Lake Toya - The fifth step ... the length of Japan. - CycleBlaze

August 30, 2018

Lake Toya

The rain started pretty much as we climbed into our sleeping bags last night and hasn't stopped yet.  So the outlook for today when we woke up wasn't very good at all but in fact it turned out pretty well.

After packing the panniers, we carried the tent across to a covered cooking area for it dry out while we had breakfast.  Hiro was doing the same and, after he was done, he came over and we had another long chat.  He was heading to Lake Toya, about sixty kilometers further south, which was also our target for the day.  We weren't keen on camping in the wet for another night but he was going to a campsite on the lake.

We left about an hour or so after him and from the start the cycling conditions were attrocious.  Rain and a very busy narrow road, much of which had little or no shoulder, do not a pleasant cycling experience make.  If the weather had been better, it would have been great because the views, what we could see of them, were spectacular.

After about fifteen kilometers we left the lake and started climbing out of the caldera.  The climb took us up over three hundred meters but, like yesterday, the gradient was rather kind.  At the top of the pass was a tunnel over one and a half kilometers long with a narrow raised pavement along which we pushed our bikes.  I'm not sure how much carbon monoxide we ingested but we emerged safely on the other end after about twenty minutes.  Then it was a great downhill for the next thirty kilometers.

Hiro had told us of a great place to buy mushroom dishes just after the tunnel and we stopped there for some mushroom noodles and miso soup.  Just the stuff to warm up two cold and miserable bodies.

The route we were on turned off to the right and for a moment it looked quite good because the traffic volume seemed to decrease.  Then the heavens opened in dramatic fashion and we took shelter in a bus stop for about twenty minutes. 

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We continued once it had calmed down a bit and were pleasantly surprised to find Hiro in a shelter on the side of the road.  He had given on on camping for the evening and was trying to contact the youth hostel on Lake Toya.  We cycled together until we got to the Mich-no-Eki close Lake Tayo where he managed to get hold of the youth hostel and booked accommodation for the three of us. 

With Hiro at the Michi-no-Eki just east of Lake Toya.
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It's pretty good (apart from the non-existent Internet connection) and has a little Onsen as well as a laundry facility, both of which we have made use of.

The hostel is at the base of an active volcano (the last erruption was in 2000) and has an interesting little outcrop that, about seventy years ago, appeared where a wheat field used to be.  The Mich-no-Eki has a very good information centre relating to the volcano.

Supper was a bit of a challenge.  All the restaurants in the area were closed so we ended up walking to the nearest Seicomart, a round trip of over four kilometers, mostly in pouring rain, got get something to eat.  So supper was konbini food but enjoyed in good company back at the Youth Hostel.

Today's ride: 64 km (40 miles)
Total: 1,126 km (699 miles)

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