D19: 枣园 → 延安 - Me China Red - CycleBlaze

April 6, 2021

D19: 枣园 → 延安

Given how much I ached last night, I'm not the slightest bit surprised at how much I still ache come morning. However, it's dulled to the point where I only feel it if I actually try using my muscles.

My hotel and it's cousins are clustered at the easternmost end of what was probably once a village. As I'm heading east, I decide not to turn west and go for any of the many food options available to me. This turns out to be a huge mistake on my part and I end up not getting any breakfast until I'm properly into Yan'an.

Which is not to say that there were no places to eat along my route, just that they weren't on the same side of the rather large and heavily trafficked road as I was and I preferred not to test my Frogger reflexes with an unfamiliar city's unfamiliar traffic patterns when I hadn't eaten yet on a day where I was stiff and sore.

I probably would have had no problem crossing the road. I didn't want to find out though.

Breakfast was two roujiamo flatbread sandwiches which Chinese people like to refer to as "the Chinese hamburger" because, I don't know, it's almost but not entirely completely unlike a hamburger and these are the same people whose familiarity level with Douglas Adams leads to them only posting "Beware of Leopard" signs in places that don't have leopards.

The roujiamo was accompanied by a local to Yan'an dish called 洋芋擦擦. Upon having it arrive at my table, I remembered it as that boring potato dish from 9 years ago. In the great tradition of cycle tourists everywhere, being as it was made of food, I ate it anyways.

Next stop was the local bike shop where they basically couldn't help with anything I wanted from a bike shop, but they did tell me about some local to downtown grottoes that had escaped my pre-trip research and their neighbor with the motorcycle shop replaced my wired in headlight (which promptly burned out again the next riding day and will lead to my having to do more research on what's going on with my dynamo).

Then I backtracked to the courier office which was supposed to have my coffee beans except for the part where "leave at shop for pick-up" had been ignored by this morning's courier.... who had just delivered them.... without calling the number on the package.... to the bike shop I'd just left.

They didn't make me go back to the bike shop, however.

I picked a cheap hotel a bit to the east of the grottoes, booked online, and was most unhappy to discover that it was the kind where the lobby is basically nonexistent and I had to carry my bike upstairs. While this is a real nuisance, it has the advantage that most people—having seen that I'm already up the stairs with a large, heavy, obviously unwieldy object—won't reject me.

The auntie who owns the place was perfectly fine with me and very impressed by the whole biking thing. The younger presumed relative who came by maybe ten minutes later (prior to auntie coming back with a mobile phone app to register me on) was very snarky and Covid-type xenophobic with all the questions that half a second's contemplation would have answered without her needing to actually ask them.

Today's ride: 20 km (12 miles)
Total: 707 km (439 miles)

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