Yuki and I decided to take the bike down to Masuda on an errand, and we ended up doing a nice long Iwami Loop. We took route 9 down to Masuda to get a tennis racquet restrung, and when we learned it would take four hours the only option was to ride it out. We headed down through Hagi, and over the border into Yamaguchi to the Tamagawa campground. We drove down past the campsite to walk out to the beach, where we took the only two photos of the day.
Tamagawa beach selfie
beach at Tamagawa Campground
a nice day for 200k
After a couple of great burgers from Wild Kitchen at the Tamagawa rest stop, we headed further down route 191 to catch route 315 into the Yamaguchi mountains. This may be one of my new favorite roads. I will definitely be back. It has a nice balance of twists, turns, and beautiful mountain views. I think I need to go back to see it again in the fall…
From 315 we hopped on route 13 to swing through Tsuwano, which is a fantastic town to visit. However, today we just cruised straight through and hopped on route 9 back into Masuda, where we stopped in for a coffee at KuriKuri Coffee. Rather than return home up the coast on route 9, we decided to take another of my favorite roads, the Western Iwami Farm Road (A.K.A. 石見西部広域農道). This is a beautiful winding mountain road which is fairly new, and very lightly travelled. This is the nicest ride home from Masuda to Hamada, and it brings you right into Yasakamura, where you can visit friends before grabbing route 34 for the last thirty minutes back home.
Overall, it was a beautiful day for 200k. I am looking forward to a lot more beatiful two-up rides in the future. Next time I will remember to take more photos…
Since the riding was so gorgeous last week, I decided to bring the camera long for the ride home on Thursday. So, if you are curious about what the roads are like out here in West Nowhere, and you have 34 minutes to spare, then crack a beer and check out the video below. For the record, there is no crazy knee-dragging, stunts, or wheelies. This is just a casual ride along empty mountain roads in West Nowhere. For a more authentic experience, please cue up Moving Pictures by Rush to play in the background, as that was what I was listening to during the ride.
For the record, the bike is a 2012 Honda NC700X, so while the RPMs sound quite low at times it is perfectly normal. (Listening to the video, without my helmet of course, allowed me to hear the engine a bit more. It gave me the urge to tell the damn rider to down-shift on a few occasions, but that is just how this bike rides. I usually keep it just around 3k or so on the tach. The bike redlines at 6K and is a ‘short-shifter’ by design. It has plenty of torque and it quite nimble, so it is a pleasure to ride. I like that, as being on liter street racer would probably wake the inner idiot in me. I love my “boring” motorcycle.
Another Thursday, and another longer-than-necessary ride home.
Last week on the ride home from Masuda, I passed the Sun Eight rest area in Mito, and today I thought I would stop in there for lunch. Sadly, they did not have a place to eat, but they did have a map on the wall which changed my planned route home. I was planning to take the same route home as last week in order to get some good video of the ride, but as soon as I say the map I noticed the loop in Route 34 just a few kilometers down the road. The decision was made.
The road from Mito to Hamada would bring me through Kitsuka and Yasaka before dropping me on route 9 along the coast. The first half of the ride was fantastic, as I don’t think I saw another vehicle the whole way to the Kitsuka Dam. The roads were just twisty enough to be fun, but the stray sticks, leaves, and stones kept me at a reasonable pace. That and the constant riding-in-the-sticks fear that someone who lives on these roads, and rarely ever sees vehicles, just may be crossing the street with a bamboo pole over their shoulder. (It only had to happen once to become a feature attraction in my riding sub-conscious.)
Route 34 to Hamada
1. From SunEight rest area (loved the loop)
2. Running through Kitsuka
Dam lake in Kitsuka
Dam Selfie in Kitsuka
The second half of the ride, after the dam stop for some dam selfies and photos the dam lake in Kitsuka, was fairly relaxing. The traffic picked up here, as I actually started seeing an occasional car, but the roads became less ‘twisty’ and more ‘mildly wavy’; just the way I love ’em. Sure, I love to lean into the twisties and test myself a bit, but I find the slow wavy roads along rivers to be the most relaxing to ride. This is what it was like for most of the way after the Kitsuka Dam. Once passing through central Yasaka the road does twist up a bit, and as it is slowly dropping down nearer to sea-level the ride is quite fun. As usual, there were few cars, so I did not have the frustration of being stuck behind a slow-mover through the twisties. That said, Japanese countryside drivers really are fantastic about making room for riders to pass.
3. Cutting through Yasaka
4. Reaching the seaside in Hamada
Selfie at the infamous Yuhi Park
Yet another beautiful Thursday, and another great day on the bike. Now I have some camping to look forward to this weekend, and hopefully I will get my first paddle on the SUP in as well. Any week which involves both the bike and the SUP is a damn good week…