Monday, September 01, 2008

Taian Vacation Part 1

This is the bike trip I took in early June.  I wrote it a while ago but I just got around to adding pictures.  I still can't believe I rode in all that rain!  But it had been raining for weeks and I so wanted the challenge of a long ride, and I so needed a vacation.

I got up at 6:30 Tuesday and figured I was in no big hurry.  While I'm eating breakfast and starting to pack, it starts to rain.  Dang.  But I have a raincoat and a plastic bag to put over my stuff to keep it dry, right?  Pumped up the tires and headed out.

tai an 008 About twenty minutes into it started to rain really hard- ugh. This is what it looked like then.

I decided I'd ride for an hour total and if it was still raining hard I'd turn around or head to Jasmine's and ride in her car.  After 40 minutes it totally stopped!  Then started again.  Drizzle, then rain.  I discovered my tires are cleverly designed to create a stream of water that shoots right at my face if I'm going fast enough- not pleasant.  So that's what the fenders on bikes are for! 

The rest of the ride was OK.  I had packed some PB&J from home and was lucky to find a Family Mart that had an tables under and overhang where I could park my bike, and a bathroom inside!  The area north of Fong Yuan gets a little remote so that was a great break.

Not 20 minutes after that I reached the turn-off for Tai-an.  Sweet!  I actually pumped my arm in triumph.  Only 13.5 km until the end of that road, and surely I wouldn't ride it to the end?  And 13.5 km is nothing!  I forgot that I'd only ridden about 45 so far- that would make the leg left to go 1/5 of my trip.  Hmmm.

I started rolling up some hills, then Jasmine called me and said "Are you there yet?  Cause I'm here and I don't see you."  I was like, how in heck did we miss each other?  I am surely the only biker on this narrow winding rainy road.  She said she was at the 7-11, and I was like, dang, I have not seen any 7-11, I must not be to there yet.  10 minutes later we're on the phone again, turns out there was a 7-11 I totally didn't see at the turn-off, so she caught up with me and offered to put my bike in her car, but I was like, I'm wet and filthy, my bike is wet and filthy, why don't you go ahead and find a hotel and I'll catch up.  I had been following the signs okay up to this point (some only in characters but my character recognition skills are pretty good now.  really!) but there is this split, and the sign says, like, "To Tai-an Hot Springs Village," and shows arrows in two directions.  Whaaa?  For some reason I took the one that went uphill instead of the level one, crossed some mean dogs and decided not to turn around and cross them again, then Jasmine called and said my way wasn't right so I turned around.  She drove her car back to find me right as I got back to the main road and I told her, "If you drive your car at like 20 I can keep up with you."  After 1 minute we hit like the steepest hill ever- I was going 3-4 kph up the whole way.  Then I would get up to like 6.  At one point I had to walk the bike and she drove up by me and said she'd found a hotel someone recommended, and rooms were cheap, and hot spring was included in the price, and it was no-bathing-suit hot spring.  I said OK because what did I care?  I was walking my bike in the yucky rain.

At long last we got there.  The lobby was next to the dining room and it was just filled with noisy young people with crazy hair but the check-in lady said they would be leaving in like half an hour.  In spite of it all the scenery was beautiful and I was looking forward to a shower, (and a hike?) and a hot spring.  Naked or not.

tai an 019 In my "professional biking clothes" (Jasmine's words), getting ready to leave on Wed.  It looked like it would get sunny so I donned my blue arm tubes.  And UV-protecting gloves!

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