day four

So at all the camp grounds, we like to put up our tent away from others and have a nice little corner to ourselves. Usually this is pretty easy because we can just ride to our site so we don’t have to put up the tent as close as possible to a car or motorbike. And the campgrounds are pretty quiet, although the other night, three young motorbike guys didn’t seem to realise that they were broadcasting to the rest of the campground all the things they would like to do to that hot chick with the pink motorbike. (I saw her down by the free onsen. She was indeed quite hot and her pink motorbike was indeed very cool. However, and I’m no great shakes with the ladies but I feel I can pass on some advice to the boys: if you fancy a girl, it really is quite crucial that you actually talk to her rather than about her.)

In any case, we got back from a walk and some girl had pitched her tent right next to ours. Maybe she saw our bikes and thought there was a bike section as she had a mamachari (ladies bike with a basket). She was a bit of a mystery. She can’t have come very far on a mamachari and didn’t have a lot of stuff. She seemed fairly young so maybe she had taken off overnight for a little solo adventure. I saw her having a crafty cigarette in the lobby of the onsen hotel attached to the camping site while Kazuko and I were having dinner to the sound of muzak Alison Moyet played on the glockenspiel. But we will never know what she was up to because she parked her tent too close to ours so we ignored her.

She certainly wasn’t out of bed by the time we packed up and left this morning anyway. We started the day in a mist that didn’t lift until about mid-morning as we continued our way up route 40. The weather is still very pleasant and after Nayoro, we had the road almost to ourselves as all the cars were using the new Nayoro bypass. Route 40 is taking us along the Teshio River so we have farmland on either side of us on the narrow river plain and then low mountains either side of that. There are also plenty of suicidal insects and I may have eaten quite a few. I would have swallowed a butterfly the other day if I hadn’t been lucky enough to have had my mouth mostly closed for a change.

Not too far before today’s campsite, we stopped at a michi no eki (food and souvenir stop by the highway) where we had lunch followed by the local specialty ice creams. I had asparagus and Kazuko had corn. If you are wondering what asparagus ice cream tastes like, simply imagine what you think asparagus ice cream might taste like and that’s pretty much how it tastes.

Yet again our campsite is attached to a hot springs resort so once we got the tent up we had a nice hot bath in mineral-filled volcanic water followed by a nice cold beer and some dinner. Early to bed again tonight (well – we’ve got no reading light and it gets dark about half-past seven) and tomorrow we will head for the coast.


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