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

August 31, 2018

Oshamanbe

The weather looked pretty indeterminate when we awoke this morning.  It looked like it would rain soon but the sun broke through the clouds occasionally.  It would carry on like this for the rest of the day except that it DID rain, and heavily at times too.

The view over Lake Toya this morning. The large island in the middle is Nakajima.
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Getting out of the caldera in which Lake Toya nestles was pretty easy - two long tunnels with a wide sidewalk led us effortlessly and safely down to the coast.

The first and the longest of today's tunnels - 1.97 Km !
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The second was just a bit shorter.
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View of the coast south of Lake Toya.
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Once we hit the coast, the terrain got much hillier as the road as the road struggled over headlands, a few of which forced climbs of over two and hundred meters climbs on us (we ended the day having climbed more than 1300 meters).  We passed through many shorter tunnels, none with a sidewalk on which we could cycle and were somewhat nerve wracking at times because the road was pretty busy with much of the traffic being heavy trucks.  Having said that, the truck drivers were mostly very considerate.

Further west it got more hilly.
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Somehow Leigh kept smiling through it all.
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Trucks, hills and rain - our companions for the day (although this photo was taken during a dry spell)..
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After about thirty five kilometers we came out at the top of the last climb via the third longest tunnel of the day.  Then it was a great downhill to a coastal plain.  Despite a slight headwind we were now making good time and hoping to push on as far as we could for the day.

About five kilometers outside of Oshamanbe, the heavens opened again.  We made it into town and found a 7-Eleven where we bought some lunch and spent some time abusing the free Wi-Fi to search for options on where to stay further on down the road.  The road south of Oshamanbe seemed pretty bleak and desolate and, with the rain still chucking down and both of us feeling frustrated by the weather, we decided to go and look for a Youth Hostel that Maps.Me had indicated instead of finding somewhere to camp in the wet.  The hostel didn't exist but the kind lady at the business that was where Maps.Me said the hostel was directed us to a Ryokan about a kilometer away.

The Ryokan is an absolute classic.  Traditional and simple and despite it blowing our budget out completely, we couldn't not stay there.  It has the most exquisite little Onsen with a rocky outside pool that just fits my idea of what a traditional Onsen should look like.  To top it all,  the supper was one of the best meals I have ever eaten.

Ten courses, many of the items I can only guess at: - Sushi-mi (octopus, prawn, abalone and some kind of snail) - Baked clam - Tempura prawn etc - Fish soup - Pickles - Some bland white thing with some sesame seeds - Roast beef - Braised beef - Rice - Desert (a simple green thing with maple syrup)
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Today's ride: 55 km (34 miles)
Total: 1,181 km (733 miles)

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