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Filtering by Tag: Nanjing

Day Twenty Five - My First Century

Added on by Paul Wood.

I rode my first century today 100+ miles or 160+ km. as you might expect I am exhausted. Not the muscle are tired kind of exhaustion more in the "I need sleep" kind. I started my day on the eastern slope of Purple Mountain in Nanjing. Weekend hikers started walking by my tent around 6:30 am. Specifically I woke up to someone walking by with a radio in hand. I hadn't slept very well due to cold feet and general discomfort in the tent. No one bothered me or my bike while I was still in the tent but I couldn't get any extra sleep while I knew people were about. I was packed and ready to go by 8am.


I had a big breakfast which may be why I rode so much today. I ate another Xinjiang bread, oranges, and a large can of zhou, which is essentially bean soup. I had the carbs to keep a good pace for a few hours without stopping. Then I snacked on some apples whenever I felt hungry.

I stopped in Danyang for a quick lunch at a mom and pop place. It was cheap and fast so I was back on the bike in about 30 min.

I rode through 4 cities before finishing my ride in Wuxi. I thought at first that I'd stop at Changzhou. But I got there around 3pm and decided to keep on going. I also met another cycling tourist in Changzhao so he provided me motivation to keep going as well. He spoke about his travels in Tibet, of which I understood about half. One thing I did pick up is to wait until 2014 when the road construction finishes and it may be more enjoyable.

Seeing road signs with kilometers to Shanghai is what really motivates me the most. Knowing I'm only one day away from my own bed makes me feel much better. Regardless tomorrow I'm going to take a slow ride over to Suzhou along the lake Taihu. Then stay with a friend in Suzhou for a day or two. I plan to be back in Shanghai for Thanksgiving, which should be easy now that I'm so close to the city.

I'm sleeping in a nice Jinjiang hotel tonight for one of the more expensive nights of the trip at 200 RMB a night. I went to many other hotels but they wouldn't serve foreigners, so I was stuck with this expensive hotel.





Day Twenty Four - Nanjing Tourist Day Part 2

Added on by Paul Wood.

After spending the morning at Sun Yat-Sen's Mausoleum and the early afternoon in the Ming Tombs I decided I really liked Purple Mountain and needed to come back. I haven't camped much on this trip and I really need to use my tent more since I bring it with me everywhere. So I went back into town, picked up my gear from the hotel, ate a very early dinner, bought some fruit and bread, and rode back to Purple Mountain. I got to the foot of the mountain around dusk, and quickly climbed up to a trail head. I got confused and rode back down the other side of the mountain. Then doubled back and hiked up a trail until it split into three branches. After walking with my bike a ways down the largest trail I doubled back to the clearing where the three branches met. I decided this had to be the most secluded clearing I would find tonight and I started to make camp.

After I unpacked my tent, but before I could drive in a single stake an SUV rode up the trail. I quickly threw the tent at my bike and waited for the disturbance to approach. A group of many fears scrambled around my head. Mostly I was worried a park ranger was doing his last round of the park before he went home and that I was about to be asked to leave. Instead a young Chinese couple popped their heads out of the car and said "Hello." They didn't actually speak English though. I quickly found out that the husband owns a bike shop, he got out of his car to inspect my bike. Whew! We shared contact info (Sina Weibo) and now I know Wangjian and Momo from Nanjing.

After they left I set up my tent. The I placed my helmet outside with the blinking red light I use for night time riding flashing. I also draped my bright yellow raincoat over the tent for better visibility. Now I'm eating apples, oranges and Xinjiang bread. I hope I don't get any more interruptions. If I do they will see me before its too late.

Nanjing breaths heavily at night. I know I snore, but Nanjing isn't quiet at all. I can hear trains, cars, boats, and planes from my tent. I don't hear any voices which is a relief. I am accustomed to the loud noises of the city, but usually I hear it from space that I have rented. Tonight, like that night near the Great Wall, I worry that I am not welcomed where I am sleeping. I don't know why, It's just my fear while stealth camping.

This afternoon's pictures will be posted in time,

Day Twenty Four - Nanjing Tourist Day Part 1

Added on by Paul Wood.

I've had a fun filled morning and my phone battery is getting low due to all the pictures I've been taking. Now seems to be a good time to sit down, charge up my iPhone and write about my day so far. First off I'm typing from the Ming Tomb's on Purple Mountain in Nanjing. To my back is the wall of the tomb and in front of me is the hill that the Emperor was buried under. I'm not sure what emperor, that kind of thing slips out of my mind very quickly, but it was an Emperor during the Ming Dynasty around the 13th-14th Century AD. I think he was the first Ming Emperor. Heres some Wikipedia for you if you really want to know more.

Before I visited the Ming Tombs I visited Sun Yat-Sen's Mausoleum about a km away to the east and uphill. His burial site is beautiful and caused me to read his Wikipedia article on the site. I've wanted to visit this landmark in Nanjing since one of my teaching units in school focused on the mausoleum. I also came to realize that I came during the right time of year. Some of the trees on Purple Mountain still have beautiful yellow covered leaves on them.

Nanjing is a great city to ride in I want to come back in the scpring with some friends for a day or weekend trip. I think with the high speed railway it can be done in one day.

Day Twenty Three - Into Nanjing

Added on by Paul Wood.

I rode out of my country hotel early this morning. This is mostly because the roosters kept crowing, the pigs kept grunting, and the few country "gentleman" next door to me decided that they needed to clear their throats in the loudest way possible. I could not sleep in. I continued to scare people out of town with my appearance so I got my breakfast of Baozi to go so I could eat it in peace and quiet on the road. I like the countryside, I actually prefer it to the cities, but right now I'm kinda tired of being looked at funny by everyone I pass. I really want to be able to blend in.

I rode on the G205 until it became and interstate and I felt like I shouldn't continue on it on bike for fear of a policeman confronting me about what I was doing. So I took the X203 into Luhe then got back on the G205 to get to downtown Nanjing.

Luhe is a suburb of Nanjing. It also looks like Pudong, in Shanghai, maybe 15 years ago when Pudong was just getting populous. All the roads have been laid out and construction is everywhere but the people haven't quite filled in the space yet. Thats all fine to me because the bike lanes were wide and smooth.

I rode down to Pukou which I suppose is actually the Pudong of Nanjing, it has a pu in it so the "Pu Jersey" joke works. From Pukou I was able to cross the Yangtze River on bike on the Nanjing Yangzte River Bridge. I really wish the Communist party got around to naming big important things in a more interesting way. I want to call it "Your legs will give out before you make it to the top bridge" because it was true for a lot of cyclist. I got up fine without going to my lowest gear. Once I got the the top I took a few pictures and slowly rode down. It would have been a fun climb if not for the many honking motorcyclist passing me, and the strong wind pushing me left and right, and the narrow lane, the pot holes, the pedestrians, the light post protruding into the lane every 20 meters, and the 200 meter drop. What really got me was occasionally a motorcyclist wouldn't honk when overtaking me, I wanted to hear that honking sound so I knew to prepare myself for a pass. I crossed safely along with a few hundred other people around the same time. Next time I'm taking the ferry.

I've got a trick for honking motorcyclist now. What I've learned is that they don't want to see you pedaling. You moving forward at a steady pass seems to spook them for some reason. However, if you stop pedaling they stop honking and get on to the business of passing you. I guess this lack of movement is a sign of submission. Granted, I'm still going along at pretty much the same pace when I'm not pedaling but people feel like I'm easier to pass. I'll see if it works on buses next.

I thought to myself that crossing the Yangtze is a big step and realized that I didn't know when I crossed the Yellow river. I checked my map and discovered that the Yellow River was so narrow I didn't notice it when I crossed it. I crossed it in Shandong province, and it was the river next to Binzhou!


I found a Home Inn near the Temple of Confucius. 150 RMB a night.  I don't think I can do much better in the middle of a city, especially for a hotels that accept passports. What bothers me is that my 100 RMB went much farther in Huai'an than it does here in Nanjing. I'm debating if I should stay here another night or not since rates go up for the weekend. I didn't realize that tomorrow is Friday until I arrived.

Day twenty two - The road to Nanjing

Added on by Paul Wood.

Today I rode down the G205. It's a new road, at least it's been recently repaved. It goes between Huaian and Nanjing. The interesting thing to me about it is that the G205 doesn't go through any cities between Huaian and Nanjing, only small towns for 200 . So tonight I'm staying in a little guest house in the Anhui province. The town is called Zhangpuzhen, I'm paying 40 RMB for my room. I'm probably the first foreigner anyone has seen around here in a long time. A group of children formed around me just to look at me. While I was eating dinner at a fried chicken joint a few teenage (maybe older? they all look young here in China) girls snuck a few pictures of me that I'm sure are now on Weibo... I saw them doing it but played dumb. I've learned that keeps things simple and least embarrassing.

The ride was smooth and the only climbs were up bridges. It is now the Wheat harvest and I see wheat being payed out on every concrete service available. I don't understand why they do this but I'm no farmer.

My lunch today was free. I rolled into a fish shop in the city of Hongze and asked for a simple meal of rice, eggs and tomatoes and they gave it to me for free. I didn't want any fish because I prefer my fish only on the opposite ends of the cooking scale, deep fried or raw.

Tomorrow I should reach Nanjing hopefully in the early afternoon. I'm about 87 km from the city now. I'll be looking for a cheap hotel that e cepts foreigners. I've learned the hard way that most cheap places don't except a passport because they don't have the proper permits, out here in the countryside they don't care much but in the city they often turn me away because of my passport.