DAY THREE (Thursday):
On Thursday we decided that we didn't want to head up North, but we would instead head back down to the Ayumodoshi campground near Uchiyama. We met a couple of Korean riders that were just staying in Izuhara and doing day rides from there. We didn't want to spend anymore time in that city, so we decided that Uchiyama would be a nicer place to stay at.
We woke up to glorious weather on Thursday and also a massive spider's web which had been spun overnight. Time to get out of here.
I love the simplicity of this design.
We met a lone bicycle tourist on the way back down south on Highway 382.
We stopped off at the Red Cabbage supermarket in Izuhara to buy some supplies.
There's a lot of insects in Tsushima and a lot of insecticide.
Riding in the sunshine made me so hot and exhausted that I had to stick this towel on my head and hang out by the coolers. I might keep rocking this look.
Sausage party imminent.
The displays at the Red Cabbage were bonkers. Sharks, T-Rex, Godzilla...
We headed back south from Izuhara on highway 24. The weather was a different kind of brutal this time, but the blue skies meant the coastal views were a million times more spectacular. Doing the same route a second time meant that it was much easier as we literally knew what was coming round the corner.
Jenny demanded that I take a photo of this bright green moss.
The bum bag. A modern day sporren.
One of the great things about Japan is that there is a drinks machine in almost every little village so as long as the stretch of road that you are cycling on isn't too remote you can always get an icy cold beverage. I wonder if that house owner makes any commission?
This isn't a bus shelter. It actually has local farm produce in it. You can just take the produce and leave some change for it. We bought some tomatoes from one of them as modelled below on the back of Jenny's bike.
Beware of the Leopard Cat! We met a woman who had lived on the island for 30 years and never seen one.
Ayumodoshi Natural Park:
This place was the perfect spot to camp. After an afternoon of cycling the river was perfect for taking a dip and instantly cooling down. It's a popular spot for families and tourists, but we managed to avoid them as we headed off cycling before they turned up and came back just as most of them were leaving. There are loads of natural slides and one big pool that you can jump into.
Cheese, ham, lettuce, locally grown tomatoes, wholegrain mustard and is that wholemeal bread?
No, it's chocolate bread. Nice one Sean!!! Hahaha. It was still a tasty sandwich nonetheless.
Our home for two nights.
We tried an array of different beers. Japanese beer is a thousand times better than Korean beer. Sorry Korea, it's true.
We went on a beer run to the "local" store which was a few kilometres away. It felt so good to ride without all our gear.
Dinodon rufozonatum. Snakes are easily the most common roadkill in Asia. I see them all the time, yet I have never seen one alive. I'm still waiting.
At the local store we got served our booze by some kids.
What's Sean speeding away from?...
Only the scariest, fattest spider on the planet. Well, not quite. But I'm British, not Australian (contrary to what many people keep telling me), so of course I think this is huge. There I was thinking it was the most deadly venomous spider but it turns out it is just a Japanese Garden Spider or something. Can someone please verify this for me.
Time to cook dinner.
My quail's egg is hungry.
Another ramen feast, followed by a rice course. Be sure to bring mosquito repellent. You will get eaten alive.
This moth was dead, but it's eye pattern still looks alive.
This moth looked like a blazing inferno!
DAY THREE (Friday):
As the first 3 days of riding were all pretty short - but mountainous - we decided to leave most of our gear at the campsite and try to do a loop of the south island on highway 24. In the end the mountains defeated us and we took a shorter loop part way along highway 44, and then onto some much quieter roads up a river valley and over a mountain pass. It was to be another exhausting day of cycling.
Looking east from Kunehama.
Hill bombs! Fast ones at that! The south coast was so much fun to cycle. Bombing down the roads in the shade of the pines trees is so refreshing. The breeze is such a welcome change from the intense heat of the climbs. The other problem with cycling uphill is that you go slowly enough for the horseflies and mosquitoes to follow you and pester you. They have some nasty bites.
Shiine has the sharpest, most rectangular hedges.
These stone roof storehouses are unique to Shiine.
It took me forever to get a close up of one of these hawks. They hate to stay in one place for more than a moment.
A shrine in Shiine.
We took a little lunchbreak at the harbour in Komada and started to melt in the sun.
Sean nearly ran over this turtle in the road as headed down from the final mountain pass.
Heat exhaustion makes you look like this.
Jenny decided enough was enough. Screw those horseflies. It's WAR!
Whereas Sean just let them land on him then crushed the life out of them.
The tunnel along highway 192 that cuts under Uchiyama pass.
Cooling off with a beer.
Jenny moments before wiping out on the slippery rocks.
Night time = SUNTORY TIMES!!!
"What the hell was that?"
The mosquitoes in Tsushima are unrelenting. These are bites, not a skin disease!
Jenny took a slam on the road after being hit in the face by an insect.
Before boarding the ferry, we popped into Tsushima Burger for this unusual feast. It's the first time I've seen a "burger" with grilled meat and a fried egg in it.
Asahi Red Eye - a ghetto Asian michelada. Not that bad. Could do with some salt and lime though.
I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw this sign. I hope it got lost in translation. A lot of Korean tourists come to Tsushima and I'm not sure if the locals enjoy the Korean brand of inebriety.
One final snack and a beer before the ferry ride.
Most Koreans ride mountain bikes, even though they usually ride on paved roads. This group of tourists all had Seven brand bicycles. Despite seeing tons of bicycles on the ferry we only saw a few cyclists on the roads in Tsushima.
Get ready to bounce and barf!
Moments later we got upgraded to business class. Hahaha.
Part One - Part Two - Part Three (conclusion) coming soon.