75 km, 1300 m
I wasn’t too happy to get up this morning. The dorm room window had been left open and the mosquitoes came for me in the night. I woke up 4:30am with several itchy welts then tried to make an Amanda burrito out of the comforter to prevent more blood sucking. This was way to warm, but preferable to more bites. Rob of course, was fine. Grr.
After a few errands, picking up some fresh mwagi (apparently Hualien is famous for it) at the yellow sign place, a bike tube patch kit and a bike phone mount, we took off south along the coast staying with highway 11 as highway 9 branched off west. This was the biking that we had been looking for – wide shoulders, sparse traffic and pretty views. Other than a short climb and a long climb, the terrain was mainly rolling. Bananas from a roadside stall made a good snack along with scamwiches from the hostel breakfast (I saw this term on someone else’s blog and love it) and the remainder of the spicy oyster pancake potato chips from Costco Taipei.
We took a long rest break just past the summit of the long climb and met cyclists coming up the other side. They were very happy to learn they were almost to the top. A group of ladies the tour bus heard Rob say “e, er, san” and decided they wanted pics with both of us (yes, this time I actually got included in the novelty photos). Each of them took a turn taking a picture with us, then I got them to take a group shot with Rob. Naturally I had to take one for them, too.
Finally, we made it to Shitiping and after asking a couple places, found a good place to stay at the boutique hotel near the entrance to the scenic area (it’s the gray building with 3 floors closest to the entrance, 石梯緣民宿). The woman there didn’t speak English but called someone who did to translate. She was wonderfully kind lending us a flashlight to walk to dinner (口福海鮮餐廳) and giving us dessert ice cream bars when we got back.
The name of the town Shitiping means steps because of the step formations the ocean has carved into the shoreline over millennia. The small town is mostly a coastal park with large rock formations and big waves which was great for an evening walk before dinner. We were wishing we had our tent as there was great camping along the shore. Now it is time for a relaxing evening before another day of riding tomorrow.