Another beautiful day for a ride in Shimane… The day started with a two-up trip with my daughter up to Iwami Ginzan. My mother is visiting from the states, so we needed to use two vehicles to make the trip up there. (Not that I really needed an excuse to take the bike out for the day.) The winds were exceptionally strong today, so I ended up soloing the ride back, and stopping off at the オートバイく神社 (Motorcycle Shrine) in Kanagi.
There seems to be a Shinto shrine for just about everything you can think of, and the Kanagi Western Riding park built the Motorcycle shrine just a year or two ago. If you get a chance, you should definitely visit. It is a nice place to visit at the beginning of the touring season to get in your prayers for safe rides. The shrine is unattended, so there are no charms for sale, but the panoramic view is fantastic.
Token ‘been there’ shot
Just half of the panoramic view
So if you want to put in your prayers for motorcycle safety this touring season, come on down to Shimane and stop in at the Kanagi Western Riding Park and enjoy the view.
I took advantage of the national holiday to spend some time with the bike. She has been dressed up in her cold weather gear for too long, so we started out by swapping the big touring screen for the sleeker and more streamlined stock screen. Somehow it makes her seem like a different bike altogether.
It has been a while since I took the bike for the ride, and I am really glad I did. Something about riding around Shimane, whether exploring the coastline or taking a jaunt into the mountains, always makes me feel at home. It is a feeling that is sometimes elusive in my ex-pat life here in West Nowhere Japan. So it is as good an excuse as any to spend more time on two wheels.
Back to the stock screen
This sign made me chuckle
I am glad I got out today. It was nice to see the rocky coast, to relax at Yuhi Park and chat with other riders, and to sit at Kikufu beach and watch the surfers.
Let the touring season begin.
It is nice when you can combine hobbies in a way that they are mutually beneficial. I love that joining the boxing gym gives me an excuse to ride the bike, and I love that having an excuse to ride the bike motivates me to go to boxing.
This is a winter ride, so the ‘greens’ are all brown, but the roads are the same shape all year. The ride there was fairly straight, as if followed the coast. Some nice beach views that way. The ride home, however, was rather twisty. I took the Green Line from Gotsu to Kanagi, which is a fantastic ride. Half way through I took a detour down the windmill maintenance roads, which are always fun.
One of the great things about living in West Nowhere, Japan (sometimes referred to as ‘Shimane’), is that you can ride year-round. While we do get snow on occasion, it quickly melts along the coast, so the coastal routes are generally clear. I actually toured down to Fukuoka a few years back on New Year’s Day, so as long as you have the right gear riding is a full-time gig out this way.
So, taking advantage of a rather dry and sunny day, I decided to take the bike out for a nice winter seaside tour in Hamada.
As you may notice, Hamada has a bit of a small fishing town feel to it. While we do have a large commercial port, the local fishing trade came first. The coast is peppered with small fishing villages, and the rocky cliffs and beautiful beaches make for nice views along the way.
Really, you should try a winter ride in Hamada some day…
We were sitting around the house yesterday, trying to avoid the heat, and Keilyn decided she wanted to go for a bike ride. So we saddled up and took a trip down to the new library in town. We met Yuki and Taiga down there as well and all enjoyed a lazy afternoon reading in the library. Personally, I found their air conditioning far superior to their selection of books, but it was nice to share a quiet table at the library with the family.
Trying out her tough biker look
Hamada Marine Bridge
View of the Marine Bridge from the hills
Keilyn and I took a roundabout way home and ended up over by the Hamada Marine Bridge. I have often referred to this bridge as 意味ない橋 (‘Meaningless Bridge’), as it seems oddly out of place in such a small city, but it is rather photogenic. We seemed to have caught the timing just about right this day as well. Next time I will have to bring my DSLR to get better photos, as the iPhone does not really seem to do so well in the challenging lighting situations…