Sun Moon Lake was a pleasant experience, but now it was time to go. On this particular morning, I would be on route 63. This uphill is murder. Try as I may, but I wasn’t able to pedal up this thing on my 6-speed luxury folding commuter bike. Pushing the bike up the hill was an easier option. There is a sense of shame when I have to walk my bike up a hill, but there were no people around in this beautiful back road to share my humiliation with.
Walking is a good way to think about things, reflect on life. While pushing 70 pounds up a hill, most of my thoughts were of misery. Something must be done! But before I could come to a proper solution, the uphill ends and the downhill begins. What a ride! Fast and twisty – exhilarating. Pass a few houses, a village; couple of barking dogs, before I get to a long straight bomb with the sounds of a karaoke session coming from a nearby farmhouse. This downhill was so amazing, in fact, I found it necessary to send a text message to my buddies back home to tell them about it. But I doubt they were impressed.
After the awesome downhill, I would find myself on route 16. It ran for a bit alongside a dammed river, it seemed to me. There were a bunch of trucks doing whatever they were doing. I must have been using an outdated map, because the road ended in a gravel stretch before connecting back to paved surfaces. I had to carry my heavy-ass bike over a highway divider before I could continue on my way.
I stopped at a town called Shuili for lunch, and to try to find a post office to exchange some US dollars. ATM machines work just fine here in Taiwan, but the post office does offer a decent rate when comparing the charges my bank imposes on foreign transactions. Google Maps found a post office for me, but the post office told me to hit a bank, son, but also didn’t tell me where a bank was located. I asked some rugged-looking gentleman with a bunch of cuts on his arm if he knew where a bank was. His directions were accurate, but half-way there, I asked a lady at a tea shop if the bank was down this particular road. She blew me off, and the patrons in the shop just looked away. So much for the friendliness I heard that were typical of the locals. But hey, I’d probably blow off on a scraggly looking bum riding a clown’s bicycle too. When I made it to the bank, it was closed. Looks like more ATM fees for me, and lesson learned today is to trust the directions given by rugged-looking gentlemen with cuts on their arms.
Back on the road, Mingjian is where I would end up staying for the night. The road was flat but with cement trucks and cement factories alongside the highway. There was a section where the road was wet with cement slime for miles. Cement trails on the back of your racing jersey is not a good look – equip some fenders. I have no such fashion failures as I do not wear racing jerseys and have fenders equipped.
Come back soon and read about the conclusion I came to after taking another walk pushing my bike. In the meantime, thanks for reading. Take care, be well, stay blessed and hydrated.