Wow, it has been an incredibly intense two days. It was two nights ago when we ate in Yangyuen, and both Master Sergeant Zuo and yours truly were a bit under the weather after that meal. It only bothered me for a couple of hours (I was lucky); my good buddy Master Sergeant Zuo has been recuperating for the last two days. It was bound to happen; we have been eating in some pretty unusual places and we’ve enjoyed food that is more than a little out of the ordinary. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Back to the ride…it was an easy run out of Yangyuen and it was neither hot nor humid (a much welcome change from the heat and humidity we had been experiencing). We took a detour on what the Chinese call their Route 66, and because of that, it was overrun with Chinese tourists. We stopped in one of the hundreds of wind farms I have seen in China and shot a few photos.
I am seeing the future on this adventure, it is electric, and it already exists in China. You would not believe the number of electric vehicles we are seeing (including cars, trucks, motorcycles, and scooters). You’ll have to read Riding China to get the inside details, but let me tell you, it is amazing. The Chinese are so far ahead of us in this area it is scary.
Here’s a photo of a donkey we saw while we were shooting the above photos. If he looks a bit nervous to you, well, let’s just say he has a good reason for his skittishness.
We’re in Hebei Province now, and I didn’t know it when I rolled in, but I know it now. Hebei Province is famous for, well….read on.
We were stopped at a traffic light in Zhangbei when Furem became excited and pointed to a sign at a tiny place diagonally across a rather busy street. We all pulled in and my good buddy Kong asked if I would like to have a “donghee burger.” It almost sounded as if he said “donkey burger,” but that couldn’t be, I thought. I mean, a donkey burger? Who would eat such a thing?
Then I saw this menu posted on the wall…check out the illustrations in the lower left…
The guys were excited. I could tell, even though I don’t speak Chinese. Then lunch arrived…
Yep, donkey burgers. It’s a delicacy. Kong tells me they only use young donkeys (much more tender and tasty, he said). Donkey burgers, and donkey soup…
Kong told me there’s an old Chinese saying that goes something like “people in heaven eat dragon burgers, and people on earth eat donkey burgers.” I can’t make stuff up this good, my friends. We are experiencing some amazing things. Cue in the music from Indiana Jones.
Later yesterday afternoon, we entered the Badaling area in the mountains outside of Beijing and we saw The Great Wall. Folks, here it is…
We got in very late last night, and that really ticked me off. I had something in my eye that was bothering me a lot (Kong experienced the same problem yesterday), my left shoulder was bugging me (it acts up on long rides), it was super hot and humid again, and there was that God-awful Chinese traffic on the expressways heading into Beijing. It was probably more the fatigue than anything else, but I don’t like riding after dark and I let the guys running the show know it. I went to sleep upset about getting in that late and I woke up feeling the same way, and I still felt that way when we rode into the mountains to see the Great Wall again this morning. It was nice riding up there, though. Here are a couple of shots I grabbed along the way…
As we were riding back out, I started riding slower and slower, until I was the last guy in line, and then the guys were so far ahead of me I couldn’t see them. Something was going on…I suppose a shrink would call it an anxiety attack. I was driving around every twist in the road expecting to see a truck stopped in my lane, an oncoming truck passing another vehicle in my lane, a person sweeping the street in the middle of the turn in my lane, a guy pulling out right in front of me, a bus making a U-turn in front of me, a car cornering too hard drifting into my lane, someone going the wrong way in my lane, someone just pulling into my lane without looking, an old woman walking directly in front of me, people who stopped and got out of their car just to have a conversation in the middle of the street, or someone squatting down in the middle of the road relieving themselves (in my lane, of course). I’ve seen it all over here, and the enormity of the insanity that is riding a motorcycle in China caught up with me.
The guys were waiting for me at the next intersection, and from there we went to a Sinopec station to feed the bikes. I was still feeling what I suppose must have been accumulated anxiety when a guy in a black Mercedes starting blasting his horn at me because he didn’t want to drive around me; he wanted me to move. I don’t know what came over me, but I looked at him, made eye contact, and pushed my bike directly alongside his window (which was open). I then leaned on my horn and let it rip for a good 20 seconds. Then one of the other Chinese guys did the same, and yet another yelled a bad word at the Mercedes pilot (which he probably learned from either Gresh or me). It was pretty funny. That broke the spell. I felt a lot better after that.
Okay, enough about me being a butthead…on to Beijing proper. We stopped at the Beijing Zongshen dealer this afternoon (where they were expecting us) and it was the Dajiu and Arjiu show all over again. Lots of photos with Gresh and me. Hey, how often do Dajiu and Arjui show up in your neighborhood? We were asked to give the keys and Zongshen fluorescent vests to five lucky guys who had just purchased new RX1 motorcycles. It was pretty cool and it was great fun.
While I was there, I grabbed this photo of a guy who owns a pearlescent white RX3 with a cool hand-painted windshield emblem…
That “438.000” Harley-looking bar and shield number is the frequency of their walkie-talkies. They all have walkie-talkies when they ride. Our guys have them, too. It’s part of the Chinese riding experience, I guess.
Zongshen and the local dealer treated us to a Peking duck dinner fit for a king tonight, and it was perhaps the best meal we’ve had in China so far. Kong taught me how to do a proper Chinese toast. It was grand fun.
And that’s a wrap for now, folks. It’s on to Tien An Men Square tomorrow. Watch for the photos….
Oh, but before I go…the Beijing Zongshen dealer had this puppy in his shop, and Gresh posed while I shot….
You might be wondering (and perhaps guessing) why I found that bike so interesting. Yep, you guessed right…we’re bringing the RZ3 (Zonghen’s naked bike with the RX3 engine) to America, and you’re hearing it here first!