The story of how I saved money, quit my job, sold my possessions,
and set off to endlessly travel by bike around the world.
My 3 Books
I write, self publish and sell
books about touring
Where am I?
Photo Use Info
Subscribe to Newsletter
Continue My Travels
Places I have been
(How can I
India and Neighbors
May 2010 to present
/ Canada / USA
May 2008 to April 2010
Sept 2007 to May 2008
Sept 2006 to Sept 2007
SE Asia / China
Nov 2004 to Sept 2006
June 2003 to June 2004
AZ, Mexico, and
March 2002 to April 2003
How I started
The 5 years before I left
Sign up for my RoadNews Newsletter
Written on the road as I travel around the world on my bicycle
Support this Web Site and Continue My Travels.
Equipment Pages Index
How Much to Bring and Weight
Advice About Advice
A Note to Perspective Sponsors and Gear Suppliers
more about Sponsorship)
HERE for Touring Bikes and Commuting Bicycles
Custom Touring Bicycles and Bike Upgrade Buyers Guide
Bicycle Touring Frames
Steel Repair Myth.
and Aluminum Derailleur Hanger Repair.
Bicycle Touring Wheels
Phil Wood: The Best Bicycle Hubs
Panniers / Bike Bags
Cargo Trailers Vs Panniers
Tires for Bike Tours..
Bicycle Touring Saddles.
Women's Specific Bike Touring Saddles
Brooks Leather Touring Bicycle Saddle Care and Conditioning
Touring Handlebars, Bar Ends, Adjustable Stems, and Padded Grips.
Sealed Cartridge Headsets
How to prevent flat tires
Bike Route Trails and Maps
Buying Camping Equipment
Tent and Ground
Pots and Pans
Solar Power for Camp
Bike Touring Shorts
Bicycle touring lights
Pictures of Equipment Failures
all 3 book)
Guizhou and Hunan, China Daily Journal
Travel Writing, Blog, Travelogue
to Zhangjiajie National Park China
(May 22 - June 27, 2005)
||Congjiang. It rained most of the day, that is OK it was
our day off. Tim worked on the web page most of the day.
||Congjiang. We planned to go to a small village,
Baisha, today but it rained again all day. We asked the hotel not
to enter the room and when we returned from lunch we found a half
cleaned room. All our belongings were ok but it is annoying when
we tell them to stay out and they come in anyway. We stayed in the room
the rest of the day and someone opened the door and started coming in.
We chased them out. A couple hours later someone knocked on the
door, the man had a badge but it appeared that he was looking for
someone else. Every time we stay in a hotel longer than a day it
seems that people are constantly coming in. It is difficult to
keep them out even when we stay in the room.
||Congjiang - Rongjiang. The map showed that we
would go through town and then up and over a pass and back down to the
river. Well the road is different than what is on the map, the new 321
follows the river and adds an extra 5 kilometers to the ride. I
will take those extra kilometers. The ride was excellent, no rain,
no wind, pavement sweet pavement, and the terrain was rolling. We
were surrounded by terraced rice field and small minority villages.
It was an excellent riding day. At the top of one hill an old man
asked me if I had an engine on my bike (electric bikes are common in
China). I told him no, just me. It made me realize that a
lot of people think we have an engine on our bike, how else could we
travel that fast. Only fellow bikers realize the real truth.
Getting into Rongjiang we passed a
hotel on our left just after the bridge, we thought we would look for
another one, after asking in three places and 5 kilometers later we
returned to the Queng Feng hotel and secured a room for 60 Y
($7.50) must cheaper than the 120 Y ($15) they wanted to charge me
down the street. We had dinner across the street and yes it was
delicious. The cook took great pride in serving us up a delicious
dinner. We had tofu, green beans, mushrooms, and onions with small
bits of pork.
The food has gotten spicy since about Ping'an. Tasty but it will make
||Rongjiang - 38 km towards Leishan. We woke up to
a misty morning, was it going to rain or be overcast all day? We
loaded up and headed across the street for a morning meal of noodle
soup. I have gotten the hang of eating spaghetti with chop sticks.
It was cool and misty and a very light sprinkle as we left town.
To our delight the road is paved and appears new, it also has little
land slides here and there along the road. The scenery is stunning
green hill sides with rice terraces and small villages again. By
the looks on most peoples faces they have not met too many foreigners.
About 10 kilometers from town it starts to sprinkle and 15 kilometers
from town it starts to pour. Poor planning on my part gets me
wetter than I should have been, I had packed my raincoat at the bottom
of my front bag. Now we were riding in the pouring rain. It
was not hot or cold so we did not mind to much, our bags are waterproof so our
gear was safe.. What I did not like is the little landslides that
we came across constantly. They occur when it is raining or just
soon after it stops raining. We rolled into a large town and
looked for a room. We found a hotel and I inspected the room and decided to take it, we
were wet and itching to get out of our wet clothes. I had
difficulty nailing down the price so I decided to pay for the room up
front rather than assume the wrong price again. There was confusion when
I pulled out my wallet and the hotel owner said that we could not stay
in his hotel and pointed us down the road. Funny, he was willing to take
us in before I pulled out the wallet, I was just trying to get some
clarification of the price. There was nothing we could do but go
down the street. We found another hotel and paid the women 20 Y
($2.50) before we took the room. We also had a nice lunch with
them of tofu, eggplant, chili peppers and another dish of cabbage and
pork. Then they gave us a bowl of cold soup, a clear broth with a taste
of cabbage, ginger, tomato, and some other herb. I did not sleep
well, the street light was right outside our window and it seemed like
it was daylight all night long.
||I have no idea the names of the towns we are staying
in, I can read the Chinese name but can not translate it here. The
roads were dry when we left town. The climb started 2 km from town
we started at 410 m and ascended up to 800 m, the scenery was beautiful
we were in a cloud forest with pine trees. I saw three birds that
had very long tails like the elusive Quetzal in central America.
When we were near the top it started to rain again, a common occurrence
these days. We went over the pass, descended and began climbing
again. Along the way we saw small villages with people carrying every
thing possible on their backs, and up steep trails too. The
minorities here certainly work hard making a living in these hills.
We rode for three hours and it felt like five so when we came to a small
village with a hotel we decided to spend the night. The cost was
50 Y ( $6.25) and was worth it to have a private bath and hot water.
We walked around the town and met some of the locals, they were friendly
and did not seem to mind our presence.
||some town (650 m) to Leishan. We immediately
began to climb out of town, our first pass was 1185 m and then we
descended down to a village that was having a market, it was a 800m.
We stopped and had a bowl of noodle soup, it has replaced steamed rice
here. The noodles are rice noodles then a broth with onions, chili
peppers and pieces of pork. I do not know what kind spice was in
the soup but it made my tongue numb. Tim said his tongue went numb
too. We sat in the restaurant next to an old lady and her
daughter, they looked at us as much as we looked at them. They had
very long hair rolled up in a type of bun and held in place with a very
large comb. They also had very large ear ring that made huge holes
in their ears. While we were eating lunch at least 50 people
walked by to take a look at the foreigners, I felt like I was at a zoo
and I was on display. They did not mean any harm they just stared
at us. We left town thinking that we had conquered the pass for
the day and did not realize that we had a higher pass ahead of us.
We climbed and climbed through small villages, as we passed one old lady
she shouted at us and then yelled for money. I pedaled as fast as I
could past her but on the incline we were on it seemed like ages before
we were out of ear shot. We may not understand the language, and
it was not Chinese, but it was not hard to understand her intentions, I
think that if she had a stick she would have hit us with it. The
locals are not always friendly. We climbed until we were back in
the clouds, I never know if it is going to rain or just be misty.
Our camera has quit working, we can take video but not stills. The
other day we could take stills and not video. It is time to buy a
new camera. Once we cleared the pass at 1350 m we descended rather
rapidly, again through small villages of wood houses. Some places
were set up for tourists to picnic along the river. We continued
to descend into Leishan. Our guide book said that there were three
hotels in town. However, the directions were from the bus station and
since we did not know where the bus station was the directions were
worthless. We looked around for a hotel for about an hour.
This is the most frustrating part about China, we can not always find a
hotel and sometimes when we do we are not allowed to stay there. Or we
are directed to the most expensive hotel in town. In this case it was
100 Y ($12.00). It looked nice but it really was all looks, the
bed was hard, the shower was flimsy and the TV old. We were
mentally and physically tired and went to bed early.
||Leishan - Kaili. We planned to stay in town an extra
day. I wanted to go to a nearby village and Tim wanted to
Internet. We hung out in the morning, the sun came out and at the
last minute we decided to ride to Kaili, we did not want to miss the
sunshine, we did not like the hotel and internet was hard to find. The
town is just not that appealing. So we set off for Kaili about 12:30.
Just when it started to sprinkle, argh! the weather is hard to predict
here. We had a pleasant ride into Kaili down hill for the first 30
km and rolling for the next 12 km. The traffic in Kaili was heavy
when we arrived. OK we have a map of town and a couple of hotel
recommendations, this should be easy, not. We went to two hotels
and the prices were way off. I had to bargain to get a dumpy room
for 70 Y ($8.25) other wise the rooms started at 120 Y ($15). We
stayed at the Petroleum hotel. I do not recommend it. We
just do not have the budget for that expensive of a room. All and
all a pretty nice day until we went to the internet. Lets see we
have not checked email for about 4 days.
||Kaili. The first day in town is always a
searching mission. We found the internet cafe, grocery store, and
some very good restaurants. The food here is excellent. We
found the all you can eat Chinese buffet for 5 Y ($0.63). The
buffet consisted of tofu, squash, string beans, onions, liver and chili,
and many other dishes I did not recognize but tried anyway. Most
things are stir fried in a wok and served with rice. The food is
very spicy so we had to watch what we ate. The nice thing is that
you can go back for seconds. We have been having trouble with our
camera. It is on it's last legs, first we could not take video to the
tape (Tim fixed that) and now we can not take a picture to the memory
stick. When we looked in the camera we could see that the contacts
were rusted. Tells you how humid is has been. We did our
laundry today, I went to the laundry shop and they wanted to charge me 3
Y ( $0.38), it sounds cheap but when our entire laundry is dirty we are
talking a minimum of $10. No thanks.
||Kaili. When we checked into the hotel they said
they would let us in the room. We did not have a key and they
would not give it to us. This has happen before. The first day we
kept the maid out of our room although it was difficult. We spent
most of our time at the internet taking care of business. Seems we
live in an internet cafe when we get to a town. We also had to shop for
road food and toiletries. The way they do grocery stores here it is
difficult to find one, it usually looks like an electronics store, then
the grocery store is on the second floor.
||Kaili. Another work day on the computer. We
started our Google Adwords campaign for our book. It is exciting
to get to this stage.
||Kaili. We were ready to head out this morning and it
rained hard for hours. By noon it was still raining so we went
back to the internet cafe. We met a group of American college
students who were volunteering at a University in town. They were
teaching English to Chinese students who were learning to be English
teachers. A very cool thing to do. I wish that I had done
something like that when I was in college. They are here for 6
weeks. We ended up having dinner and coffee with them. We
have been having trouble with the maids wanting to come into the room.
We keep telling them no. When we came back from dinner tonight
they had been in our room and turned off our fan. I hate it when
they just come in and we tell them no.
||Kaili - Taijiang. Finally the day was nice. In
the morning I went back to the internet cafe. I had to call the
IRS. It is so hard to make business calls to the US because we are
13 hours ahead of New York. I had to get some information sent to
me, our AGI for last year. I thought I would have to order it by mail
but they gave me the information over the phone. Yes it was worth
the 40 minute wait. We left Kaili around noon. We saw the
American students before we left. I hope that they try bike
touring in the future.
We climbed from town at 770 m to over 1000
meters. The terrain is hilly. The scenery is beautiful
everything is very green and the rice patties are full of rice. We
pass small village after small village. About 14 km from Taijiang
we came across a huge construction project. The highway is being
built high about the towns, sort of connecting the peaks and in the
valleys they are building huge concrete pillars up to the road. An
unbelievably huge engineering project. It has slowed our pace to a
crawl. The road beneath these concrete pillars are either mud bogs
or extremely rocky pitted road. The traffic is aggressive trying
to bet through the mess. I was glad to arrive in Taijiang.
The first hotel we went to wanted to charge us 120 Y ($15) and the price
listed on the wall was 80 ($10). I kept asking for a cheaper room
and they refused to come down in price. I told them it was too
expensive and left. We found a nice hotel for 60 Y ($7.50) it had
an air conditioner and a nice restaurant on the second floor.
||Taijiang - ?. We left town a little late. I
was not feeling well and was debating whether to stay an extra day.
But the sun was shining and that is such a rare event. We hoped
that the construction project would end soon. Well it was worse
then the west side of Taijiang. The road was dirt in many places
so we were often riding in dust. There were steep dirt ramps and
then the biggest mud bog I have ever seen and a huge traffic jam.
I would have taken a picture if our camera was working but it is not. I
am so sad. The construction finally ended 24 kilometers from
Taijiang. We traveled at an average of 10 km per hour. After
2.5 hours I had had enough. We saw some hotels but sadly kept moving.
The next set of hotels I stopped and looked at the room. This
particular hotel was full of construction workers who were all to
interested in what we were doing. So we ended up riding back to
the first set of hotels. We finally found a hotel that would take
us. The family was very pleasant, we had an excellent dinner of
potatoes with chili, tofu with chili, eggplant with garlic and onions,
and pork cooked with peppers. It was an excellent spread and it cost 30
Y ($3.75). We paid 40 Y ($5) for the room, it had a western toilet
new beds, and a fan. The evening was hot and noisy so we did not
get a good nights sleep. There are many hotels along this road and
it would be easy to ride any distance.
||? - Sansui. We had pavement the entire day.
Yeah! again the terrain was rolling only the climbs were not as steep.
The scenery was rice fields and wooden house. The people seemed
frightened of us, especially the young girls. We arrived in Sansui in
mid afternoon. We had to ride east into the city. We
wandered into the center of town, where there were horse drawn carts and
a few motorcycles. We stopped at a hotel and I went to look at the
room as usual. I was gone maybe 10 minutes and when I returned Tim
was mobbed by at least 30 people. Wow! as I walked up a man had dropped
his chop sticks on the ground and another boy was asking Tim for his
map. Well it was time to leave the street and get in the hotel
lobby. To my amazement the mob followed us into the lobby.
Now I was checking in with a mob of 30 people watching. It made
both Tim and I very uncomfortable. Tim was so uncomfortable he
just picked up my entire bike, bags and all and carried it upstairs.
Well that was easy. Then when he returned the owner finally chased
everyone out of the lobby. We settled in the room and needed the
air conditioner turned on. The women turned it on but no down. So
I went looking for her to adjust the temperature. She came in the
room and two little kids came running in after her. I had to chase
them out of our room. Still she did not fix the air conditioner so I had
to get someone else to turn it down. Again, the kids wanted to come
running in and I had to chase them out. Well the little one decided to
pull a temper tantrum. Sorry honey, I do not mean to upset you but
you can not come in my room. The little emperor was use to getting
his way all the time.
||Sansui - Yuping
||Yuping. We had a needed day off and worked on the
computer most of the day. I had finally finished my taxes but
decided not to file them electronically because we had picked up a virus
from the network we connected into at the internet cafe. Besides
they were charging us 5 Y (63 cents) and everyone else 1 Y (12 cents).
I finished with my work and hibernated the computer, it seemed to shut
down rather quickly. A half hour later when I went to power on the
computer it would not turn on, no power, no lights, nothing. Tim
and I were in a state of shock. We no longer had a computer and my taxes
were still on there. OK don't panic, now is not the time to panic.
So I went to the internet to see if I could find some information.
It turns out that this is a common problem with Sony Vaios. I read
my discussion boards and found a technician in upstate New York. I sent
him an email about our problem and asked him if there was a field repair
we could do.
||Yuping. We received a reply with some
instructions, first we had to remove the keyboard. We decided to
wait a couple of days before we tried that because we also read that
sometimes the computer will come back on if it is shut down for a week.
We had no idea. We were not ready to take a computer apart,
besides if it did not work we had no way of sending the computer back to
the US. So we decided to ride to a city that had a FedEx.
||Yuping - Tongun. We turned off of Hwy. 321 north
to Tongun on Hwy. 201. The road is new and pleasant to ride.
We arrived in Tongun relatively quickly. It was nice to get some speed
on the road. We arrived in town and went searching for a hotel, we
asked at one hotel and it was obvious that the price was doubled so we
moved on. We found a nice hotel with air conditioning for 60 Y
||Tongun - Feng Huang. We turned east on to Hwy.
308. it too was a new road. We climbed for 28 kilometers and
assumed that we had a nice ride back down to the town of Feng Huang.
We found out quickly that the road was under construction for the next
10 km. When we popped back on to the pavement we were at a walled
city 10 km from Feng Huang, also know as the southern great wall. It was
a beautiful and unexpected site to see. We arrived in Feng Huang and
found a room for 70 Y ($8.75). We stayed in a family run hotel and
they were great fun, taught us some Chinese and attempted to teach me
how to play Majong, a popular game in China that is often gambled on.
||Feng Huang. I woke up this morning and could
barely move. I had the flu, I had a slight fever and my body ached
everywhere. We had to stay another day. I slept most of the
day and went out for noodles in the evening.
||Feng Huang - Jishou. Today was the Dragon Boat
Races, a traditional boat race in China. I tried to get close to the
river but was met by a huge wall of people. It was so crowded that
people were pushing and shoving. We watched the beginning of the
race and scooted out of town before the crowds went home. Tim took a
video of me riding through the chaotic traffic. We turned onto Hwy. 209.
Our Chinese road atlas is very handy in these situations. We have
begun to read the Chinese characters for the upcoming towns and can read
the buses, we always use the buses as a check that we are going in the
right direction. We rode into the huge city of Jishou, it seemed
that many high rises were going up to accommodate an influx of new
residents. Imagine being told where you were going to live, I can
not. We arrived in Jishou and I began to search for a hotel.
I found a great hotel but when I gave the women my passport she became
nervous. She made a phone call and we were told we could not stay
there. This was a hotel in a big city. It was painful finding
another hotel, we paid 100 Y ($12) for a room with minimal air
||Jishou - Guisang. We were happy to leave Jishou
and head north. We followed Hwy. S320. We climbed most of the day
and decided to stop in Guisang for the night. Just before town we went
through a tunnel that was at least a kilometer long. Tunnels
frighten me, I actually get tunnel vision. The further I ride in
the tunnel the less I can see. So when we arrived in Guisang for a
late lunch I was exhausted. We had lunch with a great family who
showed us a video of a local celebrity. Her name I thing is Song
Yi Fu, she is a Miao girl who is a soprano singer and has traveled
around the world singing. We decided to stay in the upscale hotel
in town for 80Y ($10). A couple hours after we arrived we had a
knock on the door. We opened the door and a police officer showed
me his badge. They personally came over to register us in their
village. This is usually done by the hotel.
||Guisang - 45 km from Zhangjiajie. We followed Hwy
s320 for 20 kilometers and went through a tunnel at least a kilometer or
more long. Luckily we were riding down hill so we traveled
quickly. We then turned onto Hwy s306. We did not seem to be
following the map but we rode on anyway. We came to a restaurant
and hotel. We had lunch and stayed the night for 40 Y ($5).
||45 - Zhangjiajie. Lucky we stopped for the night
because we did not find another hotel. It was a hot but short ride
to Zhangjiajie. We found a hotel for 100Y ($12).
|June 15 - 18
||Zhangjiajie. We decided to wait an entire week
before we opened up our computer and try and fix it. I had read in some
of the on line forums that the computer came back on after being off for
a week. I got up this morning and we connected the power to the
computer. Nothing, no lights. OK now it was time to follow
the instruction sent to us in email. First we had to get the
keyboard off the computer. I did not have a clue how to do that.
We took apart everything we could on the computer, we had screws in
piles. After an hour of probing, carefully, the keyboard popped
off. It was actually very simple to remove the keyboard. On
the back of the computer there is a long screw marked with a dot, that
is the screw that holds the keyboard down. Now that the keyboard
was off we went to work. We followed our instructions and much to
our delight the computer turned on. Yeah! a huge relief and a huge
burden all at the same time. We had a ton of computer work but hey
we did not have to ship our computer back to the states. Thanks
We immediately went to work on the computer and spent hours on
the net. We also realized that our Visa is running out and we need
to meet my Aunt Joan in Beijing or Xian in early July. We decided
to go and see how long we could get our Visa extended for, our Visa runs
out July 2. We finally found the right office and asked for a 90
day extension and they would not give it to us. We assumed it was
because of our previous troubles. We decided we had to leave the
region to get our Visa extended. Now we had to decide where we were
going to do that. After much discussion and debate we decided to
go to Beijing where we hoped we could get a 6 month extension.
Aunt Joan is arriving on July 7, our Visa expires on July 2. We still
had time before we needed to get to Beijing. Plenty of time to go
to China's first National Park.
|June 19 - 23
||Zhangjiajie. It was a climb to Zhangjiajie Village at
the entrance to the park. We arrived at 2:00 pm and check on the
price of ticket at the gate. Holy Cow!!! our guide book said it
was 110 Y ($ 13.75) we thought that was expensive. The real price is 245
Y ($30.65). Wow, who can afford that, not the masses only the
elite, and I thought that this was a government for the people. It is
sad to think yet again, the common person can not afford to see this
national treasure. Well we were here and decided to bite the bullet and
got into the park. Oh yeah, the ticket is only good for 2 days. We
met two English girls, Rachel and Elaine. They were great fun, we
met frequently. They had traveled through Russia and Mongolia by
train. They had great things to say about Mongolia but not so
great things to say about Russia.
We stayed in a hotel called X, it is
the all wooden building and this is why. The rooms were dirty,
they charged 150 Y ($18.75) and would not bargain for extended night and
the clincher, they turned the air conditioner off in the middle of the
night, and kept the remote control so we could not turn the air
conditioner on. Talk about cheap. They did this to us two nights
in a row and I got the remote from one of the girls and never gave it
back and indeed they turned it off the other two night too.
Now the park was spectacular, if you have the cash, I highly
recommend this park it is stunning. We went to the most popular
area first, it had huge tour groups with leaders talking into speakers.
It was not hard to get away from them and explore the different views.
I was amazed how many people were in the park, I wonder if they all pay
the full price somehow I doubt it. We took the tram but it was not
necessary. On the way down I had an ice cream and a short time
after I ate it I was sick. So the day was cut short. The next day
we decided to walk another area of the park and it was my favorite hike.
We did not see anyone the entire day, just a park ranger. The park
is well done, you do not need a guide, just a map. The trails are
all concrete, a must in this subtropical environment. The Chinese
seem to like obstacle courses and various little obstacles are installed
along the trail. We hiked a total of four days in the park and
each day was wonderful. I was missing the wilderness. Once we
strayed off the main path it was quiet.
||Zhangjiajie. Back to Zhangjiajie and on to
Beijing. We were ready with our phrase book and started asking for
a ticket when a young man who spoke fluent English came up and helped me
buy our tickets and a good thing too. The tickets for Zhangjiajie
were all sold out so we had to buy a ticket for Jishou, the stop before
us, it cost 355 Y ($44.37) per person for a hard sleeper, not bad for a
23 hour train trip. He also said we could take our bikes on the
train with us. This did not seem right but we would work that out
later. He also showed us a hotel, it was fancy and had an
elevator, we took the room for 150 Y ($18.75) hey it was better than the
last room we had. I did not sleep very well, first because we were
getting phone calls in the middle of the night and then early in the
morning a women came to our room trying to sell us tickets on a tour.
Chezz lady it is not even 6:30 am yet. irritating.
|June 25 - 26
||Zhangjiajie - Beijing. OK now we had to get our
bikes on the train. We went to the train station and meet our
friend who spoke English. He showed me where the baggage dock was,
as we were leaving he said he had to catch a train. I wanted to
give him some money for his assistance (something I never volunteer to
do) but when I went to hand him some money he was gone, he never asked
for any money for all his help. I felt a bit guilty for being
suspicious about him, he helped us without asking for any payment.
Traveling for long periods of time have made me some what jaded.
Lots of people approach us trying to sell things and I usually tell them
no as politely as I can, and yes there are scams out there, we have to
always be on our toes. But I am here to tell you there are people
out there that just want to help who are honest people and (I can say
this especially about the Chinese), are just plain curious. Our
bikes cost 60 Y ($7.50) each for the train and they went on the same
train with us. So do not believe everything you read in Lonely Planet,
they say it is impossible to get a bike on the train. At least for
us on this particular train we had no problem. We hired porters to
help us with our gear, they were pleasant and one guy helped me bring
the bikes to the loading dock. They also carried our bags onto the
train and found our seat for us. Some things are just worth paying
for and this was one of those times.
The hard sleeper car we were in
was very clean. I had images of spit on the floor but that was not
true for this hard sleeper car. We met a few people who spoke
English and told them about our trip. We also met a Chinese family
who were living in the states and spoke fluent English. All the
people around us wanted this little 8 year old girl to translate for
them. She really did try, what a skill at the age of 8. I
told her that this was the beginning of her future job, of course she
did not understand me. Being bilingual is always a skill and gift
in my eyes. After a while we noticed that things got quiet and
some new fellas had come to our car. Hmm they studied us, listened
to our conversation in English and when we noticed them we switched to
Spanish. It was so quiet, not normal for Chinese, Eventually they
left and things went back to normal again.
We arrived in Beijing at 10 am. I went looking for the baggage
claim area to get our bikes. It was at least a half a kilometer
away. I left Tim against the wall guarding our 8 panniers and two bags.
Tim does not like bus and train stations because of the potential for
robbery. I realized that I was gone to long and returned to see
how Tim was doing. When I returned the area was swarming with
Police. Tim pointed at a small office nearby which was closed when
I left and said, look in that room over there, the men in handcuffs
tried to rob us and this is the story Tim told me:
Shortly after you left, I noticed 5 men standing in different areas
watching me. They had nothing in their hands which does not make
sense in a train station where everyone has luggage. I also
noticed they were wearing tennis shoes and not dress shoes which is more
common for Chinese men to wear on the train. I thought they must have
planned to do some running. They were all looking at me and then I
realized that they were really counting my ten bags. I stared back at
each of them individually, and let them know I was aware of them.
Then an additional well dressed man walked on to the scene, talking into
a cell phone, looking at me, I thought he was one of them. Then I
noticed he was looking at and counting the same 5 men I was. I was
bracing myself for the attack. My plan was to clip all the bags
together and hold tightly to them, I was also planning to yell for help.
As I reached for my bags, dozens of police were running from every
direction. The 5 men I was watching were now being apprehended by
the police. The police ushered them all into the little office.
I realized that the extra man on the scene was an undercover police
officer who coordinated their operation. I nodded to him and he
nodded back, this was the only communication I had with them. As
they were hand cuffing and interrogating them Cindie arrived on the
SE Asia / China
11-22-04 to 9-15-06
December 16- January 16, 2005
Cambodia and Angkor Wat
Poipet to Tien Bien, Cambodia
Best Place to see Pictures
Cambodia Thumbnail Pictures
(January 16 - February 17 , 2005)
Tinh Bien to Cau Ganh, Vietnam
Tim's Emailed Newsletters
Best Place to see Pictures
South Vietnam Thumbnails
May 22 - June 27, 2005
Guizhou and Hunan,
Zhangjiajie National Park China
Best Place to see Pictures
Pictures of Guizhou, China.
(July 16 - Sept. 3, 2005)
Inner Mongolia and Shanxi, China.
Beijing to Xian, Shaanxi, China
Best Place to see Pictures
Thumbnail pictures from Inner
Full size Picture
Beijing to Jining, Inner Mongolia.
Grasslands of Jining, to Wuchuan (near) Hohhot
to Bautou, Inner Mongolia, China
Bautou to Yulin, Shanxi, China with Photos from Genghis Khan's Mausoleum.
- Yulin to
Yanan, Shaanxi, China
Chairman Mao's Headquarters and Residence in Yanan, China.
- Yanan to
Xian, Shaanxi, China.
Terracotta Warriors #1
Terracotta Warriors #2.
(Sept. 4 - Oct. 29, 2005)
Chengdu, to Zongdian, China
Best Place to see Pictures
Sichuan Thumbnail Photos
Full size Picture
- Giant Panda
Breeding Center #1
- Red Panda
in Chengdu, Sichuan, China #2
Chengdu to Kangding.
Sichuan, located in Southwestern China.
Mugecuo Lake near Kangding, Sichuan, China.
Xinduqiao to Tibetan Home Stay.
Home Stay to 4718 meter (15,475 feet)
Litang, Sichuan, China.
Litang Lamasary Tibetan Buddhist Monk Monastery
to Sumdo, Tibet
- Sumdo to
Xiangcheng to Derong, Tibet.
Sichuan Province to Tibetan Shangri-La, (Zongdian)
(Oct. 30 - Dec. 24, 2005)
Zongdian to Mohan, China
Best Place to see Pictures
Yunnan thumbnail photos
(July - Sept. 15, 2006)
Malaysia #3 and Singapore.
Taiping, Malaysia to
Best Place to see Pictures
Malaysia #3 and Singapore
Tips & Advice
Tools and Spares
Pots and Pans
Preventing Flat Tires
Bike Touring Shorts
Have Learned On The Road
Injustice of Poverty
Much MORE Gear Here!
Cycle Touring Racks
Tents and ground