South Taiwan Ride 2015: Dawu to Taitung City

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The vast Pacific Ocean from the east coast of Taiwan. Due east of here is Mexico.

My last big day of riding around south Taiwan in June 2015 began in , , with only about 55 kilometers to go before arriving in . I had been out in the sun far too much the previous day and was feeling rather sluggish and a bit sick so I didn’t end up taking any side trips into the mountains as I made my way north. Even so, the scenery was fantastic, and while I won’t have as much to write about this particular day of my trip, I have plenty of beautiful photographs to share.

South Taiwan Ride 2015: Manzhou to Dawu

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Riding through the remote valley of Manzhou in Pingtung, Taiwan.

My fifth day of riding around southern Taiwan in June 2015 delivered me to the most remote parts of the island’s 1,139 kilometer-long coastline. On the previous day I rode from , on the southwestern coast, around and into the foothills of the Central Mountain Range 中央山脈 to reach , one of the last places to find lodging before forging on to . I had already taken this route while riding all around Taiwan in 2013 so I was familiar with the territory, but that first tour was so rushed that I hadn’t been able to enjoy the scenery. (Actually, I had been outrunning a typhoon the last time I was here—but that’s a story not yet told on this blog.) This time around my intent was to take it slow and explore more of this obscure part of coastal .

South Taiwan Ride 2015: Pingtung City to Fangliao

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A Tudigong 土地公 statue on the outskirts of .

After spending a day riding around Pingtung City I was ready to hit the road again. With no specific destination in mind—only an intention to head in the direction of , far to the south—I checked out of the vintage homestay I lodged at the previous night, stopped at Eske Place Coffee House for a delicious and healthy vegetarian breakfast, changed into cycling wear, and exited the city to the east. I knew almost nothing about where I was headed or what I might see on the third day of my south Taiwan ride in 2015. I only had one stop planned in advance: a hospital in rumoured to be . I didn’t know it at the time but I would spend almost the entire day riding through the historic Hakka belt of .

Chaozhou Jiukuaicuo Catholic Church 潮州九塊厝天主堂

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A rusty cross over an abandoned Catholic church on the plains of .

While I was out riding in southern Taiwan last year I chanced upon an abandoned church by the roadside in a small village outside of , . I only spent about ten minutes there and didn’t shoot many photos but have since realized that the story to tell is interesting enough to devote a full post to it. The formal name of this place is Jiǔkuàicuò Catholic Church 九塊厝天主堂, though this is commonly prefixed with to distinguish it from the many other villages with the same name in . Details are scant but I should be able to provide a broad overview of how this church came to be here—and why it was left to the elements.