Tag Archives: Windmills

Shimane Green Line

As today was the Autumnal Equinox, and a national holiday, I decided to take the bike out for a ride. I had just ridden the bike about 100 km back from the shop last night after having new tires installed, but they were all highway miles, and the shoes needed to get some gentle initial wear on the edges.  So I thought it would be a great chance to head out to the Shimane Green Line for a slow winding ride.

The Green Line is a nice meandering road through the mountains and of Shimane. I assume it gets its name from the virgin surroundings, as while the road is well built, and rather fun to ride, the areas it passes through are not very developed. It is a road that I have ridden many times, and greatly enjoyed. However, I think that I have only explored a bit of it as it seems to extend beyond where I usually join it.

The path I usually take is from the entrance to Mimata Onsen (A), where we used to live a few years back, through the mountains to route 9 in Gotsu (B).
View Larger Map

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I just had new shoes put on the bike, so today was all about taking it easy. It was a good thing too, as it seems that the clean up work  on the Green Line after the last few typhoons seems a bit behind schedule. While I was able to take some photos (below) of a number of the partially closed off sections of the road, there were a number of other hazards that I did not capture. The first actually caught me by surprise, and if I hadn’t been taking it easy on the new tires it may have spelled trouble. It was the largest landslide I encountered, and it was right around a tight, and blind, corner. It was a good reminder to take it easy, so I simply slowed down and appreciated the full greens of the surroundings while seeking out the signs of  autumn in the leaves.

About three quarters of the way through this section of the Shimane Green Line, alongside Mt. Koyasan, I came upon one of my favorite roads in Shimane. This particular road is barely over three kilometers in length, but I have certainly taken more photos here than anywhere else along the route. This is the maintenance road for the windmills overlooking Gotsu.

The views from up here, especially at sunset, can be rather stunning. I love to come up to this road and just ride slowly and take in the quiet and the views. As it is only a maintenance road, there is never anybody else there. It is the perfect spot to break out the camp stove and brew up a fresh cup of coffee. (I think I just gave myself a great idea!)

While I have traveled this section of the Shimane Green Line more times than I can recall, I also passed through another section in Asahi earlier today, and I think there must be more. I look forward to following the Asahi section back in the other direction to find out just how many other sections of the Shimane Green Line I can discover before the snows start to fall…

Roads Washed Out

Washed out ride map
Route Map. Click to enlarge for details.

We had quite a storm in Shimane a few days back, and there were a lot of landslides and flooding. We did not suffer any damage at our house, but the surrounding area is riddled with road closures and traffic due to road repairs. I have stayed off of the local roads for a few days, as I figured they would be rife with gravel & sand, and would not be safe for a motorcycle. However, the passing storm has brought about beautifully clear skies and pleasant weather, so today I gave in and risked the roads.

The Goal: Ride up route 9 to Aquas and purchase a souvenir/gift for a friend, then turn right into the mountains and find a roundabout way home.

The ride to Aquas was pretty straight forward, as there were no delays or road closings, but there were a number of landslides along the road that had already cleared up. The only hazard I faced along the way was a rather large book (yellow pages?) which was sitting in the right third of my lane on the bypass.

After picking up some stickers and crackers at the gift shop, I crossed the street from Aquas and took a photo with the iconic Aquas walking bridge (red pin on the map). The sky was beautiful, and a short ride down the road I found a spot on the beach where a couple of guys were enjoying some late afternoon wake boarding.

From Aquas I took the immediate right inland on the route 300 to Arifuku onsen. Unfortunately, I only made it about 500 meters before I met my first closed road. I turned back and continued up route 9 a bit further and tried again at route 299, only to find a second barrier to my return home. I was forced to backtrack and head back up route 9 again to route 297 towards Atoichi, and from their towards the Green Line into Kanagi. I was intentionally trying to avoid this road, as I love it and take it often and was hoping to find some new interesting paths through the mountains.

I was glad to see that I finally found a road that was open, but this path was rife with hazards. I only took photos of a few, but there were many collapse walls on the uphill side, and areas were the dowhill side of the road was washed out. It was a constant slalom of single lane traffic spots around blind corners, and it was a rather stressful ride.  The final photo below is of the eastern windmill access road, which is where I often go to take photos. Luckily the western access road was open and the sun was just starting to set.

I love riding these windmill access roads for a few reasons; the views are spectacular, the roads are new and well made, and there is never anybody else there. For these reasons, I find it a great place to ride and to take photos. This may be the first time I took photos on the western route, and I found myself glad that the eastern route was blocked.

Overall, it was a great day for a ride. Finding my way home past the closures and hazards was a fun challenge, and I think that I just may have captured a photo or two worth entering in the Hamada photo contest…