Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Lost in the Hills of Miaoli

Still recovering, but this weekend I did a lovely long ride in the hills of Miaoli. Got thoroughly lost and ended up being out for a couple of hours longer than I had planned. But it was a beautiful day, and I was in the company of my friend Iris, a strong rider who somehow found it in herself to forgive me for getting her lost. Click READ more to read more...

There is no map of this ride, because I got lost. We rode over to Jhuolan in Miaoli, and then went out Zhongzheng Road, the Miaoli 54-1, which follows a steep climb through a cemetery. The 54-1 has a good work/reward ratio, and lots of both.

The short but brutal climb through the cemetery offers excellent views over the valley and the city of Jhuolan.

Iris, who destroys hills, climbs the 54-1.

The sign says no trash dumping. Glad we got that straight.

An excellent clear day. I was really anticipating the road ahead.

Once you reach the temple at the top there's a very enjoyable downhill through the orchards that dot the area's hillsides.

I love little earth god temples.

Iris enjoys the scenery. The numerous small climbs often have good views.

Since Iris was with my lazy self, she had the chance to take plenty of pictures.

A descent towards the river/arm of the reservoir.

This used to be the arm of a reservoir.

Also used to be the arm of a reservoir. Drought is slowly choking Taiwan. The government does nothing, like raise water prices, for example.

See that machine? That's what happens when you make Iris angry.

Despite the drought and winter, the brown foliage was still lovely.

Iris was really enjoying herself on the 54-1.

Iris captures an orchard covered hillside.

From the Miaoli 54-1 we turned west onto the 53, which starts with a very nasty climb. Here we take a break near the top.

The Miaoli 53 runs along the ridges. Once you get up on the ridge, the views are wonderful.

Lots of spraying going on.

What could be more enjoyable than a clear day and an empty road?

Plenty of places to capture the horizon.

From the Miaoli 53 we turned north onto the Miaoli 55 and then went downhill to Nanhu, grabbing lunch and coffee.

Miaoli was having a marathon that day along the 3, so the police had blocked off a lane. We followed the 3 south from Nanhu, heading for the Miaoli 52-3.

Turning onto the Miaoli 52-3, we cross an arm of the Liyu Reservoir. The reservoir is so dry that grass has sprung up on its bottom. The 52-3 runs along the south side of the reservoir and should have popped us out just north of Houli. Alas, I became lost...

The opening section of the 52-3 is flat and enjoyable.

Iris rocketed up the 20% grades near the top.

The views from the top are good.

Iris takes a breather. We somehow missed the turn and ended up riding deep into the heart of the hills. The climbs were steep but the road, without traffic and lined with farms, was wonderful.

When you finally reached the top, though, it was worth it.

Did you know there was a national forest in this area between Sanyi and Dahu, in Dahu township? I didn't. Here we were hopelessly lost, following one sign that said "Sanyi". There were few markers of any kind, except informal handlettered signs, but we confirmed our route using the arrows on the big red rock there.

WTF am I? I have no idea. But that's Sanyi in the distance there.

We followed the road to Sanyi until it dumped us out on the Miaoli 49, which is one of my favorite roads, and one I know well. We had just done it the week before, in fact. Then it was up past the strawberry fields and home through Houli. Always a fun ride in Miaoli....

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