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