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…
Sometimes it is really nice to commute to work. While my usual commute is a five-minute walk door-to-door, once a week I have to travel about 40 kilometers (about 26 miles) down the coast. One of the reasons I accepted this part-time post was that it would be a nice way to take the bike down the coast once a week. However, for the first few meetings of this class it has rained, so today was the first time I was able to make the commute on the bike. It was worth the wait.
Just about every five minutes I saw something that instantly made me regret not setting up a helmet or handlebar GoPro before leaving this morning. The recent rains brought out the greens along the side of the road and in the mountains, while also clearing the air. The result was some fantastic ‘B&G Therapy’. (Blue skies and ocean, Green grass and mountains…)
The riding was so fantastic that I decided to take the long way home.
The Long Way Home 191-307-186
It took twice as long as the ride down the coast, but it was well worth it. If the weather is good again next week I will probably take the same route again. However, I will be sure to set up a GoPro and bring a camera along, as I truly regret not having pictures to share here.
The only image I took all day was actually at Yuhi park, which is just a few kilometers from the house. I have so many photos from there I hardly need another, but here it is anyway.
Not a cloud in the sky (unless you’re a stickler)
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.