It’s always refreshing to be back on the road, even after only two days in Niigata I felt like it has been a month since I was in the saddle. Cycling out of the city was a lot easier than cycling into it. No sooner had left the last of the sprawl behind, I found myself cycling through the dunes that surround Route 402. The sun was out and the wind was calm, it was perfect.
Not long after leaving the dunes behind I saw this sign
Anyone who knows where I work back home will understand why I had to go on a detour. It was sort of an odd complex of about three small vineyards, one large vineyard with a big gift shop and cafe and fancy spa.
Perhaps the most unusual part of the whole experience was finding this small vineyard and winery run by a man who had loved his trips to Ireland so much he themed his vineyard after it. It was a bizarre experience, stepping out of the heat of the Japanese summer into a winery with The Chieftains playing.
After this not-so-short break the road continued along the coast. It passed by a host of beach that were packed with Japanese people enjoying their national holiday week. It was very hot and the roads were very busy the riding wasn’t quite as enjoyable as it had been in the morning. My path did take me through some nice old fashioned villages however.
I got to Kashiwaki and was on the hunt for a campground when I noticed a good number of tents set up on the beach at the end of the city. I set my tent up and went for a refreshing swim. The sunset here on the west coast was beautiful.
The was a building up near the end of the beach where I went in hopes of filling my water bottles. It turns out it was an impromptu bar/restaurant open during the day. Shut now in the evening it’s staff and friends were enjoying a BBQ on the deck. Katzuo, one of the chefs invited me up and I got to spend the evening eating BBQ and attempting to understand Japanese. On of the best nights I’ve had here no doubt.