Jeungdo Island - June 21, 2015
Had my first real ride in Korea today. I don't really count that grunt out of Seoul. Quite nice route, mostly on little two-lane roads through small towns and countryside. The Koreans sure seem to have this agriculture thing down. Crops of all sorts everywhere, even large commercial rice plantations today. But not one farm animal. Maybe those are all imports.
Almost didn't make it out of Gongju again, though. Had a nice walk around the fortress grounds early, took some pictures, and prepared for a peaceful day of riding. Did the daily grind of packing the bike all up, got all my gear on, got the GPS all set up, hopped on and fired it up... for about 1 second. Then it went dead. Pulled a plug and sure enough no spark. I think I've seen this movie before. Oh yeah, this is the one where the guy ends up committing hari-kiri on his socket wrench. So to make things worse, the young guy from the front desk comes out after hearing the cranking (not sure if it was the bike making that noise or me) and very politely asks me sir, would I like the room one more night. Uh, no thank you. Determined not to do that again, everything came off the bike, fuel tank, the works. Anyway, after exhausting almost all my options (my god, how hard can this be? It's a simple ignition system for crying out loud!) I decided to try bypassing the new points booster I had just installed, and it fired right up. Is it just bad luck that the first one dies after 7 years and the second one suffers infant mortality after 1 day's riding... or it could be that something is wrong and burning out points boosters.
Who knows. But whatever is taking out sensitive electronics, probably won't take out all the mechanical bits, so unless it has an electrical fire and totally burns up, I'm probably OK. Geez, hope I didn't just jinx myself.
So it was a bit of a bother finding this campsite. I found it on some Korean camping website, no English. Picked a place on the map, matched it with Google maps and tried to navigate here. No roads in the GPS. Got close, asked some young guy on a motor scooter and gratefully the word camping is well understood. Seems to be universal. Anyway, I followed him to this very nice beach site where there are platforms for tents. No office or anything, but he said it cost 10,000 WON... about $11. A little steep, but he took the money. Even if he keeps it, it was worth it for his help. I never would have found it. So after he leaves, I realize that the bike is stuck in the sand. Does anyone really want to hear this? OK, so one very hard but important lesson that I've learned in traveling is that you can't be too proud to ask for help. So three old guys including me, a couple of beers and some smoked octopus later and the bike is out of the sand. It's parked in a bit better place, but then there is always tomorrow morning!