Alishan

Alishan, April 12 - 13, 2010. Click pic for album

Taroko to Kending

Taroko Gorge to Kending, Feb 14 - 19, 2010.

Northern Cross Island Highway

Northern Cross Island Highway, May 19 - 21, 2008. Click pic for album
6th November, 2011

Chishang to Hualien

Wednesday noon, we packed our bikes in our bike bags and took the 1.20 down to Chishang (池上) for a three-day ride up to Hualien and on to Taroko Gorge together with a few friends who had started their ride in Kaohsiung on the weekend. It was pouring down in Taipei and the CWB forecast rain along the east coast, so we even headed out to Costco to buy some cheap lightweight rain gear we saw when we last went shopping.
The Chishang B&B early in the morning
It rained around Yuli (玉里) and Fuli (富里) on the train ride down, and our friends were hit just as they rode into Chishang, but that was it. Wonderful weather, 28-30 degrees, blue skies and a fresh breeze. The clouds hung over the mountains, though. The Chishang b&b we found on the internet was also a nice surprise. They picked us up at the train station, and the rooms were nice. They also had a restaurant for breakfast and dinner. If we're stopping in Chishang again, we know where to stay.
Outside Chishang
The first day was a short ride, just below 60km, up to Ruisui for a dip in the hot springs at the same hotel we've stayed several times before. But first we went to the 7-11 to send our bike bags to a 7 in Hualien. Saves a couple of kilos. The first 20 or so kilometers, we planned to follow the 9 until we hit the 193, but in Dongli (東里) we started talking to the local police and he told us that the old rail track from Dongli through Antong (安通) to Yuli had been paved and now worked as a bike path off the 9. We weren't going as far as Yuli, but we avoided 5km on the 9 between Dongli and Antong.
The joys of provincial highway 9
The bike path between Dongli and Yuli
Antong, between Dongli and Yuli
We arrived in Ruisui before 2pm and spent the afternoon in the hot spring pools before we walked a few kilometers down the road for a nice Hakka meal. When the owner heard we had walked for sooo long, he offered to drive us back for free, and said that if we had called before, he would have picked us up, too. Pretty good service.
D enjoys Ruisui hot springs
Ruisui hot springs
The 193 from Ruisui to Hualien was as beautiful as always. In Hualien we stayed at what seemed a fairly new hotel called Beauty Inn (漂亮), and it really was a fairly beauty stay. Nice fresh rooms, clean, good service, although they sent us to a Japanese restaurant that had been closed for a long time when we asked where we could get some Japanese food.
Guangfu
The view from the Hualien hotel
The ride up Taroko never happened: the whole gorge was closed for a marathon race, and in addition, they still had problems with falling rocks after the heavy rains a few weeks back (up to 1.5m in two days in some places), so the marathon runners had to run with helmets because they several people had been hit along some parts of the road.
Mission accomplished

Chishang to Hualian

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The b&b in Chishang
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Getting ready
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FactsIt seems it's now possible again to bring your bagged bikes on all Tzu-chiang/Ziqiang express trains (自強號). Some trains have designated cars for bicycles (the first and the last), while on all the others, you bring it in the car and place it at the luggage area (they have removed a whole row of seats to use for luggage storage). That's what we were told by two different information people, and that was also our experience. Luggage area storage down to Chishang, and designated car from Hualian back to Taipei.Chishang B&B: (089)865-878. We paid NT$1500 for a double. Not sure if they speak English. Ruisui Hotspring Telephone: 03-8872170, 03-8870824 No.23, Hongye, Wanrong Township, Hualien County 979 We paid NT$1500 for a double here as well. At least one man there speaks English. Beauty Inn in Hualien. A bit more expensive. We paid NT$2900 fora discounted double. Fairly large room and spatious restroom with a big shower cabin. A five minute bike ride from the railway station. Here is the whole ride on my Garmin page.

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