The weather is great, the roads are great, the camping is great, everything is going great!
This morning (and the most part of this afternoon) I found myself following route 2, a boring national road that connects most of the important cities in this area, and eventually leads to Hiroshima. The scenery was quite nice along the way but the traffic was dense, and there were a lot of traffic lights. I had a funny moment approaching a steep incline leading to a bridge. At first I thought it would be impossible, but then I figured I’d try anyway and accelerated like crazy, then pushed the pedals like a boss until I reached the top, completely out of breath. At that moment I heard a loud “SUGEE” (awesome!) from behind me. Turns out there was a gay-suit-cyclist right behind me. I guess he didn’t think I could make it 😀
On that note, I’ve become super saiyan Randy, but without the spiky blonde hair. Hills that are impossible to do in my mind somehow get conquered with ease. I can really notice my muscles becoming stronger. At the start of the trip I used to drive about 20-21kph and would be at my limit. Now I can go two gears higher (on a flat road with no wind) and do 27-28kph. I think I am almost as fast today, with heavy luggage, as I was two months ago without luggage. Yay me. I’ve never been athletic at all, or good at anything physical, really. This is probably the most fit I’ve ever been.
Did I mention that the weather was perfect? It’s about 25C during the day, and the mild wind is just perfect to keep me cool while cycling.
Right now I’m at a small beach with a beautiful view of one of the islands in the inland sea, enjoying the afterglow of a warm day. I’m on route 185, taking the seaside way towards Hiroshima. I didn’t make it far on this road yet, despite my plan, but that’s ok. I found a great place to stay so I’m happy. My original plan was to stay at this beautiful seaside beachpark, but I was stupid enough to ask permission at the only place in the vicinity: a semi-luxurious cafe in the middle of the park. The chef turned me down immediately. I don’t like him.
I cycled on and found a nice hidden road that lead to a sandy path at the opposite side of the railroad tracks. There I found another side road that went steeply up the mountain. I walked up there to see what was there and found an abandoned shrine. The road went even higher and changed to a walking path, which I didn’t follow all the way but probably connects to the natural area at the opposite side of the mountain. I strongly considered pitching my tent at the shrine, but decided to cycle a little but further just to see if I could find something better.
I always cycle ‘a little bit further’, but never seem to find anything better. Except today. I took another turn towards the mountains and cycled up a bit, towards a residential area. I asked some of the local people if there was any place to put up a tent, and they pointed me to a small temple a bit further up the mountain. Arriving there, another person appeared who brought me to the house of the temple owner, and I asked for his permission to pitch my tent there tonight. He agreed. I have a legitimate awesome place to stay tonight!
It was still early so I cycled back to find a convenience store and some food. On the way back I noticed steam coming from a building at the side of the road: onsen! All my basic needs are fulfilled: sleeping place, bath, and food. On previous cycling trips it often turned out like this at the end of the day, and I’m glad I haven’t lost my traveler’s luck yet. I’ll be trying to stay at temples more often, it’s worked great so far.
Tomorrow I have about 70-80km’s left to reach Hiroshima. I’m expecting the road to be quite hilly, but with my newly acquired super saiyan strength and the beautiful scenery to entertain me, I think I’ll enjoy myself.