Sunday, July 20, 2014

Fantastic Fukui

Starting to know a few of the roads around Nagoya now but it would take years to explore them all. I set off to revisit route 157 in Gifu. I previously started down this road but turned back at what appeared to be road closed ahead type signage which I later found out to be no large vehicles permitted ahead. Well the road turned into a narrow goat track and was more suiting a off road bike not a big tourer. Perhaps the signage should have also said no large bikes ha-ha anyway I made it through eventually to the bridge I turned back from before arriving at the abandoned picnic spot by lunch. Hmm ok I still have 3/4 of my route ahead of me but doesn’t matter how long it takes.

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In the middle of nowhere everything is still engineered.

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Don’t overbalance, sheer drop to the water below.

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A disused bridge to a abandoned picnic area I found last time on this road made a nice spot to have lunch.Afterwards I swept away the spiders webs to climb the steps from the picnic area to a viewing platform.

I’m back to just using my iPhone as a camera. All the Japan ride photos are from it as I sold my Olympus Pen. Wonderful camera but still too big, so it too often ended up being left in the bag. Also when riding I find the the phone can be taken from my pocket and used one handed to grab a photo almost anywhere in seconds. As much as I want to have the better quality photo it is more important to get a lower quality one then nothing at all so I will have to consider what I can have that I take with me. Perhaps the Sony RX100M3. I have been using one in the camera shops here but you have very little control over depth of field due to the small sensor.

After my slow ride to Ono I continued on small back roads towards the Fukui. Exploring Japan by its many small back roads can be slow going but if not in a rush very rewarding. Small towns that new roads have bypassed are always interesting anywhere in the world but perhaps even more so here where some seem totally abandoned or others are locked in the 80’s.  The trick for me here is finding back roads that are not one lane as the FJR is just too big for tight and narrow roads. I prefer riding sweeping corner roads these days but if I find myself wanting to explore the old Japan more then I will need a smaller lighter bike.

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Back roads, Ono district

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A beautiful rural bus stop with some art work from My Neighbour Totoro. 

Eventually I reached the sea. I arrived at the area I was going to have lunch about 2.30pm but it had not rained and the cloudy morning had turned into a sunny afternoon so I enjoyed riding along the coast and some cooler air on what was a hot humid day.

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The old road alignment can be seen to the right.

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33 degree, so hot. Rest time with a cold drink. Forgot the vending machine photo this ride.

Besides the ocean level road the was a 2nd road running parallel above me in the hills which I decide to take a look at. On the sea level road there were abandoned hotels and tourist parks and on the upper road I found many abandoned upmarket holiday homes positioned with great views of the ocean. I wondered what one would be worth to buy but then your a long way from shops and work as is the case with these things. (sorry I messed up those photos, iPhone is hopeless with backlit subjects)

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Well the sun was getting low so I decided to make a move back towards home on what is the other side of the country, but the road south continued to be a lovely ride as seen below so I stayed on it another 20km or more like this. Very enjoyable.

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Along the coast in Japan you find these concrete shape block things. There are a few different shapes and sizes in use. I have seen them all along the west coast when I travelled here before. Many millions of them.

An interesting thing in Japan is every town has it own unique street lamps. Often there is generic street lights for the majority of the town but then one part, usually a older 70’s style shopping street will have special street lights. I have been taking a few photos of them but since the iPhone cannot deal with backlit subjects the photos leave a lot to be desired but I am going to start posting them anyway.

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The crab street lights in Tsuruga, Fukui. No prize for guessing what the area is known for.

Once back on the Japanese expressway system the FJR comes into it’s element. Cruise control on and screen up it’s a luxury highway ride compared to a naked or small bike and a 2-3 hour highway ride is effortless. I was quite critical of it in my review I posted and make no mistake some things are so very dated on this bike but if I move to something smaller in future I know I will miss it whenever I am facing a long highway ride.

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Dedicated motorcycle parking in the expressway rest areas. Nice to be in a country that doesn’t hate motorcycles however riders pay the same tolls as cars which is disappointing as in most countries bikes are less.

This ride Route

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