Somewhere along the way the road begins to climb and we pass a peloton of road cyclists free-wheeling downhill in the opposite direction. Eventually we come back to the big river and towards the end of the day come to another little park area at the start of another bike path route. It's empty and quiet and perfect for camping. In the morning we join a throng of Chinese tourists all out on rented bikes passing through the fields of rape and along the dykes. For a while we find ourselves on the main road but soon find the next back country road. There are a few Taiwanese kids riding this way - in quite a large group - all travelling light with just a backpack or small panniers on the back. A drizzly rain drives us into a perfectly located visitor centre where we can get hot water and free wi-fi. The clouds look low and we don't go far before camping on the 'wrong' side of a dyke, beside a river. It's a lovely spot but in the morning the rain is heavy and we end up returning to the visitor centre just so that we can hang out the tent to dry. By lunchtime we are ready to roll again in the intermittent rain. We fuel up at a little fast food place in the nearby town and then hit the road northwards. At the days end we find our little road is climbing up and down more than we'd like and then we hit another bike path that offers some easy cycling and the possibility of a good wild camp so we take a narrow bridge over the river and nestle into a plantation of trees, out of the misty drizzle. It turns out to be a very nice quiet camp.
|Gayle amuses herself whilst John does a 'Gabor' in the supermarket|
We haven't had so much rain since we left Norway possibly back in August 2012, but really that's just because we have been incredibly lucky. Or is it selective amnesia. Wet cycling is okay if you know you can get dry again, but when you're wild camping and you're not sure when the rainy days will end it can be trying. We like cycling here in Taiwan though because it's never too cold and there's always somewhere to hide from the rain. Oh look, a 7-11....
|Enjoying the morning sun courtesy of 7-11|
|Gayle is unfazed about posing next to the Invisible Woman|
The East Rift Valley from Taitung has been very pretty in places but we're thinking about the next part of our route already and hoping the rain will stay away. We need to be prepared for the mountains. Where's the Carrefour?