The Ride to Tainan

Last year I went to Tainan to participate in the Yanshui fireworks festival. Unfortunately I had misunderstood the schedule and managed to miss the whole thing. This year I was determined to join so I planned it better, double checking the schedule several times.

The festival was going to start on Monday with the main celebration Tuesday night until Wednesday morning. I originally planned that I and Renegade Wife could ride my motorcycle together over the weekend ending up in Tainan, so we could see the fireworks. Sadly my wife’s aunt passed away during the Chinese New Year so we had to go back to her hometown for the funeral.

The wife had been feeling a bit under the weather so on Saturday morning I set off on the bike by myself. I rode along the coastal expressway, only stopping occasionally to take a rest. When I reached Taizhong I left the main road and headed in towards the city center and picked up the wife who came by High speed rail. From there we rode together the last 40 kilometers down to her parents house. Except for Taizhong city traffic, it was a nice day and we passed through some quaint little villages on the way.

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Rest stop on the way south

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Why is there a couch in this field?

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At least my motorbike is not in this condition.

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We found a beautiful field of sun flowers nearby the High Speed Rail station

When we arrived at the house all the nephews were really excited to see the bike and they all kept asking about it or playing near it. When we were about the lock it in for the night however disaster struck: for some reason the rear brake seized up and the rear wheel became immovable. There wasn’t much I could do about it that evening so I went to bed saddened at the thought of having to leave the bike there and travel by public transport instead.

On Sunday morning it was my wife’s aunt’s funeral. There’s not much to say about the ceremony, for me it was mostly boring because I never had much chance to get to know her. All I can say is Rest In Peace. After the funeral I tried some tips I had read the night before, opening the bleed valve on the brake caliper at least let me free up the wheel so that the bike was rideable. However, we couldn’t get the brake to function again so we I rode very carefully to a nearby shop and had them take a look. They told me the caliper was broken and had to be replaced but they didn’t have any in stock. After a bit of research my lovely wife managed to find several shops that were likely to have parts in stock but they wouldn’t open until Monday. Not being able to do anything more we spent the afternoon chatting with the family and playing with the kids. The wife was too busy at work to take three days off so we decided I should do the rest of the trip on my own. So, after dinner her brother drove us to the train station where she caught a train home while I went back to her parents house for the night.

Monday morning the in-laws helped me call around to the various repair shops until we found one that had parts in stock. We decided it would be too dangerous to ride all the way without a functioning rear brake. Luckily my parents in law run a construction company and have access to a truck. We managed to get the bike onto the truck bed and fix it in place. With that, my wife’s younger brother drove me and the bike to the repair shop a couple of towns over. I want to extend my thanks to all the family for helping out, and an extra big thank you to Hunter for taking me and the bike to the repair shop.

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Loading up the bike on the construction company truck

It turned out that it wasn’t just the brake caliper that was broken but the master cylinder as well. Luckily the shop had one of those in stock too. It took a while but eventually they got the bike fixed and after lunch I could finally take off. I rode southwest trough some very beautiful green tunnels, the trees on both sides bending in over the road. When I reached country road No.3 I joined it, heading more or less straight south. As always, road No.3 is excellent for motorbikes with smooth asphalt, long sweeping turns and limited traffic.

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Setting off down the green tunnel

Fields of rice and pineapple along the way

Somewhere south of Meishan (梅山) I came across this tree full of lovely pink flowers

Some way south the road splits, the fastest rout going more or less straight south while country road 3 goes inland to round Tsengwen Reservoir (曾文水庫). Last year I took the road around the reservoir but I was running out of daylight and unable to stop as often as I wanted. This time I was early enough so I decided I would take the reservoir road again but make sure I would take the time I need. Naturally this resulted in plenty of places where I stopped to take in the view of the reservoir and surrounding landscape.

A small abandoned factory building, somewhere north of the actual reservoir.

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A great road for riding

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You quickly climb pretty high, look at the road all the way down there

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This funny little sculpture sits in a small roadside park

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Kind of scary sign but the road isn’t actually that close to the cliff edge

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Views of the reservoir from different points along the way

The most spectacular view along this road is at Dapu Bridge where the reservoir narrows considerable where it connects to one of the incoming rivers and forms a narrow gorge. I stopped by here last time too but now I had time to really take it in, I just can’t get enough of that view.

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That gorge is just gorgeous

After I had rounded the reservoir I headed straight for Tainan City, only stopping a few times because there simply wasn’t that much to see. Once I reached the city I had to spend some time searching for the hotel I had booked. It was so hard to find I ended up having to call the manager. It turned out I was at roughly the correct spot but there were no signs and the door was closed which I thought was a bit suspicious, but it was a real hotel, they just didn’t have a reception.

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Sun starting to set

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I spotted this bizarre elephant statue by the side of the road

After checking in I went for a quick dinner at a nearby restaurant then went back to the room to make some plans for the next day. While lying in bed googling, I was simultaneously chatting with my wife and reminded me of a temple in downtown Tainan that is decorated with lots of colorful lanterns. We were there last year and I really liked it so I decided to check it out. I spent the rest of the evening strolling around in the area around the temple, looking at the lanterns.

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Entrance to the lantern area

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Views from the street

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Entrance to the temple

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Inside the temple courtyard

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Some of the narrow alleys on the way out from the lantern area

Across the road I found this closed indoor market

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Another street with more lanterns

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