Sunday, February 21, 2010

Riding Again!

The Dajia river rolls past Dongshih.

Finally! The rain ends and I managed to glide through 200 kms of some of the loveliest areas in central Taiwan this weekend. Saturday I rode up into the hills and fruit farms north of Dongshih. Lovely rolling country...

North of Dongshih the fruit trees are beginning to blossom.

Fruit blossoms herald the arrival of a new year.

Around every curve, another uplifting view.

It was that kind of day.

Dongshih in the morning.

Sunday Drew and I took off at eight from my house and sped out to Dongshih, where we picked up Highway 8. That road used to go all the way up to Lishan in the mountains, but was repeatedly cut by landslides and floods. Finally the Chen Administration said they wouldn't fix it any more, construction along the road having become a perpetual motion machine. Candidate Ma promised to get the road repaired, and currently a new road is under construction. Drew and I hoped to scout the service road that connects the broken sections of the highway to see whether we could push all the way to Lishan.

As we took pictures of the stunning mountain scenery, this woman drove up to release pigeons as part of their training for Taiwan's pigeon races, the world's toughest. She said that the pigeons had to rest for ten minutes before they could be released, so Drew and I went on.

The cuts through the rock in many places along the gorge.

Distant mountains, covered in snow, let us know that the cloud cover wasn't so low that it would fog up the road in the mountains.

Betel huts everywhere.

People stopped to chat, or just wave at us.

Hwy 8, the only way to the popular spa town of Guguan, is packed on the weekends.

The river is studded with dams.

Gravel operations even on Sunday.

Crossing one of the many suspension bridges.

It was kind of the government to put this bridge here so the local family could have a place to hang its clothing to dry.

One of the pleasures of the ride was the amazing outcrops of strata at all sorts of odd angles.

Fishing, Taiwan's national sport. The tarmac is a road for gravel trucks that follows the river for kilometer after kilometer.

Guguan, as Drew sardonically named it, "Kenting of the Mountains." The popular spa town was packed today, with swimsuits and souvenirs sold everywhere.

Coffee stop.

Vendors offering tourists the correct picture of authenticity.

Just before Guguan the road starts rising sharply after about 30 kms of gentle upward incline. After Guguan there were no more cars. Here we looked down on Guguan before continuing further in.

Mountains outside of Guguan. See that white patch on the mountain in the far background.....?'s a road. Can't wait to bike that one!

Drew snaps a photo.

Some ancient cataclysm tossed these strata around like cardboard in a storm.

Stunning mountain views. In the far distance is the mountain that is the legendary home of the Atayal people. Just past here is the checkpoint at 880 meters up, beyond which they refused to let us past. Road construction and falling rocks, they told us, had closed the road. So we turned around and went home.

After 115 kms of mountain riding, a meal at the local Vietnamese place was just the ticket.
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Anonymous said...

Tweeted by @feiren:

Bicycle craze in Taiwan ends. Bike stores closing.

It is good to see that your bicycle craze shows no signs of ending though. 加油!

jeremiah said...

great pics. can't wait to get out and explore the island a little more.