Struggling Through Northern Honshu

Leaving Sendai I continued north. The weather was a little cooler, but still humid, so I was soaking wet with sweat all day. It’s tough to find quiet roads here. I use my phone GPS constantly because the main roads are filled with cars and trucks and although they have bike lanes, the lanes are bumpy and difficult to ride on, so I try to find back roads when possible. But I have to stop every km or so to check my position. This has slowed me down to a measly 8 kph which is about 5 mph for the day. When I’m riding I can go a good 15 kph but for planning purposes, due to the stops and rests, I use 8 kph, or about 64 km a day which is about 40 miles. Just crawling along. Oh well.

Leaving Sendai I saw this statue of a samurai or a sumo wrestler. Either way I’d hate to be his enemy.

North of Sendai I met another bike tourist, Nigel from New Zealand, who has cycled extensively  in Japan. We passed each other in a tunnel of all places.

At buddhist temples they often have these gongs. I don’t know if or when they are used but I was tempted to ring it.What would have happened? Would you do it?

I stopped in one sushi restaurant and unable to communicate or read the menu I just used the phrase nani ga o susumedesu ka?–What do you recommend? They brought out this wonderful arrangement plus some other stuff. It was delicious. But it ain’t cheap. This with a beer and sake was about $25. I’ll have to stick to ramen in the future.

Free camping is tough here because every square inch is utilized for something. In this part of Honshu there are a lot of rice fields.

Three of the four times I have free camped some people have come by. Japan is safe though so I don’t worry about it, unlike in Mexico. Here is a spot near a park by an closed bike path, But some guy walked by in the morning.

Some more English signs. What goes better together than liquor and electronics?

Not just a supermarket.

Wha? A hobby shop?

Not sure about the equation, and what does brat have to do with selling cars?

Kind of vampirish for a car repair shop.

In one hotel room it was supposed to be nonsmoking, yet there was this sign that said no smoking, but only in bed, and an ashtray was available. Strange, but that’s Japan for you.

Healing time with a cat that drinks coffee? Any idea what that means?

I passed several Buddhist and Shinto shrines. They are set in peaceful wooded areas. I liked the way the sun reflected off the roof of this Shinto shrine.

I could use a happy drug after fighting the traffic all day.

A typical menu at a restaurant. What would you order?

Really? Do not stand on toilet?

So overall it has been a tough week. Still super hot and humid, real bumpy roads–I even broke a spoke going over some potholes–and traffic filled roads making it miserable and dangerous. On the plus side the food and sake are great and I have fun butchering the Japanese language with people. I saw some dumplings in one store and wanted to ask what they are–kore wa nan des ka? Instead I asked nan ji des ka?–what time is it? Oh well, I didn’t understand her response anyway.

So at the moment I am at the northern tip of Honshu, the main island of Japan. I should cross over into Hokkaido tomorrow on a ferry. I hope the roads will be a little quieter.

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