Saturday, April 7, 2012

15-hour road trip across Taiwan

On April 4th, 2012—the Tomb Sweeping holiday—I put my new scooter to the test by taking a road trip with my friend Ryan. Our initial destination was Ming Chi Forest park in Yilan County.

We started our journey in Luzhu Township (Nankan) at 4:00am. "Started our journey" means that we went to McDonalds for breakfast. We actually got on the road at 4:30am.

Click on photos to enlarge

Our route took us from Nankan to Daxi on Hwy 4, then to Ming Chi and Luodong in Yilan County on Hwy 7. We then headed north on Hwy 9 to Jiaoxi, where we continued on Hwy 9—a twisty mountain path called Beiyi Road—to Taipei, where we got on Hwy 1 and completed the circle back to Taoyuan.

Here are some shots along Highway 7…

We made it to Ming Chi Forest around 7:00am.

Time to play around with the camera settings…


We eventually made it to Ming Chi ("bright pond") proper. The ticket booth (above) didn't open until 8:00am, but since we're dumb foreigners and can't read Chinese (*cough cough*) we found an open gate and let ourselves in.

Let me explain this next photo, where I'm posing in front of the Hess school in Luodong.

Back in 2007, while I was still in the US and researching English teaching jobs in Taiwan, I was drawn to Hess English School's website. Hess is the largest English buxiban in Taiwan with over 100 locations. As I read through the branch profiles, the Luodong branch in Yilan appealed to me the most and became my first choice should they offer me a job.

In 2008 I arrived in Taiwan. I didn't get hired by Hess, but ended up at a school in Taoyuan. A year and a half later we got a new teacher, and we've become good friends. Yep, that would be Ryan, my partner in crime on this trip. Coincidentally, Ryan worked at this very same branch of Hess when he came back to Taiwan in 2008.

I guess we were meant to meet.

We now headed north to Jiaoxi to visit the Wufengqi waterfalls.

We hiked to the top (I am so out of shape!) to see the tallest, most spectacular falls.

Although the water was freezing, that didn't stop a few brave and/or crazy souls from verifying that fact. See us do just that in the video.

We continued on Highway 9 (Beiyi Road) to head home. Highway 9 is thought to be haunted by ghosts. With the number of accidents along this curvy mountain road, I wouldn't doubt it.

After surviving the mess that is Taipei traffic (worse than any ghostly mountain road), we arrived back home in Luzhu at 7:00pm, 15 hours after we started.

I slept like a baby that night…

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Austin said...

I love the shirt!! :)

Steve said...

@Austin: Go Slugs!!