Monday, July 28, 2014

Day 13+14: Sick and Tired

Day 13:

This day started off alright. The sun was out and I got a nice early start. The landscape looked less muddy than the day before and I was warm enough. Again the roads were long and straight along RT109 so I set my speed high and put on some music. As the day went on I started to see more sand and eventually little sand tornadoes started forming and sweeping across the lunar landscapes.

At one oasis, I ran into those yellow fields and after killing a few bees on my face, I stopped to buy some honey. Lunch was some dumplings and coffee in a small rest stop of only a few buildings in the middle of nowhere.

After 300km of fast driving through increasingly desert like terrain, I arrived at the last city before my goal of a campsite in the deserts just beyond, Geermu. When I slowed down I noticed that the little green N light for neutral was flickering and then soon it stopped working. While taking a break I was only able to start the bike in 1st with the clutch. Strange. Then at a stop light  in the middle of the city at about 4 in the afternoon, the motorcycle's electronics shut off and the engine stopped. Big problem. I pushed it to some shade took out the tools and checked the battery and the fuses. Both were seemingly fine so I figured it was some other electrical fault. I waited around for a few minutes and still couldn't get the electronics to come on. So I asked around for the nearest shop and started pushing. After about 20 minutes of this the electronics magically started working again so I drove to a few repair shops only to have them tell me they couldn't help. Eventually one shop was nice enough to drive me to another guy that was more experienced with complicated motorcycles. It was getting late though and he was about to go home for dinner so he took me to the local motorcycle club's hostel/hotel.

It was great. All the chinese riders going through Tibet on their way to Xining stopped here and I got to see a bunch of different types of motorcycles, the Jialing 600cc and even an old BMW Dakar, and meet a few english speaking motorcyclists.

Day 14

First thing in the morning I went to the mechanic again to have him look over the bike. Unlike most mechanics I've encountered, he believed me when I told him about the ignition switch problem even though it was working fine when he looked at it. It turned out to be a corroded connection in the switch and after some sanding it was good to go but I was not doing so well.

Over the  course of the repairs, I started to feel a bit woozy and by the time I was set to go I was definitely sick. I set off and soon felt too tired to go on. In 40km I had to stop 3 times and run to the bushes. I turned back and barely made it to the edge of the city before I had to throw up in a small park river on the side of the street. Feeling a bit better I changed my mind about taking a rest day and turned back around. It was 2 in the afternoon so it would be a short day anyway.

Frequent stops made the going slower than it could have been with all the stops but I still managed about 350km on the long unbending roads. Near sunset I came to a little rest stop and pulled into a gas station. I was done. Exhausted weak and probably a little dehydrated I asked for a place to sleep. I was directed to a truckers hostel which consisted of two rooms of beds pushed together. 30yuan. Perfect. I got the motorcycle, drove it over to the hostel and dropped the bike in the sand just before their little bit of concrete. The crowd helped me pick it up and I sat myself on a tattered old couch nearby for the next couple hours. I slept for a good 14 hours that night.

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