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Tour de China – Day 12


Location: Lushan, Henan, China (33.75002°N, 112.89805°E)

Mile: 513

We woke up at 5am, loaded our bikes and rode to the Shaolin Hotel for breakfast with the other Yichang riders. After breakfast and a group picture, we split into two groups: three of us heading towards Yichang and the rest towards another nearby city to tour a little more.

We took a new route leaving Dengfeng. I noticed that it was considerably more smoggy in the area we were riding. Soon, the pollution seemed almost like a fog. Then we came across a large coal power plant, which explained why soot was covering everything like a black snow. It was really bad.

But I didn’t know how bad it was until later, when one of the guys had to stop to repair a flat. I looked at my hands and noticed that the fingertips were black. Then I noticed my bare arms were also completely covered in soot. Smiling, O walked over to one of the bicycle mirrors and looked: my face was black. Not dirty. Black. Like I had been working in a coal mine all morning. Amazing! I couldn’t do anything my appearance then, so I rode on.

We passed through corn country again, people drying corn on roofs, streets, parking lots, school courtyards…everywhere there was a flat surface. Also, while passing through several villages I noticed signs along the roads with pictures of happy families and especially with pictures of smiling girls. Looking closer at the text, I figured out that the signs were there to encourage villagers that daughters are just as valuable as sons. This sign says: “Sons and daughters are the same, both grow up to be pillars of the state. Love your daughter. Follow her future with interest.”

This afternoon we rode into Lushan, and to my surprise, to the train station. Apparently the guys had discussed at breakfast (but I didn’t hear them) that they would just ride to the nearest train station today and catch a train back to Yichang. I think perhaps they’re running out of energy. Nevertheless, I’ll be going with them since one of the main reasons I came was to hang out and chat with the guys from Yichang. Plus I’m really looking forward to seeing Sandra. 🙂

So, tomorrow morning at 5am we’ll be boarding the train and late tomorrow afternoon we’ll depart in Yichang! So ends the Tour de China 2005! Thanks for following along!

And so I’ll leave you with an appropriate Chinese sendoff:

???? (Yi Lu Ping An)…one road, peace!

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