FINDING OUR WAY
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34km. We slowed down as we are starting to run into more and more bikers.
So far they all are ALL Japanese!
This is the month to bike in Hokkaido as once winter sets in it gets brutal. We can tell by the many boxes on hills along the road with bags of sand and huge tubs in every yard full of kerosene for heaters.We are still in the mountains but trying to get south.... up and down, up and down. Lots of motorcyclists also, they remind us of Kamikaze's on their Harley's roaring past us on the up hills. But........... IN JAPAN BICYCLISTS RIDE ON THE SIDEWALKS!!!
My big thrill today was finding Orville Redenbacker popcorn and Snickers. And Steve got a lesson from me about 'saving face' when he tried to negotiate a price. But he did learn that making a joke only gets him blank stares.....they just don't understrand!! (It is NOT an electric jacket plugged into the wall to warm up....just charging a cell phone) Good idea.....a place to charge up the computer.
Day 5 49km. Woke to the sounds of horses whinnying. We are in the Hidaka Kentucky Farms area rolling along through hills covered in thick green grass and neat fences. There are lots of riding and stud farms and more bikers. It is beautiful. But it was a hard day into the wind as we biked back to the sea and made a turn up the coast....... salty air and sea gulls. Now the captain is a happy camper!
We also found the Seicomart convenience stores have hot salmon dinners. Our big meals are at lunch time, this time eating on the curb in front of piles of huge plastic bags filled with recyclables. The Japanese are very, very conscientious about this.Did you know that some Japanese garbage trucks are pink, play loud music, like an ice cream truck and the garbage men wear white gloves???
This is also the day we found a Laundromat ($3 wash - $1 dry) also equipped with foot massagers and sneaker washers!Steve stripped down to his bike shorts and bare feet. The attendant thought he was warm so blasted us with the air conditioner. He also hooked up the head-set to the computer, made some calls on 'SKYPE' (for 2 cents a min) while zeroing in on a hot spot with his WIFI.
Turned out a good day....we got in a FREE camping ground with onsen within walking distance.Day 6 60km Started off thinking we'd go only 23km so we wouldn't miss the onsen at the end of the day but turned out our longest day in the saddle yet. Then...it poured rain. I told Steve, it is not like sailing where you put on the auto pilot and go below and read a book. We donned our rain gear and off we went, puddles splashing, mud flying and trucks dousing us with spray.
There are lots of fishing villages, boats with big glass lights, people with waders going out for huge sea kelp. Also lots of sea food in this area. Steve is loving that!
Found the camp and onsen we were headed for very posh....$51 a night for camping in 'auto camps' (forget those). We decided to move on. The rain let up and wind died down so worth the ride on as we found an onsen, not on our map, and the camping is FREE.It is late and we are tired but mostly just soooo relaxed after our 5th onsen experience.
I have not let Steve forget how disappointed I was at missing that one bath our first night out and he is now recovered from his RASH from not having that one bath our first night out. We have not missed one since. Steve thinks this is just the GREATEST! He enjoys the saunas and I love the outdoor hot mineral pools and whirlpools. These have all been in some of the most beautiful settings.So here we end up after a fabulous bath over looking the sea. It is all so perfect except I walked into a closet instead of the toilet and still can't tell the shampoo from the liquid bath soap!! Sure hope no one noticed. We have had our cold Sapporo beer out of the vending machine and really looking forward to that cozy little tent just down the hill.