D2: 鸦鸿桥 → 遵化 - A China Coddiwomple - CycleBlaze

May 30, 2022

D2: 鸦鸿桥 → 遵化

I find myself minding less and less about having my picture taken (especially when I'm taking their picture)
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I wanted to be getting the words down in the evening instead of the morning next or still farther past when things happened. Unfortunately, things happened that made this less possible than I would have liked and I did nearly 90km instead of the just over 60 I had intended. I also got some negligible but noticeable climbs, 30km of truck traffic, and a fabulous late night argument with the police.

Up at 7, I breakfasted in the room and discovered that the striker on my coffee stove had stopped working. I don't smoke, don't have a lighter but I did have the gift of chocolate covered coffee beans to tide me over.

Chocolate covered coffee beans to the rescue
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Morning checkout
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Hotel lady gifts me the charger cable I need for my powerbank/headlight/speaker and is just generally overall pleasant in trying to help with getting my bags on the bike or listening to "I don't care what which person in the government said about restrictions for foreigners, they aren't allowed to be telling you that".

I love it when people have flowers planted solely because they are pretty
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Doesn't get much better than this
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I jump off the big truck route for countryside roads as soon as possible and I stay mostly on rural paradise until I'm nearly at my day's first likely destination (a bridge built in 1192). As my body is reacclimatizing itself to daily punishment, I spend about an hour by the bridge sitting and editing a video. 

Built at the same time as the Marco Polo Bridge
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830 years old and still in use
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Some of the figures look to me like modern replacements
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I would have liked to have taken my rest at the very crowded restaurant where I stopped for lunch but a combination of hostility from the kitchen over my being a disease ridden foreigner (hostility that started after I ordered) and an overly friendly drunk guy that would not stop sitting down next to me and breathing in my face made me decide to go.

I wouldn't have minded so much the "for you, we are closed" if it hadn't come after I ordered
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Or if the restaurant had had a little bit less of a crowd
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It was the combination of packed to the gills and telling me to leave after I sat down and ordered that pissed me off
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Including a few stops to pick mulberries from trees so heavily laden that the ground is covered in berry smush and some of the stuff still on the trees has gone moldy, I've got a consistent bit of pastoral loveliness as I head north towards the town I've picked for the evening on account of distance, number of hotels, and proximity of those hotels to a police station.

Some very very ripe mulberries
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On days when the factories aren't running, the Hebei skies are stunningly beautiful
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Town Government Building circa 1995
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Then, I run into a road block. Now, I've been running into various barriers making side roads car impassable (must go in through the checkpoint) all day but this, this is definitely a road block.

It also turns out to be the border with Tianjin.

The bunnysuits didn't presactly stop me from crossing into Tianjin, they just let me know that if I did, unless I could manage the 4 hours or less that would put the Municipality on my travel Code, getting out again would be a ballache. 

They also gave me my 4th Covid test in 5 days.

Open wide and go aaaggh
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I appear to have found the Tianjin border
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When I turned around, I was 15km from Yutian County and 28km from a town with 4 hotels and a police station that was on my revised route.

Riding a one lane truck route that was all stop and go traffic lined up for miles after every stoplight, I chased the sunset into town only to find all 4 hotels and the police station closed.

Past experience tells me that if I had called the emergency hotline, someone would have shown up
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At the advice of one of the "we aren't allowed to be open" hotels, I rode another 17km with my legs and left Achilles tendon cramping, hit the edge of Zunhua City, checked a couple more closed hotels and found an open one with 3km still to go to the closest police station (it's often easier to start the night there).

Confirmed the open-ness of the hotel. 

Confirmed the price of the room. 

Confirmed the 3rd floor location.

This trucker motel offers a cargo finding service for people with load to spare
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Started pulling up my Codes and stuff and got told "you need to go to a foreigner hotel" 

Ummmm.... no. A decade of trying to get any of the officials who say "foreigner hotel" to provide one iota of documentation that says the existence of foreigner hotels wasn't cancelled on a nationwide basis in 2003 has so far resulted in every single official who butts heads with me on this topic deciding I can stay.

I haven't raised my voice yet. I'm pathetic and exhausted and I'm aiming for sympathy.

"We aren't taking you, you need to leave now, we are closed."

"Actually, your choices are to take my money and continue checking me in or to have an argument, which will almost certainly result in you calling the police on me, after which you can take money."

I assigned myself a room while waiting for the Police, then took a shower and a nap. I know that taking keycards and letting myself into a room is wrong. It's also effective. There's a fine line I need to balance on regarding being an asshole and part of that line is wanting the police to be called while also not wanting the hotel people to get actually angry at me.  

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When the police arrived, the biggest issue turned out to be that (gov't intervention notwithstanding), I haven't yet been legally or correctly registered in Hebei.

I was very polite to the Police. I wasn't nice but I was polite. They lost. Mostly on the grounds of my already being quite thoroughly ensconced in the room by this point, but also because big surprise they couldn't provide anything in writing to prove the existence of special licensing for Foreigner Hotels. 

By now, when it comes to who will win an argument between me and the police, is anyone who isn't the police surprised by them losing?

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Today's ride: 89 km (55 miles)
Total: 214 km (133 miles)

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