This has not been much of a year for motorcycling for me, for a number of reasons–some good, like a trip to Taiwan and a long stay in Yellowstone and Tetons, and some bad, like my father-in-law’s funeral and my own bout of cancer (I’m fully cured, but recovery from the surgery took a while)–and I’ve really missed the mountain roads. I finally got a free morning last week and took a spin on some of my favorite roads in Hakone for a photo session with my ride and the mountain.
I realize that nearly all my touring reports start and end with something along the lines of “that was an amazing ride!” And I pretty much always feel that way when I get back from touring, because even when we have nasty weather or mechanical trouble, the positive stuff and great times always outweigh any negatives.
But it can’t always be that good.
Today, for instance. I woke up bright and early ready to conquer the roads and go visit the mighty Pacific, but cloudy weather and other stuff delayed my departure. Then once I got out of the tunnel on the Aqualine across Tokyo Bay, the wind was gusting so strong I had to slow down to a crawl and was still getting blown around to the point where I couldn’t ride in a straight line. On top of that, the air was filled with cedar pollen, particulate pollution, and yellow sand from China, and the haze kept visibility to a minimum. Even when I did finally make it to the ocean, blowing salt and sand and haze made for a much closer and less impressive horizon than I had been hoping for.
I think I got ten or fifteen minutes in the twisties where the mountains blocked the wind enough that I could enjoy the winding roads, but I spent pretty much the entire ride battling wind and grit.
But the thing is: I somehow enjoyed myself anyway, and I still can’t wait to get back out on the road the next chance I get. Because these unpleasant ones really are the exception, not the rule. We just have to keep riding.
This will be the final post in my “get the 2012 stuff out the door before the end of January 2013″ series!
Every year, riders from Gaijin Riders, Japan Riders, and SBK (all active sites with real communities—far more useful and informative than this fossilized site) dress up as Santas and reindeer to bring presents to children at orphanages in Kanagawa Prefecture.
For privacy reasons, I can’t upload the pictures of the huge smiles on the kids’ faces, but we had a great time playing, eating pizza, and joking around with the kids, and their smiles were a better present for us than anything we could give to them.
This giant reindeer’s going to have to make time to visit them next year too.
We used to do these all the time, but now that I’m older and most of my friends have settled down, it’s been years since I’ve had the chance to participate in one of these parades. It really is amazing to be able to share a newlywed couple’s happiness with the whole city.
Congratulations, Natchan and Naepon!
I’m just trying out some new gallery formats for the stuff I didn’t get around to uploading last year. Here’s another touring trip to Doshi no Mori last September.
We took a trip up to a place nestled in the mountains of Yamanashi Prefecture called Doshi no Mori. We adult bikers had the usual great times talking and drinking and BBQing, while the kids explored in the woods and collected tadpoles and such.
The next morning, the kids still wanted to take more pictures.
(By the way, if anyone reading this knows Himari-chan or Ebe-chan [Elizabeth], I’d like to get in touch with their parents, so please drop me an email.)
|Doshi no Mori Camp Touring|
My daughter, Lin, got some great shots from the back of my bike on our touring trip to Izu in April.