D51: 够皮滩→傲溪 - China Blues - CycleBlaze

October 23, 2020

D51: 够皮滩→傲溪

Not being able to find a point of interest which the electronic maps sent me to is nothing particularly new. I recall it happening for as many years as I've been using electronic maps. Don't recall specifically where I was trying to go in 2012, just that I couldn't find it and the combination of Google insisting on saving all of my POI using their English name and the Chinese GPS offset meant that if it existed, I never found it. Found other interesting things in my search for it but never actually it.

I've even failed to find POI that were on my paper maps. Once. In 2015 with Myf. Given the accuracy level of the paper maps I specifically go out of my way to buy, I'm pretty sure I was in the right place. Its just that the place we were looking for was probably an unexcavated archaeological site.

So it's not like I was that disgruntled by the Yongsheng Gate [永生门] not actually existing as a findable site of historical interest on the road just outside the People's Government of Goupitan. What I was disgruntled by was a place with almost the exact same name as the Yongsheng Gate existing as a findable location on the road just outside the People's Government of Goupitan. Only it wasn't a historical site of interest. One of my random "lets see what this is" points from early on in Guangxi was a modern ceremonial gate that I didn't think was interesting in the slightest. 

But it wasn't even a gate. Ceremonial or non. Modern or non. 
It was a shop.
That sold doors. And windows. 

Instead of going to the Yongsheng Gate, I went to the Yongsheng Doors and Windows Shop [永生门窗]. 

For this I was pretty fucking disgruntled.

I'll grant you, yesterday's scenery on my walk was nothing short of mind blowing. And the first round of police that I dealt with in Goupitan were an alright bunch of guys. So it's not like I really missed out on anything by coming to Goupitan instead of taking some other road. It's just that it was such a let down to have come all this distance specifically for this site only to have it be something else altogether.

I left Goupitan and headed down down down the hill to the Wu River and in the general direction of Dawujiang Town [大乌江] - a name which coincidentally means The Great Wu River and which makes me think that even though I can't find the characters for "Wu River" it's probably  乌江. Like Jiangjiehe (well, really like every reasonable ferry crossing on every large river in the general vicinity) the Red Army ferried across here during the Long March so there were some monuments and a museum to potentially visit.

The idea was that I was going to keep to the south side of the Wu and take a smaller road over the mountains into Dawujiang so that when I finally went north on the G243 national road, I wouldn't be backtracking over ground already covered. However, when I got to the turnoff, it had shades of yesterday's walking, and I said "fuck it" and kept going straight with the idea that maybe I'd turn south for Dawujiang when I got to the main road and maybe I wouldn't.

Shortly thereafter I was faced with a cluster of three tunnels in a row. They were relatively short tunnels with reasonably good lighting, a very nearly pedestrian friendly sidewalk, and a surprisingly large quantity of both cow and horse shit. However, they were still tunnels and I don't know if it's claustrophobia or fear of the dark or what but I really don't like tunnels.

Stopped on the bridge between tunnels 2 and 3 to look out over a gorge that wouldn't have been at all out of place in a New Zealand tourism brochure. Only got a few photos of the hydroelectric dam and accoutrements on the other side but Mike was able to identify the accoutrements as a boat lift. A 200 meter gain boat lift. For really big boats.

Shortly after tunnel 3, the roadworks began. They wouldn't stop until I reached the main road. Had lunch with one crew who called out to me from their improvised canteen at someone's modern concrete farmhouse (with the historic wooden farmhouse having been adopted as crew dormitory instead of setting up the usual temporary housing). Acquired a hideous mystery noise in the chain tensioner thing that's not a derailleur because this is a internal gear hub. Did a lot of fidgeting with tools and made the noise less hideous but couldn't get rid of it.

Got to the main road feeling sufficiently wiped that I walked up the mountains and coasted down the other side all the way to Aoxi. This being Guizhou there was very little flat or nominally flat terrain so it was basically walking or coasting the whole time. In fact, probably the longest stretch of time spent pedaling was when I left the modern national road for a stretch of potholed bumpy lumpy old provincial road (what used to be the main road before this road was upgraded to national) on the way in to Aoxi. Once I was on something more or less completely traffic free it was okay to get a bit of zigging and zagging in and that made the parts of hill that weren't absolutely too steep to pedal quite doable.

Aoxi is apparently an Old Town with a great many Historical Things of Interest. With the exception of two bridges (one a 1970s replacement of the Ming Dynasty one, one that might have been Ming as I passed it in the dark) I saw none of them. It just didn't work out right as I arrived after dark and by the time I managed to find any kind of lodging that didn't have a second (or third) floor lobby, I was already most of the way out of town. 

Despite missing all the old stuff, the signs for the Ye Olde Town and its various points of interest did a suitable job of pointing me at a very small noodle shop that's been featured on national TV and recognized as one of Yuxi County's Top Ten Snack Shops so I figure I made out alright.

Today's ride: 43 km (27 miles)
Total: 2,530 km (1,571 miles)

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