Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Ride Report: Kure to Tokyo in 15 Hours

  • 1:00am - Somehow, even though I shipped everything ahead of time, my backpack weighed about 40 pounds. It went on the back of the bike, and I went on the middle.
  • 2:00am - Missed the turnoff to get to the expressway, so ended up taking the long way, about an hour extra on the slow roads.
  • 3:00am - Saw the sign about the temperature. 1 degree Celsius. Going 120km/h meant needing to stop every 20 minutes to warm up at the rest stops. Eventually started going 100, since that didn't hurt as bad.
  • 6:00am - Sitting at the Lake Biwa rest stop, drinking free tea and chatting with a local about John Lennon. She gave me her scarf when we parted ways. It helped.
  • 7:00am - Raining. Pulled over about 100km from Nagoya with a couple other riders.
  • 7:30am - Rain lets up.
  • 8:00am - Raining. Pulled over about 50km from Nagoya with a couple other riders.
  • 8:15am - Rain lets up.
  • 8:30am - The other riders and I are on a first name basis now. They point out that my front tire is totally bare. Great, now I'm paranoid ever time I change lanes. Still raining.
  • 10:00am - Clear skies.
  • 12:00pm - It's nice and sunny now. I fall asleep on a bench at a rest stop and get half my face sunburned.
  • 2:00pm - 100km from Tokyo
  • 3:00pm - Pay the toll. About $125. The toll attendant gives me a high five for riding across the country.
  • 4:00pm - Parked at the guest house.

My last bike trip. The bike will be put up for auction tomorrow by a friend who does that sort of thing here in Japan. My international driving permit just expired, so I need to get a proper Japanese license. It's crazy hard, this driving test. It's like a complicated dance, or a traditional Noh play, or dating a Persian girl, where every move needs to be perfect. Didn't touch your left mirror at exactly this time? Fail. Didn't put both hands on the bike before getting on? Fail. Now ride across a balance beam in more than 30 seconds. Use of brakes and clutch must be exact. Fail...

I'll get a new bike when the time is right. Something with a bit more kick than the tiny 400cc Honda.

The parental unit is coming to town in a few days. I need to figure out what out-of-towners should see in Tokyo.

Next: 6 day tour of Japan and 12 in China, followed by a 2 day ferry back. New Years in Tokyo? I'll give it a 50/50 chance.

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