Zhunan - A Month in Taiwan - CycleBlaze

December 28, 2018

Zhunan

Before getting to today’s ride, I want to put up this photo from two days back that  inadvertently left out before.  I could do the research to identify it myself of course, but someone else might recognize it already.

Any ideas?
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Bill ShaneyfeltIt is a wading bird of some species. Many look so much alike! Possibly a Nordmann's greenshank. Not positive though.

https://florafaunaweb.nparks.gov.sg/special-pages/animal-detail.aspx?id=556
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Bill ShaneyfeltWell, even I knew it’s a wading bird Bill. It’s wading!
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Bill ShaneyfeltA greenshank though! Seems more likely to to be a common one, but still. I don’t think I’ve heard of greenshank before. Thanks!
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2 months ago

We awoke to partially blue skies today, which became bluer as the day went on.  It looks like a great day to ride.  Looks are a bit deceiving though.  I should have posted a video so you could see the clouds racing across the sky.  There’s a 30 mph wind blowing from the northeast that won’t ease up all day.  It’s fortunately generally in our favor, but all day long we’ll find ourselves wrestling with it for control of our bikes - bad enough on the open road, but more worrisome on a narrow bridge or in traffic.

Our destination today, Zhunan, is a small town near the coast just about fifteen miles south of us.  It’s not an obvious destination, but we’re using it as a stopover to help break up the long ride to Taichung.  It doesn’t break it up very effectively, because we still have another 54 miles the next day.  It’s the only place we could find with reasonable lodging though, so we’re taking what we can get.

Fifteen flat downwind miles along the coast doesn’t make much sense though, so we have the bright idea of lengthening it by biking into the foothills to the southeast. The ride I pick out doesn’t look too bad - no significant climbs, and our high point barely reaches five hundred feet.  Look again at that elevation profile though, and you’ll see that it looks a bit like a rip saw.

The saw did it’s work well.  By the end of the day, we both definitely feel ripped up by the time we finally reach our hotel.  One damn 10-12% climb after another.  Between that and wrestling with the wind, today’s was the hardest ride we’ve had in probably two months.

And, tired as I am, I’m going to stop here and take a nap.  I may come back and have more to say later.  Or not.  In case I don’t make it back here though, I should at least throw out a few reminders of highlights - getting lost or dead ended a few times in the large industrial parks in east Hsinchu; taking the wrong turn and dropping down a supersteep lane for a few hundred yards, only to come to a dead end and have to turn around and push our way back out; a long walk after dark to an Italian restaurant that is mismarked by about a quarter mile on Google, which we eventually found by inquiries; the near incessant squeal of my bike, which is rubbing somewhere that I’m completely unable to locate - it’s slowly driving me nuts; and the dogs - we must have seen hundreds of dogs today, mostly small, running loose, and bored; and our excitement at finding a real, well stocked Carrafour market that even carries peanut butter, bagels, and muesli!  

On our way out of town, we stopped at this small temple, thinking that it was the Putian temple that shows up on the map. It’s a nice, serene small place with a few treasures brought here from mainland China, and the caretakers were very friendly. It’s not the Putian temple though, which is huge but just behind the trees. I suspect this place doesn’t see many visitors.
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A wooden sculpture, from the mainland
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Musicians, but not playing in the Putian temple
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It’s very quiet and peaceful here.
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Out of town finally, we soon start getting inspiring views of the mountainous interior. We aren’t going there today though - we’ll just stay here on these low rollers. Easy.
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Besides the wind and the hills, bamboo is the other story of the day. We spend a lot of it biking small lanes through bamboo thickets, listening to the wooden stalks creak and crackle in the wind.
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In Beipu, sitting at the 7-11 and trying to regroup ourselves a bit.
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Jacquie GaudetI thought this bridge might be in commemoration of the hundredth anniversary of something... but the other side would read "001". Still interesting, but someone needs to finish the repainting job.
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Jacquie GaudetInteresting in thought. I wondered about it too - I’ve never seen one like it.
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2 months ago
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An odd looking structure, with an even odder purpose and location out here in the country. It looks like it’s a small pizza stand, but closed today.
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Andrea BrownOkay, that is super cool.
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2 months ago
Jen GrumbyTo Andrea BrownDefinitely! Too bad it was closed.
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyIt really was a shame. We gave some thought to sitting on the benches across the lane and waiting awhile.
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2 months ago
Boot tree
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Jen GrumbyDoes this inspire you to find a way to dry out hip waders on the Bike Friday?
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2 months ago
She wasn’t alone in pushing up this slope. And this wasn’t the only time today either.
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Jen GrumbyI almost didn't want to give this photo a like, because I don't enjoy pain.

But I'll give it a like to reward you both for your strength and determination.
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2 months ago
Bruce LellmanAt least you got a good photo.
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Bruce LellmanYes, always look on the up side.
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyActually, we should get credit too for finally realizing it’s fine to get off and push on occasion.
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2 months ago
Jen GrumbyTo Scott AndersonYes! I hadn't thought of it that way. Here's to getting off and pushing .. when riding up a ridiculous hill is just too much.
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2 months ago
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Ximiopu suspension bridge, near Emei. We could have biked it, but it’s swaying in the wind and this just felt more secure.
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Nature Loving Wonderland, near Emei, is a huge Buddhist monastery featuring the largest statue in the world of Milefo, the ‘laughing Buddha’. Rahrer an odd place, but here’s a good write: https://www.goteamjosh.com/blog/naturelovingwonderland.
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Bruce LellmanI'm laughing at how big that statue is.
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonIt is crazy big. Many of these statues are huge though. I wonder if it’s the insecurity of living on a small island that drives them to it.
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2 months ago
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Ride stats today: 33 miles, 4,000’ for the tour: 367 miles, 20,700’

Today's ride: 33 miles (53 km)
Total: 292 miles (470 km)

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