|The morning light is fantastic, really cold and crisp we see the first snow on the opposite mountain, a thin layer like icing. We made the right choice last night as the wind is still biting this morning, wrapping up against the chill we take some photos then keeping to the mountain roads we head on our way. Progess is great no traffic and great scenery we are thankful again for our heated gear. It is a timely reminder our time is running out here and we are making plans to ship south to New Zealand first instead of Australia (it will be their summertime and hot,hot,hot) but have to return to Maki’s to finalise arrangements and clean the bike.
The GPS(Doris) shows a gap in the route she is not always reliable more of a guide, the map shows a through route it turns out this time Doris is correct, approximately 30km up a mountain a man is employed to wave his baton at the odd stray motorcyclist who should be silly enough to not understand the road closure signs. We wonder how many days go by before he will see another, we bow and smile whilst turning round.
It’s a bit of a blow as we have to head coastward toward the traffic but with Doris’s help I weave us a route parallel to the main highway. Without her help it would have been impossible to stay on track as the road varied from two lane highway to small grass lined track, through one lane tunnels and villages and on big relief roads. It was a great route with little traffic and I got us to the top of mount Rocco a mere 20km away from Osaka city center (we have to collect our video camera).
We ride by a lake full of acers in colour so stop to take yet more photos. This area is predomiately occupied by the wealthy so finding camp proves tricky, we pass the cops twice patroling the region for boy racers and the like. As usual the light is fading we spot a YMCA which in our country was founded to help homeless people so we drop in hoping for a cheap place to stay. We ask if it is ok to pitch up in a sandy area of their grounds after a lengthy discussion we are informed regettably no one will be here after dark so they can’t allow it. We consider just popping back after dark anyway but first we head back 300yards to a potential spot we saw on the way up. It has all the right features bollards to stop cars entering a flat grass pitch yep it’ll do a turn.
It once saw life as a view point only the trees have grown and the benches have rotted, for us it is now perfect as it is half way down a steep mountain road it is not somewhere people will stop and a free camp this close to Osaka is amazing, as is the night view of Kobe and Osaka cities from the top of mt Rocco.
In the morning we head for Osaka it still takes 2hrs but we reach the Canon building and the video camera is fixed, we left a card with the English speaking gentleman who helped us and he is keen to see the bike once he realises it is the car park downstairs. We finally wave goodbye and set a route out of the first city.
Heading for the first green patch on the map we find ourselves eating our noodles with a back drop of Osaka castle very nice to.
It is still late afternoon by the time we reach the mountain roads and it is starting to rain to boot. This time we are not too worried we are heading for Maki’s it’s a bit deja vu as we’re soaking wet again, we pull up outside at 6.30pm she’s not here!!!
Undaunted we unpack and set up our bed, we can see she has a guest staying although they travel mighty light we hope our arrival will be ok.
Maki’s timing is perfect just as dinner is ready, we make it stretch to four. We didn’t have to worry about turning up unannounced for the past few days Maki has been coming home hoping to see us here but disapointed, we are as pleased to see her again as she is us. Takash her friend is good company as he too has travelled. A really good evening follows lots of catching up to do. Maki and Takash were putting the roof on her new home (interesting and unconventional). We go bed in good time as we are all busy tomorrow and tired.