D13: 容县→平山 - China Blues - CycleBlaze

September 4, 2020

D13: 容县→平山

Since I am still many days behind on journal entries, this is not as detailed as I like my entries to be (as rereading my own journals is the number one reason I write them).

In 2008, I left Rong County at early o'clock in the morning with an escort from the Rong County Bike Club and headed off to Pingnan [平南] 98 kilometers away on what was then a Provincial Route but which has relatively recently been upgraded to a National Road (my paper maps still show it as a Provincial).

The main description I had for the road was that it was boring. The only truly interesting memory I have of that day (which, oddly enough, did not make it into the Tour Journal) was coming into a town which was apparently the staging point for the local cinnamon harvest and feeling like I had crashed into a invisible force field made out of Red Hot Candy. 

Four years later on, when I went from Pingnan to Rong, I confirmed that the road was, in fact, rather boring and that the only interesting thing was the town with the cinnamon. I even stopped long enough for someone to show me that you could break off twigs and chew on them. (Although that tastes amazing, it actually decreased the sensation of Extreme Cinnamon Flavor being experienced by every nerve ending at once.)

Particularly now that this road has been upgraded, I really didn't want to spend any more time on it than absolutely necessary and made the decision that I was going to take the "interesting road" that the local bike club was doing without me on their day ride in 2008. The plan was to follow this road as far north as it went before rejoining the main road after it comes out of the mountains.

I started out by following the plan. However, I also started out by making coffee at the bike shop and didn't actually start out of the city until after lunch so once I'd detoured to check out a mansion that was far more interesting on the outside than the inside, "staying in the mountains" was looking increasingly like "riding after dark in the mountains" and a farm road along the edge of a river valley all the way back down to the main road seemed like the best course.

As things would end up, the farm road in the eventual dark back to the main road put me in the right place for the next day spending the largest possible amount of time not on the main road so this was a major win. It also put me looking for lodging in Pingshan (something which was more difficult than it ought to have been because the Real Hotel threw a hissy fit about bicycles in lobbies and the second place I checked out only had a second floor check-in with no safe bike parking) at about the same time that a large portion of the Rong County Bike Club was taking a group photo together outside the main gate of the Pingshan government offices as the mid-point of their Friday night Night Ride so I got to spend a bunch of time chatting and eating watermelon before eventually finishing the task of "finding a place to stay" whose only negative quality was that their empty rooms started on the fourth floor - with no elevator.

There's a slight (but unlikely) possibility that if my wanderings through the mansion had not been accompanied by a large group of under 10 year old probably descendants of the guy whose mansion it originally was that I might have been able to find more to look at. As it was, having spent a good twenty minutes outside the mansion deciphering Great Leap Forward (1960s) graffiti that had never been removed, even the fact that the place was listed as a National Historical Relic Protection Unit wasn't going to help with the fact that it was an early 20th century building that hadn't had nice furnishings since about the time that graffiti was being scrawled on the outside of the building.

For future reference and to help out any other cyclotourists, if you buy the pack of friendly but annoying children ice creams, they can't both talk at you and eat ice cream at the same time. 

Today's ride: 58 km (36 miles)
Total: 661 km (410 miles)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 1
Comment on this entry Comment 0