MONDAY 13 MAY, 2002
[Nanjiao Hotel, Xuzhou, China.]
GPS TRACK SINCE LAST UPDATE
Much to my disappointment, fatigue has finally caught up with me. Somehow, I managed to delete today's track in generating the image for this update ;<(
GLOBERIDERS TOUR DAY NO: 6
DAYS SINCE LAST UPDATE: 1
TOTAL DRIVEN MILEAGE TO DATE: 461
TOTAL GASOLINE USED TO DATE: 12.5 gallons
TOTAL NO. OF AA BATTERIES USED TO DATE: 16
TOTAL AIRLINE MILEAGE TO DATE: 7,343
Another fine rider and friend of mine, Dale Oliver in Fayetteville, Arkansas, emailed me a great quote that we heard on a backroads motorcycle trip we shared up in British Columbia a couple of years ago - "An Adventure is a vacation gone horribly wrong...."
No disaster has visited us yet, but yesterday, we all learned a valuable lesson, Read The Owner's Manual! Globerider Jim Hay hails from Atlanta, Georgia, and is the most upbeat, generous person you could hope to meet. An experienced rider and owner of several motorycycles, he chose to bring the capable BMW F650 Funduro on this trip. Immediately upon taking delivery of his bike here in China, he found that his taillight, headlight, and driving lights were out. Long story short, three of us spent the entire day yesterday working on his bike to troubleshoot the problem. After a good six hours of taking the bike down to it's frame and wiring harness, we were stumped, hot, sweaty, and frustrated, and had parts and tools strewn all over the parking lot of the hotel (along with a steady train of well-wishers and passers-by who stood to watch and comment on our progress (or, lack thereof)).
We had reached that agonizing stage when all has failed, and we might as well start putting things back together - I hate to leave a problem unsolved. As I was dazing at the bike, I saw an unusual switch on the right-hand handlebar control cluster, the like of which I've never seen before. A horizontal slide switch, it had little international light symbols above its detents. More out of idle curiosity than anything else, I asked "Hey Jim, what's that switch for?" His expression, priceless, as he must have immediately glommed on to the fact that this might be the cause of the problem - "I don't know, I've never seen that switch before. Where did that come from!" Since we had nothing to lose, I picked up the headlight assembly, and hooked it up. Jim turned on the ignition, and we slid the weird switch from the "dot" position to the "under a symbol for a light position", and, voila! Let there be light! And guess what? Sure enough, right there in the Owner's Manual was a note indicating the switch's function - to turn off the headlight. To be fair, the note also had BOLD TYPE indicating that the switch was only on European models, as all motorcycles sold in the United States must be designed such that their headlights cannot be turned off. Jim had ridden the bike from Atlanta to the shipping point in Seattle, and had never touched the switch. We figured that it must have been moved in the frenzy of unloading the container, when we had to muscle the bikes out by grabbing the handlebar and rear grab bars to turn them around. Read the manual. Check to connectors. Keep it simple. Lessons to be learned. Nice that we can all laugh about it now.
On the ride to Xuzhou, our guides wisely decided to stop at a small, roadside restaurant for lunch so that we wouldn't attract a crowd and have difficulty escaping afterwards. The Roadhouse on the way to Xuzhou is the subject of today's photo essay. To date, we'd been dining in large, well-appointed, virtually opulent restaurants, this was a fascinating and perfect change of venue for what was now offically an Adventure:
[The quintessential Chinese Roadhouse - dirt parking lot, no running water, rooms for let, pigs for sale, vegetables grown out back.]
[The cook's pantry and larder greeted us on the way in. Yes, those eels in the lower left are definately on the menu!]
[As I noted earlier, ordering is always an involved and heated affair. Our entire contigent of guides and drivers, headed-up by the ever affable Mr. Wu, all crowded in to the tiny kitchen to plan the menu.]
[They finally settled on 10 dishes, all of which were cooked on this two-burner propane stove.]
[Here is the cook's entire prep station and counter-space.]
[The results were fantastic! Rustic is the best description for the decor, but no one walked away hungry, and of course, a small crowd started to gather in the background in spite of our best efforts at "low profile".]
[East meets West - I had my notebook PC out to show some photos, but the owner had one up on me, his doesn't need batteries.]Posted by Mike Paull at May 13, 2002 04:20 PM GMT
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