03 Yangpyeong-Binaeseom (78km)

We finally managed to begin cycling at 8am, after I roused Ethan out of bed at 7.30am and gave him mini muffins and drinking yoghurt. The Korean snacks are good stuff!

It was very cold and misty as we left. No, that’s not a stamp booth. It really is a telephone booth and it was just outside our hotel!

A short boardwalk (but cycling allowed) led to a landscaped area called “health city”.

I suppose it was to encourage residents to be active and healthy. Many were out in the 7 deg C morning air!

We were definitely getting into rural areas, something which Ethan and I enjoy.

I spotted an amazing spider who perhaps had just finished his own breakfast.

We hit some fast and smooth sections. Again, this is not a road but a dedicated cycle path! Hooray for Korea’s cross country cycling infrastructure.

The autumn colours started showing, and we were rewarded with golden hues that surrounded us.

The foliage gave way to a amazing river views. It’s so nice to see Ethan enjoying the nature and the outdoors. I’m happy to be able to guide him to use his iPhone to record, write and share these experiences, not just play games!

Ethan got in a good groove, passing the kilometers, enjoying the scenery and looking forward to the next certification booth!

We found and stamped each of our passports!

This certification booth is at another weir, one of many that regulate Korea’s rivers. The Seoul-Busan cycle route did not cross it, but we went in search of a food stop.

Coffee and “holy bread”. Well that’s what I heard the Korean lady say and it was the only food I could get her to offer. It was good and kept us going.

We also charged all our devices as we expected to camp tonight, and Ethan enjoyed this old phone. “Look it is a real phone Daddy!”

Ethan was enjoying the ride thoroughly. You can see he is confident with his bike, but still playful with it! I wonder how his riding style will change in a few short years and whether as an older teenager he would still be interested in long rides with his Dad. I sure hope so.

A short break and a friendly guard took our photo. Everyone is very encouraging to see Ethan ride from Seoul to Busan!

At the same stop, a pair of dogs were being carried by their owner – a young Korean lady!

We ride along the river bank of a small town.

Ethan told me the blue line marks the cycle path we were following. I never noticed! He then said he was getting hungry for lunch so I started looking for real food.

We sure found real food at this place, and a lot of it! In Singapore we only see this many side dishes served at Korean BBQ places but this clearly wasn’t a BBQ restaurant. I said “two people,” and the lady asked me if I wanted “something something.” Of course I didn’t understand but I have learned to just nod and say “yes please” as many restaurants seem to serve “omakase” for whichever number of pax you have.

I think we ended up with the deluxe set cos it was so much. Delicious though, and not wanting to waste, I packed a lot of it away to cook up for dinner at our hopeful camp site.

After lunch we made our way through the town to find the bike path again. Ethan loves the Korean traffic crossing buttons as they have a satisfying mechanical click and whenever you press it, it acknowledges with a voice recording no matter how times you press it!

We passed a camp site that was buzzing with people. Hundreds of families were spotting huge tents, many were 2-3 bedroom tents with porch areas. Kids had brought their bikes and were zipping around.

After the park we gleefully stamped our next point in the passport.

Another lovely bridge led to an interesting way to get down…

The sign said 20% incline! You were not allowed to ride your bikes and small barriers were erected to force a dismount. I carried my trailer over and carefully stepped downward. Ethan also managed very well, carrying and handling his own bike.

Before the next town there were some short but steep includes of 8% which Ethan needed to stop a couple of times. We arrived in good time as I was looking for a camping spot and the map said something about a hot spring.

I was very excited to find a public bath! This was not a jimjilbang where you stay over night but was just like a Japanese onsen. We had a quick bite at the neighbouring cafe, and went in for $10/pax. Ahhh…the “onsen” was fabulous. We enjoyed ourselves for hours!

Warm and cozy afterwards we rested in the relaxation area. I had bundled Ethan in lots of clothes and we cycled just 200m to our already selected camping area. He did not want a motel even though our last one was so good! I had planned on camping anyway so it was good.

We found a nice spot in a city park and made up our cosy tent. This is actually my first time camping in a non-designated spot, but I had read up and knew that Korean culture was very accepting of such “free camping”.

Ethan had many layers on and and loved pulling the woolly cap over his eyes. It was too late for P2P so we will do that another day.

In addition to the 5 deg C sleeping bag, I had also brought my heat reflective bivvy bag and gave that to him. He slept almost immediately, entirely through the night! Good night son – this was yours and my first night “free camping”.

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