We make holes in teeth!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Taiwan Day 27 - More Quarry Exploring

So it turns out that there are some people still reading, which is nice to know. Someone did mention that enthusiasm is quite low on the east coast these days, with the weather being what it is. I can understand that, though this morning's rain was still annoying to me. Yeah, it will be "interesting" to see how I handle the real cold. But I think I'll be fine. You just more or less adapt to what you have, and when the temps fall, you want them to go back up. When it rains or snows, you want it not to. I'm sure the people in Yuma, Arizona complain when it's not sunny too.

Someone asked me if the word Starbucks was actually translated or not. Now if I just said "Starbucks" do you think my wife would have been shocked I knew how to say it? Everything has a transliteration, but they would have understood if I said Starbucks. Starbucks is "xin ba ke" where "xin" is actually the word for star, and the ba-ke is a transliteration of the rest of the word.

I slept until 7:00 today, which is a record for me while we've been here. I knew something was odd when I woke up and it was light out. I'm often up at 5:00 with no alarm, so to sleep in until 7:00 is pretty late. I did the usual morning thing then headed out for more exploring on the McCruiser in the rain. Having taken 2 days off after riding something like 43 hours in the first 3 weeks, my body was thinking that a 3rd day wouldn't be so bad. And this rain...but I had to cut off all thoughts and head out the door. This is a unique riding opportunity. It would be a shame if I just sat in the apartment and got fat, as opposed to riding my bike a bit, then sitting in the apartment getting fat.

The first stop was the original quarry from ride #3. I started up and said that if the trucks were coming down I'd bail and do something else. Trucks and dry, ok. No trucks and wet, ok. Wet and trucks, I need to minimize risk and do something else. That something else would be the other quarry down the road. This was the one that turned to gravel shortly into the ride. I made my way there and started up. The road really wasn't very steep to start, it just rolled gradually up along the river. At one point the road went under an old metal bridge, which I thought was kinda interesting:

At the left side of the bridge was an old police station, and a fairly large temple. There had been a small shack temple on the way up, literally a 5x5 foot place. I checked it on the way down and the candles had been lit. So of course, there were burning here as well. I thought it was pretty cool. I turned around and started heading back up the hill. Shortly after, I heard the un-rare event of monkeys screaming at me and saw a few in the trees. I couldn't get a good pic but at this point I've given up. I feel like someone who goes to NJ and marvels at the deer. They're just everywhere it seems.

I also saw a few more bridges, 2 of which were really bare-bones steel cable bridges. The second one had 2 motorcycles parked at the end, the occupants having gone to the other side for something or other. I was intrigued but not enough to go search out what they were doing. Very possibly hiking up to the rock conveyor towers to check on them. The conveyors were running today, as it turns out.

Eventually I rounded a corner and saw a sort of "station" on top of the hill, where the rock conveyor was making a pit stop. It didn't really stop there, but it turned out that people were manning the station. This isn't a good pic but it was sorta crazy looking on top of the hill there:

I kept going and it turns out that there's a shack where the scooters park and make their way up to the start of a bridge:

Then they have to walk across this bridge to get to the base of the hill:

Then they have to climb up the hill on foot to get to the station. That truck in the pic had 2 guys, who both yelled out hello as they drove by. This was the only moving vehicle I saw on the day. I kept on after this point, and the road started to get steeper. And the road itself had started to go through the river flowing down the mountain, and there were high-wire bridges for the people on foot, scooter, or bike:

This was a little nerve-wracking. On the way over, it was slightly downhill so I could coast. On the way back, I had to pedal and was afraid I was going to slip out, where the "risk" in the risk/reward equation was kinda tough. I made it either way, and the road here started to get insanely steep, and I had to grunt my way up. For sure this isn't a heavily traveled road, and there's no way trucks could come up & down this all day.

Finally, I got to a point where it flattened out, and I felt like I was on the moon:

There was still some climbing to do, but I called it a day here because I had run out of time. So I turned around and headed back down the mountain, and was enjoying the fact I had a mountain bike until I bombed a water crossing and bottomed out the rear tire and said to myself, "crap crap crap, you didn't just do that." But of course I did, and shortly after I was tearing apart the tire and putting in the spare. Thankfully, I had everything I needed and was able to get myself out of there with no issue. The tube I had bought was kinda light, but I pumped it up a bunch and rode gingerly the rest of the way out.

So I did get to explore something else today, but now I have a second quarry road hanging over my head. I'll need to come back when I have a little more rope to explore. It looks like I wasn't very far from the top. So it shouldn't be too long of a round trip.

Lunch was more stuff we've had before so I won't go into detail there, though we did sort of "eat in" which means Nat made rice and veggies and bought some meat out. We had some plans to go to this carving lady's exhibit place this afternoon so I worked for a very small amount of time then we were off around 1:30 with Nat's cousin's daughter Vivian and her aunt, who has seen better days behind the wheel of a car to be sure. A lot of people comment that the roads I ride are not safe, but the least safe place I've felt the whole trip was in that car ride.

The place was cool but I wasn't allowed to take pictures. Those of you who have been in our house have seen the glass dragon which she made. At this point she's way too cool for school and has moved into a big place that's got people working there selling things, making coffee, and producing pineapple cakes. We used to go to her little house in the countryside and see the stuff there and have tea with her husband. He once gave me 2 bags of really good tea, I think it was on our first trip. Since then, her world has exploded.

Here's the posse listening to the sales lady pitch her stuff:

We got some coffee then headed upstairs and the sky peeked out a bit. This is the roof of the building. They grow lotus in there most of the time.

Freshly made pineapple cake, and the woman in the background making more:

On the way home Nat's aunt dropped us off at the Giant shop and I picked up another tire. I'm not going to put it on, but bring it with me on the long trips, of which tomorrow is supposed to be one. I'm planning on riding up to Calvin's apartment, west of Taipei. So I'm going to bring the tire in the event that anything happens. The tire is one of the big things that is hard to fix when you're 40 miles from either end. The ride tomorrow is going to be in the 80 mile range, so I need to be prepared.

On the way home I peeked through a hole in the cement wall and saw carnage:

Back at the house and dinner is oyster pancake, squid balls, veggies, and a few small bites of meat, all from the night market. I forgot to take a pic but these are all repeats so I should have them somewhere.

I only had 1 of my random people pics come out today, though some would argue that the focus was on the wrong person here. The Terren people pic of the day. The only place to get scantily-clad women, or people of any sort, is going to be at a betel nut stand. And even then, it's becoming more and more rare these days. Random pic:

Putting it back on the bottom:

Full picture set of the day here: Flickr set or slideshow.



  • At 8:14 PM, Blogger terren said…

    The quarry pics were awesome. Such a foreign place. You weren't kidding about the Betel Nut stands... just found this:


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