceeded to sit in the same place working on my computer for 6 hours without moving because I didn't notice that I was uncomfortable.

† I'm not going to lie and say that I've never ever intentionally gotten high. Just that I've never ever intentionally gotten high off of my narcotics. Unlike some other substances which may not be legal in all localities, narcotics are highly addictive and, in my case (because of the bad leg), really easy to get ahold of. Having gone through mild withdrawal symptoms some 20 years ago on my way out of Intensive Care, I am rightfully terrified of any kind of narcotic dependency.

Today's ride: 86 km (53 miles)
Total: 2,632 km (1,634 miles)

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