Motorcycle Misadventures Journeys | © 1995-2008 Carla King, All Rights Reserved Worldwide
American Borders | China Road | Indian Sunset | Italian Lessons | TransAmerica Trail in Colorado | Adriatic Sea

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Follow the links below for the story of my first trip across China in 1997/8, perhaps foolishly taken alone, illegally, and on a Chinese motorcycle. I was the first free tourist to take a journey such as this, with her own wheels and free to wander at whim -- that is, as long as I was successful at dodging the police.

My 1997/98 route took me from Beijing to Inner Mongolia, along the banks of the Yellow River, through the Gansu corridor, across the silk route and deep into the central mountains. I stayed in trucker hotels, businessman's hotels, and in people's homes. China had just eliminated the two-price policy (regular price/tourist price), the requirement that tourists stay in designated tourist hotels, and the requirement that tourists register with the police every day.

The vehicle was a Chang Jiang sidecar motorcycle, probably the best individual transportation available for traveling these roads. Cutting through the mountainous middle of the country on my way back to Beijing, I found a shakey infrastructure of dirt roads that deteriorated into riverbeds. The bike got a bit cranky at that, and I got really stuck a few times in tiny villages. But as Ted Simon says, "the interruptions ARE the journey," and indeed these moments hold my most cherished memories of the trip.

The journey was an experiment in travel and technology, a spiritual, and a physical adventure amongst the Buddhas and the communists, the Han, the Hui, the Mongolians and the Tibetans... there is much to see, more to learn. I am continuing to learn, through conscious research and from many readers of these pages, who contribute their own experiences in this mysterious country and culture. And I took another trip in 2007, and that will become part of my book chronicling on both trips. To be notified about articles, books, and public appearances, subscribe to my mailing list.

Thank you so much for your great e-mails during the journey and now. And thank you for joining me also through my trip through India in January 2000, Italy in 2001, the dual-sport trip in Colorado in 2004, and around the Adriatic Sea in 2005. These can all be found on


October, 1997 (Pre-trip planning visit)
Introduction: Confucius Calls

October, 1997 (Pre-trip planning visit))
Dispatch 1: Asleep on the Wall

April 22, 1998 (San Francisco to Beijing)
Dispatch 2: Packing & Peking

April 23, 1998 (Beijing)
Dispatch 3: On the Way to the Lama Temple

April 24, 1998 (Beijing)
Dispatch 4: Beijing Nightlife

April 28, 1998 (Beijing)
Dispatch 5: Only One Knife

April 30, 1998 (Beijing)
Dispatch 6: The Wild Wild West

May 2, 1998 (Ming Village & Heibi Province)
Dispatch 7: From Beijing to a Brothel

May 4, 1998 (Datong & the Yungang Buddhist Caves)
Dispatch 8: Big 40 Meets Big Buddha

May 6, 1998 (Datong to Hohot)
Dispatch 9: Inner Mongolian Highway

May 7, 1998 (Hohot, Capital City)
Dispatch 10: Monks in Mongolia

May 8, 1998 (Around Hohot)
Dispatch 11: Misbehaving Monk

May 10, 1998 (Dongsheng)
Dispatch 12: The Ghost of Ghengis

May 12, 1998 (Baotau)
Dispatch 13: More Trouble in Mongolia

May 14, 1998 (Linhe)
Dispatch 14: Breakdown

May 16, 1998 (Linhe to Yinchuan)
Dispatch 15: Hitchiker

May 17, 1998 (Yinchuan)
Dispatch 16: Along the Yellow River

May 18, 1998 (Jingia)
Dispatch 17: The Village from Hell

May 22, 1998 (Xiahe)
Dispatch 18: The Silk Road and Tibet

June 1998 (Xi'an to Beijing and the U.S.A.)
Dispatch 19: Flying Under the Radar

and, the . . .

The 2007 Dispatch Blogs

Taking a break(down) in Xi'an.

Limited time? Read the trip summary, Flying Under the Radar.

by Carla King

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The story of a journey around the USA on a Russian Ural sidecar motorcycle.

American Borders: A Motorcycle Misadventures Journey


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Motorcycle Misadventures Journeys | © 1995-2008 Carla King, All Rights Reserved Worldwide
American Borders | China Road | Indian Sunset | Italian Lessons | TransAmerica Trail in Colorado | Adriatic Sea
Motorcycle Misadventures