Tuesday, August 10, 2004


I succesfully arrived at Kansai Airport. I also succesfully took the train to Wakayama (which included a transfer). From there, it took a slight turn down as the hotel I planned on staying at was full, and then I unpacked my bike to discover a wickedly bent rear rim. Fortunately, I was able to find someone who showed me to a capsule hotel. Like a hostel for business people. You get a little capsule to sleep in (about 7'x3'x3'). They had a bath in the basement as well.

The next day I was able to find a bike shop where the old guy who owned the place was able to replace my rim and even adjusted my derailleur for me. Deciding to escape the belching Osakapolis, I took the ferry over to Takushima on Shikoku. The only problem now was that my rear panniers kept banging into my tire. Eventually, I was able to find a bike shop where they had a better rack, and the owner even installed it for me. So now I was all set, just needing a place to sleep for the night. I eventually found a nice little business hotel along the roadside (called the Roadside Hotel). Total ride was about 20-30 km - my GPS was going out so I didn't get an exact reading).

Aug 8 proved to be a fairly successful ride, as I finally managed to escape the sprawling suburbs of Tokushima and ride straight down Rte 192 into the heart of Shikoku. Taking a diversion to the south with the hopes of crossing to the western side of the island , I set my sights on a campground not to far from where I was. I even found the information center nearby with a little brochure and map. Only 10 km or so more - I figure a good half hour or so. Two hours later, as I'm pushing my bike up the side of this mountain, I give up and sail back down the mountain. I found a nice little spot off the side of the road, near a river, where I was able to pitch tent and campout for the night. It rained so I had to keep all my gear inside, and that little one-man tent is quite crowded. All told, about 120 km for the day. And I was soaked from head to foot with sweat. It is hot and humid here. I'm probably drinking several gallons of water a day and still have nothing left to go the bathroom with.

Today, Aug 9 I was going to continue my western push through Shikoku, but decided to head south into Kochi. Unfortunately, I took the scenic route which crossed over a 850m pass. I'm seriously glad to still be alive after that fiasco. Not enough energy, not enough water, and not enough leg strength to pedal it. Hopefully the Japanese mountain stream water isn't too contaminated. Ended up pushing my bike for 4-5 km and then from the pass raced down with brakes on full tilt. I can only imagine what people passing me were thinking (something like - "crazy gaijin" is my guess). After struggling across another hill, I was able to sail down to the seacoast town of Kochi. I was lucky enough to find this hotel with internet access, especially since the big dance festival is starting today. Total riding - 60km (including probably 5-8 km of pushing).

My next step is continuing my drive west, probably along the coast as to avoid to any more mountains. I'd like maybe another day of recuperation in Kochi. Most of the hotels are full, but there's a couple of campgrounds near to town. Pushing that bike, with all the gear is quite exhausting. I tried to purge a bunch of stuff the other day, but definitely need to see what else I can manage to get rid of. A nice shower and dinner will probably do wonders for me. Laundry would probably be in order as all my clothes from the last two days are still soaked with sweat. I'm surprised the hotel workers don't take me outside and hose me off. I offend even my own senses.

Anyways, enough for one day. Check in time approaches.

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