Two weekends in a row I had touring plans rained out, so this weekend I wanted to do it right, and planned to run Nagano’s glorious Venus Line start to finish with extra twisties tacked onto either end. But sometimes it doesn’t go as planned.

The clouds covering the mountains I was heading towards were the first hint, although the early fall colors were nice.

There were still patches of sunlight at Shirakabako, but it was insanely cold.

At Kirigamine (“Misty Peak”) the rains started coming down, and I wasn’t carrying my raingear.

With a wall of dark clouds ahead covering the rest of the Venus Line, I had to change direction and escape toward the light.

But there was always sunshine ahead in at least one direction, so I just tried a bunch of random roads in Nagano and Yamanashi, picking direction based on where the sun still seemed to be shining.

I ended up in a bunch of cool places I’d never been before, including this mountain with its magic light that drew me in.

These crossroads were both a great location and an appropriate metaphor—sometimes you have to change your plans and just roll down whatever road seems right at the time, and sometimes it ends up taking you somewhere new and wonderful.

The day didn’t go exactly as I had planned, but I’m satisfied.