D46: 凯莉→炉山 - China Blues - CycleBlaze

October 16, 2020

D46: 凯莉→炉山

In 2012, I ended up on the smaller of the two roads from Lushan to Kaili because I got lost. Getting lost is not necessarily a bad thing as the road I ended up on was really quite pretty and—most likely—as the smaller of a pair of more or less parallel roads, probably had less traffic. I suppose it is at this point that I intended to diverge from my plan of backtracking 2012's route as divergence is what I had drawn out on my Maps, but now that I'm re-reading the entries from 2012 and looking at the pictures from 2012, while there are certainly things that look potentially worth seeing by going to Zunyi [遵义] via Huangping [黄平] and Yuqing [余庆] instead of by way of Fuquan [福泉], there's nothing actually wrong or bad about the way I went before.

So I decide instead that I'll go the way I went before. It's not like there's anything stopping me from coming back and visiting Guizhou again. From perhaps taking a trip where I intentionally go to places I've never been. This trip, rather like 2018's trip, is specifically about going places I've been before (except when I most assuredly didn't like those places) and getting a deeper view of the interesting things I missed last time around.

Geographically, Kaili is one of those cities that doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Everything is much too steep. To get much of anywhere more than a very short walk away, motorized transport is more or less a requirement. Even in the era when China was known as the "Kingdom of Bicycles", people in Kaili must have gone to work by bus. Or lived in factory provided housing nearby.

It's a good long ways downhill from the bike shop to leave the city and then it's a fucking long ways uphill from the edge of the city to the next town. I walk pretty much the whole way. This is not because I have to walk such a steep hill (though I probably do) but because there is quite a decent amount of traffic on this stretch, moving at quite a decent speed, and if I'm going to be toodling along at a max of 5 or 6 kilometers per hour, I simply feel safer walking at 3.5kph.

Finishing the up, it's back down again before I reach an intersection with the mercifully less trafficked road that had been the road I was trying to take in 2012. Given the changes that have taken place over the last 8 years and the fact that I was lost at the time, I can't be entirely sure that, when I met up with a main road in 2012, that it was in fact this main road and not somewhere farther to the north on the road I just left. I think it is though.

Once I'm most definitely on the correct small road, it's ups and downs followed by more ups and more downs. By which I mean it's walking or its coasting. I doubt that much of any pedaling happens at all. Walking walking walking and wheeeeee. Then back to walking until the crest of the next hill for me to coast down.

If I hadn't spent as much time enjoying the company of the bike shop people and eating lunch with them, I wouldn't have ended up biking (read: walking and coasting) in the dark. On the other hand, I wouldn't have gotten to eat the local special sour soup because all food in China is intrinsically communal and the only way to get any kind of meal that's not part of the fast food trifecta (dumplings, fried noodles, and chicken sandwiches) is to either be part of a group or to be willing to waste large quantities of food; and I am neither.

I'm planning on oatmeal in the room. Will in fact still end up having oatmeal in the room. But I see a street stall with some interesting looking tofu (that was quite yum) and ended up also ordering "one of the whatever that is" that someone else was having made (think fried mashed potatoes but not as good) while I sat there.

Nothing interesting to report about my hotel. Standard "ehhhh we've seen that you have an ID and it has your face on it so we aren't going to bother with actually registering you because you're a foreigner and that might be a pain in the ass" which, given the combined factors of no longer needing to report my location to the criminal police and being sick and tired of Covid related questioning, I decide to just accept.

Today's ride: 40 km (25 miles)
Total: 2,322 km (1,442 miles)

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