A Dream Come True

Circumnavigating Taiwan via Bicycle

by Dudley Henderson (Aug 4-11, 2012)

Day 3 Taimali ~ Fongbin

Day 3 would be a fairly easy ride along the East coast with the hopes of reaching Fongbin. I would pass by Taitung, which I have visited a couple of times before, so I had no desire to go into the city. I stayed on the coast and went by Taitung on Highway 11. Highway 11 hugs the Eastern shoreline and offers some of the most beautiful scenery in Taiwan. And I was armed with a new camera hoping it would be easy to use. Reaching Fongbin would put me close enough to Hualien to reach there easily the next day. Later in the day I found out how important that would be when I got the news that a typhoon had closed the road from Hualien to Su'ao. Having spent years in Nepal where I walked around a few landslides, I gave a fleeting thought to doing the Su'ao highway anyway. Sneak on and walk my bike around the landslide. But I had no idea how large the landslide was. And, whereas in Nepal I could get away with something that stupid, I just might be arrested trying something like that in Taiwan. So, get to Fongbin and then on to Hualien early the next day to make the train to Su'ao.

The Route


..early morning start out of Taimali..


..the beauty of God's creation continually amazes me..

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..bananas are good for a ride, tried to buy 2, but she refused payment..she even made sure she gave me the best tasting bananas and they were good!


..beautiful rest stop..


occasionally the road will wander away from the coast..


There is a story to this picture. Just before leaving on the trip, I got a new pair of prescription sunglasses. Early morning departures would mean that they were in a case and placed in my travel bag. When the sun got bright the day I reached Taimali, I stopped, took off my glasses and opened the sunglasses case. Not seeing too well, I saw what looked like white blobs on both lenses. I could not imagine so I put my glasses back on and oh no! It was the nose pads and the screws were nowhere to be seen. I probably dropped them on the ground while removing the glasses from the case. I finished the ride into Taimali riding without sunglasses, which is uncomfortable for me. The next day around noon I reached Chenggong and decided there must be a place to have my glasses fixed. I stopped and asked, in Chinese, where a "Yanjing Dian" was. I don't know if they use the words "glasses shop" or not, but it worked and for the first time I was thankful for the hours I spent in class trying to give someone directions in Chinese and how to understand directions given in Chinese. I went straight to the shop and the sunglasses were fixed and, the optician would not take any money. Beware! Glasses in a box on a bike get a lot of vibration and screws get loose!


..too beautiful for words..


It had been a great day, but with my GPS reading 139.24 kilometers, the 7-11 in Fongbin looked very good. I would ask about a hotel and settle in for the night. As I started into the 7-11 a nice young lady came out and greeted me with a smile in English. Oh boy I thought, I can ask about a hotel without having to use all my brain cells to do so in Chinese. So I asked if she knew where a hotel was. She replied that she lived in town. In town! I thought we were in town. Then she explained that even though it was 40 or more kilometers away, Hualien was town. So she was not local, but told me she would go into the 7-11 and ask about a hotel. All she got in the 7-11 was laughs. I was standing behind her, she was asking for a hotel for me and I presume they had all sorts of thoughts going through their heads. Finally they said there was a hotel back south from where I had come. We left. Once outside she noticed that the big orange building next to the 7-11 had ornaments hanging outside as if it were some sort of new business. We walked over and guess what...it was a new hotel. The 7-11 folk should learn that there is a great hotel next door. The best room I had the entire trip. The young lady and her mom had stopped in Fongbin and were headed back home to Hualien. They could not have been more helpful.


The hotel owner took a picture of the 3 of us. Notice the grand opening ornaments behind us.


..young Taiwanese bikers..


a seafood restaurant only 100 meters from my hotel


..my day ended with a tasty large helping of shrimp fried rice..


Experience Day 3 ~ Taimali to Fongbin by pictures ~ HERE

Day 1 Home to Manjhou

Day 2 ~ Manjhou - Taimali

Day 3 ~ Taimali - Fongbin

Day 4 ~ Fongbin - Fulong

Day 5 ~ Fulong - Tamsui

Day 6 ~ Tamsui - Dajai

Day 7 ~ Dajai - Budai

Day 8 ~ Budai - Home

Comments questions to: dudley@moreearnestheed.org