Thursday 29.08.13 ca. 6 km
Up at 6am and at a slow speed I pack and eat breakfast. Buy some sandwiches
for the journey and am at the station one hour before departure. I cannot get to
the platform before 9.05, so I pack the bike in its bag and am now sitting in
the waiting room. On a screen runs a programme that's NOT baseball. It's also
purely women sitting here.
My luggage - I need some porters
Then I'm in the train. The disadvantage by not being able to take it apart on ther platform is, that now I have to carry it all. I have to walk twice. First through the ticket control to the platform, and next all the way to the reserved car 6, which is next to the engine.
The "corpse" has been securely tied
It's quite sweaty I now sit here in seat 8D. The bike has been raised out at the doors and securely fastened with a rope - my rope. The train stewardess smiled gratefully, when I had finished. My luggage takes up a lot of space over the windows, but we're only 4 in this car.
We take off - and go same direction as I did when I came, the road follows
the rails. The ticket inspector has just been here. Belt and belts. Have to keep
it in a safe place, I'll probably have to show it when I get off also. We're
going mostly in open land with low mountains at the sides. At several occasions
grubbing-up reveals the use for winter sports. We stop at Membetsu, Bihoro,
Kitami and at Rubeshibe we turn north. The train fight up a narrow gorge. Then
comes a tunnel and we leave to the other side.
In Engaru highest up north we change direction. Now we'll go south west. In
Engaru a rock comes out from the wavy forrested mountains. Then comes the
controller. The seats can be turned so that we keep looking in the direction
we're heading. Amazing!
The mountains get higher to the left. We closing in to Daisetsuzan National
Park, which we pass at long distance. The engine work itself up through a narrow
valley and at last - comes a long tunnel, taking us to the other side. Slowly
but surely the valley widens and we reach Asahikawa. Here I cross my trail. The
rest of the trip we only stop once. I give up finding out where we are in the
map, but feel from the surroundings that Sapporo is closing in.
Find the Tourist information, get a map and a mark on something called Ino's
Place, a hostel that I've decided for.
The local Eifeltower - the TV tower
I find it without complications, but I also look at the map constantly. Lucky. There's a vacant bed - just for tonight. Tomorrow is fully booked.