A little Coast to Coast Twistybutt Scouting
Woke up to an overcast morning with sunshine promised. Michael and John were in Yamanashi, as was Oyly so we were meeting there.
Old ironbutt, twistybutt and general touring marauder mate Tony had chimed in and was joining for a few days too. 👍
The SP was ready and waiting having gained a garmin navi, fuzz warner and luggage resplendent with bunjy cords and a cargo net seemingly big enough to double as a hammock. Never know…
Hit the road with an hour and a half to the meet surging from light to light until zipping through a toll gate onto an expressway.
Humming along at a steady speed with 100+ uninterrupted kilometres ahead, it was time to test the cruise control and…for several kilometres, I poked, prodded, slid, swiped, long pressed, short pressed, double tapped and even resorted to multiple fingers. Thought it was broken or I was missing something and I was. Finally stumbling on a usable velocity…it maxed out at 105km/h indicated. Jp-spec! The right hand was sorer than intended on arrival at the meet and the gang was already there.
Had a bite and a coffee while catching up. Then it was off to do some twisties and scouting.
The blue skies turned grey running through the southern lowlands of Yatsugatake. Approaching Suwa Lake, the temp started to drop and as we climbed, at around 900m and 12°C, a spotty rain started. Soon climbed into low foggy cloud and up around 1100m winter’s white was lingering.
Sailed on through patchy weather with just a stop for fuel demanded by the eMpTy10.
With the MT showing 8°C, a soft steady drizzle and the road shiny, the Venus Line wasn’t as fun as it could’ve been. Especially on Pirelli Rossa Corsa II… which Michael assured were ringed on the edges with pure carbon ‘slippery when wet’ death-strips! He was on the same rubber and wasn’t trying to overtake me so I took his word for it and we kept it real while waltzing the steeds along the winding mountain main roads and down through Ueda on the way up to Jizo Touge for a lunch break.
Was similarly chilly up there, crossing the Nagano-Gunma border at @1750m, and the hot beef curry went down a treat!
Riders fueled, it was onto the Tsumagoi Panorama Line – Manza Highway and up to the Shiga-Kusatsu Road.
Climbing the Manza Highway and passing the snowline from where it got whiter, colder and incredibly scenic when the weather allowed, it was time for me to add a layer, done the heated gloves and plug in. Pulling over in Manza outside the visitors centre, much to John’s confusion ☺, I got to it. He looked even more confounded when I started flapping my hands about like a princess in a fly farm. Yep, the cold wet hands needed help getting dry enough to slide into lined gloves.
Gear on and feeling warmer with every rev, we picked up Tony and his green machine then made the final switchback twist up the snow covered mountainside to the Shiga-Kusatsu road. Japan’s highest national road, peaking at 2127 metres.
Pic taken, away we went. Saw 3°C near the top @2100 metres. Getting stuck behind a bus for a bit then a truck, looking through the grit encrusted visor was like getting a feed from a fridge in a blackout. Thankfully, warm-n-safe have a handy visor wipe on their gloves that works damn well!
Rounding up the truck, wiping off the visor and dropping a gear, the run down into Nakano was fun bar the odd Pirelli shimmy on wet expansion joints.
As the road straightened, we got the gang back together and soon pulled into a combini for our last powow before the run into Joetsu.
Twenty or so kilometres later, we were slabbing into Joetsu as the afternoon sun was falling fast behind thick cloud. It hadn’t been the best weather but the roads trumped the weather and all were in good spirits.
Tired, cold and thirsty, it was time to retire to a hotspring soak followed by a good feed and some much deserved rehydration.
More to come, stay tuned…