It’s been an adventure-less summer. Breaking my leg at the end of April meant that I spent most of the season getting to the point where I could walk again. While I’m still not 100%, I am finally able to be active, so I was eagerly awaiting my trip to Taiwan to meet up with my friends Grizz and Tam. We’d planned it out: we were going to road trip on scooters down to Hualien, check out the epic Taroko National Park for a few days, then make our way back to Taipei. I couldn’t wait, so when Grizz and Tam unexpectedly had to make a trip back Stateside, I decided to carry on and do the trip myself.
Day 1: Taipei to Hualien
I’d made arrangements to book the bike through Bike Farm. Jeremy, the owner, is well-known among the expats and travelers who ride scooters around the island, and his service has gotten great reviews. So, to start off the journey, I met him in southern Taipei and we took the bike to get the fuel gauge fixed.
When that was done, I headed off down Highway 9, only making it a short way before the bike died on me. Deciding one occurrence might just be a fluke, I carried on, only to have it die again mere minutes later. Deciding it was better to be safe than sorry, I turned around and took it back to Jeremy. We managed to replicate the problem, and he ordered a new carburetor to fix the issue. After an inconvenient but pleasant enough wait (listening to Taiwanese pop and Linkin Park while eating some sort of bao) I headed off again, this time with no bike troubles. Or so it seemed…
The drive to Hualien starts off through city streets, but the road swiftly narrowed and I found myself switch-backing through a thickly forested range of foothills. Small clusters of buildings lined the roadside, with temples and rice paddies making the occasional appearance.