Goldenweek Wander – Part 3

Over the Alps and into Hida

Joetsu to Hida @ 450km

Started out with a morning hotspring soak and the view from the outdoor tub was of a blue sky over snow dusted majestic mountains to the south. That’s where we were headed and it looked cold.

First up, meet for breakfast at a nearby cafe.

Some really needed it. Wasn’t sure if it was the beer or their first naked public outing the night before. Yep, John’s first onsen πŸ˜‚ You did well mate πŸ‘

All were in good spirits thanks to the much improved weather. Caffeined up and general plan acknowledged, it was a 150km expressway haul to Matsumoto then west into the mountains again. Had intended a visit to Matsumoto Castle for John and Michael’s benefit but in the lead, I was lead astray by my garmin and the alluring mountains in the opposite direction.

On route, deep in farmers’ country, we had a rendezvous with a water god memorialised beside a crystal clear icemelt channel flowing out of the Hida Mountains.

Powerspot Pitstop – Fresh air, green fields, blue skies and cute little frogs everywhere.

After fueling the steeds, we twisted our way up the 158 to Fuketsu no Sato michinoeki for some wasabi croquet and pig on a stick. Yum!

Just a tad over 10Β°C – Four lounging lizards happy to catch some rays.

Palletes tickled and itching for twisties, it was time to torture some tyre writhing up the 158 to the wormhole that pops you out on the west side of those majestic peaks, in Hirayu.

On the other side, colder, rimmed by steep mountains and snowcapped peaks. We pulled in to the covered rest area to acclimatise.

Layers added and shrunken bladders emptied, it was on to Hida’s little slice of heaven. Rt 471! Blue skies overhead, sun-warmed roads under tyre and cool Alps air being syphoned into some seriously starved airboxes. The sound of the string of 4s and the big Vtwin must’ve appeased the road gods as the 471 didn’t disappoint.

Swinging left over the big blue bridge and onto the 41, we made our way west on our way to the night’s cabin. That little bit of the 41 has a few chickenstrip chewers too. Big long ones! Pulling up in the cabin carpark and the crackles and soft hisses from the steads spoke volumes. πŸ˜‰

Just after midday with cabin secured and packs offloaded, we hit the road again to sample the Hida region’s ample twisties.

While some of us loitered, Tony slipped off for a visit to the local foxy temple

On and on the views and roads go… One for the Relentless Road!

Michael taking in the Hida region πŸ‘

Lunch pitstop. Enjoyed some Hidagyu on a stick, soba and ice-cream to see us on our way.

Back to twisting and turning, we’d chewed through a fair chunk of time over lunch and the Viking on the GT had sailed out way ahead of us. So, we took a little squirt down the extensively tunnelled and bridged Tokai-Hokuriku Expressway to attempt, unsuccessfully, to catch up with him in Shirakawago.

Look at those smiles!

Downtown Shirakawago

With daylight fading, we made our way east and back toward the cabin.

After suffering chokablock traffic through the near endless and choking tunnels on route to Takayama, we were glad to get out into the fresh air, even if it was hand numbingly cold and pitch black.

We made for Rt.90 which also had an epically long and chilly tunnel. But just before we got there, the rain started to sprinkle softly and add to the 5Β°C chill.

Emerging on the backside of the 90, coming out of the tunnel to find no rain and some nice winding tarmac made things better. But still cold.

Pulling into a combini at the bottom of the 90, the Viking, who was way ahead, chimed in to let us know he’d found us a place for dinner and it was warm and inviting. Michael took the lead and with the promise off a warm meal, we had a great blast through the night!

Hida beef on hoba miso buried under stringy mushrooms and chopped shallots. Hida at it’s most delicious!

Dinner consumed and a thirst drawing us to the cabin, we just needed a convenience store offering up beer, snacks aaand water for the inevitable dry horrors the following morning. But some just wanted more road and….

Was a cold night back up the mountain in the cabin. Our fuel expert John got the kero stove fired. The hot carpets were wicked up also and we were all good. Then it was beer o’clock!

More to come, stay tuned…

β€”——————————————-

MT-10 SP Update

The silver surfer performed flawlessly! First day I started to feel at home on it. Climbing, twisting, turning and stopping with ease and confidence. The riding position continued to feel just right but the seat was proving a little unforgiving the further I rode. Neither my butt nor the seat were yielding it seems. πŸ˜‚

Fuel economy was proving more reasonable than I’d been lead to believe with an average of just over 15km/l. The first bar of the fuel gauge being 1/2 tank was odd though.

Was also the first day of extended dry nice twisties and the traction, suspension compliance and trailbreaking proved a treat! A lack of braking feedback was becoming more obvious though.

Did find I was getting used to the buried indicator knob. Also had a good play with various settings. Actually find myself hoping for red lights as an opportunity to adjust something. Settled on level 2 across the board.

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