Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Day 7: Wet, wet, wet!

July 1, 2009: I knew we were in for it when a monster lightning strike and thunder clap directly over our hotel woke me up at 5am, and I struggled to fall back to sleep while listening to the heavy downpour rage outside. The storm knocked out phone and Internet service throughout the entire town of Utoro, which the police announced every few minutes on a loud speaker, adding helpfully that they had no idea when service would be back up.
After eating breakfast in the hotel and prepping the bikes, Sho and I bundled up in our rain gear and rolled out into the wet, windy, cold day. We had a 93km (~58 mile) trek in front of us from Utoro to Bihoro. As we wound our way back along the wind swept coast, I actually looked forward to the uphill climbs, when the exertion would warm me up. After riding for 2 ½ hours through the driving rain, we met Eiko and Saya at a 7-11 for a quick lunch inside the rental car and watched the water stream down the windows. Sho had become thoroughly soaked and was shivering, so we changed him into a dry set of clothes. The rain finally let up for the final 2 hours of the 6-hour ride, although it remained cloudy and cool.
We had turned inland from the coast, and began to encounter a series of rolling hills that slowed our overall pace and made my knees ache. The wide expanse of farms and occasional forests glistened, verdant from the rainfall, as we rode by. In the final hour of the ride, we stopped at a small shop by the road to buy drinks from a vending machine. The gregarious shop owner, a woman in her 50’s with an easy smile, asked how we had fared in the rain and how far we had ridden. She was enthralled when we explained our plans to bike the entire length of Japan, and ran into her shop to retrieve a gift of two onigiri (rice balls) and 1,000 yen ($10). It was only after we were a mile down the road, I realized that, in my exhausted state, I had forgotten to take her picture.
Sho and I arrived at the Toge Sou Minshuku in Bihoro at 6pm, where we enjoyed a delicious meal with Eiko and Saya, and took a long, hot bath. It had been a long, messy day, but we fell asleep in comfort, snuggling with our loved ones.


  1. Charlie, you guys are Rock Stars as well as rock climbers (on your bikes, of course). This is an amazing endeavor and as I sit here at my computer, in my warm, cozy Medford home, having a cup of tea and some Oreo cookies, grumbling about the rain outside, I suddenly realize I'm a wimp! I'm sending a link to your blog to everyone I know, especially those of us in Boston also grumbling about the rain. Sho sounds like an amazingly hardy soul. He may be a little freaked out about Mom and little sister departing, but he'll bounce back soon.
    You go guys!
    Sending wishes for dry days and gentle breezes.

  2. Hey Sho, the harder you pedal the warmer you will be! Now I sound like your PE teacher, don't I? Hope the weather clears up a little for you as well as us.

    You will be in fantastic shape to run the mile when you get back this Fall.

    Don't forget to take pictures!!

    Mr. Gage

  3. Charlie and Sho
    You Mom and I are enjoying the blog posts. Keep them up.

  4. Son and Sho,
    Wow youall have survived many adventures-rain and forests with bears and saying goodbye to Saya and Eiko. How proud I am of you both! I am also glad that you have made a friend is has been riding along with you. Now that you are on your own, please notice special signs of energy being sent your way, like a contented cat reminding you of home or a friendly animal companioning you on your way. Don't forget America on the Fourth of July. We are thinking about you every day and we send much love. Mom and Nona