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

October 2, 2018


After a peaceful night on our little knoll, despite being in the middle of an industrious provincial town and our neighbour grunting strangely every now and then, we woke to what seemed to be a cool but sunny day.  Our neighbour seems not to be a henro and is probably just living rough at the moment.  None the less, we received a friendly greeting when he woke up for his first cigarette of the day and we were keenly watched while we packed up.   

We were into the climb out of Ozu within the first kilometer but the gradients were never intolerable.  In fact, we have yet to walk the bicycles at all on this trip.

Looking back down the valley towards Ozu.
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The first of two longish tunnels was encountered after about two hundred and fifty meters of ascent.

The first tunnel for the day.
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Rice being harvested in a more traditional way.
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We have noticed these bright flags at a number of intersections. Today we witnessed in use for the first time. They are there for older folk to use when crossing an intersection by foot, the better to warn traffic that they are crossing the road..
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The second tunnel of the day - nine more to come!
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After the first tunnel we had a gentle downhill through some rural country until the second long tunnel.

The view before the last nine tunnels.
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Here the road raced downwards towards the coast through nine shorter tunnels.  Then it was a short climb and we coasted in to Uwajima.

All the way along today's ride our minds were plagued by work issues.  We spent the first few hours in Uwajima trying to work at a michi-no-eki.  We had people coming to peer over our shoulders at what we were doing and all I needed was total isolation to concentrate on some complex code we were working on.   I was getting increasingly tense and agitated and leigh and I were struggling to hold a meaningful discussion on what we were doing. Eventually I said "bugger it" and we booked in to the cheapest hotel we could find although it is still double what we paid for a lot better in Matsuyama.  Within an hour we had sorted out the code an, as they say back home, "die Kaap is weer Hollands".

Today's ride: 43 km (27 miles)
Total: 2,709 km (1,682 miles)

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