Jiao Zuo

We made it to Jiao Zuo tonight (east of Luo Yang and Xi’an), and it was a rough day.   We didn’t cover too many miles because we stopped at a couple of Buddhist temples.  To cut to the chase, this was the hottest and most humid day I’ve ever experienced on a motorcycle.  Wow, it was a challenge!

One of the temples was the White Horse Temple, the first Buddhist temple in China.   The other was the Shaolin Temple, a favored spot for martial arts movies.   ‘They have a martial arts/Kungfu school and as I understand it, this was the place where Bruce Lee learned his craft.

I just returned from yet another great dinner, and I’ll post just a few photos from today.  We’re hoping the air conditioner will catch up with the humidity and the heat in our hotel room, and then I’m out for the night.

The bikes in front of the White Horse Temple, the first Buddhist temple in China.

The bikes in front of the White Horse Temple, the first Buddhist temple in China.

A martial artist demonstrating his moves at the Shaolin Temple.

A martial artist demonstrating his moves at the Shaolin Temple.

More moves.  I told the guys I could do that, but I don't think they believed me.

More moves. I told the guys I could do this, but I don’t think they believed me.

A figure inside the Shaolin Temple.  It's likely Bruce Lee saw these when he studied here.

A figure inside the Shaolin Temple. It’s likely Bruce Lee saw these things when he studied here.

...and another.    These were about 15 feet tall.

…and another. These are about 15 feet tall.  The Nikon did a good job capturing these images.

That’s it for now, folks.   It was a challenging day and I’m going to get some sleep.

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A nice note from Bill…

Ryan sent this note from Bill on to me…

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Hi Ryan,

Not sure if I sent you this to stick to your bulletin board but I thought you may enjoy it. Gotta keep the wild Zongs hitched up after a day’s ride when you hit your favorite saloon….. They’re still ready to go!

Your awesome service and support is greatly appreciated, as always! :-)

BTW, tell Joe that I’ve been following his China trip blog here at work (on break, of course…;-))….and others here saw me on the  site…and keeping track of it…and  they have zero interest  in motorcycles. They’re just loving the pics and  adventures. Just an FYI…

Take care,

Bill

Bill, thanks for the note and the photo.  That’s a great shot!   Ride safe and enjoy your CSC motorcycles!

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Luo Yang evening shots…

Just a few, folks.  We’re leaving Luo Yang this morning and continuing our eastward journey across China.

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Gobi gets a haircut…

…with Tracy supervising.  “Hold still,” he kept saying.  Gresh was enjoying it.    Me, I snapped a few photos of the stylists…

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Memories….

This one is for you, Bear…

Snickers

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A cool note from Stephen…

You guys will remember our good buddy Utah Stephen…

I received a nice note from him a couple of weeks ago and I am just now catching up on things.    Check this out…

Hey Joe,

I was just on your blog and I happen to be in Taiwan for a couple weeks working on eyewear/lens stuff. I took these shots the other day and I think it’s line with some of the ones you’ve been posting. You’re China ride looks amazing! Wish I could do that! One of these days I’m going to ride around the perimeter of Taiwan. I wish you the best on your journey. Ride safe!

Stephen

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Thanks very much, Stephen.   That’s a great photo.

You know, much to my surprise, I’m not seeing too many cases of overloaded scooters and the kinds of scooter photos people post from other Asian countries.  China is really booming and it is dramatically different from what I saw 20+ years ago when I first started traveling here.   I’m going to write a lot more about that in Riding China.  One of the biggest differences is bicycles.   25 years ago, China was awash in utilitarian commuter bicycles (the famous “Flying Pigeon” brand, for example).  I just haven’t seen any of that on this trip and we are seeing the real China.   The few bicycles I’ve seen have mostly been recreational high-end road and mountain bikes.   There’s quite a story to tell about the changes I’ve seen over the years in this country.

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A nice note from Montesa Joe…

Folks, here’s another nice note from one of our TT250 owners…

Dear CSC Friends:

Thank You for making my visit to pick up my TT250 at CSC such a pleasant experience.

Joe

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Joe, we’re glad you’re enjoying your bike!   Ride safe and please keep us posted!  My traveling companero Gobi Gresh really likes your Montesa shirt, too!

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A TT250 grand adventure!

Well, you know that most of my writing here on the CSC blog lately has been about China, the RX1, and the RX3.   I was getting a little worried that I haven’t posted much about the TT250, and I thought it would be at least another two or three weeks before I returned home from Asia and I could get back on my TT250.   Hey, no problem!   Check out this nice email and awesome adventure our good buddies completed on their CSC TT250s!

Howdy CSC guys;

I am finally getting around to sharing photos from our trip with y’all. We started on the Mexican border south of Tucson and made it 3000 miles all the way up to the Canadian border north of Glacier, hitting Rocky Mountain, Yellowstone and Grand Tetons National Parks on our way north.

Matt

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Matt, that’s just awesome!   Thanks very much for sharing your adventure with us!

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Luo Yang

Last night we rode into Luo Yang after a 300-mile ride though some of the hottest and most humid weather I’ve ever experienced. No kidding, folks…the air here makes summertime Houston feel dry.    Stop and you are drenched in sweat in seconds; get moving on your motorcycle and it’s comfortable again.   It’s that hot and humid.

Luo Yang is not pronounced like it’s spelled; the way the Chinese say it, it’s more like “Ooooahhh Ahhhnn.”   We’re due east of Xi’an, and the land is relatively flat.   We didn’t ride through a single tunnel yesterday, and that’s okay by me.   The tunnels are unnerving.

The first half of our ride was along a portion of the Yellow River, and the road was wonderful. The Chinese built a road just for cars and motorcycles, and the occasional bicycle.  They keep the trucks out with 2-meter-high barriers.   Those barriers are strange to this boy….if you stand on the pegs (as so many wannabe ADV riders like to do), you’d get whacked in the head going under these things. When you ride under them, the barriers are only about 12 inches above your head.   Even when I’m seated, I still duck as we pass under the barriers.

160718_3422-650Yesterday morning held a really nice surprise for us. Sean had arranged it.  First, I have to tell you that Gobi (Joe Gresh) and I get nervous when Sean tells us he has a surprise…we just never know whether it’s going to be a good surprise or a bad surprise.  As we were getting together before breakfast yesterday morning, Sean told he had a surprise and we needed to close our eyes.   My antenna immediately went up on that one, but I do what folks tell me to do, and this time I was glad I did.  When we opened our eyes, our good buddy Kong was standing in front of us.

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You’ll remember Kong from the Western America Adventure Ride…he rode the entire 5,000 miles with us last year, and he is one the two guys on the cover of 5000 Miles At 8000 RPM (the other rider is Tso, another great guy).   When I met Kong last year, he told me his name and I immediately told him, “From now on, you’re King Kong.”  The guys all got a kick out of that one, and he still goes by King Kong.   He was explaining it to the rest of crew at dinner last night, in Chinese, but I knew what he was talking about when he started beating his chest and said “King Kong!” and everybody started laughing.

Kong and I have a lot in common.  Kong wrote a book.  He rode his RX3 around the periphery of China last year (it was a 15,000 mile ride).  Kong took 150 days to make that trek, and when he finished, he wrote a book about it.  He gave copies to Joe Gresh and me yesterday morning.   It was a great gift.

To link up with us, Kong rode 600 kilometers from Lanzhou to Xi’an on an RX1 provided by Zongshen the day before.  Speaking of the RX1, folks, they are really nice motorcycles.   They are only slightly slower than the RX3 and they don’t accelerate as aggressively (they don’t have the same midrange and top end rush of the RX3), but they are amazingly capable machines.   Joe Gresh and I have both commented that we are seeing an indicated 80 mph keeping up with Master Sergeant Zuo on his RX1.   There are some questions about the marketability of a 200cc motorcycle in the US, but if we could get over that hurdle, these bikes would do well in America.   I know they will do well in Asia.  This bike will be another home run for Zongshen.

Both the RX3s and the RX1s are bearing up very well on our ride.  In fact, just like on the Western America Adventure Ride, the only technical issues we’ve experienced on this trip have been with our cameras.   The bikes are running like Swiss watches (pretty soon, I imagine, people with good watches will say they run as well as Chinese motorcycles).  The cameras, well, not so much.   My photo gear is holding up okay, but Joe Gresh’s Canon is getting banged around and it’s showing it.  Some of the other guys are having camera challenges, too.

When we arrived in Luo Yang, it was the Arjiu and Dajiu show all over again.   The local motorcycle club was waiting for us at the city limits, and everybody wanted photos with Gobi and me.  Their bikes were cool and there was lots of custom work.   The Chinese enthusiasts are into customization as much as we are.  Check out a few of my photos from yesterday…

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Another thing I’ve noticed about the Chinese…they love America.   Oh, I know there’s been a lot of bad things in the news lately, but we sure aren’t picking up on any of that in the reactions we are getting from our Chinese friends.   You can see it in the pop culture over here.  I’ve seen exactly one T-shirt with Chinese writing on it.  All of the others have stuff in English.  I asked about it and everyone tells me they feel it’s more stylish.  And check out this one Luo Yang motorcyclist’s paint job…

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One of the guys in the Luo Yang moto club even had a US Marine Corps emblem on his hat, but I wasn’t quick enough to get a photo of it.

Let me back up a bit.   Earlier in the day on our ride in to Luo Yang, we stopped in a very small and very rural Chinese village.  A couple of the villagers were happy to let me take their picture…

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We had another great dinner at a restaurant just around the corner from our hotel (we thought we’d try Chinese food).   Lu’s home is about 60 miles from Luo Yang, and his beautiful wife joined us for supper last night.  It was another grand evening.

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We’re taking it easy today.   We’ve been on the road for about three weeks now, and we need a break.  We’re staying in a nice hotel and this is a good place to do it.

Later, my friends.

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The Terra Cotta Soldiers!

Folks, the Eighth Wonder of the Ancient World…the Terra Cotta soldiers!

I wanted to post more but we got in too late last night for me to do anything.

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The heat, the crowds, and the traffic were oppressive yesterday, but I wanted to see the Terra Cotta soldiers again and I did.  The big Nikon D810 and my 24-120 did exactly what they were supposed to, and visiting this place again (I was here 25 years ago) was what I had in mind when I bought this photo gear.

We’re bound for Luo Yang today.  Hopefully we’ll get in at a reasonable hour and I can post more.  Talk to you later, folks!

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