Today was tiring. I started out heading towards the coast and found a lovely road that was wide, smooth and didn't have too much traffic on it. Then I noticed a sign for a cycling road, but I was kind of happy on my current road so I ignored it. Then I saw another sign, and then another, so finally I followed the signs onto a steep bridge and then down again, and suddenly I was surrounded by big fat hornets doing suicide runs on my face. I managed to avoid them as best I could and reached the seaside cycling road just beyond the hornet danger. The cycling road was.. nonexistent. It was a sand path. What the fuck, Kanazawa? You think that's a cycling road? Seriously poor show. I had to go back through the hornets to get back to the nice road.

You'd think I'd learn from that experience, but noooooo. A few decakilometers later I saw another seaside path that looked enticing, so I took it. It was really nice for the first 5 kilometers or so, but the next 15 kilometers were just completely monotonous pedal-pushing, with a noisy highway on the right side and a very dirty, garbage-ridden beach on the left. And nothing else. For 15 kilometers. To make matters worse the path that started out only slightly bumpy became worse and worse, and some bits were basically made up of independent concrete slabs that were not aligned very well, leaving a gap of several centimeters between them. So every 5 meters or so I would hit one of those gaps and my tires would cry, my luggage would jump and my butt would hurt. Seriously, Kanazawa, you call that a cycling path? You do not know what cycling means.

I arrived in the center of Kanazawa well before noon, and for a while wasn't sure what to do. Should I cycle further or see if I can find some local hotels and laze about town? I decided to have a look at Kenrokuen first to see if it wasn't too busy for me to have a look. But even before I got there I knew I wouldn't stay in Kanazawa for the night. Trying to navigate through the center of town was just madness: tourists everywhere, entire classes of school children, various foreigners or various levels of annoyingness, and traffic stuck in a standstill full of tourists trying to find a place to park, packed so tight together that it was hard to even get around it by bicycle. Definitely not my idea of fun. I turned around and cycled the fuck out of there. Kenrokuen will have to happen on another trip. I would much rather prefer to be in a place that's only 90% as nice as Kenrokuen if it means that there'll only be 10% the amount of people there. People ruin places.

On the bright side, the weather was absolutely perfect today. It's finally warm enough for me to not have to worry about being too cold, no matter what I do on the bike. I could be drenched in sweat from an uphill and it'll just dissipate happily without me getting too chilled. Lovely. Well, partially lovely. I'd hate to complain even about this, especially considering I love this weather, but my body isn't built for it. I cycled in shorts today because it was nice and warm, and despite all the sun lotion I applied to myself every few hours one of my legs got seriously sunburned. My face was already starting to come off from the sun from the days before, and today only made it worse. I took a sun break today mid-afternoon, not sure if it helped much. It was a good break though.

Side note: many strange insects have been on me. I've had something fly into my eye twice, despite my cap usually deflecting things. Today something managed to fly up one of my nostrils. I blew it out. Various weird and dangerous-looking insects have been stuck in my cycle shirt, but I always managed to brush them off. A lot of creatures seem to be doing suicide attacks on me and are specifically targeting my holes.

Since I was on the road again I decided to cycle on to Toyama, which was a good 60 kilometers away. I took a road that seemed like a fairly direct route, and also had a highway/bypass next to it so would hopefully not be too busy. The road was indeed not too busy. It was also way steeper than I expected it to be. I knew it would cut through a bit of mountain but didn't think it would climb 200+ meters.. It was a pretty tiring climb, but good fun compared to the ridiculous climbs in the Tottori area. And after the climb it was all flat roads all the way down to Toyama.

Good progress was made today. I did three days worth of cycling in two, but I'm about to undo that. I cycled myself into a corner, sort of, although most of it can be blamed on golden week. It's just so insanely busy everywhere during golden week that all hotels are either sold out or insanely expensive. Also, rain is expected with high certainty the day after tomorrow. I'm not confident that I can get decent accommodation at my next destination, and I don't want to get caught by the rain in a shitty campsite in the middle of nowhere. Again. So I'm taking the next two days to relax, recover, not get sunburned and maybe do some bike maintenance. The brakes are the next part that needs some work. That, and maybe a new front tire.

I had real trouble finding a hotel for tomorrow. Today I got lucky because provided me with a last-minute discount, but trying to book a hotel for tomorrow on meant prices that were triple the nice rate. I could wait it out and hope for a discount rate tomorrow as well, but given how everything's sold out already and there's rain on the way I'd rather not risk it. I considered cycling to the next town and camping tomorrow, then booking a hotel for the (rainy) day after, but there's no guarantee that'll work either. There seemed to be no safe and comfortable option for me anywhere within cycling distance.

A solution presented itself, but I don't know if I just got really lucky (I mean: used my fantastic hotel-finding skills) or if things just aren't as fully booked as I imagined. I marked a bunch of hotels on my map and took a walk around town. The first hotel looked ridiculously sleazy and I didn't even bother asking. The second and third hotel were fully booked. The fourth hotel had space, and was cheap, and had coin laundry, so I booked it for two nights. I'm quite pleased with this discovery. The hotel is in a meh location but it has all the business-y-ness of business hotels, and is way cheaper than anything I could find online.

I'm taking a chance on the weather report. If the rain hits early then I waste an extra day here. If the rain hits late then I'll be cycling in the rain, or will have to take another rain day. If that happens I won't have many slack days left. So let's hope that doesn't happen.

Posted in Spirit of Japan 3