With the lifting of the corona virus state of emergency and local prefectural no-travel requests, it was time for the steed and I to chase the horizon once more.

The waxing glow on the horizon hinted at a great day of riding ahead.
Bright but Fuji’s peak isn’t glowing yet. Sunrise is still behind us.
Headed up into Hakone to give the centre of the tyres a break.
Sunrise!
eMpTy10 drinking…again.
Fuji was everywhere for the first few hours.
What kind of frozen trickery is this? I’d dressed for the predicted 25Β°+ Max temp. Needless to say I was feeling chilled.
Pitstopped for breakfast at Misaka Touge. Tranquil until…
The Alfa club roared out of the tunnel. Some nice cars there though.
Eased 51km out of the reserve after being left parched by two closed gas stands closed before finding one open in Karuizawa. Last time I got 50km from reserve, I had to push it the final 300m. πŸ˜‚
Always a tyre torturer and grin widener.

This was the road that inspired the second wind and got me to thinking that a Coast to Coast Twistybutt had to be done. From here on there were mostly epic roads, views and the autumn colours would be even better. Besides, the 502 was ahead and I’d read a few months before that it’d be open for the start of October. If you get to the 502, it’s all downhill to the coast, right? Onward!

292 was in fine form.
Manza is getting some colour.
Top of the world and back down to 13Β°C again.
Great to be back! It’s been too long since running this epic road.
The sun was falling and…
… the navi was saying a sunset arrival on the beach was slipping away. But the views deserved some photos.
Then it slipped away. Quite literally, I tried to get a pic of the sun but the road was only going downhill and by the time I stopped, it was but a glow on the distant peaks.
Pulled up at this odd boarded up joint for a look down over the coastline. Great location and views.
How far away is that coast down there in Joetsu?
30 odd minutes later, C2C580 Twistybutt done!
There it is. Out n back. Coast to Coast to Coast with a C2C Twistybutt one way.

The expressway run home was a cold monotonous cruise control enabled decompress. It was the easiest and most economical leg of the ride though and traffic was surprisingly light.

This twisted fossil thoroughly enjoyed the stretch of legs and right wrist. And the MT10sp is proving a great steed for such stretches. Just wish it wouldn’t drink so much. πŸ˜‰

TAP the pics below for bigger images.

Steamy summer fog lingered in the valleys.
Was still too early for the primitive people to be up and about, apparently.
Leaving home and trundling through the lowlands saw a steady temp of 27-29Β°c. I’d dressed for that and the heat of the day ahead. Climbing into the mountains, it kept getting cooler and the run upto 411’s peak from the east saw a good stretch of 15-17Β°. Thankfully, the soft breeze wafting up out of Uenohara on the west side was warmer and it quickly jumped back up to a comfortably cool 20Β°c.
Good morning Fuji San.
Running the Fruits Line out of Uenohara around to Fuefuki, the sweet smell of peaches was on the morning air and it was hard to resist a peach stop.
Yum!
Nice atmosphere, plenty of social distance and the peaches weren’t bad either. ‘Four to go please!’
Heading west to Minami Alps, thought I’d take a run at Yamabushi Touge. Websites were showing it intermittently open but it was a Sunday… On the way, stopped by Kenshinnotaki. Great waterfall, cool and refreshing mist falling from way above and plenty of colourful butterflies flitting about.
Yamabushi Touge? Not today!
That’s where the road used to be.
Looks like a full headland rebuild was in progress. Thought I could sneak around on that dirt road so gave it a go. It deadended at some chains.
Man’s armada lined up to do battle with the wayward whims of the river gods. The towering mountains made the gathering look positively punny. πŸ˜‚
Now that’s a road.
Climbing again and the midday sun weaving its way through the summer green overhead cast dappled light making rock n debris spotting a challenge. MaTe got through unscathed. πŸ‘
And not a cicada to be heard… Just a stream cutting its way down the valley.
But that light sure was as deceptive as it was captivating in some places. See how things can disappear in it?
While most of us avoid flying off the sides of mountain roads…
Although it got a bit hot here n there, top of 35Β°c, all in all a good rubber rounding day.
And it was great seeing Fuji San through a clear sky again.

460km done and home by 3:30pm for a nap. πŸ˜‚

Bad choice of music πŸ˜‚

Now that’s a Sunday sun-up view! Today wasn’t like that. In fact, it was overcast, steaming and threatening rain. So, it was time for something different. Let’s get cool. 😎

Straddling the Shizuoka Yamanashi border, Abe Touge is rarely open on the Shizuoka side but does climb to around 1500 metres so thought it a cool place to round some rubber up to. At 5am by the coast, it was already 28Β°C and some altitude would be welcomed. So, over Hakone Touge we went and then hop skipped and jumped over to the Shin Tomei Expressway.
Saw this little Honda with a monster top box when I stopped to rehydrate after exiting at Shin Shimizu and enjoying the twisties up the 52 to Tomikawa.
Turning west off the beaten path with towering peaks getting closer, the local welcoming party was out……. to terrify!
From small to large, it seemed all the waterfalls were flowing.
And the scars of rivers gorging on rain were very fresh.
Climbing and getting cooler. This was a comfortable hillock to admire the view, until the ants mounted their assault. πŸƒ
Look at that landslide! If the land slides in the mountains and no one is there to see it,…
And with the climb came the low cloud loving carpets of moss.
Almost there. Too bad it was thick with cloud or Fuji would have been a great sight from here.
Made it! But the warning sign showed major damage on the Shizuoka side.
Shizuoka lockout. Oh well, at least it was a dryish and a refreshing 20Β°. Back down we go.
How must it have looked in full flow, tearing at the banks?
That looks menacing.
So, that’s what the impeller of a hydroelectric turbine looks like!
Still more landslides…
An old but well kept school.
The blue sky unfurled for Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan – the world’s oldest continuous hotel. Magic riding out to it too.
It had been a good run and with a traffic free climb up the Motosuko Road to the base of Mt Fuji, the MT10 found some other steeds to hang with before the run back through Hakone and home.

All done, 485km and some well rounded rubber. Until next Sunday….

POSTPONED – Until further notice…

Too much uncertainty around restrictions to go ahead with this at this point in time.
We’re all getting tired of the waiting game but gotta keep our hopes up for a gathering of the Twistybutts sooner rather than later. Hang in there all.

So, who’s keen for trying the Coast to Coast #10 on September 19, 2021? Yup, this September.

It’s still warm but cool on the Peaks and most mountain passes are open. There is a chance of typhoons scuppering things and we’ll have to deal with that. If we start the salutations to the weather and road Gods now, we oughta have a good shot at a green light.

As to the State of Emergency, that’s out of our hands and will be dealt with as the restrictions dictate. In any case, social distancing and respect for local covid concerns along our route needs to be a top priority.

Anyway, if you’re keen, pencil it in and let’s see if we can’t have a ride to see out the warmer weather.

Got out for a leisurely 320km through Izu to see out the year.

Left home late and it’d warmed up to 5Β° which wasn’t bad. The temp followed altitude and sun between 2Β° and 15Β° through the day. Scottoiler(blue screen) showing 5Β°C
After following the coast and snaking up the Tsubaki Line then wriggling down the 20 and into central Izu, got to the Pizza Bus just before 12 but they said the oven wasn’t ready, come back in an hour. Nishi Izu Skyline is only a few kilometres away so away we went.
Dry, overcast and a little windy but the road was clean views were great. A Porsche club and a train of MX5 were up there stretching their legs. Sounded great!
Fuji was a beacon to the north. The tighter section up there was still in the shade, is all day this time of the year, and slick in spots. All the bikes were tiptoeing through there. This spot never gets old, even after 15 years.
Back for lunch and wasn’t the only biker there.
Lunch! Plenty of social distancing and the howling beagle to welcome you. The sausage, bacon and tomato pan pizza were good too!
Pit stopped at Takachiyama on the Izu Skyline on the way back for a view over Atami to Sagami Bay and where I was headed.
Looking out over Numazu to Suruga Bay and the setting sun, the haze making what lies beyond unclear, I thought ‘Yeah whatever 2020…’ Lit the wick on the MT10 and revved a crossplane tune over Hakone Touge and down across the Kanto plain.

It’s been a lonely year on the road. Looking forward to seeing off this plague and catching up with the Twistybutts in May!

Roll on 2021!

Left home in the cool pre-dawn for what I thought would be a morning excursion but one thing lead to another and before I knew it I’d gone Coast to Coast and still had to get home, which is near the coast so…

Was a fantastic ride! @1150km in 20hrs with @250km of that on the expressway.
Nice and cool at altitude so tried to stay up there as much as possible.
Got to finally do a road on my bucket list, Sugawa Touge on the 403 between Niigata and Nagano. Exceptional views and a fantastic hillclimb. Bit narrow on the south side though. The phone was overheating unfortunately so here are some other snaps from the ride instead.

Who are those four jokers?
Where’d the 406 go?

About the Bones

Now, why did I start the day with a 190km expressway run out to Nikko? Let’s roll the clock back a bit.
Almost two years ago to the day while returning from several great days of touring Tohoku with a Viking, coming around a right hander into a narrow bridge crossing, I was met with a a black van on my side of the road and a tough choice…

Head on Collision…nope!

Dodge the van and likely hit the guardrail over the bridge…guardrails are rather unforgiving from previous experience, so…nope!

Try to pull up and go off the corner…lots of thick grass to plow, a concrete pole and tree to dodge but ok…

It all happened so fast that there really wasn’t a decision process to ponder. As soon as I grabbed that brake lever, a wide line was inevitable and going off road it was.

The braking was strong enough to leave a faint gray streak for the last metre or so before leaving the sticky stuff but by then we’d slowed to running pace. After shimmying across the dirt and then off the brakes into that long welcoming green grass with about as much traction as butter, the grass had a another surprise for us.

Just as I was sizing up the tree’s thick branch that we were going to have to plow through at just above front wheel height, we launched a little on a hump hidden in the grass. Not a space bound launch but I’ve many a time thought what would have been if I’d hit it with pace… In any case, it threw me out of the saddle enough to unsettle me and after that I was a mere passenger. 

It was about then that my eyes widened to dinner plates as there was a gaping trench below the branch which had also been hidding behind that long grass!

A stone walled creek/river of unknown depth and bottom. Yep, the crash that keeps on giving! Branch crack, crunch of fairing-plastic and then the odd pop-click-crack, like lobsters on the reef if you’ve ever heard that when diving but a hundred reefs of them pop-click-cracking out from your marrow to your sensors. Bones n joints doing what they aren’t intended to. Head first into the wall! Just above the helmet visor. Then again to the crown of my head on a lower stone step protruding from the wall. 

I came to, draped over the FZ1 with my left fingers in mesh summer gloves filtering clean clear mountain waters gurgling below me. The old beast had saved me once more. 

I did the sensory check and then the digit-limb-everything check and I was in one piece, operational but quite badly winded. Clambered to my feet noticing a sore wrist and bit of dizziness. Looking around, I was ankle deep in a 2-3 metre high 2-3 metre wide concrete bottomed, riverstone lined creek/river teeming with life, both plant and insect. The FZ1 had lost the front below the fork stanchions but looked ok. It wasn’t. Discovered a fatal frame crack much later. Still pains me. 

Back in the trench, I was bewildered and having a little trouble staying upright when the Viking appeared above. He’d been some way back but close enough to see something amiss. I just remember asking, “Did I fk up?” Oviously! 

On extracting myself from the trench with the help of a good samaritan passerby, I painfully realized something was not at all right with my wrists. As the shock and fight or flight chemical dump wore off waiting for the ambulance, it became painfully apparent there were a few things not quite doing what they should’ve been doing.

The ambulance and fire crew were great while the local inspector Cluoseau wannabe bordered on comical with his various hypothesis and line of resulting interrogations. 
Later, at the hospital after some xrays and CT scans, the injuries were clear. 

Two broken wrists, concussion, lung contusions and three compressed vertebrae.


Rehab lasted a while. The back is still not right, the left wrist isn’t either but I’m no spring chicken and that wasn’t my first rodeo. I can still ride!

And ride I will. One day shy of the second anniversary of that decisive day, I went to look over that place and make peace with my demons.
It is a beautiful little area and was all the more so in the early summer light.

Think I’ll make this a regular place to visit around this time each year. A pilgrimage to pain and life and what could easily have been my last ride!

Battery worries?

As the MT10 has been up on stands since March due to the plague, I was initially worried about the battery as I rarely leave the bike unridden for long and if I do, the battery is disconnected.
The MT10 has a great little gadget I installed when picking up the bike from Apexmoto. It has made checking the battery crazy easy. A bluetooth battery monitor.
I walk past the bike almost every day but rarely carry the keys for it and only enjoy unwrapping the mummy-like cover if it’s gonna be ridden or wrenched on. So, walking by and accessing battery condition via an app on the phone is a mere 10 second chore.
It’s got plenty of data and functions on hand too. Big favourite is the alarm for preset battery levels. Thankfully, I’ve not had them go off yet. But in the three times I’ve gone to wrench on the bike, the app readings have matched the bike’s voltmeter. πŸ‘
This had for an interesting and simple stress reliever I hope will keep on doing so for many years. And as it is simple, seems durable and waterproof, it ought to do so. I’ll report back on it again at a later as to this.

Only needed a screw driver and the keys to fit that one. πŸ‘

Will keep adding here as the boots break-in.

March 2020 @320km

I’ve only done a few hundred kms in my Travel Stars so far.

The toe box is vast. I’m usually a 42/43 and as many said they ran large, I went 42. Should’ve gone 41 or even 40.
However, the ankle is tight. And extremely inflexible. Had to adjust the shifter a lot to accommodate the change. I’m expecting that to free up as boots do.
Quality is superb.
The arced zippier performed better with a bit of wax but that curve is not to my liking when zipping up or down. Supposed to make it comfier long term though.
Speaking of comfy, they are indeed that.

@2000km now.

Very happy with them so far. Rode home in torrential rain and spray laden traffic for about 90km/90minutes and still had bone dry hooves. Couldn’t say the same for the rest of me.
The water that poured in the top from fjording a submerged road earlier in the day also dissipated within a few hours.