Driving along 205国道 was an interesting experience. It was a two lane road with crazy drivers, huge buses making incredibly bold passes, bikes riding on the shoulders, potholes, and hidden intersections with cars popping out unexpectedly. We were driving along here for about 20 minutes or so when I saw in my mirror the same signal to stop from Karl.
When we pulled over he told me that the chain had started to loosen again so he could barely accelerate again or run above 5 thousand revs. I also admitted to being nervous about my hot engine and the shaking at the front. So we started to weigh our options.
Our odometers read about 270km for the day but that also included a lot of wandering. That left about 500km for the next day if we were on our original route. But now we were on a slower road that probably wasn’t direct. This meant that even if our bikes could get fixed that night (it was almost 7) and stay healthy the whole way, it would take at least all of the next day, going about 60km/h, to get to Qingdao. So we made the call to get to the closest village and weigh our options for getting back to Beijing.
Just about 5 minutes further, we found a place with restaurants, motorcycle repair place, and cab drivers. We decided that we would try and negotiate with the cabbies to find a van that would take us and our bikes back to Beijing.
Soon we found a guy who we at first was saying he had a train (the Chinese words for train and truck are very similar), but turns out he had a friend with a truck that could take us. So after a quick bite to eat the truck arrived and we managed to lift the bikes up into it. Afterwards, we were told that there was only room for one of us in the cab and the other would have to stay in the back with the bikes. We decided to just both stay in the back where we managed to get a nice nap in.
We were woken up and let out when we noticed that we were on the side of a highway. We started to get a little worried that they were going to leave us there when they broke the news to us that they couldn’t go within the 5th ring road into the inner-city area because of their plates. So we tried to communicate the best place from which to drive (very slowly) back to campus at midnight.
After being dropped off right off the highway, we started to find our way back. Soon though we noticed we were right near the mechanics from where we got our bikes. This led us to the decision to just lock up the bikes there and attempt to sell them back to them or at least have them fix it to sell them. So it was at the end of a very long, a little demoralizing but still adventure filled and fun day that we made it back to our dorms at 1am, 15 hours after leaving.