Japan 2013, On Tour

Day 1: Wakkanai to Shosanbetsu

The morning was overcast when I got up at 5, but didn’t seem like it would rain. With a little bit of apprehension, but also some relief to be getting going finally, I packed up my tent and bags and fully loaded my bike.

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My goal for today was Shosanbetsu, a small town about 100km from Wakkanai. As I was leaving the friendly old man who gave me tea the day before came over, shook my hand and said something I didn’t understand. I assume it was “good luck” or “safe trip”, and it felt good to be officially seen off by someone. Even a stranger I didn’t really know.

Cycling through Wakkanai in the early morning was a strange experience. It still didn’t yet feel like I was on tour, merely commuting to some destination. I think that changed when I left Wakkanai and saw the coast I would be following for the next two days.

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The journey to my halfway point of Teshio was easy and pleasant. The road was flat, the wind was calm and after a while the sun came out. I passed a few tourers on the road around mid morning and stopped for a chat with some of them beside these windmills a bit outside Teshio. It was a group of three guys. The farthest had ridden from Nagoya, and I don’t think they believed my when I told them I planned to ride to Fukuoka.

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I had planned to eat some ramen or something in Teshio, but Teshio was a lot quieter than I expected. All I could find was a 7/11 so I grabbed one of those rice triangles for lunch. I don’t know what they are called, but I do know they are delicious and so cheap.

The ride from Teshio to Shosanbetsu was a bit tougher, instead of following the coast the road moved inland slightly and followed the rolling dunes. The sun continued to shine and the day was over a lot sooner than I anticipated when I arrived at my destination around 2.30.

There was a really nice free campsite in Shosanbetsu which was situate on a promontory that overlooked the coast. I could see the road I had just ridden, a satisfying view.

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There were a few car camper families in the campsite with me, but no cyclists and none of the motorcyclists that populated Wakkanai campsite.

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My campsite for the night. The next day would be a longer journey, so I welcomed the ease with which I completed this day.

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