Around Taiwan scooter trip-part one

From 2011_06_12 Trip Tainan to Xiao Liu Qiu
Post written by Don
Trip Report Day 1 & 2
Tainan to XiaoLiuQiu (Little Six Ball) Island (about 1/2hr boat ride SW of Kaohsuing)
Sort of a rocky start from Tainan when I decided that two suitcases was too much weight for the trailer.  So we repacked into one case and lost some of the heavy stuff, my giant laptop for one.  As there was a slight drizzle, we also put all the luggage in bags.
On the trailer, one big roll around duffle bag, one backpacking guitar (suitable insulated with diapers and pull ups), my backpack.  On my scooter, JiaAn, still with splint on her leg.  Sitting in the front allows her to rest the leg inside the scooter.  Her backpack is between her (our) legs.  Billie on the back of Ahua’s scooter, leaning back against the rear carrier, and DB on front sitting on Ahua/billie Backpack and camera case.  He can also turn around facing Ahua and take a snooze if need be.
We were making good time, if in a sort of erratic fashion, maintaining about 50kmh.  The weather had turned hot and sunny.  Then we slipped a tire off the trailer.  I thought they soft rubber and the hard plastic of the tire were securely bonded, but no.  The heat of the day along with the heat generated by rolling had expanded the soft part of the tire.  These are solid tires, no tube or air inside, just air trapped in the soft matrix.  Anyhow, easy enough to put the tire back on.  It slips on real easy, as I got a lot of practice in doing this.  Dropped speed down to 30km/h and kept an eye on the wheel in the mirror.
Kaohsuing was a pain.  GPS lost battery, we lost the main road.  Almost, lost Ahua when I did a head fake onto the freeway.  Finally, with maybe a dozen tire slip offs, made it through Koahsuing to the harbor town of DongGang (east harbor).  The ferry was a zoo.  Nicely, it was a zoo with everyone returning home from the island and only a few going out.  This was Sunday late afternoon.  Ahua had made reservations when we stopped for a break at 7-11.  7-11 is our internet connection and most likely this log will go out from one of their stores along today’s route.
From 2011_06_12 Trip Tainan to Xiao Liu Qiu
Before entering the scooter line for the ferry, while Ahua is buying tickets ($400/person round trip) she left us at the entrance just beside the local law enforcement.  The trailer got a real, long, close scrutiny.  I refused to make eye contact even though I felt like saying, “Hey, what do you thing about that?  Nice piece of mechanical engineering, hug?"   I guess we passed as we there was no complaint.  You have to love Taiwan.  Of course, the coast guard guys had to give the boy a bunch of candy.  He’s a constant source of candy and toys.
The ferry ride was nice.  Big swells.  We hung out in the back beside the scooters (and one detached trailer)  under the top deck beneath an awning.  Being in the shade was really nice as parts of me were now in full blossom, vacation style, sun burn.  Jia took a salt water shower in the spray kicked off the bow.
After arriving, we called the hotel and got a guide, checked in, and did a quick trip around the island and stopped at a couple beaches.  The island is all coral and famous for it.  I have a sample that I’m going to smuggle out.  Supper was at the hotel and included in the package along with reimbursement for the ferry tickets.  Great supper.  Lots of fish and sashimi, mostly wasted on the kids.
In the morning, Billie and I got some snorkling gear and we all rode a couple hundred yards to the local diving spot.  Derek found a nice tide pool to play in and Jia played in the sand.  Ahua looked for shade.  The snorkling gear included a very lightweight wet suit, which was great covering that embarrassing lobster skin.  The whole island is a reef,  maybe 20-25 M from the shore is the drop off of about 10-15M.  Along the edge of the drop off it lots of very pretty coral and tropical fish.  Billie and I took a hot dog out to feed the fish.  Billie never got totally comfortable with the mask or even swimming goggles.  But she is a gamer.  I pulled her on a life ring with a rope.  There were a couple bouys at the edge of the reef where I could then tie her up.  There was a bit of a current that you could swim against easily, but still easier to tie her.
Everyone was tired of this around lunch time.  Billie checked her gear back into the hotel and, after lunch, I took off on my lonesome and found another diving spot.  I found $100 bill in the water.  I then took another tour around the island searching for a place to plop down and do some software development.  I downloaded an ebook from the Tempe library about thinking in object oriented programming and wanted to work on some ideas for a Gait simulation program.  I found a nice place down a steep windy little road that ended in a little temple and overlook on the west side of the island.   Also a nice picnic table by the temple, in the shade.  I would work for an hour and then go back to a dive spot for an hour.  Went home, woke up everyone and had to show them my special spot.  We then went to a small beach and played in the coral while the sun went down.  Back to the hotel.  Sleep.  Wakeup. Pack.  Write this log.
Today’s plan is to catch the 7:40 Ferry and go south on 17 then west on 9 to ChiBen, the hot springs resort on the SE side of the island.  I want to stay at the same hotel we stayed in about 10 years ago.  The one with the hot spring above the hotel on the side of the hill.
I filled the gap between the tire and rim with silicon seal.  We’ll see how that does today.  If that doesn’t hold, I’ll try PVC glue.  Wish us luck.


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