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Oct 9th & 10th Rainy Ride

You know they say "The only thing worse than Riding in the rain is not riding"

well Neil and I gave that theory a real test this last weekend. 

It was supposed to rain on Sunday morning, and then just be cloudy for the rest of Sunday and Monday.

We made a reservation up at a campground near Yatai, three stops up the Tohoku expressway from Tochigi. 
We had hoped to get some really good roads in on Sunday, go to the campground, hit an onsen and then have some steaks for dinner. Things did not quite work out that way.

Above you can see our route, we got off at Tochigi and went up this nice country road, but instead of going through the tunnel that runs under this mountain we took the old road over the mountain.

On the map it looked great, but with all the wind and rain, it was a real tip-toe up and back.

This section of the road was quite clean compared to most of the road
here you can see the road surface and there are no rocks and branches everywhere.


Teahouse stop

We both agreed that on crappy roads like this the big V-Twin bikes make it easy, 
as you can surf that nice fat wave of torque without having to worry about changing gears!

Taking a break in the "teahouse"


We stopped at the highest point of the road where there is an observation point

Looking from the observation point down the valley, when the clouds parted for just a bit you could see the valley.

This is the view right below the observation point.

The sign at the rest area, sorry I can't read it, I'll have to get my lovely wife to translate it for me.

By the time we got down off this road, we were soaked and needed a break, 
we headed to Nikko and found Gusto restaurant and warmed up with a Gusto Burger and a hot chocolate.

We had planed to take a lot of the twisty "B" roads that are so much fun on a nice dry day, but with the weather not looking good, we decided to stick to some of the toll roads and hope they were not strewn with debris as well.

North of Nikko between route #121 and Route #400 there is a great toll road, 
600 yen and the road was dry, and had few cars on it, we really enjoyed it. 

The VTR at the mid point observation point of this good toll road.

Neil and his SV 1000 at the second rest stop

another shot.

From here we went to find a supermarket and a gas station, then on to the campground.

As it is now October, it was already getting dark, so we headed to the campground, which was very nice

We rented a 3 person cabin that was nice, and then cooked dinner, we had BBQ steaks, and we bought a "Nabe" thing at the supermarket, with the foil pan and all the meat and veggies in it ready to cook, this was great and it warmed us up, but as we were digging into the Nabe, the clouds opened up and rained on us again, so we headed for cover to finish our dinner. We gave up on the Onsen idea, as no one we talked to could recommend one for us.

We stayed up chatting until about 9:30 PM and hit the sack, it was funny, it seemed like it was well after midnight up there in the mountains, but it was still early. 

Breakfast is served!!

On a cold wet morning nothing like some hot bacon and eggs, with fresh coffee!!

We woke up fairly early, and got ready to go, a nice hot breakfast of eggs
 and bacon with coffee, was again interrupted by rain.

Neil by the cabin

Stu by the cabin

inside the cabin

It was cold and wet, and while Neil wanted to go to an Onsen on the way home, I just wanted to head home. With the rain and cool temps, we decided not to temp fate and just hopped on the expressway at Yatai, it took less than two hours to get home to Shinjuku for me.

Neil did more of his 120 km/h photography on the way home.

Sure the rain sucked and the debris strewn roads were not fun either, but I think that I have to say that they are right, I'd rather ride in the rain than not ride.

I have to say that the Tochigi area is going to get visited by me a lot more next season, as it is fairly close, and there are so many good roads up there, some are not much more than goat tracks, but then again, I'm thinking of switching to a big trail kind of bike soon anyways. A couple more things;

Again the "Throttle Rocker" got high marks, I really like this product....

I find it not in the way when riding the twisties, and when on the expressway, it is just great.
As we got rained on a lot, I had wet gloves, so my hands got a little cold, but my right hand on the throttle, with the Throttle Rocker, was warmer than the hand without it.

The luggage I use, the Givi top box, and the RKA 33 liter sportbike panniers......

...also worked very well, totally stable and the rain covers seemed to keep the rain out, 
though I read online that they did not work well.

Things that did not work well, the "Over Gloves" I bought from Rough & Road, the sucked, total waste of money.

I got the biggest size they have, and they would not go over my normal armored riding gloves.
I used them without any gloves inside of them, and in no time at all my hands were soaking wet.
I ended up using my normal summer riding gloves that were soaked, and I wore latex surgical gloves under them, plus I put plastic bags over my hands for the expressway ride, talk about embarassing.....

All in all a good weekend, not the best, but it sure beats sitting at home watching TV!!