Travelling South


We all congegrate for breakfast Maki does rice cakes fried in soy sauce then Jo and Kev make  scrammy eggs and sausages. Maki heads off, An and Jo sort out their shipping online then they are off we wish them well it’s been a good few days.
Kev and I pack as we have spread out too much at Maki’s, we write a message on her fridge (her visitors book) in case we don’t return, we are going to miss her. After giving the place a quick clean up we finally get going, we are initially headed for a Canon service centre in Osaka.  We finally got our video camera working again when we received some replacement batteries in the parcel from home. We used it for a few weeks but it got slightly damp and then threw its toys out of its pram and died. At least it did it somewhere where we can get it fixed I suppose.
It takes longer to get there than anticipated partly due to Osaka being the last city in a line of three. We get to the Canon building at 6pm. The service centre shut at 5.30pm but they take pity on us and re open it specially. Only in Japan will you find someone still there and willing to help long after closing time. They take it in and we will collect it in a week or two.
Due to the late hour we stop for a meal in town knowing that if we don’t we will be eating really late, a Macdonalds is the first place that pops up it’s somewhere we never go at home but here it seems quite quirky to do so. We have popped the bike up on the pavement opposite and are tucking into a Big Mac and fries when red police lights attract our attention oops we have parked in the police bay we go to move but the policeman jumps out and says no problem and opens the adjacent garage and parks the car in there instead. Incredible !
It will be a tough call to find anywhere to camp tonight but at least we’ve eaten I head us for the one patch of green between two cities this ends up as our most bizzare camp to date we pitch up in the middle of a tree lined hairpin bend. There is a small clearing in the middle which is just big enough for the tipi and the bike. It is a rural mountain road with only about five cars all night and we sleep surprisingly soundly.
We are up early and on the road before 7am. It is still slow progress through the towns and lots of bikes are out as it is a national holiday, we are heading for the south coast. We have our usual noodle lunch in a car park next to  a waterfall which we take a look at after. It is very impressive and we take lots of pictures, a Japanese coach load returns from a walk when we get back to the bike all with their bear bells tinkling, we have to laugh you can hear them coming from a mile away. The sun (yes sun) is out and it is glorious so when we spot a good camp up a grassy disused service road to a dam we stop early. Roof wants to change the oil seal on the replacement bevel box as it is leaking and we have some clothes that need drying. Once the sun goes down 5pm it’s cold so we cook in the tent. We hear the deer really close by in the night.
In the morning we see they have raided our rubbish which had been placed away from camp as usual but we don’t mind deer.
I wake in the morning with an excruciating pain in my shoulder I have trapped a nerve somewhere Roofy does a bit of manipulating but it seems no better thank god I’m not riding as I don’t think I could today. The sun has just peeped over the horizon and is bathing us in a warm glow making it hard for us to rush away so we take our time and ensure everything is dry before heading off I do a comedy show trying to put my jacket and helmet on whilst wincing in pain.
It’s my dad’s birthday today so I set an alarm to try to leave a message for when he wakes up, we are 9 hrs ahead.
We travel in glorious sunshine up some really good roads and the traffic is lighter here, we are heading for Tottorri nearing the city we turn off to the coast and head down the Dunes road. After our usual lunch (it would be so nice to be able to afford to something different) we cross the road to the sand dunes. Segoi (wow) they are impressive over 2km wide (at the widest part) and 10km long they are even doing camel rides but have taken the fun bit out by having a platform to get on from instead of the knees down version. What struck me was a strange pattern in the leading edge of the dune until we realise it is hundreds of peoples footprints when they walk up to the top.
Back at the car park we are about to leave when we encounter a young couple, the lady is quite striking as she is the first dreadlocked Japanese lady we have seen. They are lovely and her English is good so we have a quick chat before leaving.
We head for the mountains this time the roads are really rural with moss and grass up the centre, right at the top I spy an entrance into a small grassy area it is perfect tipi size and out of sight, we erect the tent and are just about to cook dinner when a van pulls up opposite to empty it’s grass cuttings we act like statues but as he reverses in to turn around he sees the edge of the bike and drives in. It’s no problem to camp for the night he says but instead of bears he tells us to watch out for wild boar with tusks (all by mime of course).. Makes a change I suppose! We can see where they have been turning over the ground where we are camped.
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