In another departure from original plans, we did a 95km day today, in order to get to a campground on the shores of Lake Ogawara, complete with a nearby onsen. It would be a day to savor, however, as it was our last full day of cycling. In a fashion befitting an overall much more strenuous cycling ‘holiday’ than we had expected over the last 7 days, we had a stiff headwind the whole day. Thank goodness for the ever-present spring blossoms along the way.
The invasion of the blossom petals continued here at the beautiful Yatate Onsen campground this morning. It had been blustery windy during the night, adding more of the delightful pink fluff to our tent site.
As we were packing up, a light rain started to fall, eventually forcing us under cover at the adjacent pagoda.
It would rain on and off for the rest of the day, never heavy rain, but just heavy enough to require a couple of stops to add or remove waterproof layers. As it would happen today, just like the first long day on the bikes on this trip, this last long day on the bikes would be 1) longer than originally planned, and 2) we’d have a headwind all of the way to our campsite.
At least there was not as much climbing today. Just a small hump in the middle of the peninsula as we crossed over to the Pacific coast. During the morning we passed two large nuclear power plants on the coast. One run by a Tohoku energy company, and one run by TEPCO, the owners of the Fukushima Daiichi nuelar plant much further down the coast of Honshu that was damaged in 2011. TEPCO was building a new plant up here – no doubt with much better resilience.
The first photo I took after setting off in the morning was not until lunch time. We stopped early for lunch, at just before 11am. We tentatively took a couple of seats in a local seafood restaurant, which would turn out exceedingly accommodating to Haidee’s vegetarian requirements. While I ordered a sauteed pork set menu (yakiniku teishoku), Haidee negotiated a tofu set. As if to make up for the lack of seafood, her set was colossal. We ended up asking for a takeaway pack, to which they added three more fried-tofu-wrapped rice balls for the road, for free. A very lovely bunch of people!
The rest of the day was the sort of day you want earphones in your ears, and to grind out the miles. Haidee reminded me to look up every now and then and enjoy the blossoms that peeked out of many of the small gardens attached to local houses. For much of the day we were following narrow, relatively busy roads through a rural/urban mix.
Closer to Lake Ogawara, the land opened up, as flat as the eye could see towards the east.
After a long but satisfying day of pushing into a headwind, we finally made it to the Lake Ogawara Campground. We checked in and quickly set up camp and cooked some dinner, sheltering behind the tent. Just on nightfall, we then walked to the excellent hotspring onsen, just a few minutes walk away.
The sun set dramatically over Mt. Osorezan, where we’d come the day before.