Out Recording http://outrecording.com Field Recording in Taiwan Fri, 20 Apr 2018 10:23:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.5 Ride and Hike to Weiliaoshan 尾寮山 http://outrecording.com/ride-and-hike-to-weiliaoshan-%e5%b0%be%e5%af%ae%e5%b1%b1/ http://outrecording.com/ride-and-hike-to-weiliaoshan-%e5%b0%be%e5%af%ae%e5%b1%b1/#respond Fri, 20 Apr 2018 10:18:05 +0000 http://outrecording.com/?p=3323

I took a ride on the Shaxi Lindau yesterday to scout a possible trail up to Jingdashan 京大山 for next week’s hike. The ride alone is fun, but I’ve done it a number of times. So I thought I would hike up to Weiliaoshan 尾寮山 while I was out there.

The trail is well established, though I doubt it’s used much. The trailhead is in the second half of the Shaxi Lindau side, past the (unmanned) guard station. There’s a chain to prevent entrance, but a well worn path around it says nobody cares. At one point a large rock was placed there to prevent vehicles from going around, so some presumably locals with chainsaws cut an entirely new path around it. If you were to take a car, forget it. So to get to the trailhead, you would have a very long hike. I think most people would just rather start on the Maolin side.

Getting back to Weiliao, it was a very easy hike. Only the last 300 meters had any decent elevation change. The rest is very gradual.

Along the way there were these markers that promised cellphone coverage. For the most part I did have coverage.

About halfway up there were some benches nearly reclaimed by nature. As well as a little rest area further along.

About 400 meters before the peak is when the climbing started.

It wasn’t long before I came to an old pavilion. I’ll admit I was a bit nervous walking on this thing. Turns out it still has some life left in it.

From here things went up and up.

It was only about 300 meters to the top from the pavilion.

I was alone the entire time. So time for a dance…

I hung out up there for an hour or so. The clouds started rolling in and before long I was covered in fog. The temp did drop a bit. 16 Celsius if this thermometer can be believed.

On the way down I snapped these pics.

Cappuccino anyone?

There were also various signs along the way teaching you about the local wildlife and trees and such.

I saw this HUGE nest up in the trees. I used to think it was a bees nest or something, but one day I saw something similar up close and it was surrounded by ants. An ant nest?? This one had to be damn near a meter across.

Unfortunately there’s no real view to speak of up at the top or on the way up. You can hear the drone of the cities at the top. The best view I got was about halfway up. This would be of the Shaxi side.

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Ride and Hike to JiuBaoShan 久保山 http://outrecording.com/ride-and-hike-to-jiubaoshan-%e4%b9%85%e4%bf%9d%e5%b1%b1/ http://outrecording.com/ride-and-hike-to-jiubaoshan-%e4%b9%85%e4%bf%9d%e5%b1%b1/#respond Sun, 15 Apr 2018 08:20:44 +0000 http://outrecording.com/?p=3318

I went out riding last Wednesday. I’ve been wanting to do a bike ride/hike to a peak for some time now. I saw the JiuBaoShan 久保山 peak near where I was riding and figured what the heck. From my map it didn’t look to bad. Boy was I wrong.

There was a road that linked up to a trailhead not too far(ish) from the peak, but the road disappeared long ago from a landslide. From where I parked it didn’t look too far (And it wasn’t) but there wasn’t much of a trail to get to the main trail. It was a makeshift trail to say the least.

There were no markers to guide you other than some bark cut off some trees. And the elevation gain was pretty steep (for me at least). My GPS says 150 meter elevation gain in 500 meter distance for the beginning part.

The rest wasn’t as bad until then end. Took me three hours to get to the peak and about two hours to get back.

There was no view at the top and wouldn’t have mattered anyway, fog rolled in obscuring everything.

Everything kinda looks the same up there so not so great for pics. But I did snap a couple vids. Fun times!

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Motobatt MBTX7U Replacement for KLX250S http://outrecording.com/motobatt-mbtx7u-replacement-for-klx250s/ http://outrecording.com/motobatt-mbtx7u-replacement-for-klx250s/#respond Sun, 25 Feb 2018 09:25:03 +0000 http://outrecording.com/?p=3285

Ever since I installed the 331 big bore I felt it didn’t crank over quite as well as with the stock bore. But all in all the battery was fine, and I didn’t want to replace it. I figured when the battery died I would find something with more cranking amps.

A couple years later and that time is here. The OEM battery still has plenty of life, but I managed to break one of the terminals.

I lost the piece of metal inside that the screw mates to. I found a nut that works but I guess over time the torque was slowly breaking the terminal. The whole thing broke in half and now has a tough time staying tight.

I was hoping to find a larger Yuasa battery with dimensions that were close enough to fit–and considering I live in Taiwan you’d think it would be easy–but nothing came up.

A bit more searching led me to the Motobatt MBTX7U.

It’s listed as a direct replacement for the KLX250S but with 15 more cold cranking amps. I don’t know if those extra amps will help but it’s a step in the right direction.

Fitment was close to the original but a tiny bit smaller. After securing the locking bar, the battery doesn’t move.

As you can see, the terminals are different from the Yuasa. In general I like them better. No nut to fall out and two places to screw on your wires, which is great if you wire accessories directly to the battery. Unfortunately they didn’t include extra screws. Just enough to screw down the terminals and for the main power leads.

When screwing down the terminals they wouldn’t sit flush. As you torque them they start to turn. I guess it’s not a big deal but would be nice if they weren’t cockeyed like that .

How does it work?

The initial startup wasn’t too encouraging. It didn’t want to spin up right away. Probably because it was slightly undercharged according to my DMM. Who knows how long it has been sitting on the shelf. After letting the bike run for several minutes I turned it off and restarted and it started immediately. Definitely better than the stock battery. But I’m not sure that says anything at this point. I’m sure a brand new stock battery would spin up pretty quick as well.

So I’ll give her a few rides and report back…

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Taiwan Round Island Dirt Trip – Day 06 http://outrecording.com/taiwan-round-island-dirt-trip-day-06/ http://outrecording.com/taiwan-round-island-dirt-trip-day-06/#respond Wed, 21 Feb 2018 10:22:26 +0000 http://outrecording.com/?p=3195
Total distance: 16.89 km
Max elevation: 645 m
Min elevation: 11 m
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Day 06

This was my last day before bike trouble…

It started out decent enough. Waking up in a motel room, albeit there wasn’t a bed, and the blanket was way too short – but I’m not complaining. Sure as heck beats a tent.

The place only had an asian style common toilet. I’m not built for those, especially with a bum knee. Thank god for the handle on the wall. I was holding on for dear life. Every time I have to use an asian style toilet, it’s like an “experience”. I’ll just leave it at that…

I suited up and prepped the bike. It had dried out over night, as well as most of my clothes. The owner’s sister told me breakfast was ready, so I walked over to a table where I saw a small glass of milk and a plate of “something”. It looked kind of measly, but whatever. To my embarrassment she said that was HER breakfast. Doh! She led me to a small room off to the side where there was some decent grub.

The brother gave me a tour of their aboriginal museum. It turns out the owner is an aboriginal hunter. He came back late this morning and told me he was checking his traps (for wild boar). The place has a sort of museum of aboriginal artifacts. Some very old spears, knives, clothing, etc. They even have an old Japanese rifle his father found in the mountains, presumably from the occupation. Also there was an old Samurai bow, some ancient spears, and even native American items that I haven’t a clue how they ended up there. Really cool stuff!

The guy’s main business is teaching mountain survival. Apparently there are only two places on the island that teaches this (to civilians…I’d imagine the military here has something like this) and I found myself in one of them.

After a short conversation, I took some pics with the owner and his mother and set off.

At this point my plan was to skip a lot. I wanted to go over one last mountain and then drive past Taitung to the southern cross island highway. After Day 02 I realized that two weeks was impossible to drive my entire route. Heck, one MONTH wouldn’t be enough. So this was my big “start skipping the small stuff” day.

I headed up the mountain and was greeted with a landslide.

The road was just as bad as I described earlier. Going back down made something pucker if you catch my drift.

I found a new road up and made the climb.

The views were great as usual.

About halfway up I started hearing a banging noise occasionally. Seemed it was coming from the gearbox area. It would only happen while I was climbing, not on flat surfaces or going down. It continued for the next kilometer or so…but more frequently. I stopped here to take a look.

After some calls, facebook and forum posts I couldn’t pin down what the problem was. So while I waited around for some replies I explored the area on foot.

 

There wasn’t much of anything to see. Apparently some tourist area further up. A lot of cars were driving by. But I did manage to find a bathroom. 🙂

The noise was pretty much only happening in second gear under load. Naturally I thought it was a problem with second gear, like a broken tooth. I was told it would be MUCH noisier if a tooth broke off and the likelihood of that happening with my bike being very low. Some people mentioned the chain, but I’m really anal about cleaning my chain after every ride. I couldn’t see how the chain would be the problem. Boy was I wrong…

I drove the bike down the mountain and found a nice spot to adjust the chain. Someone had mentioned maybe it being too tight or loose. I had nothing better to do so I adjusted it some.

I drove back up the mountain and heard the same sound. At that point I thought it wasn’t worth continuing and possibly making things worse. So I turned around and headed home. 🙁

 

Mail boxes here tend to be pretty boring. This one stuck out.

So that was the end…

I made it back home fine. I never heard the noise even once. After some thinking, I’ve decided to continue the trip in chunks so I don’t have to miss any part of my planned route. Three or four days here, three or four days there…seems much more manageable. So in a way, I’m happy this happened. I can complete my trip in its entirety.

On the way back I saw the beach and just had to stop for a mandatory picture.

Oh, and these tires are NOT good on the sand. NOT….AT….ALL…

And for the record, it turns out it WAS the chain. The master link was rusted but moving slightly. Looks like water blew past the rings. Sitting overnight and drying…well, there ya go. I doubt the problem happened on the trip. It’s probably been like that for some time but since I clean it so often, it never had a chance to really rust up. Kind of stupid, but as I mentioned, I’m kinda glad it happened.

So that’s it for now. Until day 07…probably some time next month…

[See image gallery at outrecording.com]

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Taiwan Round Island Dirt Trip – Day 05 http://outrecording.com/taiwan-round-island-dirt-trip-day-05/ http://outrecording.com/taiwan-round-island-dirt-trip-day-05/#respond Tue, 30 Jan 2018 10:11:27 +0000 http://outrecording.com/?p=2922
Total distance: 106.92 km
Max elevation: 885 m
Min elevation: -3 m
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Day 05

I woke up on the Dawu riverbed and made my way over the mountains to the next river.

The road over was in decent shape most of the way, so it didn’t take long to make it over.

And then made it to the river…

There was a cool suspension bridge but not much else to note. I stood in the middle and watched the end of the Eagles hammering the Vikings in the NFC championship game.

There didn’t appear to be any direct way to cross the next set of mountains so after the game I made my way to the coast.

I got to drive a bit with an ocean view.

I made it to Jinlun (金崙) and started up the next set of mountains.

Halfway to the top the clouds rolled in and it started raining.

And no, the next picture is not blurry. It was THAT foggy…

Now let me tell you, those mountain roads aren’t always easy to ride when it’s dry. But they’re damn hard when it’s raining. You got a layer of moss in the middle that might as well be ice when wet. A bunch of leaves just waiting to slip up your tire. Mud here and there. Add steep inclines and declines, fog, and one way ticket to the bottom if you miss your mark and end up over the edge (and the edge is always there)…and you’ll get the picture.

It took me some time but I made it over the top and drove down. On the way there I encountered this guy.

He looked at me for a while and then ran back down. A few hundred meters later I found him and his owner…and about 10 other dogs of similar size. I had to stop and wait because the owner’s truck was blocking the road. All the dogs were running around and the owner and another guy was trying to catch them and put them into their cages in the truck.

I had seen a truck like this the day before on the east coast. They’re flatbed “blue trucks” (a Taiwan reference) that had a system of cages built into it: four or five cages per side with an opening large enough for the dog to stick his head out. I thought it comical at the time to see five heads per side sticking out while the truck was driving down the road. Seeing this for the second time (It couldn’t possibly have been the same truck!?) was a bit strange. I have no clue what they were doing. But something about it seemed nefarious. Most of the dogs had these thick leather collars with handles on the back. The front was very broad; presumably so they don’t get choked when picked up. But it would also double as a neck protector.

Anyway, I wasn’t about to ask them what’s going on, or take a picture for that matter if something less than legal was going on. Granted, this all could have been on the up and up. But it all just seemed so odd for a truck with these dogs to be out on this mountain in bad weather. They were the only ones I saw the entire time. So I waited for them to move out and made my way back down.

I made it to the other side and the rain let up some.

The next town was Jinfeng (金峰). I didn’t know it but there was a natural hot spring at the end of the road.

My map showed that Jinfeng waterfall wasn’t too far away. So I made my way up a back road to find it, as the main road was destroyed buy a massive rockslide.

At the top there were two routes I could take. One went to the waterfall and another to the riverbed. I went up to the waterfall area and the place looked abandoned. I thought I’d skip it and continue to the riverbed to see if there was a connection to a mountain road I saw on a map.

When I got there I found these signs.

(notice the bullet holes in the last picture)

I remember seeing this on the news. The government was cracking down on offroad vehicles driving up the river. Apparently there’s a nature reserve somewhere past this point. This gave me pause, so I double checked with my wife and she mentioned the sign saying that the restricted area didn’t begin for another few kilometers. So I pushed on.

Unfortunately the path down to the riverbed was very steep with loose rocks. I could make it down no problem, and tried. But the last tiny section was VERY steep. Again, I knew I could make it down, but getting back up alone could have been a problem. It had a lot of loose soil and rocks probably from vehicles spinning their tires. Making it back up on my bike under normal conditions wouldn’t be an issue, but with all the extra gear and unbalanced bike and all, I felt it wasn’t worth trying. Oh yeah, don’t forget everything was wet too. At worst I would have had to take everything off the bike, drive it up and then carry the bags up. I really wasn’t feeling up to it. So I turned the bike around and made my way to the waterfall.

Again, the place looked deserted. Obviously the broken road caused this decline.

After a quick look around I went up to see the waterfall.

As you can see, part of the path was badly damaged.

After a short walk the waterfall was in view.

Another short trail took me to the base of the waterfall. It was pretty nice. At least all that rain helped it look good. Silver linings and all. 😃

That PVC pipe was originally strung up overhead. A typhoon must have knocked it down. Oh well…

After about 10 minutes I made my way back making sure not to slip 🙂

You can see in one picture above that there was a spot for camping. I strongly considered it, but first I would need to head out and find some food, then drive back. Time was short and with the way it was raining all day, I really didn’t want to camp. My wife helped me look for a hotel and found one in the town I was at earlier, south of here. There was some kind of event going on in the nearby town and all the cheaper places were booked. So I said goodbye to this waterfall area and drove out.

Along the way there was this “house”.

Inside were a whole bunch of urns. I’ll just leave it at that…

On the way out I snapped a few pictures…

…and took the coastal road that I had previously avoided back to Jinlun (金崙). I grabbed some food and drove deeper into the mountains where this hotel was located.

The hotel turned out to be more of a hostel style place, but at $500nt/night (about $15 US) including breakfast, I wasn’t complaining. I had my own room and wasn’t bothered by no bed and a shared toilet and shower.

More on this place in my next post.

All in all it was a good day.

[See image gallery at outrecording.com]

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Taiwan Round Island Dirt Trip – Day 04 http://outrecording.com/taiwan-round-island-dirt-trip-day-04/ http://outrecording.com/taiwan-round-island-dirt-trip-day-04/#respond Sun, 28 Jan 2018 04:17:29 +0000 http://outrecording.com/?p=2404

Day 04

I’m sitting here at the side of a vast riverbed. Nothing but rocks – humongous boulders to sand-like pebbles. I’m somewhere behind the town of Dawu (大武). Here’s a current shot:

Haha…ok, with the flash…

Getting here started off easy enough. I packed my bike and drove random smaller roads on the southern east coast.

I went through a lot of aboriginal villages, each with their own unique style of mural, statue, or village map at the entrance. Some schools have this as well.

I drove up to the Xuhai Grassland tourist area parking lot (旭海大草原停車場), which was completely empty and looked like it was being fixed.

There were trails leading off to (presumably) the grassland area next to the ocean. I didn’t want to spend the time hiking, but I did take advantage of their western style toilet. 😄

After that I made my way up the 9, which is the main road that connects the east and west shores of southern Taiwan.

I found a little farmer trail that went down to the river.

I got to see up close the new bypass they’re building.

Instead of taking the road back, I opted to try the riverbed.

There was no path to follow but the rocks were small enough and the whole thing flat enough to pick my way through. It wasn’t a simple ride but fun. It was also a good chance to see how my tires would handle the rocks. They did decent enough.

I eventually came to the end and made my way out.

After a brief stop for gas and grub, I made my way north to the next mountain range.

This is a gravesite. With the open field and tall grass in front, it looked very different from most I see.

I didn’t find any dirt unfortunately, but I did have one helluva time getting up one “road”.

When I was driving up this small mountain road it started showing all the telltale signs of a rockslide somewhere up ahead. The vegetation was slowly overtaking the road, obvious signs of non-use, etc.

I pushed on because…well, I always push on! At the very least I want to see the rockslide. And hey, maybe THIS time there actually wouldn’t be one. (Let me tell you, there’s ALWAYS a rockslide!)

It got to the point where I had to unsheathe my machete and start hacking down plants and small trees. I did drive over a minor landslide, but it wasn’t anything any motorcycle couldn’t handle.

It took some time, but guess what?? I made it to the other end! This was that one rare time that a road just stopped being used for some reason.

On the other side of the mountain a nice little farm field greeted me.

I had planned to camp on the riverbed on this side. But I came across this nice park and contemplated staying here.

I figured there’s little adventure in that, so went up to see the riverbed.

I needed to buy something for dinner tonight so I turned around and drove to the main road to see what was there…a 7-11 of course!

The river exits near the 7-11 so I made my way inside and drove it for a while.

There’s a footbridge I wanted to walk across but it was inside some kind of nature preserve that needed a permit.

There was a guy in a SUV parked near the entrance. Considering you needed to cross the river at several places to get there, I don’t think he was there for a leisure visit. Later I saw him leaving at night. He must have been some type of “guard”.

It was difficult choosing a decent spot but I found something that worked. The weather wasn’t showing any rain so I felt I should be good.

Unfortunately there was a complete cloud cover. No moon and star show tonight. There were a bunch of little frogs though.

Other than my dinner being too damn spicy to eat (and I’m a spicy freak, so that’s saying something!) the rest of the night was uneventful.

Which was great. Little wind to speak of and the nice calming sound of the river. Oh, and I did take a quick river bath. Man was it cold!

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Taiwan Round Island Dirt Trip Take 2 – Day 03 http://outrecording.com/taiwan-round-island-dirt-trip-take-2-day-03/ http://outrecording.com/taiwan-round-island-dirt-trip-take-2-day-03/#respond Sat, 27 Jan 2018 07:12:10 +0000 http://outrecording.com/?p=2373
Total distance: 87.34 km
Max elevation: 373 m
Min elevation: 1 m
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Round Island Dirt Trip – Take 2 – Day 03

I wasn’t feeling 100% but didn’t want to waste another day. I decided to drive straight through Kenting, around the southern tip and make my way up the east coast. I lost plenty of mountain riding but I needed to make up some time.

I’ve lived here for 14 years or so but somehow never made it around the southern tip of Taiwan. Definitely worth it. Great views, though windy as all hell that day.

My plan was to stop by this pizza place that fell along my route. As my luck goes, they had one pizza left and I’d have to wait an hour. That would have put me too close to nighttime so I had a brownie ice cream and made my way north.

My planned route was thwarted once again.

It’s funny how they put signs out but don’t actually block the road – almost daring you to enter. Fuckers…

But honestly, it wasn’t a bad deal sticking to the road. I took a little circle detour that had a great view of the valley. Mountains all around. I would recommend it to any motorcycle rider. Plenty of twisties, near no traffic (and this was a Saturday), and the road in good condition.

After I made it back to the main road, I took a little detour up to an aboriginal village. I hit some dirt and followed it to a little creek.

It wasn’t the best spot; seems it would fill up with water during the rainy season. But for that night it was good enough.

I had some decent winds but nothing like Day 02. I sat there in the pitch black all night – no stars, moon or any other light source. Just some crickets and frogs to keep me company. Kinda cool. 🙂 And no cell coverage of course. 

It wasn’t a terribly interesting day, but Day 04 should be more eventful.

[See image gallery at outrecording.com]

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Round Island Dirt Trip – Day 02 http://outrecording.com/round-island-dirt-trip-day-02/ http://outrecording.com/round-island-dirt-trip-day-02/#comments Fri, 26 Jan 2018 03:05:59 +0000 http://outrecording.com/?p=2353