Day 4    00000km Seems our odometers have both quit. Do you suppose someone is trying to tell us something?  I go to a small red cross station but the doctor  there is really a pharmacist.

We both agree my wrist is not broken as I have some range of motion but boy is it sore and swollen! He gives me a cold plaster, says it is medicated (smells like Ben Gay) and advises me not to have an X-ray...."too expensive" he warns. (We read about this in our Lonely Planet book, Japan not a good place for getting hurt)

Determined not to ruin Steve's day and determined to not let a bad wrist ruin mine, I suggest we do the pilgrimage to Kotohira-gu......up Zozusan Mt. climbing over 1000 stone steps.

Nothing wrong with my legs!!!

So on a grey day, umbrelleys in hand (left hand) we make our pilgrimage to the upper shrine. Slowly, slowly, enjoying all the little shrines and lanterns, through a dense forest.


 From the ornate Shrine of the Rising Sun (Asahino Yashiro)  we get a spectacular view  across Kotohira to the Seto Inland Sea and her tiny islands.    



 We stop at the Gohon Hall to donate our card, with s/v Ariel on the back, and attach it with all the other maritime offerings.

There is the story of a ship caught in a typhoon and the crew bowing to Kotohira-gu, then being saved.  The solar ship of a man who sailed it around the world giving thanks. A pet dog doing a pilgrimage for his sick master and a Japanese astronaut giving his offering.

 We make our offerings for sunnier brighter days and ask for a blessing to not let this journey end here.

Will I be able to ride again??? We will find out tomorrow!!!
Day 5   8km WHEW!!! Now this was the toughest day yet!!!

Steve lowers my seat so I can have both feet on the ground and get a running start. We put my handlebar bag on the trailer and balance my right hand on the top of the handlebar.....and off we see the Doramu!

Yep, that little dragon deity is mascot for Mannou-Pond, surrounded by the largest camp ground in Japan and we are booked in.

Reservations are needed and now we understand why. Seems camping is a small part, also a rather new concept for the Japanese and much more sophisticated than the camps in Hokkaido.


Sanuki Mannou National Government Park is a sprawling 4 hectare green grassy area around 8 bowl shaped hills, flower and herb gardens, a waterfall, a forest, a natural ecological garden.


    There is a vista of the Sanuki Mts. between stone walls a time-trip corridor to the world of nature. We have arrived just before a huge festival and enjoy evening pre-festival events. The corridor of stone walls are decorated with millions of tiny LED colored lights in a nautical theme.

At the end is a pyramid of champagne glasses spilling over and flowing into each other.

Then just beyond in the massive gardens of autumn flowers, spot lights illuminate the vivid colors of Cosmos,Pansy,Alyssum,North pole Viola and many more.                                                          

A Japanese friend tells us that where we are of a more logical mind,(Ahem! not all) the Japanese are more intuitive. That is why, he states, you find many animated childlike signs, adults reading comic books etc. It is a very visual intuitive society.



                    We walk the narrow stone paths between waist high illuminated purple and yellow Cosmos dancing in a cool night breeze to the sounds of a violin concert playing in the distance  Slowly we walk feeling the calm natural environment taking us into a deeper sense of peace.

Maybe that little Doramu has been trying to tell us something!
Day 6   Steve is great at taking care of us.  He rides into Kotohira to the Internet, buys food, even puts the wash in the laundry. He still gives me a hard time, especially when I ask him to do my hair. And not until I have him try to use his left hand to eat with chopsticks does he ease off and let me slurp away.

He has great faith that I can ride again. I am determined to finish, ending as planned on the island of Kyushu and the hot springs of Beppu.  

And so I rest, watching two praying mantes trying to find their way around the dome of the golden pagoda.   I am enlightened to know that not all is found in racing along, racing along. These ARE the good times. Slow down and enjoy.