|Our Route. We parted at around the 175 km mark, Jerome continuing along the coast.|
|Ti Travel Bike and Bette Noire rest in the sun along the Suruga Bay west of Numazu|
I sent Jerome a note early on the 27th with a report of the forecast temperatures if we took Koshu Kaido (Route 20) in the morning. Otsuki -6 (C) at 7AM. Suwa in Nagano -8 (C) at 7AM, -5 C at 9AM. I urged him to try a coastal route, despite the traffic, and in an accommodation he agreed, this year, that it would be more realistic. They say this has been the coldest December in Japan in recent years. No doubt there will be other, warmer years ahead when we can try the mountainous internal route at year-end.
We met at Marukobashi, a bridge over the Tamagawa, around 4:45AM, and crossed into Kawasaki, then Yokohama. Jerome had mapped a route via Shin Yokohama, then for 12 kms on a limited access road that I had not used before. I think I noticed a bicycle with a line crossed through it where we entered the road's elevated portion just beyond Shin Yokohama (I believe it is "Yokohama Kanjo Ni-go" -- Yokohama Main Route #2). Anyway, at 5:30AM on a Sunday morning at year end there were generally 2 or 3 lanes heading south and barely any motorized vehicles, so no harm, no foul, and a very fast route to the intersection with Route 1 -- just a little before Route 1 merges with the end of the Yokohama Shindo at Totsuka. Do not try it on a normal day in normal Yokohama traffic. Once we joined Route 1 we were on the Hakone Ekiden route as far as Odawara.
|Early on the climb toward Atami Pass, Mikan trees and sea visible.|
|A flat ride, with one big exception. ...|
|Reward at the top of Atami Pass -- Mt Fuji comes into view.|
|Spokes glisten in the sunlight. The wheels are new. |
But the bike (and I) were here back in September on the R-Tokyo Ise 1000km event.
... in pitch dark well after midnight.
|Mt. Fuji as seen from Tanna, on the western descent into Kannami.|
|Jerome and Mt. Fuji as we approach Numazu.|
Jerome reported headwinds on the next stretch -- not unusual for winter on the Shizuoka Coast. The wind let up before he made it to Hamamatsu. After it began to rain, he stopped for the night at a business hotel in Toyohashi, over 300 kilometers from Tokyo, and leaving just a short ride to Nagoya for the following day.
UPDATE: Jerome completed the ride to Nagoya, some local spins in following days, and went on to Kobe as planned on December 31. Around 600 kms for the trip! On the evening of December 31 it snowed in the Kansai area.