Today’s destination was Huzhou about 388 km. Left Anqing at about 8:15 hrs. Had consulted the google maps and the way out of the city was extremely confusing as again the elusive G318 which I had to take today disappeared in the map somewhere in the middle of the city. I had a bad start… though I had my compass out and tried to keep heading north, I almost immediately got lost. I was turning from one road to another, people were being unresponsive, and to top it, it was raining, and my jeans and shoes was already wet, I wasn’t even out of the city, and had 9 hours to go(if all went well!). I seriously thought of turning back and checking into a hotel and postponing the trip by a day. But didn’t, I wanted this finished as soon as possible now.
As I was asking a worker at a construction site suddenly a woman in a yellow cape came up beeped the horn of her two wheeler, and beckoned me over me to show her my Chinese direction card. She said a lot of things to me and finally motioned me to follow her. Wonder from where she came, she just took me all the way out of the city till the river bank where I had to put my bike on the barge, cross it and right there was my G318.
A terrific, smooth road that too sans traffic. I speed off thinking wow today I will get home on time! Only trouble was as I had taken off the front mud guard, and it was raining, the mud splattered right on my body and goggles. I had to constantly with my left hand keep wiping the mud off.
Wet and shivering after 200 km, decided to take a lunch break. The hot bowl of rice and a spicy fish preparation got me charged up. But soon the G318 did the disappearing act. I was lost and in my most abusive mood, screaming expletives to the wind a kept riding. I knew 318 was “ sai ya ba” I like Majnu kept uttering the word asking people in desperation but no one knew where my “sai ya ba” was. I finally settled for a road someone promised would take me to my destination. I was well punished for jilting my G318, for this was about 90 km of misery, as the road was totally washed away and I had to negotiate stones and grime and holes. I had to go extremely slow as I had to take care of my spokes and my tyres, and now the constant wiping of the mud splattering in the goggles was getting awfully tiring. I finally stopped at a small petrol pump rummaged through some scrap I found on the side and with the help of the attendants there fashioned a mud guard with wire and a thin sheet of ply. It was effective against the mud for an hour, but now it had gotten dark and the ply would keep rising up as the wind got under it and obstructed the light totally. I was forced to remove my contraption and bear the onslaught of the mud again. I somehow reached Guangde a town 60 km before my actual destination and decided to stop. I was impossible to go on.
These last two day were among the worst days in my last 50 days. It is as if I am being put to test before my journey ends tomorrow.
My phone got drenched and died last night...R.I.P