Saturday, March 07, 2015

Scootering the 投54 in Nantou

Off to Nantou on a scooter today, since I am too injured to ride (O the pain of watching other riders out on lovely lovely bikes!). Many thanks to Drew for guiding me, and to Daniel Kianka for suggesting the road. Click on READ MORE to see more...

Our ride began with us heading out to Baguashan in Changhua to avoid the ugly 3 down to Jhushan. Here a woman gives her bird a ride.

An augury of a day spent riding in the tea farms of Nantou, we passed these low altitude tea farms on the 139B on Baguashan. We took the 36/38 and 34 off the mountain. Some enjoyable rural riding.

In Jhushan Drew took me to an old Shinto Temple near the entrance to the 149. The gate remains but all identifying markers have been removed.

Drew stands between two of its old lanterns. The KMT bulldozed the temple, a symbol of Japanese colonialism, but left the lanterns about as trophies. The KMT HQ stands on the old temple lands a bit further down the road.

The inscriptions have been concreted over, but on one side they were permitted to remain.

We rode out of Jhushan south on the 149, then turned onto the 54. Here is the spot on Streeview. The 54 rises swiftly.

Once you gain a little altitude, the views are stirring. The road rises and falls, but mostly rises, reaching around 1200 meters where it ends at the 49.

The first 16 or 17 kilometers is empty wilderness. I think we saw two or three vehicles. Around Km 18 some tea farms appear. The surface is incredibly bad -- bumpy, cratered, by turns covered in gravel, sand, dirt, forest litter, mud, and water.

Stopping for a break.

Some of the wild terrain. Would love to do this on a perfect clear blue day...

Sooner or later civilization appears...

Up and down the road goes... I had some trouble imagining why anyone would run a road through this wilderness. Drew speculated that it was an old road that Han settlers had put in to access mountain resources.

Eventually you hit the tea farms.

Tea plantations on dizzying slopes.

The views in this section are nice...

There's actually a bed and breakfast in that building.

We stopped to photo the tea field.

After a few kilometers of tea farms, you're back in the wilderness.

The road covered in fine dust. In many places rockfalls lined the road, and repairs to the cliff faces and road were commonly seen.

Drew heads down to a river before climbing up. The road is up and down, constant climbing and descending. The grades are not too steep, but there are 37 kilometers of them from the 149 to the 49.

A reminder of how much force even a small river in Taiwan can generate.

Equipment for moving things up and down steep slopes. It's difficult to see in the picture, but this is actually an elevator.

This turn off is a side road off the 54 that takes you to a beautiful leisure tea farm area.

Bamboo stands amid the tea.

At the overlook, Drew admires...

...the stirring views.

A tea rail, for moving things up and down steep slopes.

At just below 1300 meters, we bade good-bye to the 54 and turned onto the 49, heading for Jhushan. A wonderful ride, tough on the spine, but easy on the eyes. Highly recommended for a strong bicyclist with excellent stamina. Or for a scooter ride...

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1 comment:

Barry said...

Enjoyed the post on Scootering. I have just recently started to ride in Taiwan and am really getting into the spirit of it. Already I have completed a 200km+ road trip in the South of the Island and i'm now looking for other new scenic routes.