Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Day 26 Sun 08/07 - I am Going Home....

Yes, many might be taken by surprise by this sudden decision. My tour is supposed to end on 18 Aug. But i am going by my heart and soul,when they gave the signal which i could actually sense it,and it is time to pack up for home.I and Sherco had covered almost 1400km of Western Japan in 25 days, and there is no regret of doing this tour.I am not sure about Sherco's view on the tour, but i am definitely coming back for the part II of doing Hokkaido and Tokyo,most probably in spring or autumn. And for sure the next trip i will be better prepared from the experience learnt. For the past 25 days on the road, it was an eye opener for me and Sherco to witness how vast the difference of Japan as compared to our home land, Malaysia .I'd say its a paradise for bicycle touring. The roads are so clean and smooth,excellent bike lanes but for loaded bikes are not recommended. People are so friendly and always willing to help even though they don't speak a word of english.Convenience stores and restaurants are everywhere if you stay on the roads.Camping in road stations and parks have facilities of toilet,water fountain and power point.The one and only disadvantage is the high cost ,easily 4-5 times more expensive than Malaysia.Hostel cost 2500-3500 yen per head and meal cost 500-800 yen.Rice per kg cost 500 yen. Another important aspect of cycle touring here is the feeling of safety in you and also to your bike, you don't have to lock your bikes whenever you go to the supermarkets,just bring your valuables along. I had never seen a quarrel,fight or accident so far. So much good things about cycling in Japan, so if you can afford the high cost, why are you waiting for? I had changed my flight to 9 July and see you soon in Malaysia.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Day 25 Sat 07/07 - Back to Jacquelyn n Robert Apartment where I started

Today Distance : 95.0 km    Total: 1388.9 km
Today weather : 22 -26c    Cloudy morning n sunshine afternoon
Time on Bike : 6 hr 43 min
Ave speed : 14.1 kmh       Max : 47.5
Ave Climb : 3%                Max :18%
Trip Altitude : 444 m            Max :226 m
Today spend : 3523 yen     Total : 61143 yen

Today Sherco left on his own to Kansai Airport while I will be heading to where I started in Kobe,that is my warmshower host Jacquelyn and Robert apartment in Rokko,Hyogo prefecture.Sherco will stay around the Airport and do some shopping and fly home on 9 July.The solo ride from Wakayama to Kobe is about 95km on a good weather with cloudy morning after a heavy rain the night before,and even with sunshine around till 6pm.The ride thru heavily populated and industrialsed  area with an elevated toll highway and route 26 just under.The bike lane which initially i was following,turned out to be a nightmare for my loaded bike with many uneven junctions and even staircase of 45 degree gradient to push across a river bridge,and once is never enough,i did it 5-6 times.After making a call borrowed from a man to Robert and informed that i will be in his apartment in 2-3 hour for the remaining distance of 25km.I started to abandon the bike lane and joined forces with the motorcycles on the main road.It turned out to be a good idea as it's not only faster,smoother and not so tiring.I only had to stop at the traffic light,but need to be extra careful.I couldn't recall which is the correct junction to turn into Robert place,there were so many small roads without lane number.What i did remember is the big river rushing down on a wide drain. Luckily one youngster i approached drove me and the bike in his van after trying very hard to explain to me.Another of many shinning culture of Japan we had experience.Robert was there to greet me but Jacquelyn has gone to US for holiday After a good shower, we went to one of the restaurant nearby for dinner as recommended by Robert. I had a very good sleep in a comfortable environment.Thank you so much for a wonderful great hospitality.

Heading to Kansai Airport,Osaka and Kobe all by myself on route 26

Cranking up a narrow pass

Resting at a park 

Sometimes follow the rules doesn't make sense with my fully loaded bike

After the steep push,a short flat to ease up before a steep down to hold the bike

Came across a japanese traditional procession

With this big red drums

Attended by many children in traditional costumes
Back to Jacquelyn and Robert's apartment where i started after 25 days
You are GREAT !!! Robert

Lunch by Robert

Day 24 Fri 06/07 - 3rd Ferry Crossing fr Tokushima to Wakayama

Today Distance :85.9 km    Total: 1293.9 km
Today weather : 24 -28c    Cloudy with evening rain 
Time on Bike :5 hr 24 min
Ave speed : 15.9 kmh       Max : 47.0
Ave Climb : 2%                Max :9%
Trip Altitude : 344 m            Max :141 m
Today spend : 4260 yen     Total :57620 yen 

Today was a day full of unhappy events.First i found out that my reading glasses frame was broken,then i lost the spare one as well, without glasses,its hard to read map and updating my blog.Second, the lunch was screw-up,I did not even finish a quarter of it We arrived in Tokushima at 1.30pm but the ferry only leave at 4.30pm and took 2 hours and 10 minutes to arrive in Wakayama late at almost 7pm. We saw a park but sherco prefer to find hostel at this late hour. We spent 2 hours searching without success and ended up at the same park to camp at 9.30pm with a sudden downpour.Luckily the rain did not last long,then we set our tents on the grass as there is no roof around the park.
Name of yesterday road station

Japanese women Aki approached us to tell of her biking tour in Australia with her hubby

Shortest tunnel only 79m long so far

Spectacles misfortune happen in a day.One with broken frame and then lost the spare 

Along the coastal route 11 from Takamatsu to Tokushima

Along the coastal route 11 from Takamatsu to Tokushima

Along the coastal route 11 from Takamatsu to Tokushima

Along the coastal route 11 from Takamatsu to Tokushima

Along the coastal route 11 from Takamatsu to Tokushima

Lousy lunch,i could only eat a quarter of the pancake with cheese topping

Road work in progress guarded by many funny little cartons

Ferry for the 3rd times from Tokushima to Wakayama. 2 hours and cost 2600 yen

Flyover bridge under maintenance 

Arrived Wakayama  at 7pm ,looking for stay                                                                              

The park we cameback to camp after 2 hr seaching hopelessly for hotel

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Day 23 Thu 05/07 - 2nd Ferry Crossing from Tamano to Takamatsu

Today Distance :40.1 km    Total: 1208.0 km
Today weather : 24 -28c    Cloudy with morning rain 
Time on Bike :2 hr 49 min
Ave speed : 14.2 kmh       Max : 45.0
Ave Climb : 2%                Max :7%
Trip Altitude : 171 m            Max :71 m
Today spend : 630 yen     Total :53360 yen 

The downpour came early morning as we hurried to shift our tents to another spot with roof,but some of our stuffs were already wet.By almost 10am, we started the ride towards Tamano where we will take a ferry crossing to Takamatsu.I will surely miss seeing the beauty of Seto Ohashi Bridge,as Sherco is a bit rushing to reach Osaka. The rain started to thin down when we arrived at Tamano port at 12.40pm,but the ferry only leave at 1.30pm,so we have some time  to kill. The fare inclusive of bike per person is 730 yen and took 1 hour for crossing to Takamatsu.There were very few cars and trucks,you can actually counts the no. of passengers,just wonder how the ferry can sustains its operation.The sky opens up to a sunny arrival in Takamatsu and we saw a very nice garden and historic castle. It's a very big city and the streets are super neat and clean,surprisingly not many people and traffics on the road. Road signs are very clear, especially caught my attention is, the bike lane are further segregated with the pedestrians, isn't this wonderful? After a short ride thru the city, we saw the road station that we targeting for stay.This is another beautiful station with a large grass land decorated with many stone sculptures,and there is one train coach 335 which had seen its service,now becomes playground for children and school boys.We thought of just sleeping on it without the hassle of setting up tents,but were disappointed that one man came and lock the train doors.So we were forced to pack up again and luckily just 100m down , another park area which is also good for a night stay.

Wet wet start in the morning ride heading to Tamano

An ugly looking tunnel

Arrived at Tamano ferry port at 12.40pm

Ferry leaves for Takamatsu at 1.30pm.Fare 730yen including bike

Taking ferry for the 2nd time

Very few passengers and cars. It took 1 hr for crossing

One leave and soon another arrive

Sherco is nearing his tour very soon

On the top deck,empty

Can you see the Seto Ohashi Bridge connecting all the small islands?

Historical castle in Takamatsu

Beautiful garden

Big city of Takamatsu

Isn't this wonderful?

Heading to Tokushima,that will probably tomorrow

There is a vast grass land in this road station

There are many stone sculptures

Very imaginative 

Solid stone table and stools

Japan is very OKU friendly

Train 335 had ended its service

Now serves as a school boys playground

Another unique stone sculpture

Mother and children also came visited us

We thought can put up a good night sleep here,but a man came and lock it by 6pm

We happily throw out everything for drying due to last night and morning rain

Our alternative camp just 100m down