[Day 11] The End has Only Begun

Distance Today: 75km
Total Distance: 921km
Maximum Speed: 43kph
Average Speed: 16kph
Time in Saddle: 5hrs 6min
Journey: Kee’Lung – Tou’Cheng (via Provincial Highway No. 2), Tou’Cheng – Hua’lien (via Train)
Accomodation: Home
Money Used Today: NT$433

I OFFICIALLY ENDED MY FIRST DAY SLEEPING ON THE STREETS with an early breakfast at McD’s. We woke up very early today in hopes of witnessing the sun rising above the horizon but was disappointed when the big orange ball of fire ascended into the sky at 5am, way too early for our expectations. Anyways, we went on with the grueling remaining part of our trip. We would go along Highway No. 2 and arrive at the Eastern coast before catching a train back home, giving up the dangerous yet scenic road from Su’ Ao (蘇澳) to Hua’ Lien (花蓮).

We pass many beautiful beaches including Fu’ Long (福隆鹽水浴場), an over developed tourist beach where we had our only break of the day. With only a few more kilometers to go, we were very motivated to keep on pedaling, forgetting our thirst and exhaustion.

I’M NOT A GREAT FAN OF SIGNBOARDS, and today, I came across the one signboard which I do think is the evil of all evils.

When I got near Tou’ Cheng (頭城), the town where we would leave on our trains, I saw a signboard stating that we are only 12km away. I struggled through the remaining distance, passing the signboards indicating that Tou’ Cheng was 10km… 5km… 2km… away. Yet, all in a sudden, that EVIL signboard came right in front of my eyes, staring me with its wicked green color, feeling all so superior above us. That freaking signboard claims that the Tou’ Cheng city is 21km away.

Alright, if this isn’t a conspiracy, there must be something wrong with the land measurer’s calculator. I had to accept the reality that the end of this road leads to another, and thus the end has only begun. With my mindset geared towards my goal, I kept on pedaling nonstop (with no complains… okay, with minimal complains), until I arrive at the town area an hour later.(Here’s an arabic architecture just before reaching Tou’ Cheng)

We bought tickets for us and for our bikes (they charge shipping fees for our bikes according to the distance to be travelled), and had lunch at a Japanese noodle restaurant nearby before boarding our train. I sighed a great relief while sitting on the passenger seat, and for once, traveling without using our bikes.

Upon arriving Hua’ Lien, we took a group photo at the station, with weary faces and smelly clothes on us. I was too tired to concentrate, just longing for my shower and bed much.

Today’s not the very best day of my trip, but it cannot be other that the most gratifying day. While taking that refreshing long shower, repeating the soap-rub-rinse cycle three times to remove the grime off my body; and while I rest my worn out limbs onto my soft bed, the world seems to be a better place, and everything appeared to be worthwhile. I took a lengthy nap, lingering away in my dreams, where I can travel without my bike, for a change.

OUR TRIP IS CERTIFIED COMPLETE, but again, the journey has only begun.

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