Stuff I Know

Just stuff by me about me and my life, such as it is.

Friday, July 01, 2005

A few images.

It is still rainy as heck, but yesterday it was sunny most of the day so I went out for a ride. It is nice to just choose a direction and go ... not knowing where you are going or what you will see. Seeing somewhere new is always interesting even if the scenery isn't always that interesting. This time the scenery was good though. But you'll have to wait to see those photos.

I started in the direction of Mureung, but then followed the river there till it met up with the Naktong river. There were a couple of side roads along the way, and I came across lots of these.
Yes, I did eat these.
If you didn't know, it is berry picking season. I suggest you go out as soon as you can, climb some mountains and have a feast. For me the best tasting kind are ones that have been growing in partial shade. Sure, the ones growing in full sun are good eating too, but the others just taste sweeter to me.

At one spot on the ride, I was eating these as fast as I could pick some good ones. It was so hot and humid I was using them to replace my fluids. I was really sweating.

The road followed the Naktong and went up the side of a cliff to continue along the river. It was really scenic. Of course the road had to go down the other side, but that was fun too. I have learned that my hat has problems staying on once I start going faster than 40 km per hour. I have to grab it and quickly put my hands back on the handlebars. Yes, I should just get one with a chin string, but this is my souvenir from Vietnam.

Very pretty, and growing in profusion in places. It is roadside flower season in Korea, too. Actually there seem to be flowers along the roads most of the year. Early summer just seems to be yellow flower season.

Sorry, I don't know what those are called. I never was much of a botanist. For me, the flowers were always covering up the interesting rocks. But my appreciation of beauty grows as the years continue on.

Sometimes those side roads weren't always that interesting, but there was still stuff to see, and hills to ride down.

Of course, to go down a hill, you first have to go up one. Towards the end of the ride I had the choice of crossing a bridge and following the river along a flat road, or turning left and following the river via a cliff-side dirt road. For some reason I chose the latter. I sometimes seem to do that, choose the more difficult. I don't know why, but it does usually work out OK.

The road up was more rubble than dirt. It seemed to be carved right out of the hillside following the tilt of the layers of rock.

At times it was difficult going. I needed to stop a couple of times and rest in what little shade there was. I even contemplated turning around and going back down.

But I could see, up ahead of me, the turn in the road. It still continued to climb, but it made the turn around the valley, and up there I would be climbing in shade. If only I could make it a little further, the going would be easier.

Eventually I made it up to the top. It continued along for a while and then started down. The way down was over the mountain and away from the river into a valley. But that was fine with me. It was getting late and time to start heading home.

Nope, sorry, I don't know the name of this one eitherThe ride down was fun. A little scary at times, but thrilling most of the time. When I first started mountain bike riding, I really hated hill climbs. They were my bane. I would even pick roads and trails that would assure me no difficult hills. But I quickly learned that by avoiding the hills I was limiting where I could go and what I could see. Sure, the scenery was nice where I was going, but it was all the same. No new adventure, no special rewards. It just goes to show you that the easiest road may not always be the best.

Now I can climb hills with the best of them. Sure, I may not always be first to the top, but I am assured of making it, without complaint, and on the bike. Why walk when the whole object of taking a bike is to ride.

The valley down from the hill was pretty isolated. But it was a valley, and in Korea that means farming. It was pretty. I had a general idea of where I was, but I stopped and asked a local just to be sure.

Now talking to local farm folk is usually interesting. My Korean may not be great, but I can ask simple questions. And in fact, I have been told my Korean pronunciation is pretty darn good when I try. So why is it that often locals have difficulty understanding when I talk to them?

I have come to believe, and it is not just me, that locals just don't expect us foreigners to be speaking Korean. So when it is coming out of our mouths, they aren't really listening for it. I think this is born out by the fact that after trying to talk to them for a while, without changing what or how I am speaking, the locals suddenly seem to understand. Luckily I had no such problem with the individual I chose to speak to.

It turned out I was on the right road. But it turned out a bit later I still had a lot further to go than I though I did. And that hill I came down wasn't the last one I had to climb.

But of course I did make it home. Around 7:30 in the evening or so. I didn't die of thirst. I was tired and a little saddle sore, but it was a really nice ride.

I hope you have enjoyed these pictures. I don't really have much else to say, but I do have a few more pictures. So I will leave you with those.

"Great is the road I climb, but the garland offered by an easier effort is not worth the gathering."
~ Propertius

"It takes a little courage, and a little self -- control. And some grim determination, If you want to reach the goal. It takes a deal of striving, and a firm and stern-set chin. No matter what the battle, If you really want to win. There's no easy path to glory, There's no road to fame. Life, however we may view it, Is no simple parlor game; But it's prizes call for fighting, For endurance and for grit; For a rugged disposition and don't know when to quit."
~ Unknown

"The road is uneven, its difficulties constant. At each step a wall, at each step a trap. ... Nevertheless they go forward in their madness. ... The bold ones continue. They are eyed by the eagles; the lightning plays about them: the hurricane is furious. No matter, they persevere."
~ Victor Hugh

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