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Week Eight Chapter: 21 June ~ 24 June - China

National Flag of Turkmenistan

"Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb." - Winston Churchill (British Orator, Author and Prime Minister 1874-1965)

"If my ship sails from sight, it doesn't mean my journey ends, it simply means the river bends." - John Enoch Powell (Poet, Politician 1912 - 1998)

"Better do a kindness near home than go far to burn incense." - Chinese Proverb

Starting location for this week: Pingliang, China
Ending location for this week: Xian, China
Planned mileage for this week: 219 miles (350 kilometers)

Nî hâo (The simplest form of "Hello" in official Mandarin Chinese)

Whether short or long, simple or complex, all journeys must end. 53 days and 12,000 kilometers ago, the GlobeRiders headed out of Istanbul, with Europe behind, the vastness of Aisa ahead. Almost four months ago to the day, the bikes were loaded into a container in Seattle, Washington. That scene was replayed this week half-way around the world in Xian, China, bringing this year's inaugural Silk Road Adventure to a close. With the doors latched and the customs seal applied, our riders thoughts turn elsewhere - the rhythymn of the road has been disrupted - who knows what new adventures lie ahead?

My sincerest thanks to everyone on the tour for stealing precious minutes out of their day to send these stories home. Kudos to Helge for the wonderful images, taken, selected, adjusted, re-sized, down-sized, and squirted through slow, cranky, and at times unreliable dial-up connections throiughout the entire route.

Welcome to Week Eight and the End of the Silk Road! Thanks for joining us on this journey, and I hope you'll join us for the Africa Adventure in OCT and NOV of this year!

Mike, Your Webmeister

* * * * * * * * * *

Unless otherwise noted, all photographic images on this page were taken by Helge Pedersen

The many forms of "Hello" in over 800 languages and other useful words and phrases are courtesy of Jennifer's Language Page.

To find out what time it is there (or anywhere!), visit The World Clock.

To see where they are now, visit the Navigation Technology Chapter.

For more information about China please visit the resources listed below:

- The World Factbook, maintained by the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States:

- The Consular Information Sheets, provided by the Department of State of the United States:

- The web-based, free-content encyclopedia entries at Wikipedia, maintained by "GlobeWriters" everywhere":

20 JUN 2005 - Pingliang, China

From: John LaChapelle

Sent: Monday, June 20, 2005 3:26 PM

To: Silk Road Live!Journal

Subject: update

We're closing in on the nicknames, and only a few more days to go...

Sterling Noren - "Gunner"

Frank Baughman - "Pigpen"

Helge Pedersen - "The Herdsmen"

21 JUN 2005 - Pingliang, China

From: Judy Robinson

Sent: Monday, June 20, 2005 5:06 PM

To: Silk Road Live!Journal

Subject: TUESDAY MORN, JUNE 21 (SMS Text Message)

7:30 AM..June 21...all Bikes & Chase vehicles in formation for the last day's ride of the great 2005 Silk Road Adventure

From: Judy Robinson

Sent: Monday, June 20, 2005 5:11 PM

To: Silk Road Live!Journal

Subject: Postscript... (SMS Text Message)

(7:55 AM...tire fixed, and we're off...)

From: Judy Robinson

Sent: Monday, June 20, 2005 5:44 PM

To: Silk Road Live!Journal

Subject: (SMS Text Message)

8:35 AM ...Roger has another flat...

[All images in this story courtesy of Emily McGay, with the exception of the last, "Toast to the Newborn", taken by Helge Pedersen in Xian, China.]
22 JUN 2005 - New Mexico, USA

From: McGay, Emily

Sent: Wednesday, June 22, 2005 9:01 AM

To: Silk Road Live!Journal

Cc: Roger Waterman

Subject: June 21, 2005

Some final news for the GlobeRiders journal. At 7:17 AM on June 16th our daughter, Maralie, gave birth to an 8 lb. 11.oz. baby girl! She was 21 and 1/8 inches long. Her Mom and Dad, Scott, named her Gabrielle Alice Marie BeLonge! She’s absolutely beautiful, as you can see from the photo. Gabrielle’s 15 year old sister, Brande, is really happy to have a little sister.

Roger was still in China, but sent a beautiful bouquet of flowers! Emily is with Maralie and family, helping with all the things new Mom’s need help with. All are doing well, and we can’t wait for Roger to get home so he can see his new granddaughter.

We talked to Roger today and he is in Xian. They are loading the bikes into the shipping container—Emily is really grateful that all the riders arrived safely. Roger and Beez are taking an “extension” trip to the Three Gorges Dam, then will fly to Shanghai, and home from there on June 29th.

What an adventure! We will be reliving it for months to come!

Thanks for following the journey.

All the best,

Roger and Emily

23 JUN 2005 - Xian, China

From: John LaChapelle

Sent: Thursday, June 23, 2005 1:29 AM

To: Silk Road Live!Journal

Subject: update

Pingliang, China

I sit here again in front of this screen hacking at these keys in an attempt to make sense of what has transpired in the last two months, more so now as the curtain is closing fast on this show.

What have I discovered? What questions have been answered? What meaning has been culled from these thousands of miles? Nada. Nothing. Well, except for the fact that you have to pack tissue in your pill bottles otherwise they get pulverized to powder.

You see, there really isn’t any great mental treasure to be found. Can you endure that sore back? Can you deal with language barriers that are impossible when all you want is gasoline? Another border crossing that will tax your patience beyond belief? Can you ride that last hundred kilometers even though you are so tired you are almost falling asleep?

And then suddenly, you find a moment while riding and you realize that you’re grinning inside your helmet. You’re not conscious of it at first, but then you feel your cheeks pressing against the inside of your helmet and yer’ just dumbfounded by how happy you are. This is what I like to call an “In Helmet World” moment. A lot of stuff goes on in this world, where your only companion is yourself.

Anyhow, I don’t have much to say. Most likely I won’t have much to say when I get back home either. It's just not easily explained. I can’t believe it’s coming to an end, although I am excited to see my friends and of course my pup-pup, Gracie Rose.

I guess in the end it’s tidbits that slowly change your life – the next time I have an overstressed agency producer on the phone I will think of the patience needed to cross the border into Turkmenistan, or the next time I pull up to a stop light and want that Twin Turbo Audi A6 I’ll think of how happy the guy with the donkey cart in Turfan was, or maybe I’ll just think of those times when I was so overwhelmed while riding that my In-Helmet World echoed with the words “Holy S**t!”

Life would suck if you knew all the answers, just as it would if it were one big super highway. Eat a meal after 300 miles and six hours on a perfect highway and it tastes good, eat the exact same meal after 100 miles and six hours on a grisly bitch of a road… at that moment no food has ever tasted so wonderful.

Put yourself out there…complacency is a killer.

Monday, June 20, 2005

The sign above was on the door of a bus in Xian, honest!

23 JUN 2005 - Xian, China

From: John LaChapelle

Sent: Thursday, June 23, 2005 1:36 AM

To: Silk Road Live!Journal

Subject: update

That’s it, the bikes are packed and on a train heading toward Shanghai. I leave tomorrow morning with David Ow and head for Tibet. Kinda sad to leave the group but I have dreamed of Tibet for too many years to not go when I am this close. It will be a welcome relief as the temperature will be 68F as compared to 108F here in Xian.

I just can’t believe it’s over.

It’s El Cholo and Dan Tana’s for me when I get home (Berton, make the reservations), and of course a run to McDonalds with Gracie so she can have some French fries.

To all my riding companions, it’s been a helluva fine trip, and remember, always bet on the chicken.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

23 JUN 2005 - Xian, China

From: Hans Muellers

Sent: Thursday, June 23, 2005 3:34 AM

To: Silk Road Live!Journal

Subject: Xian - end of trip


All made it to Xian despite some tough roads, very dark and polluted tunnels, blistering tires and broken frames on our bikes. Sore muscles and some lost weight helped us keep alert. It was a hard trip but it was worth every mile. Imagining how it must have been for the original caravans boggles my mind. How could they do it?

We did really nothing compared to what the folks, 2000 years had to endure. The heat (we have right now 104 degrees in the shade and it's very muggy). The sand (3 steps up the dunes gets you 1 foot forward) and the endless drudgery of the desert. No water for days and you better find the oasis in the endless stone and gravel pit called the Gobi . It must have been Hell!  We had roads to travel on and cities to visit. We had GPS and improved our clothing with Nikwax products.

WE had the modern help of 2005.

We ate well and slept in good to superb surroundings every night. We had water to drink in abundance. Yes, we had some tough roads sometimes but nothing we could not handle. We just had to ride a little slower or more carefully.

All of us made it to Xian. Everybody is now looking forward to going home and meeting his/her loved ones.

All the bikes were packed yesterday in a container and I heard this morning the container is already on the train to go to Shanghai . We are just tourists now, blending in with all the other Western folks in Xian. Tomorrow is our flight back to reality but it was a glorious trip. Thanks for reading all my notes.

See you on another trip


With temperatures at almost 100 degrees F, the "GlobeRiders Fan Club" (in this case, Frank and Ann) try to get some air moving in the container.

Taken from inside the bus, not one of our, not caused by us.
23 JUN 2005 - Xian, China

From: David Ow

Sent: Thursday, June 23, 2005 4:17 AM

To: Silk Road Live!Journal

Subject: Greetings from Xian, China

Greetings Family & Friends,

Well the tour is over. The bikes were loaded in the container yesterday and are on the way to Seattle. I am sad it is over but also missing my family and ready to see them soon. I have a 4-day trip to Lhasa, Tibet that I leave for on Friday. It is another place that I have dreamed of visiting.

I got sick 5 days ago and think it was food poisoning. I took medication and it worked but I was weak and dehydrated. On the last day of riding into Xian it was very hot and about a 6 hour ride. On a rest stop Laura offered me some Gatorade and we mixed up a couple of bottles. I drank that throughout the day and it made me feel a lot better. Thanks to Laura for being prepared for such emergencies.

Looking back on this tour, I must thank Helge for all the hard work and care. I never felt that we were not going to complete the trip and even with 4-6 hour border crossings everyone was positive and joking. The cultures, people, driving styles all were eye-openers for me. The common bond between motorcyclists from countries half-way around the world is truly amazing. It was like we were life-long friends and they were willing to help us in any way they could.

My fellow GlobeRiders have become a tight-knit family and supportive of each other. After my crash everyone stepped in to help me. I will never forget their kindness and how lucky I was. I enjoyed my after dinner walks with Frank and Hans that lead us to a foot massage, bazaars, 3-wheel bike and motorcycle cab rides and handing out toothbrushes (from Frank). A couple of those toothbrushes showed up at the most unusual business. My roommate, Chris, has been so kind and helpful. When I was sick he looked after me and I did the same for him. He also is an excellent navigator and made sure that we did not get lost.

As I try to think back my mind becomes muddled. Each day was a new adventure and 55 days of adventure has overloaded this old brain. I can say that I will be ready for the next new GlobeRiders tour - God willing.

And another big thanks to Mike Paull for such a fantastic job on the web site. All my family and friends have been able to read and see my adventure.

Mike, I look forward to riding with you again.

23 JUN 2005 - Xian, China

From: Helge Pedersen

Sent: Thursday, June 23, 2005 7:38 PM

To: Silk Road Live!Journal

Subject: Re: Last batch of pictures

We are not leaving Xian for another hour so I have a time to write a little for the journal.


If there has been one constant on this journey it must be the weather. I like to credit it to good planning :-) while others claim it to be good luck. The sun has greeted us in the mornings by shining in to our faces as we road our bikes East on the Silk Road.

We have been high, 10.000 feet plus, and low, below sea level, we have had great roads and we have had really bad roads. Along the way we have made friends that in many ways have changed our outlook on the world we live in.

With open arms and big smiles we were greeted with curiosity and friendship. Despite grim news reports for parts of the journey, we were able to dodge the political turmoil for the most part. Watching CNN and BBC on the TV at night and comparing notes from our own experiences made for some interesting conversations.

What a wonderful experience this has been. Many a day I was sitting high on my horse, my Beemer, riding the Silk Road and dreaming back to the time when the camel would take man and cargo across the deserts and over the mountains. Having spent the last 53 days in the saddle of my BMW I can't even imagine how it would have felt spending years on these roads taking it one step at the time, literally.

However I can imagine coming back and doing it all over again. If we are lucky we will have another great group of motorcyclists signing up for the GlobeRiders Silk Road Adventure 2007.

Finally thank you to my fellow travelers and GlobeRiders, it was a privilege to be riding with you all and I hope to share the road with all of you in the near future. Without Mike Paull's outstanding job as Webmaster, posting our pictures and stories, you would not have had the joy of following our journey in this way. Thanks so much Mike, let's do it again soon.

As a reader you might not understand this, but if and when we meet ask me and I will tell you the story behind our mantra for this journey; "Always bet on the Chicken" . . . .

Ride safe.

Greetings from Xian, China.

Helge Pedersen

23 JUN 2005 - Xian, China

From: Helge Pedersen

Sent: Thursday, June 23, 2005 8:10 PM

To: Silk Road Live!Journal

Subject: Thanks


Arriving here in Xian, China, the last thing on my mind is weather-proofing of my riding suit. Everyone in the group had a weather proofing kit sent from Nikwax to prepare for this journey. It might be a distant memory when the temperature is above 100F and all we can think of is air-conditioned rooms and shade. During the initial part of this journey we did a have a few rainy days and speaking for myself I know that Nikwax has extended the life of my own riding gear and I thank Nikwax for their wonderful products.

Every time after a long ride like this GlobeRiders Silk Road Adventure 2005, I will send my Ohlins shock to PPS to be overhauled by Stig Petterson. To me this is the best insurance I can have for a smooth ride as I leave for the next adventure. I have seen it over and over again, riders show up with well-maintained bikes, but they forgot to set-up their shock properly or never had the shock maintained. My recommendation is to purchase your Ohlins from PPS and at the same time have them set it up to your specs. They will ask you about riding style and weight etc. and this way calibrate the shock for your needs. Do yourself this favor, you will not regret it.

Having this LiveJournal following our journey from Istanbul, Turkey, to Xian, China has been a wonderful way of sharing our story with all of you. Not only have the words, the stories, and the pictures been wonderful, but having the ability to track the group via satellite on a map has really made the whole experience feel more up to date and real. We are deeply thankful to our favorite sponsor on this project - they provided the hardware, software and know-how for this tracking system, thank you Touratech. Like my wife, Karen, told me when she first saw the maps and how my bike were tracked every 30 minutes. "Every wife should have one of these devices on her husband 24x7"!

Finally a big thank you to out favorite Webmaster, Mike Paull. Without your outstanding effort in managing and keeping it all so organized this project would never have happened. Just a few months before we started on this journey Mike and myself started to work on the concept of the LiveJournal. With a steep learning curve that most of us would have given up on, Mike kept at it until all the one's and the zero's were lined up, pixel by pixel. A job well done Mike, thank you!

Helge Pedersen

Images from Xian, the Terra Cotta Warriors and then some, by Helge Pedersen

Frank Baughman - Traveling Dentist of the Silk Road

GlobeRiders Silk Road Adventure 2005 - Riders of the Silk Road

Allen, David

Baughman, Frank

French, Dean

Harding, Jim

LaChapelle, John

Muellers, Hans

Murray, Perry

Ow, David

Pedersen, Helge

Poland, Chris

Roberg, Ann and Jeff

Robinson, Bud

Russell, Jim

Seaver, Laura

Waterman, Roger, and Benziger, Mike

Wetzel, Rick

Yanick, Jay

See you on the Silk Road Adventure 2007!

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