It feels like cheating to type this post this early, but it's 14:15 and I'm done for the day. I've had an incredible traveler's coincidence today, so let's start with that.
I met Hou-san again! Hou is a Chinese guy who lives in Kanagawa, maybe half an hour from Atsugi where I used to live. I first met him 4 years ago when I was cycling in Kyushu and we were both on the same ferry to Yakushima. I ended up hiking with him for two days and spent some time with him when I got back to Kanagawa.
I already thought I saw Hou's self-built camper van three/four days ago, on the way to Asahikawa. I waved at the car from behind but couldn't tell if it was Hou's car or not. I couldn't catch up either, nor did I have his contact information, so I just shrugged it off and went on.
So, imagine my surprise when that same camper van was parked on the parking lot of the camping site that I was planning to stay tonight! Of all the ridiculous coincidences I have with this guy.. There was much rejoicing and much catching up :). It turns out Hou and his family zig-zagged across Hokkaido a lot already, and after going past Wakkanai they ended up here and were now headed for the east. Somehow, magically, our schedules allowed us to be in two locations in Hokkaido on two different days at the exact same time. Brilliant!
Yeah, that was my highlight of the day really. There were roads. More roads. Straight roads. Flat roads. Hilly roads. All with nothing of interest on them. Pure nature and the like. It was nastily windy this morning when I headed down from the mountain hut, and it was suffering for the first hour or so. After that it was suffering from the uphills rather than the wind, but finally the road changed into a fast downhill and I even got the wind on my side for the latter part of the journey. Excellent!
I'm staying at the shores of Lake Kuccharo, at a legitimate camp site. I cycled through the entire site and couldn't see any coin laundry facilities, so I was about to decide to go to the nearby hotel and ask for their price, but then I spotted a coin laundry place, and next to it Hou-san's camper car. When he recognized me he immediately invited me and shoved a bowl of delicious Chinese food in my face. So nice.
While the family was having their afternoon nap I set up my tent and did some laundry, which is now drying. The tent was still quite wet when I first set it up, but it dried in ten minutes thanks to the massive winds at this camp site. I hung the laundry on my tent which hopefully won't take too long to dry.
Since I'm done for the day, I'm planning to cycle around town a bit and maybe find a cafe or restaurant where I can recharge my electronics, because it's been three days now since I've seen a charge point. The mountain hut from yesterday kindly provided lights but they made very sure not to put a power socket anywhere.
I've got 92 kilometers to go until Wakkanai. A bit more than half that to get to Cape Soya, the northernmost point of Japan. If I'm lucky the wind is with me and it'll only take a few hours. If I'm unlucky the wind will blow in my face the whole day and I'll be lucky to get there around dinner time, depending on when I set off. It's the final day, but the trip won't be won or lost there. If anything, yesterday was the big push into the unknown: the last unplanned day. Tomorrow will be the finishing touch.