Day FOUR → To Huangshan (almost again)
By The Boyfriend, edit and comments provided by me.
We had a slight run in with the police the night before on our way back from getting (a firkin amazing!) massajee in Lin’An. They called us to pull over, we just powered on through (I didn’t hear a thing!). You can imagine my nerves when we awoke the next morning to find a squad car pulled up outside our hotel with the driver looking unhappily at my bike. I tried to play it cool and rolled my bike out and set her warming up. The officer in question did nothing out of the ordinary for a Chinese police (i.e. he did nothing) and we were on the road again.
We had been dicking around a lot, so today we swore we’d make it to Huangshan or die (well, he swore hope to die, I wasn’t planning on dying at all especially not for this).
Already we had to make modifications to our trip to accommodate our voyages of (in)discovery and didn’t want to make too many more.
Our side-bags (200rmb on taobao = Chinese amazon) unfortunately had had enough. One had been snug against the exhaust pipe and melted through (edit: burning holes in Ms. Cleggs pants in the process. My favourite, I might add!!!). We stopped in Lin’An and Macguyvered (cool new word we = I, as a Macguyver fan, invented, = fixing or making something by improvising with what’s at hand) the bag using a hard wooden clipboard cut into shape with a 5 mao saw blade to keep it off the pipe.
To get to Huangshan from Lin’an you could take the express-way all the way. You might save a whole day but then you’d miss all the fun. The S102/304 presents lovely, long smooth curving roads, we rarely had to slow down at all except for the odd sleepy village, it was the best riding so far. On Monday afternoon traffic was light and the weather as wonderful as the road. Then all of a sudden something changed. There was a sign for a tunnel, followed by no tunnel and crappy roads through the mountains. We thought we may have taken a wrong turn but it was still nice so we didn’t even care.
On one of our off route forays we drove through a time-warp. Found an old village built around the top of a mountain. It was absolutely amazing. Felt like we were walking through an issue of the National Geographic. The people weren’t friendly or unfriendly. They watched us, we watched them. We needed water, the shop only had warm beer which we accepted. We snapped us some pictures and drove back down.
By the time we got to SheXian it was dark and we had planned to finally make use of our tent even though it was a warm night. We pitched it in a school playing field and chatted to the principal and security guards who duly arrived to find out what these crazy white people were doing camping on their land, which was no problem in the end (I think they thought us crazy, since it WAS a warm night). When they left we had a few beers and hit the hay. And sweated, and sweated in our tent for about 15 minutes then packed the whole thing back up and found a hotel (we practically floated out of our tent!).
The hotel had a garage for the bike and air-co (of course) and they even brought us a quarter of a huge watermelon. We quickly forgot about our camping experience and let us speak no more of it. The next day we would be going to some lake hidden in the mountains and I would pretty pathetically drop the bike a few times(to my amusement of course).
Day FIVE → To the lake
By The Boyfriend, edit and comments provided by me.
Next day we planned a little trip up to what appeared to be a lake surrounded by mountains and that’s exactly what we did. We were a bit tired (we’re pretty green remember) so we went to chill out by the lake for a while. We took a wrong turn onto a road which was class. It was kind of hard to turn back, eventually we did though, refuelled (bellies and tanks) and rode up into the mountains. The ride up wasn’t great, too many villages and people milling about and the road was small and too shrubbery-yi so we only caught glimpses of the views.
Before we got properly on the road I low-sided (dropped might be more accurate, low-sided sounds better) from a standing start because of some little piece of bamboo I didn’t see. Luckily my passenger was not on the bike and she had a good laugh at my expense (he dropped the bike many times during the trip and most of those times I wasn’t on the bike, so it was great great fun for me and it gave me the chance to document it for generations to come!). We found a bit of a lake/river thing below some villages built into the side of the mountain and went for a swim (after being assured by the locals that there were no monsters in there)(he actually refused to go in until I went first and to see I didn’t get eaten by any monster, or snakes, or man eating fish or any of the other horror he suspected to be residing in this lovely lake). We hitched a ride on the ferry to the other side, which was cool. After swimming we went back the way we came. Much more fun, more speed as we rushed back before sundown, of course the tail light came off again after taking some minor air and I dropped the bike again trying to take a picture, pretty sad I know (but so funny!). We got our 200 km anyway but were really missing the off road bits around Anji. Further into the mountains there’s nothing (that we could find). Today and tomorrow were pretty dull days, getting lost, demotivated. Massages in the area were a bit shyte too.
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