Summer ride from Jim Bryant
I took my wife and son for a ride to Qinghuandao this past weekend. There is a highway from Beijing and it takes about 3-3.5 hours doing 120km/h. It was my first time riding there and I was kind of expecting just flat land as it's near the Bohai Sea. But I was in for a nice surpirse as it's pretty mountainous. So we did all the touristy things, like riding up the mountain to see where the Great Wall begins (or ends). We were pretty close to the border with Liaoning, and seeing how I've never ridden to Liaoning, I had to go there. Now I have about 21 provinces left to ride through.
Coming back from Liaoning, we met a CJ. It was originally a 6V that the owner converted to 12V with an alternator run by a belt drive. We rode up one mountain and explored a cave that was used by an army about 600 years ago. It ran for about 2-3km underground with many different caverns for the soldiers. We got to a reservoir and were able to ride across the dam, where we spotted five waitresses just leaving work and taking a dip in the reservoir. Four of them dove in, clothes and all, but one decided to go skinny-dipping which really surprised my wife and me as she could plainly see were were on top of the dam watching them. Across from the dam was an old aquaduct irrigating the fields. There were acres and acres of apple orchards, and each apple had a hand sewn paper bag over it. Supposed to make the apples taste better. A lot of labor for sure.
The weather was perfect the whole weekend. The only spoiler, was on the highway about 20km west of Qinghuandao, on the way home, a cop waved us down and ordered us off the highway. So the three-hour return ride turned into five-hour return ride on surface roads. Coming into Beijing we were again waved down and searched, but this time the cops were very polite and I suspect they are doing that to every vehicle entering Beijing until the excitement goes away in September. But it was a ride well worth taking.