10/29 Hot Springs Tonite!!

10/29  Hot Springs Tonite!!

It started innocently enough, with the group heading out of Hualien in the same direction as our ride the day before, but then veering off on Coastal Highway 30 going South. We knew we were in for a treat at our next night’s rest, the New Life Hot Springs, just over the coastal range at the end of the central Rift Valley. Soon we were rolling swiftly past the spectacular blue of the Pacific Ocean on our left and sheer mountains and dry river beds on our right. We passed mile after mile of winding road along high headlands, wheeling through long tunnels, gaping at the glorious scenery

The road south

The road south

The road south

The road south

We climbed a big hill to arrive at the “Best Overlook” and stop for a little rest.

At the "Best Look Out"

At the “Best Look Out”

And gathered for a photo op

At the "Best Look Out"

At the “Best Look Out”

Was the view really better with us in the way?

DSCN2038

We descended that snaky road quickly and continued South to reach the Tropic of Cancer, where a tall white monument split down the middle of the meridian.

Tropic of Cancer marker

Tropic of Cancer marker

We of course fell for the temptation of dividing ourselves between the two sections of the earth. Well, in pictures at least.

Between tropical worlds

Between tropical worlds

Rivers on the way

We pressed forward with a purpose now, heading towards a small fishing cove where our lunch spot awaited. From its windows we could see the margins of the sea the sandy shore.

Lunch

Lunch

Fresh fish dish

Fresh fish dish

View from lunch site

View from lunch site

More lunch views

More lunch views

Down the coast

Down the coast

We had covered well over fifty miles now and were ready to turn inland, climbing up steep and winding route 30 over the coastal range. The views were tremendous, though most of us had our heads down, pedaling for all we were worth to get up over the pass. One  tunnel we churned through was 1.8 miles long and continued the uphill grade.

Up route 30

Up route 30

Passing coastal headlands

Passing coastal headlands

At last we reached the pass and began a long sweeping descent through a forest towards the Rift Valley. We turned off just at the bottom of a stream bed, and then a final groaning climb led to the Taiwanese version of Valhalla:  the rustic, beautifully situated New Life Hot Springs resort. It was spartan and calm, and they served cold beer at a wooden table on the veranda.

New Life Hot Springs

New Life Hot Springs

New Life Hot Springs sign

New Life Hot Springs sign

At the hot springs

At the hot springs

We took it easy until dinner, then had a really fine soak in the pungent springs (separated into male and female pools — no suits — and public, for families, with suits) before making our way to our beds. It was our longest day so far: almost 72 miles and 4400 feet of elevation gain. We were cooked, and whether we deserved it or not slept the sleep of the just.

Hot springs dinner

Hot springs dinner

Simple comforts

Simple comforts

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2 thoughts on “10/29 Hot Springs Tonite!!

  1. Janice Sears

    Hey,
    Glad to hear today that you missed the earthquake! The cycling and scenery look fantastic. Food seems a bit overwhelming. Hope the jet lag has finally passed.

    Reply

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