My sister-in-law and her girlfriend would go back to the States the next day. So we had to go back to Taichung this morning. The weather report predicted it would be a sunny day for the rest of the week. It sounded good for us to travel back to Taichung on the high mountain road. It would take us around 6-7 hours drive. The distance was 188 km long from the Taroko National Park to Taichung.
|There was a major landslide two years ago|
west of Tienhsiang on Highway No 8 from
Taroko National Park to Dayulin then on to Lishan.
The road is still under construction.
|Bilyu Sacred Tree:|
50 meter high, and 3.5 meter wide,
more than 3,000 years old; it is the oldest tree along the highway.
|This was a rest area nearby the sacred tree.|
The store offered some food for tourists,
like coffee, tea eggs, instant noodle, etc. and especally the peach honey
|There was no pilot car to direct the traffic during |
road construction. They put a mechanical manikin which
could move its hands up and down to warn the drivers
of the construction site.
Starting The Disaster-Like Journey
After passing the sacred tree, the foggy situation cleared up from Tienhsiang to the sacred tree. We approached Dayulin which is the continental divide in Taiwan and also a place for three roads joining together. There was a lot of traffic in the parking area. We passed some cars and got in front of a car. We heard people yelling at us. I rolled down our car window. Someone told me that "the road was closed and no one knew when it would be opened."
|No one knew what was going on|
|Picture from Shirley |
The broken down machine
|Picture from Shirley|
This truck driver was making a U turn on this narrow mountain road.
He had to deliver his cabbage to the market on time in order to get a
|We were waiting for any information from the highway bureau.|
But it seemed to be hopeless. No one could give us a firm answer.
|How long should we wait?|
We met two westerns and started talking to them. They were from Utah and one worked for the UN humanitarian section and had came to Taiwan once. They hired a taxi and a tour guide who couldn't speak English to visit Mt. Hohuan. They were disappointed but accepted the situation.
We waited for two hours and still didn't have any answers. Now the most important problem came, which was my sister-in-law and her friend had to use the toilet. Our car was parked in front of the toilet. But there was no western style toilets only squat toilets. They had never used once since they came to Taiwan. It was time for them to test their squatting technics on the last day in Taiwan.
|The scenery to Lishan|
|It was a forest before. But now there were a lot of farmers who cut down |
the trees and grew high mountain tea, fruits or vegetables. It causes
severe landslides in these areas.
|High mountain cabbages which was one of the reasons causeing the landslides.|
|This road was just for farmers to transport their|
We asked the resident when we were at the road split area. The local saw our car and asked me that "Are you sure to drive this car on the farm road?" Could we return back to an unknown situation? He told me to be really careful because my car chassis was really low and it would be a difficult journey. Well, I had to translate to my husband and my friends.
The bottom of my car would scrape the ground if
we all sat inside the car.
|Not only we had to worry about ourselves but also|
the young man who followed us in his car. We didn't see the
guy who told us it was alright to drive on this road.
|There were several 4 wheels-trucks passed by us.|
The road situation slowed us down. One time
our right side of the wheels was on the edge of
the cliff. I prayed to my god.
|I didn't know how we got into this situation.|
Our vacation was good until this happened.
We tried to visualized which way to maneuver
through this really bad section of the road.
|We had to drive through this landslide area.|
|The young man passed us because his car had a higher chassis.|
|My car hit the ground often. I just hoped we could|
go through this and arrived home safely.
|The entire road slid down to the cliff.|
|We probably finished 2/3 of the road. Everyone|
was pretty quiet on the road. What was the rest of the road?
Could my car handle the road situation well?
There were a lot of doubts in my mind.
After we arrived home, my car air compressor was making a big noise. We had it fixed. The total bill was more than US$1,000. But life goes on and we are alive and safe.