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Monday, August 21, 2017

Back Roads: The CPC Industry Rd.

The Gas Road Strikes Again:


I said I would never ride the "Gas Road" again. It had been an adventure and that was enough for me. I had successfully navigated the length of Taiwan's western ridge line from Xinchu to Taichung. Done. Curiosity had been sated.

Then I decided I had to show it off to a few people so they too could tick this little oddity off their maps of curiosity.

This time I was leading a small group of cyclists into one of those Bermuda Triangle spots on the mapping software where space aliens muck with the earth's electromagnetic filed and the GPS goes haywire. Fun!


The first sight of a an effigy of a man hanging by his pretty white neck outside of Wenshui Village where the Highway 6 breaks from the Highway 3 to Gongguan looked to be a bad omen before we disappeared into the lost highway of Miaoli.


The CPC Industry Road starts behind the CPC petroleum works near the site of Taiwan's earliest oil wells dating back to the late 19th century. The Japanese colonial government exploited Taiwan's limited oil reserves and built extensive extraction and processing facilities nearby. The site is still in use today with 28,000 barrels of crude pumped from a longitudinal vein along Taiwan's western coast.


The climb is steady and steep in parts. There are few dwellings, though someone had build a large gated estate tucked behind the canopy of tall trees. It is eerily quiet as you ride past oil pumps high over Tongluo. The farming roads that cross the area are many and the hills are dotted with fruit farms.


It is more than easy to take a wrong turn, and many of the surfaces are covered in dirt and debris.


We emerged from the forest and into the misted farms above Dahu. The views are fantastic... when the clouds allow it.


We eventually cruised down to meet the top of the Miaoli Route 60 that crosses the hill to join the Route 119 for home.


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