Last week I topped Dalmaji 2 twice.
From Dalmaji 1 it really isn't a rough ride. Maybe 1.5 km, less than half of it uphill. Dalmaji 2 is no longer just a wide spot in the road, though. There is a parking with six spaces marked out, so at least 10 cars will cram in. From the small parking lot are some wooden stairs continuing up to some sort of gazebo which I can only partly see from Dalmaji 1.
Dalmaji 2 itself is not really the challenge. The challenge lies in continuing from there to Songjung Beach. It's a long ride down, with only a couple of small rises to break the monotony. It's fairly easy to reach speeds of 50 kph (30 mph). When I was riding with Earl we would push it even higher, but I am not as daring on my own.
What makes Dalmaji 2 a challenge is getting back up it from the other side. I always thought it was a miserable hill, and I was right. However, I have found that it's not quite so bad if you don't get off the bike at Songjung. I did take it easy, circling around a bit, riding along the coast. But it's too cold to just stop and sit, and with no one to talk with, there's no point. So I stayed in the saddle. Getting back up D. 2 was still pretty rough, but not as bad as I remembered.
The road itself is a bit superfluous. People who drive it do so only to appreciate the view. People who are actually going somewhere tend to use the tunnel. So during the week, it's pretty low traffic. There are times when the only sound is the wind whistling by me.
Of course, when I say "by me" I mean "out of me", and when I say "whistling" I mean "wheezing". One of my rides was Saturday afternoon. That wasn't as nice. Too much traffic. Still better than the main roads, but a bit stressful.
In spite of the pounding of my heart and the gasping of my lungs, I felt good. Round trip around 29 km. I believe the views are very scenic, however I am mostly focused on the road in front of me.
When I used to ride with Earl, he led me on beyond Songjung to Gijang, the next town after Pusan. The road is a divided highway with a very wide, well-paved shoulder. The road rolls along, not too hilly, not too flat. The main thing stopping me from continuing on to Gijang is time. Songjung and back is about two hours. Gijang is about three. Still, it's calling to me. Perhaps this week.