Nobeoka - The fifth step ... the length of Japan. - CycleBlaze

October 5, 2018 to October 6, 2018


When we woke today we had no idea what to do.  The weather forecast was dire (thanks to Teisuke Sugawara, with whom we stayed in Akita, for warning us about Typhoon Kong-Rey that was about to pass by, the ninth so far for the season).   With a strong south-easterly wind and torrential rain guaranteed for a day when we would most likely face some big hills we wished we could hide for a few days until things improved.   For a while we felt it might be best to turn back to Saiki to wait for the weather to improve but in the end we decided to push on to Nobeoka.

When we set out the rain had stopped and Leigh jokingly said that if it held out for the first twenty kilometers that would be enough.

The first eleven kilometers were along the coast - rugged and beautiful - before we turned inland to dodge the strong winds with which we were struggling and the steep hills over the coming headlands.  Instead we got a stiff climb up two hundred meters through beautiful forest, the gradient of which at least half a kilometer was over fifteen percent.  Leigh had to walk her bicycle for the first time since we got to Japan.

Today's big climb.
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The climb ended at a tunnel from where we had a magnificent glide down to an intersection where there was a small grocery store.  As we got there, just past the twenty kilometer mark, the heavens opened.  Leigh's wish was granted.  While we were taking shelter and hoping that the rain might subside, a friendly gentleman came out and chatted to us.  He advised us against carrying on along route 388 which would lead us back to the coast because he said it was extremely hilly and suggested that we should take route 43 to join up with route 10 which would give us an easy run to Nobeoka.

A well chosen shelter, given the advice we received while there.
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His advise was spot on and we had a lovely ride, through lots of sporadic warm deluges, down to the intersection with route 10.  Up until now we had passed less than ten vehicles over almost forty kilometers so it had been a very enjoyable ride - quite the opposite of what we had anticipated.  The traffic got heavier from about fifteen kilometers out of Nobeoka but we were so pleased with what we had enjoyed earlier in the ride that it hardly mattered.

The Kitagawa River flowing strongly.
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Water levels are clearly higher than normal.
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We are booked into the APA Hotel for the next two nights.  We'll get some work done (yes, there is still lots to do) and wait for the weather to get back on our side.

Today's ride: 58 km (36 miles)
Total: 2,867 km (1,780 miles)

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