Ever since I decided to buy a bike last summer, my son and I have been talking about touring together. Due to some complications with transferring my motorcycle license from the USA to Japan, I was not able to ride with a passenger until August 1st; approximately eight months after I brought home the bike.
So it was that on August 2nd Taiga and I saddled up for our first ride together up the coast to the city of Oda. We spent the night there at a friends new house, and walked downtown to enjoy a local festival. Beer, paper lanterns, and oddly enough, hula dancers.
It rained through the night, and on through the early morning, so we relaxed in our friends’ new kitchen enjoying coffee and good company until the skies cleared up. Around noontime the grey skies were replaced by blue, and Taiga and I rushed to put on our gear and get on the road. The plan for the day was to head inland and do a lap around Mt. Sanbe, and then take the inland route home southwest through the mountains and along the rivers.
(The map of our ride to the right is from an app on my iPhone called PlaceMe. Basically, it uses your phone’s GPS to drop a pin anyplace you stay for more than 5 minutes each day. Not a great app to keep on your phone if you are cheating on your spouse, but it is very handy for logging your stops while touring.)
We hopped on the bike and chose a route in Google Maps that would bring us in a loop around the mountain, allowing us to meet the rest of the group at Sanbe Burger about 45 minutes later for lunch. The first 25 minutes went smoothly, as we followed a winding route around the base of the mountain, but then we had to take a small detour to take the first photo below. It seems that the rain the night previous had washed out our route. No worries. A quick photo stop and then we were able to get back on the route a couple hundred meters down the road. We then continued on for another ten minutes before the skies opened up and unleashed on us. It was like Zeus’s hot tub overflowed, as it just hammered down on us for about five minutes. After that, it was back to blue skies, but now Taiga and I were riding along in wet clothes… As Pooh would say, “Oh, bother”.
To add insult to injury, we arrived at Sanbe Burger moments after the rest of the group only to find that they were sold out of burgers for the day… Seeing as there were no burgers, and we were standing around feeling damp, we decided to get back on the bike and let the wind dry us off a bit. We stopped off at the Sanbe Dam to take some dam photos and watch the dam fountain. We had some dam father-and-son fun, and decided to get back on the dam road.
We didn’t stop for a while after our dam break, as we were really enjoying the cooling sensation of the warm breeze drying our clothes as we wound our way through the back roads of Shimane. Eventually we connected up with route 261 along the Gonogawa river, which is one of my favorite roads in the area. We were enjoying the gentle curves of the road, perhaps a bit too much so, when I spotted a police car coming from the other direction. I slowed down just in case, but he banged a u-turn and pulled in about 500 meters behind us. (Can you imagine how pissed my wife would be if I were to get busted for speeding with my son on the back the bike on our first trip together? I certainly can…) So as I traveled along at a strategically selected three km/h above the speed limit, keeping one eye on the mirrors to see what his intentions were, I had just noticed that he had turned on his party lights when Taiga’s voice came over the communication system.
“Daddy! Look! Monkeys!”
Yes, there were two Japanese monkeys crossing the road right in front of us. A moment of panic about running over a monkey, and then the comforting realization that the officer must have turned around to check on the monkeys instead of me. Saved by the monkeys…
Since we had missed out on Sanbe Burgers earlier, and as it was nearly approaching dinner time, we decided to stop messing about with monkeys and head to the Mos Burger at Yuhi Park. Overall, not too bad for Taiga’s first overnight bike trip. I am looking forward to our first moto-camping trip to Akiyoshidai soon… I’ll keep you posted. 😉
(This post has been post-dated to match the actual dates of the trip.)