Huandao Day 3

Elections and erections between Taitung and Hualien…

Long exposure of an eight-arched footbridge leading to a small forest-and-mountain-covered island.
Sanxiantai Bridge. Photo: Zhen-Kang.
Distance 180 km
Ride time (with stops) 6 hours
Number of stone penises 10

The weather was mixed again, but it didn’t matter on decent roads. Today was great.

Taiwan’s east coast is indeed as beautiful as everyone says. But despite the dramatic scenery, today’s ride was uneventful (apart from all the penises).

Numerous cat paw prints on a black scooter seat.
My scooter was covered in paw prints when I checked out of the B&B.
A scooter parked on an elevated roadway, with forest and coconut trees, and the sea, in the distance.
The weather could not have been better for the first hour of my ride, apart from the wind: near Taitung, I had to drive around coconuts that’d fallen onto the road.
A scooter parked next to a pineapple plantation.
I stopped by this pineapple field to put on my jacket.
A large election billboard next to a four-lane road in the countryside.
Across the road was one of hundreds of election ads. I also saw around a dozen groups of campaigners, plus the usual grandpa-riding-a-scooter-with-a-political-banner-on-the-back thing. (I’m not being cynical. Taiwan’s a young democracy. I admire how much this freedom is valued.)
A mannequin in high-visibility clothing, in front of some roadworks, holding two flags that read ‘slow’ in Chinese.
I stopped for roadworks a couple of times. Note the mannequin holding the red ‘slow’ (慢) flags. (Sometimes these mannequins are mechanized, waving their arms up and down.) I was the second scooter in the queue. Before letting us through, a roadworker approached saying something in Chinese—but as I lifted my visor and he saw I was foreign, without missing a beat he diverted attention to the scooter in front and gave them instructions instead.
Long exposure of an eight-arched footbridge leading to a small forest-and-mountain-covered island.
I had a late breakfast at the famous Sanxiantai Bridge (三仙台跨海步道橋). I visited here in August, and today was disappointed to see it’s still closed.
Screenshot of a webcam image of a man standing on a rock next to the Sanxiantai Bridge in Taiwan. In the lower-right corner is a graphic indicating six people were watching at that moment.
But I was happy to make an appearance on the Sanxiantai webcam, doubtlessly enthralling its six viewers as I scaled a small rock.
A warning sign that includes the line ‘No Electro, Poison or Blast Fishing‘.
(Taiwanese fishermen are intense.)
A grassy area with some wooden seating and a cave visible a few meters away. There is something poking out of the cave.
Six kilometers up the coast, I stopped here, at this unconventional temple. It may look G-rated, but what’s that in the cave?
A large stone sculpture of an erect penis, inside a cave.
It’s a giant stone penis, of course.
A small stone sculpture of an erect penis, perhaps 30cm tall, mounted on a stone post next to a curved pathway.
Nine smaller penises line this ring around the primary phallus. When I woke up this morning, I didn’t imagine I’d be taking dick pics, but here we are.
Partially-burned joss sticks stick in a crevice in some rock.
A Chinese-language sign erected behind the giant stone penis read something like “the first god”(?!). People come here to pray for fertility. Taiwan has a rapidly-declining birth rate; maybe it needs more giant stone penises.
A tall, thin stone monument above the words ‘Hualien’ and ‘Taitung’ printed on the pavement. A motorcycle is parked between the two words, facing the camera with its lights on.
Thankfully, the next sculpture I saw was marginally-less phallic, here on the Hualien–Taitung border.
A tall, round sculpture with a ball on top, next to a busy carpark. A bus drives past in the foreground.
Further up the road, I saw this giant erection: a monument marking where the Tropic of Cancer bisects Taiwan. It was raining when I arrived, so I parked my scooter under a stall awning that extended across the cycle path, then bought some peanuts to justify my presence.
Large waves reaching the shore beneath forest-clad mountains. It is a misty day.
Continuing north, parts of the coastline resembled the West Coast of Te Waipounamu / New Zealand’s South Island.
A take-out coffee and a hand holding a paper bag containing a partially-eaten sweet potato.
I had a late lunch—hot sweet potato and a coffee—at a the 7-Eleven in Fengbin Township. In the store, two young girls (around age 7) came up to me on rollerblades and said hello (in English), then hello again as I left the store, and again as I was putting on my helmet.
A two-lane road tunnel with art deco-style decorative details around the tunnel entrance.
I rode through a series of tunnels, enjoying respite from the wind, before reaching Hualien City an hour before dark.

Day 3 soundtrack

  1. Passion Pit – Manners (Apple Music) (Spotify)
  2. Led Zeppelin – IV (Apple Music) (Spotify)
  3. Kylie – Fever (Apple Music) (Spotify)
  4. Röyksopp – Junior (Apple Music) (Spotify)
  5. Röyksopp – The Understanding (Apple Music) (Spotify)

Dashcam timelapse