Damian clocked up his 1000th kilometre for the trip yesterday and promptly declared today a rest day. We left him at the bus stop this morning with such pressing questions as: how do I pay the driver, how do I know how much to pay the driver and, when I get to Obihiro, how do I figure out how to get to Minami Furano. Because questions such as these are too difficult for me, I prefer to cycle even if I am very tired. Also, my bicycle doesn’t fold up and fit into a small bag.

Kazuko and I wished Damian good luck as he headed for the bus stop and made our way to the nearest konbini to see what the master chefs at Seven-11 could offer us for breakfast. After our feed, we cycled through more farm land. All the freshly-ploughed fields were giving off a lot of mist this morning as the day’s warmth heated them up. There was a haze all day.

There is no shortage of dairy farms in the Tokachi region and we waved at all the cows we passed. It only seemed fair – they ignore passing cars but always stare at us on our bicycles.

We left the farm land behind and had a few preliminary climbs and descents through hilly countryside, which prepared us for our big climb of the day through the Karikachi Toge. You will recall that in a previous blog post, I am electing to use pretentious French cycling words whenever one is available, instead of more commonplace English ones. I have decided to take this one step further and will not be referring to mountain passes or cols any more but will be exclusively using the Japanese word toge. Expect me to refer to the Galibier Toge during this year’s Tour de France Alpe D’Huez stage.

Our climb us the Karikachi Toge was steady and unspectacular but the road was quiet and views pleasant, which is as much as you could ask for. After we reached the crest, we were treated to a 20km descent, which is always a good thing.

We arrived at Minami Furano and found Damian loitering at the michi no eki and after a celebratory ice cream, we cycled to our ryokan for night, just in time for our afternoon nap.

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