Donghae, Korea - June 27, 2015
In Donghae now, just waiting to catch the ferry tomorrow afternoon. Need to be at the ferry terminal by 9:30 tomorrow morning in order to do my Korean exit paperwork on the bike and do whatever is needed to get aboard and settled on the ferry. It's about a 24-hour trip, with an overnight in an on-board dormitory. Should be fine. I get hints that this city is very nicely situated with high mountains all around, but it's hard to tell, it's so cloudbound right now.
It was a good move to stay in Gyeongju another day as I seem to have avoided all the rain for the drive. Dark and cold in places, but not wet. Looks like it will be wet in Vladivostok for all my time there, but I'll just be waiting for the bike to clear customs anyway.
So a bit of an eventful trip here. Was fun in a way. Well, in retrospect. I was following Highway 7, a dual-lane highway up the coast (once I got going the right direction on it. Oopsie.) and stopped at a service center. While there, some girl came up to me and said "I know you!" You do? Yes. I guess that my trip has hit the biker underground here. Seems that one of the old guys who stopped by while I was working on my bike outside the hotel in Incheon, posted my picture and story on some biker blog. Anyway, some were on the lookout for me and this girl found me. Anyway, her name was Jane, she and her friend drove big BMW's. She was quite nice and her English was excellent and so we could have a nice chat. I remember the guy who stopped by in Incheon. He showed me a picture of his BMW, a 2005(?) RT I think. It was red. Jane had come down the coast from Donghae whereas I was going north. She asked me what I thought about the fact that motorcycles could not travel on the motorways. I told her I preferred the smaller roads anyway, so it hadn't been a problem. Well I soon found out just what a bother it can be. Neither my paper map nor my GPS indicate that Highway 7 is a motorway, but that's just what happened a few miles north. The dreaded "no motorcycles" sign appeared, so I had to get off somewhere. For the next couple of hours, I wound up picking my way north by linking a series of back roads. Real glad I wasn't trying to do that yesterday in the rain. As it turned out, it was a much more enjoyable route, but a huge aggravation all the same. But parts went right along the East Sea or Sea of Japan. So I've seen the Yellow Sea (West Sea) and the Sea of Japan this trip. That's cool.
I'm sorry to be leaving Korea. Beautiful place and I've even made some good friends. I'm sure I'll see Wendy and Jonathan in Canada sometime, and maybe even Danny if he follows his dreams. It has been a great little stay, and in a way is a known entity now. Heading off to Siberia is totally unknown, so that is always a bit unnerving. I always seem to be headed outside my comfort zone just as I start getting comfy. Oh well, I should have plenty of time to get comfy driving and driving and driving through miles and miles and miles of trees and bugs. I'll probably even come to miss that as well.
So after not having had much to eat for the past few days, some guy got into the hotel elevator carrying a pizza. OK... like where did he get that? Must be close. So I went out and followed my nose. I found on the second floor above some shops a place called Mr. Pizza. Their motto is "We Like Women". Kind of creepy, but the pizza was good. Would have been better if they had put some tomato sauce on. It was a little tasteless... like their tag line.
OK... will send out a Spot from the ferry. I'll be interested in seeing how far offshore they steer from North Korea. A ways I bet.