mandag den 23. juli 2007

Sunday Oct. 15 - Westward Ho!, Up Mount Fuji

Bike is packed and ready at f****** 11 o’clock, which is f****** four hours later than planned and f****** 2½ hours later than realistic. This is the first time I ride the Nimbus fully loaded up, but it seems to work. Really should have brought the little one-wheel trailer instead. Then I’m up on the toll road through town, get lost immediately, do a one hour detour by way of Yokohama, and when today’s toll road allowance is spent, I get back on a regular four-laner. Which is packed with traffic, so rarely do I get to use fourth (top) gear. Seems like the other half of Japan is out Sunday driving too.

Today’s target is Mt. Fuji, west of town. When green mountainsides start climbing on both sides of the road, and tunnels and bridges appear, I feel the clutches of Tokyo letting go of me, finally being on my way. I reach the bottom of the mountain at three o’clock, start climbing initially in third, then second and occasionally in first. The guys at my workshop back in Denmark – ‘Urdu Racing’ – would have loved to tear this road to pieces, because despite the 40 and 50 kph limits posted everywhere, most motorcyclists ride the way this road should be ridden.

For every hairpin turn, and for every tree with first red and soon yellow leaves, and for every degree the temperature drops, my bladder shrinks another three percentage points, so it’s a cold and happy Nimbus rider who eventually parks his bike at 2,400 meters above sea level. This is how high I’ll get without actually having to walk up the ashen side of Fuji-san. Turns out people only can climb up it a few months over the summer, and those who make it to the top – about 3,000 a day (!) do the 5-7 hour trek – are usually so cold and miserable that they just want to get down as soon as possible. Frankly, they can keep it.

Climbing that mountain must be as exciting (yawn) as riding all the way up to Nordkapp in Norway, except the view here is beautiful. Even today, when the lowland lies in haze, I can see the mountain ranges I may have to ride across the next few days. Less of a pleasing sight is the thin mist of oil on my engine. Back home I did all I could to make it leakproof, apparently with limited success.

The sun has set when I’m all the way down again, and despite my best effort, I cannot find any of the campsites marked with triangles on the map. Maybe the map just indicates where there are small red triangles out here. So instead I check into a business hotel, at 6,000 yen, and thus get a chance to finally write a bit of this story. Writing wasn’t too easy in town, with all the distractions there. Dinner will be of cheap Japanese fastfood; a 400 yen plastic tray with what may be pork (disputable) and rice (indisputable).

Ingen kommentarer: