Riding in Izu


It's Golden Week, which means a long weekend and time for a motorcycle ride. The destination was the Izu Peninsula, several hours southwest of Tokyo. There are a lot of curvy roads and deer and beaches and onsen on the peninsula. I don't like riding my motorcycle around deer. I'd rather eat deer than see them. Back in elementary school, my friend Mike always had ingredients for venison sausage and cheddar cheese sandwiches at his house, and I ate as many as possible. Onsen are OK, but my apartment has a shower with good water pressure. There is little incentive to ride a motorcycle three or four hours to go bathe in a big bath with a dozen other guys when I can walk three yards through my apartment and have a hot shower all to myself. Incidentally, have you ever tried beer in the shower? It's rather refreshing. Beer was not the focus, and neither were onsen or deer. Rather, curvy roads were the focus, along with the mountains and beaches through which they pass. Scenery is what I went in search of, and scenery is what I found.

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I left Tokyo with a small backpack and almost no gear. My plan was to stealth camp or stay in a net cafe or something but there are no net cafes where I was, and I had no tent or sleeping bag. All of the pharmacies and shopping malls were closed, so I couldn't buy a blanket. However, my riding gear along with my rain gear was reasonably well insulating. I bought a cheap tarp from a Seven-Eleven and slept on the grass by the beach in eastern Shimoda. I slept poorly on the grass by the beach, but that made it easy to get up in time to watch the run rise over the water while sipping down two cups of coffee.

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The second day I rode for an hour on some back-woods trails in the Hosono Highland (細野高原). I was running low on gas and didn't find the summit. The hills offer some nice views, and it seems like a swell place to relax on a warm afternoon.

Motorcycle riders generally agree that one of the top riding roads in Japan is the Izu Skyline (伊豆スカイライン). It's a pretty amazing series of twists and ups and downs and gentle corners, all of this lasting for forty kilometers in a place where, when the weather is good, Mount Fuji shows above the clouds.

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