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.
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.
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.
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.)
On a clearer day, Mt. Fuji is visible across the bay from this lookout. But hey, at least we’re not getting rained on.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.