Adventures of the #RovingReporter – part 2

Months beyond the promised update, the adventures of the roving reporter continue.

In case you missed part 1, you can see the post and pictures here. A brief summary: at the tail end of last fall, I decided to try my hand at a bike ride from Daegu to Busan to see my friend John Pfordresher give his first presentation at Busan’s KOTESOL workshop. The ride was 203 kilometers long and took about 20 hours, largely due to my state of (lack of) fitness, unexpected mountains, rain, heavy backpack and poor preparation. It might be argued that the only reason I made it at all is pure stubbornness πŸ˜€ . The presentation was well worth the ride and the roving reporter wisely decided to leave the bicycle and take the train home.

A week later, on Saturday night, I took the train back again to get my bike. That’s how I found myself in the same room of the same motel where I ended my journey the week before.

Same classy motel, same classy room, same classy bed

Same classy motel, same classy room, same classy bed

 

Day 1: Just because you can….

From the previous trip, I learned a few important things: lose the heavy backpack, break the journey into two days, and prepare for the unexpected. I found my bike again where I had parked it. I knew the first 90kms would be relatively easy. Nevertheless, there was a long way to go.

This is where i took the trail. I have 203 kilometers in front of me and two days to do it.

This is where i took the trail. I have 203 kilometers in front of me and two days to do it.

The first part of the ride had been in the dark the week before. It turned out to be the most beautiful part. It was sunny and the river shone.

The sun shining on the Nakdong River in Busan, South Korea.

The sun shining on the Nakdong River in Busan, South Korea.

 

I met a rider on the bridge at Miryang, at a trail station, the first person I spoke to the whole trip.

Where are you going?
To Daegu.
Today? It’s far.
No, tomorrow. I’ll stay in a motel tonight.
You’re going all the way onΒ 
that??
YES…Β 
(through gritted teeth –Β I was defensive of my bike. After all, it had gotten me to Busan the week before without any problem. It was a good bike.)

I let him cycle on his way to Yangsan and didn’t bother to tell him it was in the opposite direction.

The bridge to Miryang, one of many crossings of the river.

The bridge to Miryang, one of many crossings of the river.

Korea is full of these tiny little villages hidden away in the mountains. They are mainly farming villages, that grow different crops depending on the time of year. This place was just finishing harvesting their cabbage in preparation for making kimchi. The farmers were putting up plastic enclosures over the fields. I wonder what they will grow this winter?

Korean countryside

Korean countryside

There it is: the end of the first 90 kilometers. I got lost twice – once for nearly an hour – and around 5pm found myself staring at the trail station that marked the beginning of the difficult stuff. There were 110kms of difficult riding in front of me and I had a choice: I could ride a few more hours and put some of them behind me or I could stop there and find a motel.

... but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep ...

… but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep …

You probably already guessed what I did. I rode on until 1opm. I climbed two of the mountains in the dark. And, because the world can be ironic and painfully funny, it started to rain. Finally a lone motel appeared and the owner had a shed for bicycles to keep them out of the rain and a warm room waiting for me. When I logged onto the internet, I realized I was lucky: my rain was snow in Daegu. I slept well.

Day 2: …doesn’t mean you should.

My motel in the morning light - the trail has been rain-washed and I'm ready for the next part of the adventure.

My motel in the morning light – the trail has been rain-washed and I’m ready for the next part of the adventure.

Not far from the motel was the next trail station. I had breakfast there and prepared myself: I had two mountains to go (plus one more that I had forgotten about) and wanted to get to Daegu before dark.

This wier is beside a trail station and is at the bottom of one of the two remaining mountains.

This wier is beside a trail station and is at the bottom of one of the two remaining mountains.

The first of the two mountains was behind a Buddhist temple. I rode up and over, my early morning energy at its peak. The view was stunning.

Looking down on MuShimSa from the top of the mountain

Looking down on MuShimSa from the top of the mountain

This was followed by the mountain I had forgotten, a small one that was fun to ride with the energy I had. And then I saw a sign that is true anodyne for tired eyes: Dalseong gun – I was entering wider Daegu; I was almost back.

Dalseonggun - the edge of wider Daegu.

Dalseonggun – the edge of wider Daegu.

Through fields and over hills I traveled with new energy, following signs for Dodong Sawon. Suddenly there it was, at the bottom of the last mountain. There was a dog in the yard and not a human in sight. I was grateful to know that I would be home before dark. It was getting cold.

Dodong Sawon - a Confucian academy

Dodong Sawon – a Confucian academy

 

Arresting beauty

Arresting beauty

Finally as the sun set behind me and the moon rose before me, I saw the sight I was waiting for: the ARC. This is where Nakdong meets Geumho and where my day ended.

SAMSUNG

An apology:

And so my bicycle came to a stop at Keimyung University in western Daegu while my body rested. Then on a warm, sunny afternoon three weeks later, the time was right. I went back for it to try to get it to the starting place in eastern Daegu and complete the adventure.

Keimyung stays beautiful long after all the leaves have fallen all over the city.

Keimyung stays beautiful long after all the leaves have fallen all over the city.

Within an hour, my whole body was in so much pain I had to get off the bike and park it. Defeated. And there it stayed for another three weeks while I went to a doctor.

I squished a nerve - ouch!

I squished a nerve – ouch!

Under no circumstances, the doctor said, should you put pressure on the palm of your hand. He eyed me sternly. Don’t even think about doing anything remotely like this:

"Yes, that is what you should not do. Now let that be a lesson to you."

“Yes, that is what you should not do. Now let that be a lesson to you.”

So I apologize to readers of the Adventures for making you wait so long for the return journey. I come back to you defeated by the trail and by my own body. The bicycle made it home in the back of a car and the adventures of the #rovingreporter have come to an end.

What an adventure!

What an adventure!

 

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Comments

  • Angela Lee McIntyre  On January 2, 2013 at 11:00 am

    for now.

    Wow! there were lots of details I didn’t know about, like leaving your bike in Busan and the return ride later. I guess it was that return ride that did your hand in. Yikes! I’ve found a physiotherapist you can go to once you get the hand back, in downtown Daegu.

    Awesome adventures! xo

    • livinglearning  On January 5, 2013 at 9:44 pm

      Thanks, Angela. I thought it was awesome at the time. I can’t wait till I can get back on my bike and try a new adventure (with perhaps a few adjustments for the things I learned this time)!

  • Ava Fruin  On January 4, 2013 at 9:33 am

    You’re a champion! Seriously inspiring πŸ™‚ Love the photos, the stories, and the stubborness! You go girl!

    • livinglearning  On January 5, 2013 at 9:45 pm

      Hehehe Thanks Ava! Stubbornness gets me in plenty of trouble, let me tell you. πŸ˜‰ Now, to transfer that attitude to the classroom…

  • Rose Bard  On January 6, 2013 at 12:37 am

    Tks so much for this post. I loved the pictures and the how you described the whole experience. πŸ˜€

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