Coming down

It was inevitable that the day after the best day ever would have to be worse. It started out absolutely brilliant though. The downhills were not too steep, the sun was shining and the roads I had chosen were devoid of traffic. My fascinations along the way included a literal fuckton of caterpillars that all decided to cross every single road I came across this morning, wonderful sprinklers that sprayed water (at least I hope it's water) all over the roads and my face, a mountain road where everyone was old and decrepit and used those little invalid cars to move around (I saw lots of them at the side of the road or with old people on them), and lastly, a lot of roads that were for some reason very red-brown coloured, looking almost scorched. I thought of asking a local person about it but then that would probably have been silly.

There was, of course, yet another final hurdle I had not quite yet overlooked but at least downplayed the importance of in my mind. There was still one more mountain range to cross before I would reach the sea. I had gone down to 280 meters and, according to the map, had to climb back up to 600 meters to cross it. The good part was that it was only 500 meters, the bad part is that it was every bit as steep if not steeper as those mountain roads I did yesterday, with inclines between 11 and 14%. Insanity. That's supposed to be the main through road but it was a bloody pain.

After clearing the last mountain stage I looked forward to some more easy downhills, but my stomach didn't agree with me. I got some serious stomach ache and it took ages to find a conbini where I could go to the restroom. I suspect it's the water from the hostel I drank this morning. That hostel was really pretty dodgy, in an unmaintained kind of way. I've been having stomach aches right up until the moment that I type this. I hope it passes soon.

The downhill turned sour pretty soon after the toilet break. The clouds became thicker and the gusts of wind became a lot stronger. It seems that I'm a lot more susceptible to winds on my new bike, possibly because my seating position is a lot higher and maybe the lack of suspension is a factor too. I really got blown to the side a couple of times today, which felt pretty dangerous on a busy road. That's the other beh about today: the entire road down was a busy standard Japanese road.

Last bummer before typing this post: I missed a ferry by 20 minutes or so and am now waiting for the next one. It's been about a 3 hour wait. I tried to amuse myself by cycling around the area but it's really boring here, although I always say that when it's overcast. I'm sure I'd like this place better if it was sunny. I further amused myself by checking out a coin laundry, but it was too expensive and I didn't know if I'd have enough time. Also, there was no place I could take my pants off.

The remaining time I spent replacing my front brakes, and doing some serious brake alignment and adjustment. The front right brake kept hitting the wheel slightly, so I adjusted it to be a bit looser than I normally prefer. I tried to fix this myself, failed, looked up a youtube video on how to fix it and then succeeded. New brake blocks, perfect alignment, tight brake line. And most importantly: no more squeaks! The old ones were so incredibly loud, it really got on my nerves. So far the new ones have been silent, let's hope it stays that way.

Alright, time to hop on the ferry. I'm heading to Sado island. I don't have a hotel yet and there's a storm coming, but apparently there's a youth hostel not too far from the ferry port. The tourist info person told me that the youth hostel would be the only place I could possibly stay for cheap, as anything else costs over 7000 yen per night. Let's see..

Posted in Spirit of Japan 2