Aug 7, 03
Kamikawa - Karisaka tunnel (about 8 km before)
Well, this is it. After a few unsuccessful attempts, we'll finally see the mountain
of Japan - Mt.Fuji.
Early morning my bike was already packed, waiting for me outside. I wanted to get
up as early as possible to escape the afternoon heat. When I got up at 6 the sky was
overcast and I decided to stay in the bed for another couple of hours. It wasn't gonna
be sunny that day and there was no need to leave at 7 as planned and I slept for another
2 hours and left at 9:30.
We were a little short of time, so I decided to cycle to the tunnel by myself and
meet with Ewa and Pierre near the tunnel. Our friend Pierre agreed to take us through
the tunnel to the other side (the Karisaka tunnel between Saitama and Yamanashi
prefectures is over 6 km long and it is over 2000m above the sea level. Walking and
cycling through it is not allowed).
The first few kilometers were a nightmare. The night before, I had a few beers
and my head felt it the next morning. The first climb came after 5 km in Kamiizumi,
leading to Nagatoro and Chichibu on the other side. I had never considered that climb
as a difficult one, but being hangover it seemed really steep and very long. I cursed
every car that passed me. I reached the pass and were glad to be going down. After the
pass the road leading to Chichibu city ran through an interesting area in the mountains.
There were many old, Japanese style houses along the road and almost total lack of
modern, concrete architecture created a great atmosphere.
I reached Chichibu in an hour and made the first stop just outside of the city in
Arakawa at the beginning of the climb to Karisaka tunnel. I tried to call Ewa from
there because I realized that I forgot to bring a tripod, but they had already left.
After a quick snack of salty cucumbers and some rice, I was on my way again. It was
the perfect cycling weather. Overcast skies and warm temperature. It wasn't raining,
but rain hang in the air. The temperature was much lower than the average for that
time of the year in Japan. The summer that year was cool. It was quiet, but the storm,
one of the strongest typhoons that year was just a day and a half away.
To my surprise, the first 20 km of the climb were very easy. I expected uphill road
all the way to the tunnel, but it turned out to be up and down with short, easy hills.
Most importantly, there weren't many trucks on the road. The R140 follows a stream that
is deep below in the valley. It looks very beautiful. The whole area is a beautiful
place with the river in the deep valley and huge mountains on both sides. The mountains
are a part of Tama-Chichiby National Park and there are many popular hiking trails.
I felt like going down to the river for a swim and if it was hot that day I probably
would have done it. The real climb began passed Otaki Village. It was steep. I reached
the roller-coaster, the spiral bridge that crosses the valley from one side to the other
and back. That wasn't easy. After the bridge, the road became even steeper, but
fortunately the randez-vous point with Ewa and Pierre was just a few hundred metres
up the road.
For some reason I thought that the place was right before the tunnel, but later it
turned out that the tunnel was 8 km away. Anyway, Pierre and Ewa came, we loaded my
bike onto Pierre's car and drove through the tunnel to Yamanashi prefecture. While
crossing the tunnel, we discovered that there is a sidewalk, so it is possible to ride
or walk through it. Later we saw a guy in Yamanashi who walked through the tunnel.
We quickly found a nice spot on the shore of a small dam lake and set up a camp.
There was a small building (some kind of museum, but really small, the size of a one
storey house). Next to the building was a shelter with a roof and sink with fresh water.
We had to cook the lunch under the roof because the nice, sunny Yamanshi sky turned gray
and it started raining.
When Pierre left after lunch, we went for a short walk on the main road. Up the road
were some houses, a general store and something that looked like a local onsen
(hot spring/bathhouse). When we returned to the tent, we had a fire and cooked dinner.
It stopped raining after Pierre left, but started again in the late evening. We noticed
that somebody else decided to spend the night in that place. It was the guy that I saw
earlier walking on the Saitama side of the tunnel. He must've walked through the tunnel.
I never asked though. He slept under the roof in the back of that tiny museum. He had
nothing with him except for a small back pack.
After he went to sleep, Ewa washed herself under the sink that was there. She was
practically naked there. Fortunately, the guy was asleep or at least we thought so.
We couldn't fall asleep that night.
Aug 8, 03
Karisaka tunnel - Kawaguchiko
Weather: rain and wind
I opened up my eyes at 6 and couldn't sleep anymore. I went to the sink and noticed
that our neighbour was already up. He was washing his balls. He had a top on, but naked
from the waist down squatting next to the sink covered from possible cars passing on the
main road. He never expected anybody come from behind. Perhaps, the guy didn't even know
that we were camping there that night. He saw us in the evening, but probably thought
that we left after eating dinner. When I saw him, I quietly turned around and went back
to the tent. He didn't see me.
When we returned to the sink an hour later, our guy had already left. We wanted to
start a fire to cook breakfast near the tent, but it started raining. We moved everything
under the shelter roof by the main road and cooked breakfast there. The rain was getting
stronger and stronger. It was the beginning of a 2-day long typhoon. After breakfast we
waited for about 2 hours and despite of continuing rain we decided to go. A few minutes
later we were soaked and cold. On top of the summer being cool that year we were still
almost 2000m above the sea level and it was cold especially going 20 km/h down the
mountain in the rain.
When you climb a mountain and reach the pass, the descent is usually a reward for the
hard work. I remember thinking about it while cycling to the tunnel the day before. Well,
it wasn't a reward, but a punishment on that occasion . We couldn't go too fast because
it was too cold. On top of that, in order to slow down, I had to squeeze my breaks very
hard and I had to stop every 10-20 minutes to let my hands rest. There was definitely
something wrong with the breaks. It was a nightmare.
Under different circumstances this road would have been a great ride. It follows a
stream which is on the right. There are small villages with straw roofed houses in the
valley with beautiful mountains on both sides. From time to time we could see a road sign
warning drivers before suddenly appearing monkeys on the road. It would have been great,
but not that day. After stopping in a tiny shed, we continued downhill and stopped at a
service stop (michi no eki) before Yamanashi city. The typhoon was getting closer and it
was already pouring rain.
After 30 minutes we were back on the road. The rain seemed to be even stronger now.
The typhoon was just around the corner. We reached Yamanashi city and stopped at the
Yabohachiman shrine. We found a dry spot under the main gate and had hot noodles there.
By then we were completely soaked and freezing.
The shrine looked very interesting, but we couldn't go near the main building. It was
just to wet. The main gate under which we found shelter was entirely made of wood. It
looked "real" compared to those concrete gates that the Japanese seem to be in love with.
After an hour of waiting we continued cycling. The rain became stronger and then suddenly
stopped. We wanted to take an advantage of that break and find a camping spot.
We left our dry spot and continued cycling. The main route followed a river and when
we got to a bridge and crossed the river, we noticed that the water was raging. Normally
that river is shallow and small, but this time it was 3 times as wide and very fast.
There was also an announcement coming from the public speakers around the city that
warning people against getting near the water. It looked dangerous, just like a Northern
Canadian river with rapids.
After crossing the river we had to make another stop because it was impossible to
ride. The rain was that big. It poured for a while and then it suddenly stopped. We
continued down a main road of Yamanashi city which was deserted now. We were moving
towards Yamanashi station. The front of the typhoon was already upon the city and most
of the people were safely hidden in their homes.
There was a park near the station where we decided to camp. Unfortunately, it was to
early to set up a tent and after getting assured by the park employees that the rain was
going to continue until the next day, we decided to go to a local onsen, get warmed up
and come back to our spot in the evening. The park people showed us the way to the onsen
which turned out to be closed down.
It hadn't started raining yet and after quick look at the sky and deciding that there
was a great chance of not getting soaked again we were on our way. Our goal was to get as
near Mt.Fuji as possible that day. Our mood changed quickly. We were happy. It wasn't
raining and it wasn't far to Mt. Fuji. The volcano was only one mountain pass away.
A few km outside of Yamanashi city we began climbing again. This time it was long,
extremely long. The road that we took is one of the main routes to Mt. Fuji and it was
just crowded with cars. The first 2 or 3 kilometres were lined up with grape and corn
shops. Apparently, Yamanashi prefecture is famous for grapes and Japanese pear. The
owners were getting ready for the fall. I remember thinking that I couldn't imagine how
crowded that place must be in September and October, during the grape harvest. The
traffic was heavy enough on that day.
When we finally reached the tunnel after kilometers of winding road, Ewa came up with
an idea to spend the night before the tunnel on a little parking lot that had a toilet
and fresh water. After thinking about it for a while, we decided to keep going and were
on our way to the tunnel. We wanted to pass the tunnel and be on the other side that day.
At that moment it seemed like the typhoon had passed already. We were fooled.
The tunnel passage was terrible. The length was about 3 km and there was no sidewalk.
Not even a shoulder. On top of that the cars, including some giant trucks and buses
carrying tourists to see the ultimate sight - Mt. Fuji, were constantly moving through
the tunnel. And there was no ventilation system, but that we didn't know until being in
Instead of biking we walked through it. We decided to walk after a tunnel-truck
experience early that day (we were descending before Yamanashi city going through a few
tunnels on the way down. Before entering one of those tunnels that was no more than
150 - 200m long, I looked behind and saw no cars. Ewa was ahead. Since it was short and
empty, I told Ewa not to get on the sidewalk. When we entered the tunnel, I looked
behind again and this time I saw a dump truck flying down the mountain in our direction.
When I looked in front, I noticed a turn halfway through and heard another truck entering
the tunnel from the opposite direction. Ewa was 10 m ahead and I screamed to her to step
on it. When I got to the turn both trucks were already in the tunnel and the noise from
their engines was terrible. It seemed like the truck behind me was right on my ass.
I remember thinking that if I entered the curve and the truck behind me would emerge
from it, he would notice me at the last moment and wouldn't have enough space to stop.
He wouldn't be able to go around me because of the other truck. I made a quick decision
to let it pass me before we enter the curve and pressed on both breaks to slow down.
I pressed way too hard because the front tire started skidding and suddenly my bike
started falling to the right side, towards the center lane. At that moment, I was sure
that the truck was right behind me and I started feeling hot in my upper body. In the
split second I let the bike fall and jumped off of it and towards the sidewalk. I got
to the wall, turned my head and expected to see the truck crashing the bike. To my
surprise the truck was still about 20 m behind. It was all that noise that confused me.
Still he was going very fast and upon seeing my bicycle in the middle of his lane slammed
on the breaks and stopped before my bike on 45 degree angle. The other truck stopped as
well. At first I couldn't move. My legs were numb and shaking. When I picked up the bike,
I used the side walk to get to the end of the tunnel. Ewastopped 50m passed the tunnel and waited for me without knowing anything about my
incident. We both agreed that saving a little bit of time by riding on the roads wasn't
worth it and from that moment on we would be using sidewalks).
Getting through a 3km long tunnel, without a ventilation system and full of cars was
terrible, but we made it. When we finally got out we were happy to breathe fresh air
We expected to see Mt.fuji on the other side, but it still wasn't there. We began
descending. The road was curvy with mountains on one side and steep cliff on the other.
It was cold and it felt like rain again. It was also getting dark. After 15 or 20 minutes
of cycling downhill, we reached the place where we planned to spend the night. It was a
park that we saw on the map with monkeys in it. It looked like it on the map, but in
reality, it was some kind of a private park that was already closed. There was a huge
building with stores and food shops. One of the souvenir shops had an entrance to the
park and there was an entrance fee to the park and to see the monkeys which were most
likely locked up in the cages or tied up to metal poles. The park was the first sign
that Kawaguchi-lake town wasn't going be a pleasant place to visit. A few minutes later
when we entered the town, we discovered that if we knew before what this place was like,
we would have never included it in our plans. It looked like Niagara Falls.
It was quickly getting dark and locating a suitable camping spot and an onsen to warm
up were the only 2 things on our minds. We needed the hot, soothing water of an hot
The lake was lined up with hotels, restaurants and other fancy buildings, but
fortunately the shore had a public path. We found a spot among the trees right by the
path and a water fountain nearby and went to look for a hot spring. After finding one
resort to which we were directed to by a 7/11 guy we went in and paid Y1000 PER
PERSON!!! It was the most expensive onsen ever and yet it was nothing special. Just a
regular kind of building with normal water. Ridiculous! Maybe regular building with
regular tab water, but right next to MT. FUJI! There isn't a better place.
Anyway, we didn't care. We were cold, wet and in need of hot water. The little
drizzle stopped when we came out again. Instead the wind became stronger. It was a very
pleasant, warm, summer wind. It felt good to be dry and warm again. We made a camp and
went to bed.
The wind picked up the speed later and around midnight it felt like the tent was
just going to fly away with us in it. It was very warm though. We fell asleep.
Aug 9, 03
Kawaguchiko - Yamanakako
Weather: morn. to aftern. - rain
aftern. to eve. - great
Around 6 o'clock, the wind was still strong, but not as strong as during the night. We survived one of the strongest typhoons of 2003
right on the shores of a lake. We left the tent and saw some people on the pathway. They came to see Mt.Fuji that
was visible now despite the overcast. The mountain was there and right above it was a kilometer thick cloud belt that covered the entire mountain from both sides and on both sides descended together
with the slopes. It looked like a thick carpet laid on top of the mountain and from where we were standing it looked like
cross-section of Mt. Fuji covered with that cloud carpet. It was white as opposed to the rest of the clouds that were
Besides that cloud carpet over the volcano, we noticed some really weird cloud shapes much higher in the sky. One of them was
a very dark gray cloud with very light gray sky in the background. The shape of it was almost round with smooth edges.
It was a weird site. We were right in the middle of the typhoon, but it was quickly passing. The wind was slowly dying and
when after going back to sleep we woke again at 8 o'clock it had died completely and was replaced by rain once again. We went back to sleep and woke up
a few more times every hour until it was noon. By 12 it was still raining, but we couldn't stay in the tent anymore.
We decided to go somewhere. There was an art museum a few hundred metres away and we rode our bikes there. When we
got there in about 5 minutes, we were soaking wet. There was this one-room building by the entrance to the park of
the museum for workers during their breaks, I think. Anyway, we hid under the roof in front of the shack and a few
minutes later a lady opened the door and called us in. We accepted the invitation and went inside. At least it was
dry there. The place had huge windows on three sides, so we could easily monitor the outside situation. The lady
went back to work and a married couple with 2 kids came in, also hiding from the rain.
We chatted a little and played UNO together. The rain was getting smaller. The rain finally stopped at around 2 or 3. We were told by the couple that the rain would continue most likely until the next morning, but fortunately it didn't
and it seemed like it stopped for good. The rain and wind died, but the clouds although still very dark were very high and didn't seem like threat anymore. After packing up in the shortest time possible we were on our way to another lake
in that area called Yamanakako, about 22 km away. On the bridge across the lake, wind was still very strong, but the
weather began improving. In the Fujiyoshida town we noticed some breaks in the clouds and during the sunset, there were
scattered pieces of thick clouds across the sky. The colours looked spectacular in the setting sun. The volcano was
partly covered by clouds, but it was all changing very quickly because up there it was still very windy. At one point
we noticed that famous halo cloud hovering above the peak that is so often seen in many Mt. Fuji photographs. It looked like it was gonna be a great morning the next
day. Our mood improved and after 22 km we were on the shores of Yamanaka lake buying beer at 7/11.
The weather here was different. It was windy and we could feel a little drizzle. The clouds reappeared above our
heads, but we knew that they weren't going to last. The typhoon had passed and there's always a beautiful weather that follows it.
We took a bike path that followed the shore and decided to cycle until we found a suitable camping place. Next to the
path was a road and on the other side of the road we tried to see a park in the darkness. There was nothing except
for food shops, cabins and hotels. Despite that it didn't look like Kawaguchiko at all. It was much more quiet and
undeveloped. The lake was on our right and by this time there were clouds hovering right above the water. It wasn't
Finally, we located a shelter with a table and most importantly a roof. It looked like a perfect place. We stood
there for a while and watched the mountains on the opposite shore. They were visible again, but all of the sudden the view
disappeared and we noticed this fast moving cloud right above the water level moving at a fast speed in our direction.
It felt like the wave of quickly moving mass was going to sweep us off the ground. It was a very strange feeling. These weather swings weren't a surprise considering that we were at more than 500 m above the sea level.
The next goal was to find an onsen. There were maps every couple of hundred metres on he path, but no onsens were
marked there. Fortunately, there was one only few hundred metres down the road.
It wasn't a real onsen, but it didn't matter. The atmosphere was great. First of all, it was only 2 of us, so we
could do some clothes washing. After an hour of soaking in a hot tub, we came out and sat in a sitting room. It was like
any other Japanese traditional sitting room, but the combination of smell and lighting created a very special atmosphere plus it was completely empty.
It felt good. We were even treated with green tea and sugar ginger. It was very relaxing and we spent there almost an hour chatting and looking through some coffee table Mt. Fuji books.
Later while leaving we were approached by the owner's family and discovered that the place was run by an Indonesian
family. It had a slightly different feeling from the other onsens. We got back to "our" camping spot and noticed that the clouds from
the lake disappeared and Mt. Fuji became more and more visible. Most of all despite some clouds the air was very
clear. It was the official end of the typhoon. When we set up the camp, the mountain was totally uncovered and for
the first time we could see it completely. We watched it while eating supper. In front of us was the main climbing
path full of lights. The entire side looked like a Christmas Tree. It felt like we could touch it. We could see camera flashes going off from time to time at 2000 m or higher from where we were located. Later the peak
disappeared again and when I got up during the night to have a cigarette, the entire mountain was hidden behind the
clouds once again.
Aug 10, 03
Yamanakako - near Tokorozawa
Weather: Sunny & hot
The first thing we did when we woke up was uzipping the tent to see if Mt. Fuji was there.
After all the mountain was the reason why we were there. Our tent was placed with the entrance towards the mountain.
Ewa woke up first and managed to take a few photos of the volcano. When I got up the peak wasn't
there anymore. The weather was great though. It was sunny, clear and very warm. The sky was
clear except for the kind of a cloud crown hanging above 3/4 of the volcano making the peak
invisible. Above the water was slowly disappearing cloud of mist.
The combination of clear air and the cloud crown that hang around the peak created this great
effect. In this clear air the mountain seemed very close. We could almost touch it. The cloud
crown was casting shadows on the base of the volcano. It was only one place in the sky with the cloud. The mountain looked really awesome and at the same time strange
being the only mountain in the area. It just appeared in the middle of nowhere.
The path was already getting crowded. Before we even got up, we heard bunch of people
walking next to our tent. They must've been very disappointed being unable to use the picnic
table and the seat. People knew that what follows a typhoon is always a beautiful weather with clear air. As always
there were small groups of old people wearing the same hats and whole families with fathers
carrying tons of equipment hanging around their necks. Every minute they would switch between
still and video cameras. Their wives on the other hand would try to place the kids in front
of the mountain and take pictures with their phones. It wasn't sort of a place that we would
normally choose, but we had to see the volcano after so many times of trying and failing.
After so many attempts, it became personal.
After a big breakfast, we packed the panniers and took off. The first 15 to 20 km were done on
a quiet, mostly flat road with small hills. We cycled through small towns and villages. At
one point we passed what seemed like a huge summer camp place for the middle school
students. We reached the first climb and I had to wait for Ewa near the tunnel. It wasn't steep nor it
was long, but it was the third day of cycling for her and her bum was sore from the seat.
Anyway, after that the road went downhill for many, many kilometers all the way to Kanagawa
prefecture. It was really great. It was a main road connecting Kanagawa prefecture and other
roads leading to Yokohama and Tokyo, so it was crowded. Fortunately, it was mostly one way
traffic in the direction of Mt. Fuji, so our lane was almost empty. It was unbelievable to see
so many cars, motorcycles and bicycles going towards their country's most popular spot.
The road was going gently down passing through very scenic places. There were beautiful
mountains on both sides of the road and on the right side were some rice fields and a stream.
We stopped at the first service stop what turned out to be a mistake. The place was unbelievably
crowded with millions of noisy people who stopped there to buy souvenirs for their bosses, co-workers and family members. It was pure chaos especially in the building were the stuff was sold and the parking
lot where bunch of old guys with their red sticks were trying to direct the cars coming in and
going out. While walking towards the building we noticed an older guy with this rare, extremely
expensive dog that belonged to the SPANNIEL family. I tried to pet him and almost lost my right
We used the toilet, entered the huge souvenir shop and left immediately.
The road continued downhill and we could enjoy the views of beautiful mountains. It was getting
kind of tired though with all those cars moving towards Mt. Fuji. We were glad that we weren't
going to the mountain, but away from it. When we reached Kanagawa there were a few climbs that
we had to endure. It was already very hot and there were more cars on the road now in both
directions. We decided to take a back road. The road was also up and down, but much less
crowded. We stopped by a dam to look at diving/fishing cormorants. Half of the surface of the
reservoir was covered in all sorts of debris brought down from the mountains by the typhoon rains.
We noticed some of the birds diving among it.
Later, Ewa started complaining about her gear shifters. They were the twist kind and were pretty
worn out already. It was difficult to change gears and she got blisters on her hands. After having lunch
at one of the convenience stores we reached another main road with traffic. We crossed
it and tried to find a tunnel that connected our small road with another one leading across the
mountains to Hachioji city in Tokyo prefecture. We couldn't find it and tried to ask an old, partly
deaf man. He eventually showed us the way to the tunnel that actually was 100 m away, but not
before we spent 15 or 20 explaining to him where we wanted to go.
After going through the tunnel, we began climbing for the last time in that day. It turned out
to be the longest and the steepest climb of the trip. It was passed noon and extremely hot.
Ewa burned half of her back what was still visible in December, almost half a year later.
The only good thing about our road was that it was empty. There were hardly any cars. We passed through a couple of quiet, mountain villages and stopped at one to rest and cool off near a stream.
It was impossible to swim in it though because of the weeds almost covering it completely. We just dipped our t-shirts in the very cold water and
put them on. It was refreshing.
About 2.5 kilometres before the pass, it became really steep. Ewa's back, legs and arms were
burned and we were both exhausted, so the reminder of the climb we walked pushing our bikes.
Here the slopes were 10% to 13%. We were in trouble. There was hardly any liquid left in our bottles and no water
springs where we could refill them. Fortunately, it became a little cooler near the top. At one point Ewa
wanted to pee and she just went on the side of the road without giving damn about possibility of the cars passing by.
When we got to the top, there was no water fountain as we expected. Instead was a food shop
and parking lot ran by an elderly couple. The parking fee was ridiculously expensive - Y500 per car. It was a mountain from which Mt. Fuji was visible, but reaching the viewpoint required
walking to the top for a few hundred metres and we didn't feel like it. We were both thirsty and tired, so we decided to descend as quickly as possible.
The road on this side was totally among trees and it was very, very cold. A short while after
the pass we noticed water flowing down the rocks on the side of the road and refilled the bottles.
We continued down shivering and pressing both brakes with all the force. The lower we got
the warmer it became. It was a pleasure to cycle the last part
in the afternoon sun. The road ran through a couple of quiet, mountain villages.
I'm not sure why we decided to descend the mountain and enter Hachioji city at such a late time,
but we did it. As soon as we entered the city we wanted to leave it as quickly as possible.
After stopping at a supermarket and buying dinner food we wanted to cycle to Saitama prefecture.
It was too far though and we decided to stop a few kilometers passed the city at a river park
that we noticed on our map. Even though we left Hachioji city, we hadn't actually left a city.
In Japan, one town ends and immediately another begins creating this continuing city especially on the Kanto plain around Tokyo. We got to the park that was full of people and finding a camping spot was almost impossible because it was a festival day. We found a toilet and decided to wash up. It was a handicap toilet, so we were able to completely undress and had a good wash.
It was refreshing. Later we had dinner, but the park was getting more crowded. There were many
middle school punk kids making a lot of noise. We felt much better now after dinner and cold bath. We decided to continue after finding
another park on the map. The place was 7 km away, but the further we rode the more empty the city became.
We road along a main road lined up with restaurants and all kinds of shops on both sides.
At first, there were many people on the sidewalk coming back from the festival, but the further
we got the less stressful riding became. By the time we got to the park, we were hot and sweaty
again. The night was a typical Japanese August night - hot and humid. The typhoon was already forgotten.
There were some people still in the park despite the late hour. Most of them were young people
coming back from the summer festival that took place in several towns that night. We found
a perfect spot and sat on a bench. We had to wait for an older guy sitting a few metres away to leave. As it turned out
later, he was waiting for us to leave. Later, we realized that there were more older men sitting on the park benches. As it turned out they were homeless people waiting for others to leave so they could go through the garbage bins full of treasures on the festival night.
It isn't easy to be a homeless person in Japan. It's true that they get good help from the government and many of them put together wooden shacks where they sleep and some of them even have electricity in those shacks. They use kerosene powered generators. Others have dog houses next to their shacks or tents with dogs on a chain. Amazing. But despite all that it is sometimes dangerous. Many of those people fell victims to hideous crimes committed against them. Some were beaten to death some had boiling water poured on them. And the saddest thing is that these crimes were committed by middle school student. It seems like human life has a little value here.
We finally pitched the tent behind some trees on a grass hill and went to sleep. It was near
midnight and we were exhausted. For the first time on the trip we were able to fall asleep right away.
Aug 11, 03
Tokorozawa - Kamikawa
Weather: Sunny & hot
We got up, ate good breakfast and were on the road again. It was already hot. We had 80 km
to go on the flat surface. We were on the Kanto plain and there were no climbs between there
and Kamikawa. The only problem was traffic. We wanted to get home as quickly as possible, so
we stuck to the main roads, full of cars and trucks.
As soon as we crossed the Saitama prefectural border, the road became narrower. The neverending
city finally ended and now we had some nature again inbetween towns. We reached Yorii town which
is located only 20 km from Kamikawa and I got a flat tire. Great. We had no kit and no spares, so
we pushed the bikes for 2 km, but it was very exhausting. I decided to try to pump up the tire
and ride it. Fortunately, the whole was tiny and it worked. I was able to ride the bike for 2 km before having to pump the tire again and ride for another 2. After that it was pump and go all the way until Kamikawa.
Lesson learned: Take a spare. It doesn't weigh much.
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