Sunday, January 15, 2012

We are finally cycling

From Kaohsiung, we took the train south and came around on the east side of the island to Taitung. There were so many tunnels, at some point it seemed that we were spending more time inside tunnels than out. Some engineering!

After our Meinong fiasco we checked in at the Taitung Tourist Office at the station. They assured us that they are plenty lodging options at our destination, Guanshan in the East Rift Valley. No worries. We got back on the train for another 30 minutes to Guanshan. First we tried to stay in town. We were getting virtually the same results as Meinong except we did not have as far to walk. We then walked out of town where there are at least half a dozen homestays. We started to have better luck, and ended up staying at only the second place we looked, "Nature Village," super clean, good bikes, nice view, breakfast, wifi, and run by a very genial family.

We picked to come to the East Rift Valley because this time of the year there are supposed to be thousands of acres of flowering rapeseed, cosmos, etc. We failed to find many flower fields, granted East Rift Valley is about 100 miles long. Instead we fell into bicycling heaven. There are bicycle paths all over the place, connected by lightly traveled or restricted roads. Under the tutelage our landlord, we made three excursions (we extended our stay by a day), each more invigorating than the previous.

Day 1: Guanshan -> Chishang
Day 2: Guanshan -> Luye
Day 3: Guanshan -> Wulu

Even though we end up riding some in the rain each day, We had such a good time bicycling John is threatening to come back here so we can ride up and down each road.

Day 1: Guanshan -> Chishang:

Locals picking rapeseed shoots (greens)in Guanshan.
Guanshan, Taiwan

Planting rice with machinery (at far right).
Guanshan, Taiwan

Safety signage on the Chishang bike route.
Bike Route - Chishang, Taiwan

Sun-Ling beside Taitung Bike Route 2-2 info.
Chishang, Taiwan

Studying maps before digging into our vegetarian lunch boxes in Chishang.
Lunch - Chishang, Taiwan

Sun-Ling on a "boardwalk" portion of the Chishang Bike Path.
Chishang, Taiwan

Typical East Rift Valley scenery between Chishang and Guanshan.
Between Chishang and Guanshan - Taiwan

The two of us on the Beinan River Bridge in Guanshan.
Guanshan, Taiwan

Day 2: Guanshan -> Luye:

Celebrating cresting the first major hill of the day.

Small banana plantation in Luye.

Route marker and pineapple field.

Enjoyed stopping at this Bike Service Station in Luye for a water bottle fill-up, a map, and some route advice from the woman on duty....Lots of bikes for rent but no business today, Saturday January 14, as it is Election Day in Taiwan.

Day 3: Guanshan -> Wulu:

View from just outside our room at Nature Village homestay.

Ascending the Southern Cross-Island Highway Route 20 from Guanshan at about 250 meters above sea level to Wulu at about 800 meters. Sun-Ling never had so much fun going uphill even though this section was continuously uphill for 10km.

John at the Wulu suspension bridge, the turn-around point, about 30km from Guanshan.

Descending from Wulu.

The final photo of the day, which I forgot to take would be our hotel room strewn with wet, semi-wet and drying clothes and gear. It poured the last 10K of the ride, luckily after the steepest downhills.


Crash Eddy said...

Woo hoo! Looks like great cycling on good cycles. Glad you found such a mecca.

john said...

Definitely a highlight of the trip so far. And we were able to use our cycling shorts and gloves which we had carried with us for 7 months in South America and never used once. Glad we had them with us this trip.