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A difficult start into the new week!

It's Monday, April 30th. As usual, the alarm clock rings at 7 am sharp. Our first look out of the window is not really promising; the sky is grey and covered with clouds, it is raining. Markus and I wouldn’t mind to sleep in a bit longer. But we're not going to make it that easy for ourselves. Let's go! We put on our warm bike clothes before having a hearty breakfast. Afterwards we take the luggage out of our room, put it in the elevator that brings us directly to the car park in the basement, where our bicycles are parked as well. We have expected that in the meantime it would have stopped raining. Unfortunately it doesn’t happen. We have no other choice than to put on our rain cloths: shoe covers, rain trousers, rain jacket, helmet cover and gloves. We are well prepared. The checkout from the hotel runs almost smoothly, except that Markus can't find the 2nd keycard for the hotel room. Great! How am I going to explain this to the hotel staff in Chinese? Simply by asking for the price of such a keycard.  Luckily, they don’t charge me anything.

Finally we are ready to go. It doesn’t take much time until Tianshui lies already behind us and we are on the road G316, which goes straight towards Gangu. Unfortunately we can’t read the Chinese traffic sign, which indicates, that roadwork are ahead of us for rather a long distance. The road, which normally is dusty and partly loamy, has turned into dirt and swamp. To cycle in such conditions is not really nice! With a speed of about 10km/h we move forward with the remaining traffic, avoiding holes, driving through small and large puddles of rain. Getting off the bicycle and walking is not an option at all, we would be standing in the middle of the mud! We also try to avoid cars and trucks as best as we can, because they don't pay too much attention when they drive through the puddles and soak us. Suddenly we are standing in front of a huge puddle. It’s impossible to cross it with our bicycles. We have to push our bikes onto the slightly elevated "pedestrian path" and look for the next best side road and find a work around to this obstacle. Thanks God,  maps.me is guiding us!  Unfortunately, that doesn't work either. A huge pile of sand blocks the side road; it is not possible to get through here either. As a last possibility we follow a slippery footpath, push our packed bikes as good as possible. But dirt and straw, blades of grass or whatever get caught between the mudguard and the wheel. Before we can even think about moving on, we have to remove tall that dirt. We support each other as good as possible; after all, we do it all on a voluntary basis. Bike and luggage look bad. We try to clean bike and luggage in order to be able to continue our ride. Fortunately, a few hundred metres further down the road we meet a farmer who waters his fields with a huge hose. We use this hose to clean our bicycle a little bit. Finally we can go on. After this unwanted detour we land back on the G312. We fight our way forward at a leisurely pace for the next few hours. It's no fun at all! To top it all, we have to ride up a small hill on this dirt road before we finally reach Gangu, slightly exhausted. 

 

After all, the owner of the hotel is welcoming us in a very friendly way. The staff doesn’t mind that our luggage is so dirty, they carry it into our hotel room themselves. Before we can start taking a shower and organize ourselves, we have to go through another photo shooting!

 

Our day's work is not quite finished yet. Showering our bike bags still takes some time. Finally we treat ourselves to a delicious dinner and the well-deserved sleep on hard mattresses.

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