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  • Writer's pictureMitch Metzger

DAY 6 of 7: Making a Christmas Memory Tour 2022

Updated: Jan 4, 2023

Day 6 of Mitch's "Making a Christmas Memory" Bicycle Tour.

Buguias, Benguet to Loakan Airport, Baguio 109KMS ----------------- CAN'T SLEEP IN

I really wanted to sleep longer today, but I also was anxious to get back to Baguio, so I started packing and got ready. Ride out was after 0700.


My phone charging cord from many years finally died last night. I even had to borrow a cord from the front desk last night. Now, for sure before I leave town I need to find one and I did find one in Buguias at a convenience store for Php250. I cannot allow my phone to die, because I don't want my Strava © mapping to be cut off either.


I was told that for the average biker it takes 12 hours to get to Baguio City. For me I thought it would be a miracle if I could do it in one day. Yesterday pretty much wiped me out. So I was doubting myself if I really wanted to try to push it through especially since I would be arriving late at night. So I thought I would give it a chance and see how far I could get going. Update: it took me 15 hours. I arrived at 10:00pm.


I was able to meet our outreach team of students on the highway as they traveled to Dalican, Bontoc for five days of outreach. We will join together again January 5th in Manila.


I met an Igorot man on the highway, also a biker who works in a bank. When he found out that I was a Bible teacher asked me a question about the End Times. He asked me about some kind of "bowls being poured out that would turn everything on the earth sour?" I told him I don't really know much about these bowls without research, but Matthew 24 and 25 are two good chapters about End Times with an emphasis simply on "WATCHING and being READY, because we do not know the hour that the LORD thy God shall return." He was also curious about the weight of my bike and my gear? I told him probably 90 lb (40Kilos) all and all. He was impressed.


I had a lot of hills and mountains to go over again today, but at least I never had to push or walk the bicycle even once, unlike yesterday probably half the day was spent pushing. Today was more reasonable.


I stopped at a busy restaurant along the highway today for a late lunch and I wanted to order the beef broccoli and rice but they didn't have any so I ordered the beef mushroom and rice and they didn't have that also so I ordered barako (native) coffee two cups and a half chicken and rice but the service and the cooking was so slow I spent over an hour in that restaurant. The hot coffee was nice on the cold day, but I think they were too overrun by customers they couldn't keep up with the orders.


As I progressed up the hill I noticed a structure or structures way at the top of a particular pass and as I arrived on location I discovered that this was the "former" Highest Point" location at 7,400. I was a little surprised to reach this Highest Point with such ease, coming from my direction, unlike the terrible difficult experience I had yesterday reaching the New Highest Point at 7,985 ft. This old point was a real tourist spot, busy with people buying and selling. Yesterday's "Point," nothing was there. Nobody was there.


One of the guys that volunteered to take my picture at this former Highest Point was actually a policeman, on vacation, from the same area that I'm from in Metro Manila, Cogeo, and me, Antipolo. We got along well. He told me if I ever need anything just call him because he's a policeman and I joked with him saying, "Well, I'm a former US Marine! You want to wrestle?" I started pushing on him like men do when we are goofing around like Alphas, and we both assumed a defense grappling position right in the middle of the Highest Point sign with the tourists standing around taking photos. I gave him, and all of his companions my stickers and we took photo together. It was really a special moment. He showed me where he plans to put the sticker on his van - right beside the police association sticker. Nice!


Halsema National Route 204: I noticed the highways are different today than yesterdays. The engineering is different. The curves are bigger. The texture is smoother and it seems really more like designed for highway speeds compared to yesterday. I could actually safely descend most of the way down to Baguio safely without having to use so much braking. The percent grade and width of the turns seem more reasonable and safe today than yesterday. ALTHOUGH, Halsema Highway is listed in the Top 25 Dangerous Highways in the world, but yesterday (haha) was more dangerous than this!


When I reached La Trinidad, north of Baguio City, after about 90 km, I finally broke my second rear spoke. The problem is not so much necessarily the weight, but the quality of my rim and my spoke nipples. I'm approaching over 25,000 km on this rear rim and the corrosion and the fragility is showing more and more. I need to replace both my rim (wheel) and re-spoke everything in 2023. Simple as that. I will replace these two spokes tomorrow. I brought some extra with me.


I I want to give a big shout out to Migz On-onod who's a local here in Baguio who has biked many of these roads many times and helps tourists and others that come from Manila wanting to experience these mountain roads. He helped me with a lot of my mapping, route planning, certain "tips" and "need to knows" along the route. I kept in constant communication with him and he even met me at the Baguio Finish Line. So, I appreciate all that he's done to help me with this trip. He was like an "air traffic controller" or NASA space shuttle director for me during the entire course of this trip so I'm very thankful.


Upon arriving in Baguio on that wonderful last downhill coming into La Trinidad following Halsema Highway, I became aware of this straight, flat road in La Trinidad. I've never noticed it before, but it's really long and it's really flat and Baguio is a mountain city. The question is, "How is it possible to have such a long, flat, road on the top of a mountain?" The geographical location and the design of this whole metropolis of Baguio City is really priceless. I can see why the US Dept of Defense was attracted to this place when they build Camp John Hay in 1903.


I met some friends who offered to watch my bike while I ran into 7/11 to get some supplies before arriving at my housing in Loakan Airport. I gave them stickers and 1 or more if them subscribed to my channel.


"You cannot arrive in Baguio without arriving in Baguio." - Mitch's Original. This means, when you arrive in Baguio City by bicycle, you STILL have a whole second trip simply crossing Baguio! The hills, corners, traffic, intersections, more hills, are just as much as a challenge as simply getting "TO" Baguio from the outside!


I never noticed this before, but the winding road from Baguio City proper to Loakan Airport is mostly downhill. It was nice rolling into my housing with the last 5Kms+ being downhill!


I cannot begin to express how thankful I was for a hot shower at my housing location in Loakan Airport area! Those cold bucket showers are killers in the mountains. Thank God for hot water heaters!


Tomorrow, December 31st us my Day Off. I have only three things to do: sleep, eat, and laundry. Amen!

PREACH, SLEEP, RIDE OUT On January 1st, I will be preaching at God's Family Church in Purok 3, Camp 8, at 0930 service. After that I return to my housing, sleep on the 1st, and early morning Ride Out DOWN THE HILL back to Manila.


Kennon Road is famous for exiting Baguio on bicycle, when there are no closures from landslides. It is 33KMS long and takes me back into the lowland where I will have relatively flat highways for 120KMS. I should try it in one day, someday.


Because of the thin air in the mountains, I am expecting my red blood cell numbers to increase. This is a primarily advantage for athletes. I expect my performance to be elevated once I zip around Metro- Manila once again.


Not soon after returning to Manila on January 3rd, I will be preparing as driver and leader if the continuation of our Discipleship Training School's outreach across the country. There are 11 of us. Starting the 7th, we will travel through Bicol, Samar, Leyte, Cebu, Surigao, Butuan, CDO, Bukidnon, Davao, and back through Quezon Province by March 6. Graduation is March 10th.

Youtube: gomitch2

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