|We wake at 7 we had no bear visits in the night thankfully and the bear trap is empty. We have a treat as I manged to find some reduced to clear eggs and some cheap bacon in the supermarket yesterday so we have our first fried breakfast for a long while. Its a tardy start and we aren’t on the road until 10am a few kms later we spot a cheap cash and carry type supermarket we have used before, we cannot pass it up so go in to stock up on everything. Not to many more kms down the road I just happen to see a sign out of the corner of my eye for a bike shop called “Twin”. The sign says they deal in Moto Guzzi’s, Ducati’s Triumph’s and Nortons. I need a washer for my wheel spindle and it looks interesting anyway so I do a U turn and go back and boy am I glad I did. The owner and the mechanic appear as we pull up, they don’t speak much English but are enthusiatic about the bike and with the help of our card we explain what we are up to which makes them even more exited. They lead us inside and it’s our turn to say Segoi (phonetic – wow in Japanese)
The front of the shop has a line of bikes to die for: Ducati 900ss, Norton Commando Fastback, another Commando in racing trim followed by Triumph’s Harley’s and a Guzzi T3 California, our tail wagging enthusiasm means before we really have chance to take this lot in he is motioning us out the back and opening and pulling dust covers off things right left and centre. A second world war BMW R75 combo appears next still in sand camoflage complete with 2 wheel drive (driving sidecar wheel) and then another one. He is motioning three to us and leads out to another shed where sure enough there is another one but built by Zundaap this time. Just when we think that there can’t be any more he leads us to yet another shed and unveils a 1940′s Nimbus with a chair, an early 1970′s – 750 Sport Ducati and a rare 1930′s (I think ?) Mercedes Benz car. Inspired by the Nimbus (a rare Danish motorcycle) it’s my turn to surprise him now and I motion with my digits does he have a computer?
He leads me behind the counter and I show him Tormod’s website http://kccd.no/home_en.html he and Klaus his mate are travelling around the world on two 1937 Nimbus combo’s which makes them officially madder than us, which is a rare thing !
Next I show him our website which handily now has Japanese translation thanks to Al our webmaster.
Computer stuff bookmarked and some questions cleared up with the ever useful “Google translate” he motions us to come out the back and stuns us even more by showing us the deactivated MG42 machine gun which mounts onto the BMW’s sidecar and a dedicated original trailer for it. Then we are in for a treat as he fires the Beemer up (first kick) and motions Karen to jump in the sidecar. I video them as they whizz round the yard putting reverse gear to good use. I suddenly remember about the washer and the mechanic gives me a box to rummage through, I select a couple which should do the trick and ask how much but they wave my wallet away. Eventually it’s time to go but what amazing people and incredible bikes ! we are so glad we stopped. Just before we go we peek in the red English phonebox which is outside, it still has the plate inside saying where it was situated which was Hope Hospital Eccles. Karen notices some graffiti scratched on the glass, so if you are Tania, Nicola or Rachel and you were huddled in a phone box at Hope Hospital in 1989 etching your mark it’s still there you naughty girls but now it’s in Japan. Karen goes back on the computer and googles the address and finds some pictures of it in its former home which amazes our hosts. (We have had a look at Twins website since then and they have quite a few pictures of our visit on their site in the coffeetime section www.twin-mc.com)
We leave about 2pm, we haven’t had lunch yet either so we stop at a supermarket in the next town and buy some vegetable fritters to jazz up our noodles a bit. There is also wifi here so we fire off a blog and catch up with our emails. We haven’t covered many miles but it’s been a superb day although now we need to find a campsite sharpish our we will lose the light. As we are heading through a town we notice a strange and quite striking folly up on the hill, a little later when we are exploring small side roads and tracks looking for a freecamp we spot a small sideroad signposted to a natural park which looks promising. Following the steep and winding road we find ourselves at …you guessed it the same folly we were looking at earlier only it turns out its actually a church where people get married.
Beyond this is a building that is used for the services and as a music venue. Its all shut up for the winter and there is not a soul around, we look around the place taking photographs as the evening light is beautiful and the scene picturesque.
Having established that there is definitely no one about we start to camp up in the gravel car park beyond the toilet block. This has a roller shutter door on the front but it’s not locked which swung it for us. We are not the first to camp here recently as there are the remains of an open fire in the car park we might well be adding to it later as it’s bitterly cold. We are just laying out the tent to peg it out when it starts to rain heavily, we are both a bit ticked off with it’s timing as we have only just got the tent dried out after it’s last soaking. I say to Karen can’t we just sleep in the toilet block and to my surprise she says she was thinking the same thing. We go to investigate the possibilities bundling the tent roughly back in the pannier and sprint round to the entrance with our belongings hiding them from the rain in the convenient covered entrance. Next I dash back out in the rain and ride the bike round between the entrance and the wall opposite. The gap is just right and I can lean the bike against the wall with it almost upright and still squeeze past the bike to get in and out. We arrange the panniers so we have a seat each and a table to cook on in the entrance while I make dinner. This gives us some shelter from the rain and biting wind but its still cold. Karen has a look around and reckons the air bed will fit in the gap between the ladies cubicles and the sinks so she lays a tarp on the floor and makes the ladies home while I cook dinner. It sounds kind of gross and we weren’t sure whether to admit to it or not but you need to be aware public toilets in Japan are normally spotlessly clean and these are no exception. They have also been cleaned before they were shut for the winter so we have no qualms about sleeping here indeed we are greatful for getting out of the weather, I wouldn’t dream of doing this is in a public toilet in England however, they would all be locked at night or vandalised anyway. We have stir fried Chicken and Pak Choi in a creamy sauce for dinner which is really nice before arranging our stuff. The disabled toilet is our toilet, the Mens is our drying room with the tent and bike gear hanging up to dry and the ladies is our bedroom. We leave the panniers in the entrance lobby and pull the roller shutter down to keep out the cold. I can’t help but mention the similarity to a Japanese hotel room, it is uncannily similar except with more tiles. We sleep fairly soundly and are only awoken by being dumped flat on the floor by an airbed requiring inflation and the shutter door rattling in the wind a few times. We are looking foward to replacing the air bed in Oceania somewhere and possibly a sacrificial burning of the old one, it has so many patches now it is ridiculous. At least we are dry and warm which is a blessing as its a really filthy night cold, wet and windy.