A Dream Come True

Circumnavigating Taiwan via Bicycle

by Dudley Henderson (Aug 4-11, 2012)

Day 4 Fongbin ~ Fulong

Day 4 would be both fun and frustrating. I was up early, as my wife had checked the train schedule from Hualien to Su'ao, which allowed bicycles, and there were two, 11:15 and 1:15. Of course I wanted to get there for the 11:15 so I could spend more time riding and not waiting at the train station. I was there by 8:30 and got in line for a ticket. I asked the agent for an 11:15 ticket and was told no problem. Then I was told to pack my bike. Pack my bike!!! With what and how do I pack my bike? I was told to put it in a box. A bike box, oh yes I carry one with me anytime I am out on long rides. I said that I did not have a box. This was very difficult because it surpassed my Chinese ability quickly. A young man appeared and asked if he could help. He was Japanese but spoke English and Chinese well. He argued with the agent for what seemed like an eternity. People behind me were getting upset. Then he finally told me that I had to pack my bike. I explained to him that I had no way of packing my bike. Finally I was told I could just walk on the 1:15 train with my bike, no packing. Wow! Why didn't the agent tell me that when I said I could not pack my bike? So I purchased a US$4.17 ticket for myself and a US$2.10 ticket for my bike for the 100+ kilometer ride to Su'ao. Almost wish I had tried to sneak on the Su'ao highway that was closed!

The Route

Train ride from Hualien to Su'ao to get by landslide

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..up before dawn as I wanted to take the 11:15 train from Hualien..I could have slept in and still got there in plenty of time for the 1:15..

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..if there is not a 7-11 near, your lost..

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..back on Highway 11 headed North to Hualien..

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..tunnels save time, but when you hear the sound of a motor vehicle, you have no idea where it is coming from, at least I didn't. A scooter came from behind me once and I thought a huge truck was about to run me down..

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..the climb before Hualien has begun..

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..and continues..

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..before dropping back to the seashore just before Hualien..

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..cross a big river and roll into Hualien..

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..and on to the Hualien train station to buy tickets..

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..tickets bought at 8:54 for the 1:15 train. why didn't I sleep in just this one morning !!

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..oh well, there was a McDonalds about 3 blocks before I reached the train station..why not!

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..by the time to board the train, I had met a few more bikers, so I followed them..surely they knew what they were doing..

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..on board train for Su'ao with our bicycles..

The Rest of The Day

All of the bikers, 8 of us got off the train and took several pictures at the station in Su'ao, unfortunately not with my camera. A young man from Taichung used his GPS and led us to Highway 2 that continues north up the coast. Once we got to 2 he started riding faster and faster. He pushed the pace to around 30kph at times and I had to stay on his wheel to keep up. Three of the 8 were dropped and 4 of us stayed with him. He wore down just outside of Fulong. That was enough for me. I felt like I had been in a road race and I found a hotel in Fulong. I had covered over 200 kilometers but only 116 of them on the bike. I would have gladly spent another day if I could have ridden the Su'ao highway. Everyone else went on to Keelung. I caught them the next day because they slept in. They told me it was not fun riding after dark, especially through tunnels. You have to know when to quit! All in all, it was a fun day.

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Highway 2 North out of Su'ao

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I was happy to see Fulong.

 

Experience Day 4 ~Fongbin to Fulong 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