Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Operation Hokkaido

I'm in the process of planning a big ass trip to the great white north of Japan. Though in August I don't think there will be much white. Just my pale, white ass on the seat of the bike. It's checklist time!

Bike... check!

The CB1000 is comfortable enough for a marathon drive, fast enough to induce bladder leakage, and loud enough to wake the neighbors. Random story, I was idling outside one day, at like 2pm, and some old dude came out and yelled at me for making too much noise. But he was wearing a Subaru racing t-shirt. That's like some dude coming out of a Slayer concert and complaining about "these damn kids with their bump in the trunk hippity hop".

Map... check!

The Touring Mapple series or road atlases are, to put it bluntly, fucking kick ass. The Hokkaido one has a listing of free onsens, free campgrounds, a detailed map of Shirakawa (a town known for ramen), and it can be dissolved in water to make a gasoline substitute if you run out of gas.

Vacation Time... check!

No high school from July 18th to September 3rd. That's hella rad. Downside is I have no income during that time. Hence my happiness at free campgrounds.

Camping Equipment... not yet!

I have the tent and sleeping bag. I've got my eye on a cozy Thermarest mat and a Jetboil cooking system. Also, I should buy a hammock. Hammocks are pimp.

Luggage... not yet!

Motorcycle luggage is god damn expensive. I really really want to outfit my ride with some Givi boxes. But a setup of 3 cases and all the mounting equipment costs almost a G. That's a thousand bucks for some Tupperware cases that bolt onto my bike. For my big tour a couple years back, I just bungeed a backpacking pack to the rear seat. It was hokey, but it worked.

ETC unit... not yet!

Highways are crazzzzy expensive here. The toll from Tokyo to Aomori, the northernmost part of Honshu, is like 15,000 yen. That's $150 cash money. But the government just passed a stimulus where highway tolls are only 1000 yen on weekends. I often pay more for a bowl of ramen. The kicker is that you need an automatic payment system installed in your vehicle. The other kicker is that the ones for motorcycles are back-ordered. You can read more about the fascinating world of ETC here. I asked at the motorcycle store place near my home, and they were like "Hmmmm, they are sold out and we have no idea when more will be here." Then they added the standard in Japanese たいへんですね.

Riding Gear... working on it!

My helmet is uncomfortable, my jacket is too big, my pants are just regular jeans.

There's a sale on the J-Force III helmet, Ima get that!

I've got an order in for some stylin Draggin Jeans. Them shits are reinforced with kevlar yo!

Whenever I find a jacket I like, it's over $600. I dig this one from Icon. Anyone have any ideas on how I can quickly earn $600?

A Plan... no where near it!

Just a checklist and a dream. But as soon as I click the publish button, I'm committed. 3...2...1...

1 comment:

Keizo Shimamoto said...

Good luck man. I wish I could join ya.