The contrast between the scrub brush in the desert, lofty, snow covered, mountains, and modern road side sculptures made for interesting riding. With 1.3 Billion inhabitants, labor is so plentiful that men using shovels remove weeds from the edge of the highway.
To allow time for our afternoon sightseeing, we checked into the Jiayugan Hotel by noon. Their “Western Restaurant” was like an oasis in the desert. A ham & cheese sandwich, fries, and a Coke were a welcome change in diet. No chopsticks required!
Not feeling 100%, Larry opted to rest in our plush suite while I went with the gang. Our first stop was a 14th century fort. Flags strung up to a pagoda greeted us. Cannons lined the perimeter of the fort’s wall.
Our next stop was The Great Wall Of China. In 2006, Larry & I had climbed on the Great Wall 2000 miles to the east. Jiayugan is at the western end of the wall. Several of us, including Kevin and I, climbed to the top of the highest guard tower available. The view was splendid and varied: the distant fort, the city, green fields, a military installation, and even some camels cast of sand. Kevin noticed an obscure path along the north side of the wall. A relatively easy ten minute off-road adventure later, our bikes were in position for photos with The Great Wall Of China, a first for me.
With a comfortable sofa, a movie channel in English, and cold beer in the fridge, we decided that we’d stay in for a night of pizza and a movie. All we needed was the pizza. Since he had noticed pizza on the menu when we ordered lunch, at 5:35 Larry went to the restaurant to order our pizza. He pointed to the Pizza Rustica on the menu, a pretty classic combo. All was going well until he said that he wanted to take it to our room. The young lady said that, for that, he would have to call room service. Larry returned to our room, phoned room service, and was bounced to three people before anyone could speak English. Even though Larry told her that he wanted a Pizza Rustica, she said that someone would come up with the menu. A few minutes later, a lady came to our room toting the same menu that Larry had pointed to in the restaurant. Again, he pointed to the proper pizza. By now, our dining time prior to the 7pm meeting was fading fast. Larry said we needed the pizza by 6:20. At 6:55, still no pizza. So that one of us would be on time to learn about tomorrows riding plan, I went to the meeting. Larry accepted delivery of our piping hot Pizza Rustica at 6:59 then raced to join me.
After the meeting, we feasted on cold pizza and colder beer, all while watching a mindless movie called “17 Again.” Ahhh, another of the adventures of travel in China.
24 Jun Zhange to Jiayugan 209 miles
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