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Motorcycle Paradise

Big Japan Motorcycle Ride – South bound and down

I love lookouts. Viewpoints. Or observatories as they are often called in Japan. I decided to ride around visiting some of the best I had found.

I waited until after the Japan golden week national holidays to ride south wishing to avoid the crowds. It has been wonderful warm sunny days for best part of a couple of weeks but I depart straight into rain.
The generous size of the FJR1300 makes it not a bad place to be in cold or rain as far as bikes go. Today however I would have gladly swapped it for a Goldwing and again wondered can I actually move to a smaller bike with Japans weather.

Well I abandon todays viewpoint and stick to the expressway and tried to sit out the rain at one of the wonderful Japanese highway service areas. Undercover parking for bikes and lots of places to relax or eat are just the beginning. This one has moto theme with a Kushitani motorcycle apparel shop in it and a MV Agusta motorcycle showcase. I tried the Taiwan style spicy noodles. You may not think so but the food in these places can be very good.
Found out Gore-Tex gear stops working if washed and not treated with waterproofing agent. Wished it was from reading about it rather than first hand today.

Had no idea about this issue or needing to reapply waterproofing. Basically you need to wash with special cleaner then you need to ‘wash in’ new waterproofing to the garments. I shall post about this more later.

Rain eased by Nagoya. This service area had a hot spring foot bath, tempting but I was already damp inside my gear and just wanted to get to the hotel.
Spent hours with a hair dryer. So glad hotels here supply everything. I cannot imagine being a camper huddled inside tent trying to get stuff dry. I needed my Gore-Tex boots just to walk to shops tonight.

Day two starts not too bad, wet roads but not raining. Low grey skies are common in Japan. Usually can get some nice reflections compared to sunny days.
I did some exploring on the old route that has zero traffic on opposite side of river I was following. It was too slippery with leaf mulch to continue far but I came across a plaque for a former school in the area. Country side Japan is full of ghost towns now and this school is long closed. The writing is the schools song.

There are things like this everywhere you look in countryside of Japan. I could see where the old road disappeared into the dam water perhaps where the village now lies submerged.

After nearly crashing on the loose slippery surface I decided better return to the main road. Amazes me that access to these roads nobody uses is often a fancy bridge or tunnel.
I just took the cover off my bag and got my camera out then the rain started. I further jinxed myself by thinking well least it is just light, of course that soon changes and it just gets heavier and heavier until I stop. I park the bike under a school bus stop shelter. Accuweather forecast for today is way off, there is huge amount of rain ahead in Mie on the radar.
I shake myself like a hairy dog then take all my gear off and have a bite to eat picked up earlier. Then I pack all my clothes into a large plastic bag as experience tells me rain on this scale will defeat my waterproof luggage.

Pondering things over lunch I conclude its not madness to be here on a bike it is just my gear that is not up to the task. Especially my gloves that both seem to have lost their waterproofness.
My main concern is not to have my hands inside damp clammy gloves for too long as I suffer from dermatitis and that is sure fire way to bring on an attack.

After a relaxing hour listening to the rain I set the GPS direct to hotel abandoning todays ride. It goes ok except for last 50km into Wakayama on raised expressway where the wind tries to blow me around but the FJR being Sumo size just plows on. Hair dryer time.


Day three rain has stopped, just. I am sailing on and early boat to Shikoku. Some other riders going the same way give me hope.
I took a nap on the boat and slowly got moving when they played the lovely ferry arrival song.

Woohoo looking outside it is all blue sky.
Nice ride down to the coast where I visit a small castle on hill.
Next I revisit the Sun Line road on the coast. Hard to photo from above - how about this view looking up.
All that rain created a waterfall onto the ocean that I find by sheer chance when exploring this road below.

Great place to have a late picnic lunch. Sushi roll assortment and cool sea breeze.
At the end I turn around to enjoy it again!
Next I take the 195 south to Kochi, one of my favorites.

I have no way to capture the great way it flows but I can at least show you some of the views.
High up or following every turn of the river it is such a scenic ride.
I really like Kochi. If I thought I could make it work I would move there and set up a motorcycle tour business as the island offers so much and has far less traffic.


Tonight I am in a outer suburb to Kochi as my route tomorrow is north. Really nice room for just $40.
I just wanted to relax in the room tonight and type this ride report up so I skipped the excellent restaurant to have something light.
Now what is odd about this photo?
Point one, yes I am just having a salad and some noodles as not hungry. Point two, can buy excellent imported wine for just $10 at convenience store. Point three, those brochures, there is 62 pay to view channels of Japanese erotic films.
If you stay in hotels here then that sort of thing is common. Because Japan.

So long for now, see you in the next episode perhaps.