Wednesday 21.08.13 97 km
Now is a wonderful morning. The valley, that waving extend and
come together again, is being hit by
the first rays of sun. The forrested mountainsides are still hiding small clouds. I stand and watch
it all from my sight - the bird watch tower I guess it is. The concrete building with the toilets
downstairs have a platform on top, from where you soon discover that it isn't a real golf course.
It's more like extended mini golf on grass. For japanese that never tried to golf.
I had my bedroom down under the stairs with the bike beside me, so that noone could get to me without
I would wake up. But there's no chance of anyone coming. This building is connected to the bicycle
track, so there are no access for cars.
I did see the track yesterday when I left Asahikawa, but I had no idea as to where it would lead,
even there was a name: Sounkyo. Since then I've learned (from a brochure) that it's right where I'm
On my way yesterday I saw it followed the main road, but it wasn't possible to get on to it. I did try.
And here it ends.
The valley extend again and a long straight road appear. After one more turn a contrast to the
small cosy green tops appear. It looks freightning. Surrounded by clouds so you don't know where the
mountain ends and the sky starts. I have to go somewhere around there?
After yet another turn it's all gone - for now...
The road has inclined a bit for long, as it does when you go up along a river, Lesser the bigger the
river - normally. Now it gets uncomfortable narrow. Workers are extending it, what doesn't make it
better, as they've placed a fence just outside the white line. At a spot where the workers cars block
half of the road there a traffic regulation. That means it's not a traffic light like it would have been
at home, but people. First comes a man with a white flag and a whistle to tell you have to slow down.
Then a man with a red and a green flag to either stop you or let you pass. And there are a few more
there that maybe just have to thank you for your cooperation. And it's like that from the other side.
I fight myself over a hill but only to go down again on the other side. The road has widened, but
what is more: Asahikawa-Sounkyo cycle track leave the road from here, I'm looking forward to that!
On the other hand Karakawa did not stretch all the way to the main road so I couldn't do any shopping
before the pass. I have 7 bananas, 5 slices of white bread and an instant dinner.
The road inclines. From being one gear low as an average I'm now two down. The river is also more
noisy. The wheather keeps quite nice. This morning it turned more cloudy and cooler when I started off.
It was actually quite convenient for biking. Now it's mainly sunny- but I don't complain!
The peaks raise on both sides. "But it's a pass....!", said the lady in the tourist office in Asahikawa
with fear in her face. Yes, I know... and now the show starts...
The first sign of civilisation for long comes in Sounkyo Gorge. A hotel and a 7-eleven, where I buy
two packages of rice and an Aquarius Soda. The rice packages are with fish or fish eggs in the mideele
and packed in seeweed. They're good. I have one of them heated.
At Sounkyo Spa I wonder if it's now I have to leave this road. At the same moment comes a bicycling
japanese from the other side. I get him to stop, but not easily. But we can look at maps together
even he's not fond of mine. He has the book of all of Hokkaido and I can see, I don't have to leave
until the lake.
Thinking that bicycles shall follow the old road - there comes a tunnel - I end up in one of the
famous sight-seeing spots in this area. (later I've learned it's called Hagoromo Falls. Marvellous
waterfalls - and souvenirs.
One of the falls
Back to the tunnel. It's long. Very long. There is a bicycle lane but not very wide and with changing
surface and potholes and bulges. Luckily it's lighted. After about 3 km it end at last only for a
new one to show up, but this time you can see right through it.
Then I climb upwards with 8 km/h, at the end even 10! Then I'm in a pass, where the road split up
and I'm going to the right. A new tunnel turns up ahead.
It's quite a group that's needed when the lights have to be checked: The man with the whistle, 3
men with flags, one to drive the car and one or two to do the job. And 4 more from the other side.
Now I've entered the Daisetsuzan National Park. It looks a little like Gerloss Pass in Austria.
In the beginning the road went both up and down, but for long it hasn't changed. Up, up, up. Not
THAT steep but boring. All the time you just have to look forward at the next turning hoping for
something new to come up, but no. The only comfort is that it's not that high to the clouds anymore.
It's also cooler.
One more tunnel
At last something happens. A tunnel. Then I'm probably up? And they doing the
usual work with the
lights. The man with the flag tells me to stay to the right. He says it in japanese but together
with his gestures I understand. It's the lane that's blocked for traffic and I can have it all for
myself. I just have to go around the cars that's parked there.
When I get to the other side it rains. Just a little drizzle. And what's more: there's drinking water.
I eat some bananas and start rolling down. Rolling might not be the word, around 40 km/h, sometimes
more sometimes less. Km after km. I have both the fleece and the rain jacket on but my shorts get wet
as it's raining more now. And I, that had dreamt about finding a small mountain lake to camp aside.
On the other hand, I move many km. Beyond my expectations I end up reaching Nukaburo Onsen. There I
meet 3 other western cyclists - the first. It's nice to be able to talk to people, I have a need for
that. I've decided for a hotel this night - I've saved for it. The first one is full or does the man
think I look too lousy? He's friendly enough and uses 10 min to call other hotels and find one with
a room. It will cost me 9.100 Y including breakfast and dinner. I'm really not surprised here in this
Spa town, but I feel the need for some extra care - and I get it. But that'll wait till tomorrow.