Day 7 of the Qingdao Road Trip- Hightailing it back to Beijing

Last day of the trip today, and I’ve gotta say, it certainly was nice to wake up on the last morning in our “Seaview Gardens” hotel bed. Went down to the hotel restaurant to a great Chinese buffet, definitely the best breakfast of the trip and we also were able to order coffee and toast (not part of the buffet since we were the only foreigners and thus the only people in the hotel that would be interested). After packing up our stuff and sorting out directions, we were off. I was a little worried about managing directions for this stretch since we got lost in Tianjin on the way down, but luckily we had a good game plan this time around as Amy navigated from the back seat. So with relatively open roads, no navigation problems, and good weather, we made great time into Beijing. It’s always a thrilling
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Day 6- Smooth Sailing for our last full day

Not too much to report today actually. Amy and I were able to get some real solid distance behind us while at the same time being able to enjoy the Chinese scenery. We made it out of Pingdu without incident, as luckily no pieces seemed to have been stolen from off of the bike over night. The weather was not as favorable as it had been on the trip down with pollution significantly worse (something that’s not to be desired when you have wind going by at 90km/hr for 8-10 hours a day), but luckily we were both equipped with face masks and I had my Respro mask with a filter specially for urban pollutants. The drivers as well were as obnoxious as ever with several trying to run me off the road, but this wasn’t really anything new. You learn to yell at them, flip them off and be
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Day 5- Out of Qingdao Shaking the Remnants of the Flu

It took about 14 hours of pretty much continuous sleeping, eating nothing but soup and a few pieces of toast for nearly 24 hours, and taking whatever Chinese medicine Amy could rustle up (tell a clerk 拉肚子 -la duzi- and you’ll find something) but I had mostly shaken whatever bug I still had, enough to get back on the bike at least. It turns out we didn’t even really have a choice in the matter since check out was at noon and there were no rooms available, even the one we were currently occupying. So I stayed in bed until 11:30 and then Amy and I packed up and moved out. After hanging out a bit longer in the hostel cafe and going down to visit the Qingdao beach and the iconic pagoda from the Tsingdao beer labels with our friends, Amy and I packed up the bike with only
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Days 3 and 4- Exhaustion Sets In

After the 13 hours of riding the day before, both Amy and I were feeling properly tired, and a rest day in Yantai was definitely in order. I was feeling particularly sore, almost as if I had gone through full body workout the day before and it was just catching up to me. The rest day in Yantai was well worth it though, taking in the sites as we enjoyed some european style architecture from the time the Europeans had colonized the area, visiting a wine museum where we were able to sneak in and do some taste testing for free, and climbing up to the highest point in the area at the top of a lighthouse to see the sunset. The next day though, it was time to move on to Qingdao, so up bright and early again to make the 200km SW with time to enjoy the city
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Day 2 to Qingdao- Tis the Season to Shuck Some Corn

One thing that I find somewhat refreshing about China is that even though, in a major city like Beijing you can find most produce at any time of the year, for the most part what you can buy still generally operates on the harvest seasons. So, for example, around April, the streets of Beijing will be filled with people from surrounding countryside selling strawberries for extremely low prices. Then, as soon as they appeared, after about 3 weeks they’re gone again. Now must be the harvest season for corn, because for about 300km of our trip, everywhere we looked, shucked corn was being laid our to dry. Bike lanes, the shoulder of the road, driveways, even schools that were closed for the holiday had corn laid out anywhere there was room including basketball courts. It looked like grapes also happened to be in season as we drove by some vineyards
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