June 11: We have been in China a week now. We don’t travel today so my “flower photo” is from the Tomb of China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang, the site some of us visited today. What really is famous is the 7,000 terra-cotta warriors that were uncovered in 1974 by some farmers digging a well. There are probably several thousands more warriors and horses, but these are the numbers that have been restored. Quite an impressive sight, all lined up facing East, the direction Huang expected the enemy to attack from.
Our trip here included our first car breakdown in China. Clay’s 32 Ford developed a noise inside the break drum (after a rather intense ride on very rough roads through a small town). He also lost power and finally stopped along the road. He didn’t make the sightseeing trip and instead has been working on his car all day today. He discovered a screw loose inside the break drum and has that fixed. Additionally, he has been working on carburation and may need to replace the distributor cap but that will have to wait until later when the engine is cool.
We all sat by the side of the road while Clay was able to do a roadside repair to get into the hotel. While sitting, I was able to capture another one of China’s contrasts. This farmer herding his buffalo while pulling a wagon with his wife. Is the Buffalo too important to pull the wagon? This while we were sitting on the side of a 6 lane divided highway.
Then after Clay got going, Stewball didn’t want to start. We had just refueled. Bad fuel? Vapor lock? It was VERY HOT and we didn’t think to open the engine compartment while sitting. Something we will now always do. Our tour manager Anvar, who is from Uzbekistan, offered a solution based on his experience. He placed a cloth with cool water on the fuel pump. We won’t know what worked, but we were running in about 5 minutes.
Ed didn’t go to Huang’s tomb, but spend quality time with Stewball.
From Ed: I had several items to deal with today, some of long-standing. This has been our first full day off since leaving NY city. The horn is badly needed here. It’s true, to deal with bikes, other vehicles and pedestrians, the Chinese drive with their horns and I must too. Ours was only working on the right side of the steering wheel, and if I have the wheels turned, it is hard to find the right spotwhen needed quickly. The right door armrest had come detached, making it necessary to wind down the window to close the door firmly, and I brought along new windshield wiper blades to change out. The automatic choke is not working, but with the heat, that’s not important. The secondary roads-which we experienced yesterday- are rough enough to shake anything loose, and the Beetle and the 32 Ford don’t seem happy with the fuel. What percentage ethanol? Nobody knows.
Some of the group are having personal health breakdowns as well. Tom has gone to the hospital with some serious swelling in one leg, Anvar has a swollen hand from what appears to be a bite, Ed Gavin has a cut on his arm that won’t quit bleeding and has gone to the hospital as well and Ed Howle now has stomach cramps!
More from the road to Paris.