Last weekend was Club SPLENDOR’s 20th anniversary Izu Yamabiko-so touring.
Since the weekend before, the weather report had been calling for rain, but I never let it worry me. Just as I had expected, I woke up in the morning to find that the weather gods had smiled on me once again, with clear blue skies and the roads just a little bit wet from the heavy rains the night before.
We got to the meeting point at Ebina Service Area on the Tomei expressway to find that YOS’s shovelhead’s starter wasn’t working, but since the kickstarter works fine, this was nothing to worry about. It turns out a different bike was preparing to give us trouble this time.
Near the top of Hakone Pass, we got hit with some fierce winds.
Hasshi decided to take the time to clamp his loose muffler down really tight, and the wind was cold enough that the muffler cooled down enough to handle pretty quickly.
The Izu Skyline toll road, which runs along the spine of the mountain range which forms the Izu peninsula, is one of my favorite roads, a roller coaster highway with well-designed winding turns, and views of the ocean on both sides of the peninsula. With a sky this clear, and just a few petals left on the cherry trees, it was breathtaking.
Hasshi’s panhead stopped a few times, with old paint clogging up his gas line, but each time he was able to get it going again without too much trouble.
In recent years, I’ve tended to pick the same route for this trip, since I think it’s the most fun with the least traffic, and this year was no different. As always, lunch at the Katatsumuri curry shop, where we can sit on the homemade log furniture at look at the cherry-pink-tinged mountains.
Eating curry and nan bread in a mountain meadow and chatting with fellow bikers isn’t a bad way to spend lunchtime.
I’m not sure this is meant to take my weight.
We took the back roads back onto route 59 and headed over Nishina Pass. There was an asshole Mercedes who wouldn’t let me us on the narrow mountain roads, but I guess the dealerships take away your Benz priveleges if you ever show a hint of human kindness, so I suppose he couldn’t help it. I would have blown by him if I were alone, but leading 10 bikes I couldn’t take that kind of risk, so I just came him a friendly biker salute (with one less finger than I usually use for the peace sign) when we finally got a chance to pass. It was too good a day to let one pathetic prick ruin my mood.
Yamabiko-so is an old schoolhouse that has been converted into a town-run inn, with onsen hot spring baths and an onsen heated swimming pool. SPLENDOR has been coming here every year since 1987, and we Gaijin Bikers joined them from 1997 onward.
After some delicious curry, we headed out again.
We filled up our tanks in Shimoda, but then Hasshi’s panhead refused to start again, no matter how many times we kicked at it.
And we’re off to a running start!
A few kilometers on, it stopped again. Most of us don’t mind this sort of thing, but Hasshi didn’t want us to wait for him any longer, so we left Ara with him and went ahead. I hate leaving people behind, but he insisted.
We got to the Amagi-goe rest area, and were talking about how they were probably sitll working on the bike, when we heard the thunder of V-twins coming toward us. Turns out one powerful blow from Ara’s monster lungs was enough to dislodge the gunk in the gas line, and they got going immediately.
Overnight, the temperature dropped, and the rains started again, but we
had our perfect weekend, and the bad forecast probably helped keep the
roads reasonably cage-free. Altogether, it was a brilliant ride.