Goldenweek Wander – Part 6

Scrabbling around the mountain passes…gates and all!

Joetsu to Iida @385km

Had a leisurely wake up then took a short braap over to the local Starbucks for what has become an institution, the post-coast2coast morning meet up. The crew from the day/night before were rolling in and out in dribs and drabs, chatting, grouping up for further touring or the run home.

Good times 👍

On the road again 🎶

Tony had made an enticing pitch for a visit to a local ninja village come theme park come playground and I’d wanted to see it too for some time so that was our first stop. An old friend, Ferdinand, tagged along for ninjaland.

Michael was off solo exploring and found himself this castle at Takada Gardens on the way out of Joetsu.

Back at ninjaland after a spritely run south and up into the hills, we were feeling the heat off the bikes as we took the long walk down into Ninja land 🏃

We started out with some blow dart fun. Disappointed with the relatively close and unadventurous big red X on a piece of paper on a stick they had us shooting at, I got us started on trying to hit the logo near the ceiling at the back of the room. Much funner and the lads sent theirs aloft also.

Bet they had a helluva time getting those darts down but by the number of holes up there, it wasn’t the first time.

Us big kids went after the small kids. See that little blue ninja on the wall at back? Uh-huh!

Leaving the little blue ninja looking like a pin cushion, John and Tony went to the museum where John found himself some accessories…

And his clansmen ☺ Look at him, fits right in!

He settled on something a little more traditional.

Perfect outfit for the long, fast and deceptively short ended toboggan. I went first and soon after exiting the run came a hurtling fearless mighty John!

Seemingly chasing a speed demon and casting aside the coward lever, he flew through the braking zone and buried himself in the rather inadequate mats at the end of the run.

I thought he was done for but he stretched out like an inhaling accordion, rolled over and laughed. 😂 Well done mate! 👍

Back on the road, Tony and Fernand headed for the express route back to the big smoke while John and I continued twisting south.

Being Children’s Day, we saw plenty of koi no bori floating / hanging across rivers and from flagpoles. A tradition and common site on this day.

It was getting hot, even in the hills, and I was glad to see some shade in the tight twisties. But when the same twisties went past a second and third time, it was time for a powwow with the navi. Just then, who came zinging around the corner? Michael! We chatted and he was enjoying his solitude so we went our separate ways again.

We took our time until the climb up the Green Line and along the Venus Line. The eMpT-10 was getting thirsty again after the gallop but the gas stand on the Venus Line was closed…

So, taking a route I’d never been desperate enough to, we headed down the hillside through a glider take-off/landing zone. Being a decently steep downhill meant I could shut the eMpT-10 down and roll. With what I guesstimated to be 10km of fuel left in the tank, we rolled almost the entire 20odd kilometres down. Worked a treat!

After some hunting, we filled up and headed through Chino to the 152.

Being cautious through the area we’d seen the law a few days earlier, we meandered our way down to the remoter section of the gangling 152. But before leaving civilisation entirely, we jumped up onto a mystery dam-side road for the view and solitude and found the local monkey clan were hanging out perched atop the roadside guardrail and in the overhanging trees. They seemed to like the humming s1000xr more than the lumpy MT-10, no? Or was it you they were communing with John?

Continuing down the 152, the skies got heavier and we were climbing. Eventually, on a narrowing section deep in the valley just after a rather dissuasive road warning obstacle, those two vectors met. It began to rain. And then rained heavier and got colder. It was enough for us to pull over and don the wet weather gear. Me for the bag on the back. John for the body. Not that kind of body bag!

Several tight climbing hairpins later, a good portion of the road had slipped away down the mountainside and we realized why we’d not seen anyone else for a while. Gingerly throttling around that and several kilometres later, we came upon more signage and dissuasive obstructions to find a bit of upper mountainside resting on the road on its way into the valley below. Again, there was enough road for two wheels to inch on by. So far so good. Not really.

The final part of the climb had a heavy fog come low cloud roll in. And at around 1500m, it was thunder, lightning and pinlock overcoming fine mist. Not to mention under 10°c! Soldering on over the summit the rain was on again, off again for a few kilometres then things began looking better…until rounding a corner to find the fortknox of roadblocks!

We tried many things… Eventually, John channelled the power of his monkey mates from earlier in the arvo and the impossible became possible! Well done mate 👏 I really didn’t feel like going back through that crap.

Less than an hour later with daylight fading, we tonked into Iida, making our way to the guesthouse for that night.

Michael was already there and sent us welcoming messages to say all was right with the world ahead and where to park. Cheers Michael 👍

Yamairo Guesthouse: A restored and repurposed old trader’s home/warehouse. Full of character and atmosphere.

The common areas are vast yet intimate.

The bad weather meant that we had the place almost to ourselves.

Perfect as we had the Jerez Moto GP to watch.

The owner/operators were happy to let us watch, cheer and enjoy. So we crowded around Michael’s phone screen while they plied us with liquor and food ☺ Well done on the live feed Michael. 👍

Did I mention it was a unique place?

Our room had four… compartments. Each private compartment had light, power supply for charging and a vast comfy clean bed.

I hit the sack and was out in minutes. 😴

Eventful days riding John. Good to ride it with you 👍
More to come. Final day actually. Stay tuned…

MT-10 SP Update

Through the heat, bad weather, slippery conditions and test of economy-rolling, it didn’t miss a beat or disappoint.

Discovered that the brakes work regardless of ignition on or off. A worry I’d had with ABS units. Never tested if the ABS still worked though.

Found the winglets above the tailight to be just garnish and terribly placed for carrying a touring bag. Given enough time, I can see them succumbing to attrition. Unfortunate form over function design.

On an unplanned yet often forgotten test of durability, discovered that the headers are very hardy and more than up to the task of holding the weight of the bike should the front tyre cease to be doing that. 😉

1 Comment

  1. Loved this article! As a fellow-rider, I could imagine the fun and excitement of a trip like that through the
    mountains. I will most definitely look for this pension when I plan my next multi-day, multi-player ride. Great read!


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