Monday, October 27, 2008

Fun Sunday

I am never free to do fun stuff on Sundays but today I was (until 3, at least) so I decided to do a fun bike ride.

I rode up to XinShe, a town kind of up a mountain.  I've done that ride a lot and it's nice- lots of climbing but broken up by flat spells so you can really catch your breath.  Usually I head down towards Taichung and then back home but I'd seen signs pointing to GuGuan, a town way the heck past DongShi, so I decided to head towards that but cut it a little short.  It made a nice circle.

I checked out googlemaps to get an idea of my route and slept in- I headed out a little before 9.  I took a slightly different route through XinShe that didn't take you through the town so it was more pleasant.  Unfortunately it didn't take me by the 7-11 I've come to rely on, and I only had 2 bottles of water on me and 1 snack on me.  By then it was like 11.  Oh, well, I figured I'd find one soon enough.

It's been very hazy lately so pictures were tough (as always) but it was gorgeous riding.  There was a really fun series of switchbacks to go down as I went down the mountain.  There was actually a group of bikers and I passed a guy at the top taking pictures of his friends as they went down the mountain-I wish I would've done it too!

Here's a "panoramic" view- ie, 3 pictures together...

bike ride, kids, etc 012bike ride, kids, etc 013

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I made my way towards the bridge I had planned to go across.  The funny thing is I'd asked Jasmine if it was open or if it had problems because of the typhoon and she said, as far as she knew it was OK.  She offered to call someone and ask but I didn't want to get into the whole "You can't bike there!  It's impossible!" thing so I told her it's fine, I'm sure it's open.

bike ride, kids, etc 016 Yeah.  This was the end of the bridge.

I considered climbing over it with my bike, then rode back to where a detour was posted- it showed the detour, but no distance or elevation markers, so for all I knew it could be 20 km of climbing to the next bridge.  I didn't want to risk it, as I was already hungry and thirsty, and it was already after 12 and I had to be back to Dong Shi and showered in time for 3:00 meeting.

So I rode back to the blockade.  Hmm.  It was just below shoulder-height and would've taken too much work to dismantle.  Also that felt illegal.  I considered that mountain bikers often carry their bikes around obstacles, but my bike isn't known for its lightweight portability, and I'm no mountain biker.  I considered again.  I figured there was a slight chance my bike would plunge into the river below, and a slighter chance I would plunge.  (below, the plunge-able river):

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I was right along the main road- cars slowed to stare at me- so someone could easily help if I, say, fell and broke my leg.  In front of me there was enough room to rest my bike on the other side of the fence, and beside me a post that I could climb by but my bike wouldn't fit by.

So, I put my cell phone in my bike jersey- the better to call for help after I crushed my leg- and took a deep breath.  "Danger is my middle name!" I told myself, but of course this is un-true.  Actionless caution is my middle name.  At any rate, I hoisted and grunted and hoped and got the bike over.  I got myself over easily (although I did bang my knee into the post and it made the most horrible squishing- popping noise but it doesn't hurt at all?!?!) and looked at my bike.  I figured the only course of action was to put my bike on the relatively flat, narrow part and carefully walk along the side.

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Yay!  My bike and I both lived to tell the tale!  Maybe danger is my middle name!

I soon found a gas station and used the bathroom.  Gas stations give away bottles of water if you give so much gas but they wouldn't sell me one, not even for $100!  Like $3 US.  Or give me one, either.

No matter.  I soon found a betel nut stand- and they sell drinks at betel nut stands- mostly beer but also energy drinks.  The girl offered to fill up my water bottles from her tap but I didn't want to drink tap water and then she said there's a mini-mart down the road.

I stopped there and bought water and a candy bar.  The family was really sweet- I sat outside to eat and drink and they brought out their 12-year-old daughter to practice English, and brought me out some persimmons (picture from the web, not my camera)180px-Persimon they'd just cut up.  I don't love persimmons but people always give them to me and they're find to eat.  The grandpa came out and was like "She rode her bike from Fong Yuan!  Give her more!" 

It turned out I was pretty close to DongShi anyways- I got there a little after 1.  I looked on the map and it would've only been 4-5 km and not much climbing to get to the next bridge- oh well, maybe next time.

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