Izu Touring

Irozaki with bikes
I missed this year’s Yamabiko touring, but couldn’t stand the idea of a spring without a run to the Izu Peninsula. I found myself with a rare free weekend, so I called up Go and Kazu, and we loaded up our camping gear and set off.
Kazu’s XLH1200, my Softail, and Go’s FXDX.

We met up at a rest area on the Tomei expressway and immediately put as much distance as possible between ourselves and the big city.
We started out under heavy cloud cover, and the weather report was calling for rain, but soon Fuji peeked out of the clouds.
Izu roads
We hit the Izu peninsula and rode the coastal road counterclockwise. The water of Nishiura bay was strangely still and reflected the gray skies with a silvery shimmer.

Izu winding
One reason I like riding in Izu so much is the constant variation in riding flavors—from wide leisurely oceanside roads to narrow twisty mountain roads and back again.
one-handed riding
Go kept riding one-handed and taking pictures with his cameraphone. As always, he kept a running real-time commentary going on his moblog. (In Japanese, but with lots of pictures and automatically generated maps and GPS info.)
invisible Fuji
On a clearer day, Mt. Fuji is visible across the bay from this lookout. But hey, at least we’re not getting rained on.

still no Fuji
Here too. Fuji should be visible behind the sculpture, but not today. The roads were as fun as always.
fishing town
Below us is a little fishing port in a perfect little harbor.

Go passed out
We had left early in the morning to avoid traffic and get in as much riding as possible before getting rained on, but since we had the roads almost to ourselves, we made great time and got to the lookout near our intended campground at the southern tip of the peninsula a little after noon. The only reason we planned to camp that it usually takes two days to ride all of these roads. Since we still had plenty of energy and most of the day ahead of us, and the weather was getting better, we decided to keep riding and make it a day trip. Go decided to take a quick nap first.
After a while, I looked over to see that Go was sitting between our bikes blogging!
We live in strange times.
Pro Pipe
Turns out he was also taking a cool picture of my V&H Pro Pipe from behind.

I gotta say, my bike looks sweet from just about any angle.

Go's bike at Irozaki
In return I decided to take a more artistic shot of Go’s bike.

Spice Dog:the best curry in Izu
Next stop: the best curry in Izu.
“Spice Dog” is a great restaurant just oustide of Shimoda run by an old Deadhead surfer, and hosts a few handicrafts and antique shops run by a bunch of his hippy friends. Kazu, being a bit of a hippychick herself, couldn’t resist buying some funky oil lamps.
Spice Dog with bikes
It’s the kind of place that looks best with a bunch of Harleys in front of it.
The problem is that with the good food, relaxing atmosphere, and mellow hippy music, we always get so relaxed that it’s hard to get moving again.

Nobu-san and Gajin Bikers site
We went inside and Nobu, the old hippydippy owner, remembered me from when I had stopped by last year. After I ordered my curry, I looked over at the counter, and he had called up the Gaijin Bikers homepage on his iMac!
He knows how to make a guy feel welcome.

going up
Back on the road, we headed up Amagi pass, getting closer to the clouds at every turn. The altitude was high enough that the cherry trees were still blooming up there.

winding through the clouds
Soon we were riding through the clouds on the Izu Skyline, one of my favorite roads anywhere. Perfectly maintained winding roads along the ridge of mountains that forms the backbone of the peninsula, banked just right so that if you handle the bike to its fullest you never need to downshift unless a slowpoke cager gets in the way, and with views of the bay to the west and the Pacific to the east (when it’s not blanketed in fog, that is.)
fogbank on Izu Skyline
This time, however, the fog was so thick that we had to slow the pace down quite a bit, and eventually had to slow to barely moving to see the road in front of us. It’s at times like this that I sometimes want to let someone else lead the pack.

Fuji from 2300ft.
Then, after a half hour of cloud riding, we rounded a curve and suddenly the fog blew away, and there was the mountain! Fuji decided to show her face to say hello first thing in the morning, and then again to say goodbye at the end of the day. The perfect ending to a really great day of riding.

9 thoughts on “Izu Touring”

  1. Pingback: つーぶろ
  2. That looks like a great trip. What are the gas prices like over there? Today I paid $3.55/gallon for regular.

  3. It’s gone that high in the states? Wow.

    We’re used to high prices here, and they’ve been going up again, but I think I paid $4.50 a gallon or so this weekend for premium.

    Side note: Google rocks! I didn’t feel like doing all the math to convert yen per liter to dollars per gallon, so I just typed “138 yen per liter in dollars per gallon” into the google box and it gave me the answer.

  4. That’s cheap… it’s $6.00 a gallon for gas here in Korea. My Hyundai truck is a diesel and it’s a lot cheaper to fill up.

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