A Lo-o-ong day to Sendai


1. CPH 12.08.13

2. Narita - Tone 13.08.13

3. Tone 14.08.13

4. Tone 15.08.13

5. Tone - Oarai 16.08.13

6. Oarai - Tomakomai 17.08.13

7. Tomakomai - Iwamizawa 18.08.13

8. Iwamizawa - Azahikawa 19.08.13

9. Azahikawa - Kamikawa 20.08.13

10.Kamikawa - Nukabira Onsen 21.08.13

11.Nukabira Onsen - Tokachigawa 22.08.13

12.Tokachigawa - Kushiro 23.08.13

13.Kushiro - Shibesha 24.08.13

14.Shibesha - Lake Kussharo 25.08.13

15.Lake Kussharo - Lake Akan 26.08.13

16.Lake Akan - Abashiri 27.08.13

17.Abashiri 28.08.13

18.Abashiri - Sapporo (tog) 29.08.13

19.Sapporo - Otaru 30.08.13

20.Otaru - Kamoenai 31.08.13

21.Kamoenai - Makkari 01.09.13

22.Makkari - Yakumo 02.09.13

23.Yakumo - Hakodate 03.09.13

24.Hakodate - Aomori 04.09.13

25.Aomori - Lake Towada 05.09.13

26.Lake Towada - Lake Tazawa 06.09.13

27.Lake Tazawa - Hanamaki 07.09.13

28.Hanamaki - Tsukidate 08.09.13

29.Tsukidate - Sendai 09.09.13

30.Sendai - Tone 10.09.13

31.Tone 11.09.13

32.Tone 12.09.13

33.Tone - Kurihama 13.09.13

34.Kurihama - Hakone 14.09.13

35.Hakone - Gotemba 15.09.13

36.Gotemba 16.09.13

37.Gotemba - Fujinomiya 17.09.13

38.Fujinomiya - Shizuoka (Kyoto) 18.09.13

39.Kyoto 19.09.13

40.Kyoto 20.09.13

41.Kyoto 21.09.13

42.Kyoto - Nara 22.09.13

43.Nara - Wakayama 23.09.13

44.Wakayama - Higashikagawa 24.09.13

45.Higashikagawa - Takamatsu 25.09.13

46.Takamatsu - Iya Valley 26.09.13

47.Iya Valley 27.09.13

48.Iya Valley - Imabari 28.09.13

49.Imabari - Onomichi 29.09.13

50.Onomichi - Hiroshima 30.09.13

51.Hiroshima 01.10.13

52.Hiroshima - Takayama (tog) 02.10.13

53.Takayama 03.10.13

54.Takayama - Matsumoto 04.10.13

55.Matsumoto - Hakuba 05.10.13

56.Hakuba - Nagano 06.10.13

57.Nagano - Tone 07.10.13

58.Tone 08.10.13

59.Tone - Narita 09.10.13

60. Narita - CPH 10.10.13


Letter 29


Monday 09.09.13    133,51 km


At 6am it was still grey, but now at the breakfast the sun is shining and the sky is mainly blue. It's 10.30am and I've done 30,85 km. In 10-20 km I will try to find my way to Matsushima at the coast, it should be so beautiful. It has been main road driving, still on Route 4.

I've been looking at prices for used cars. The chinese have a special word for 10.000. They count in 10.000's. I think it's the same here. Prices can be 21, 34 or 128 aso. The cheapest I saw yesterday was 7, which means 70.000 Y = 350 . That sounds reasonable? A car for 30 will then be 300.000 Y = 2.400 and one for 100 is 1.000.000 Y = 8.000 . I wonder what they cost as new?

       You don't see people bicycling - but some does

                             Say that again, please!

I stop and eat a cake with sweatened red beans. That's a heavy one. I'm closing in to Sendai. When there's 32 km left I'm araid to go too far and enter a gas station to ask for Matsushima? He doesn't know exactly what to so. It's gonna be hilly, he shows with his hand, but after they've discussed a bit, they agree that it will be best to go on to Taiwa where there should be a sign. Exactly like it looks in my map - perfect, thank you.

And I go on, turn and just have to get there. At a moment the road follows the river and the cycle track is up on the dyke. Great. Further on the dyke turns off to the left. I think that if the dyke follows the river and the river runs to the sea, I'll get to the coast anyway? So I go on. It's so quiet here. An egret takes off and sving lazy upwards. Their wings have black edges here - maybe also at home? A little later it's a large prey, which intimidates two white egrets...

           When the dyke was still going along the road

                 It won't get more japanese than this

The dyke disappears towards the left bank, to the north, but later svings back towards where I came from? It's not very simple with these dykes. It's some kind of roundabout I'm in, but it's lovely.

At the end I get back to a road, but it's not the one from which I came, it has to be further
inland. And I find it - I think - and turns left. Then I waste about an hour. After 4-5 km I realize it's wrong. The signs in the backwards direction doesn't even say Matsushima. I ask in a Family Mart. I have to go back. After these extra 10 km

I find the right direction and finally get to Matsushima, where I turn right over a bridge at the harbour, where I eat two triangles and drink a Coke. What a peaceful spot and the sun shines on the islands out in the bay.

The "real" viewpoint Osamatsushima is apparently further away. There's a man who asks if I'm going there? I don't really know... It's another 7 km, which means 14 as I have to go back too. But then I just give a damn. Of course I shall, now I've come this far... And I continue, up and down. If it's still reconstruction after the tsunami 2011 or it's new constructions, I don't know, but they're working everywhere. The trucks hurry back and forth. I don't go ALL the way, but see what I want to see. There's a map and I don't have to go on. After all I'm not going to lie down at some beach....

                    Some of the pine grown islands

And I start the return. Then suddenly the track divides. I choose to take the left branch, but realize where it's taking me and change my mind and brake. It's greasy, I use the front brake (as the rear needs new brake shoes), the wheel slides away under me, I get my leg down but I cannot hold it and with a "damn" in my head I let the bike fall and tumble out in the grass. The bike hammers down but the panniers take the worst blow. I'm not hurt at all. That was the first crash for a long time....

Time to get to Sendai where I have to be before 6pm where the tourist information (probably closes -  if not before). There's 27 km, but it's also nearly 4pm - and I have done the first 100 km today. But I'm in good shape. Ought to stop to eat my cookies but have to do with water. I get a glimpse of the beach promenade in the more fashionable part of Matsushima. I came from the other side,  this is tourist hell.

The rest is just full speed ahead without looking back... I just want to get there. And I do. Start to ask as I don't see any sign with station. In this way I end up in front of the station in Sendai, but it's not as easy as usual. The station is really huge and I'm on the "wrong" side - the east gate. I leave the bike there and hurry down the stairs to get to the other side. It's far, stairs all over, but I get there and find the information. That's not easy either. I stand there confused several times. Feel lost in this enormous place.

I get a hostel booking, get a map and train schedules. They havn't finished the reconstruction of the rails down the coast (the tsunami again), so I cannot go directly there. In stead I'll have to go with the shinkansen and get off in Oyama, from where it'll be 50-60 km to Tone. But that's also just a minor day trip and the train ride takes about 3 hours. It'll wait till the
day after tomorrow. Tomorrow will be clothes washing day. And excursion day.