Monday, October 19, 2009

Cycling Nippon: Part 2

Here we are in sunny Hiroshima. After leaving Sapporo in Hokkaiod, it was a cycle ride south to the last national park there, made up of two lakes and an active steaming volcano along lake toyako. Then back north along the Shakotan Penisula where i caught the ferry back to Honshu and Niigata.

Leaving the industry strewn Niigata and riding a bit on the expressway, i bombed south untill i got to Nozawa Onsen. This onsen town is in the mountains,m and the road up was so steep i thought i was going faint, and then the bath was so hot i thought i was going to faint, but a beautuful town. Then it was a few days journey through Nagano, home of the winter olympics and finally to Matsumoto where i turned west to cross the might Japanese Alps.

After a miseravle day riding in the rain up the mountains i made it to Kamikochi to spend a miserable night cold and wet in my tent, but the next day saw some sun and i was able to dyr off, hike and see monkeys, always a good time. It was more hard uphill afterwards untill i went down, at my fastest 40mph to Takayama and ,y longest day of over 113 miles to hit the coast up north again and begin the Noto Hanto Penisula.

Beautiful coast line with dotted lava rocks craggy cliffs and lush green mountains were all the rage. As we all know this is where i had my date with the typhoon before heading down into Kanazawa. From there i went south to the large Biwaoko lake, camping two nuights on its blue shores untill entering what i though to be the disappointg Kyoto.

Got out after a day in Kyoto and went back to the coast along the Sea of Japan. Small fishing villages, cliffs and rocky coasts once again, but this time something was different. This time i felt like i was growing a watermelon in my stomach. Four days of stomach pains slowed me down and attacked me at all stages. Spent one day simply being confused by woodworking talk from some American who hasnt speken to anyone in a while as i could tell, and finally at Yonago decided to cut south across the mountains to Hiroshima. The ride south was one of tyhe best rides except for the wind. The valley was empty of cars and ugly development and was just nice cycling.

So here i am in Hiroshima, and i have also changed my plans and will be elaving Japan two weeks earlier, so maybe i can still cycle the route i plan. Today i will take a ferry south to Shikoku, head east, ferry back to Tokyo and head west, catching Mt. Fuji along the way. I am not sure really how far or long it is, so ill see what the what is. But for now i jet from Osaka on November 3rd.

Here are some stats from the first 30 days:

1,833.4 miles biked, 61.1 miles per day
143 hours, 48 minutes

24 night camping, 1 flat, 1 fall, 4 wild pigs, 1 typhoon

7 times bathing,
0 times changing my socks ( i washed them yesterday)
5 national parks
2 free dinners

Ok, thats it for now. Maybe i can blog again before leaving Japan or ,maybe i shall blog in the glorious empire of America

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Typhoon Interlude

So, we havent made it quite yet to the end of part two, but have made it through my first typhoon. Turns out thatyou cant, as the saying goes, trust an Australian to tell you when a typhoon is going to hit Japan. Twas supposed to be tonight, hence my seeking shelter in the nice city of Kanazawa. I am staying at my first 24 hours manga cafe and have internet and coffee galor. Anywho, the typhoon actually hit last night when i was naivley camping. The winds grew fierce and ugly and snapped my brittle little tent in two and i scurried for shelter under some sinks and watch the roof come off a nearby shed. Really amazing stuff.

After leaving Hokkaido i have been cycling moslty the north part of Honshu after a trip to the heart of the Alps in Kamikochi, watching monkeys get chased and then it was a dizzying downhill to Takayama and then back north to cycle around the Noto Hanot penisula. In a few days time i will make it to the real cultural heart of Japan, Kyoto, and then head north to cycle the oft forgotten northern coast to make my way around to Hiroshima.

I have put Mt. Fuji back on my map and might try to hit it near the end of my travels if certain ferries work out in my favor, who knows, plans and typhoons seem to change all the time. The hills seem to be getting easier and my cycling seems to be getting faster. I normally cruise through towns so i can enjoy the nature outside of them.

When i get to Hiroshima i will try to give a bit more details, as i have really only been in Honshu for about a week. I can say that Hokkaido was much nicer for cycling in terms of the width of shoulder space on raods and the availability of not being almost hit by rumbling trucks as i pass through 1,000 mountain tunnels across the Alps. But all in good fun.

Well binglers and Binglets, be kind