Journey pause and return to Tainan: February 17.
Location: Hsinchu City (新竹市).
We awoke at about 8am knowing that we were going to be back at home by the end of the day. All of our possessions, scattered around our room at Valentine's Hotel, were still slightly damp. We ate our complimentary breakfasts (mine was a chicken burger) then packed and prepared much as we had done every morning for the last nine days. While getting ourselves ready we noticed that it was not raining outside and that the ground was even dry in places. I had begun to wonder if we shouldn't press ahead on our bicycles.
John does his best to dry out some of his clothes with the hairdryer supplied in our room. One wonders to what other uses a love-hotel hairdryer might have been put.
We did ride our bicycles again, not to Tainan but to the Hsinchu train station. Riding northwards to the train station placed the wind against us and we realized that if we had continued to Tainan the wind would have been behind us, helping us home.
At the train station ticket counter we purchased tickets for a first-class (fast) train only to be stopped by the man at the gate who told us we couldn't take our bikes on the train that way. After negotiations between all parties concerned (and then with some other parties who weren't really concerned) we checked our bicycles in as luggage at the luggage office in an adjoining section of the building and were told that they would be returned to us when we reached our destination.
It never did rain during the ride home although we desperately wished that it would. The heavier the rain, the more justified we would be in ending our journey prematurely. We all sat quietly on the train, despondent at not being able to triumphantly ride back into Tainan on our bicycles at the end of making a perfect circuit of the island.
Suggestions were made about returning to Hsinchu the next day to continue our ride, packing minimal provisions and equipment besides what would be necessary for one long ride from Hsinchu to Tainan. Suddenly we were excited again, turning over our prospects and possibilities. However, in the end nothing came of these plans. When we woke up early the next morning it was raining heavily again and plans for an immediate return to Hsinchu were shelved until further notice. My electronic odometer was unmoved on 864km and we didn't know when that number was going to change again.