Sunday, May 20, 2018

Finding a Rhythm, Comfort in Slow Mo

Happy Mother's Day! A sunshine morning and a box of Maple Leaf Cream Cookies, found in a grocery on the island of Kyushu, Japan.  Flowers for my bicycle and a cherry tart for breakfast. A artistic card to look at in the map case of my handlebar bag.  A day ahead planned biking up a volcano and an afternoon soaking in an onsen....a perfect way to celebrate Mother's Day!
Days of rain, unpredictable access to juicing up our electronics, mechanical issues with the bikes, we were in a bit of slow mo and transition in our first weeks of Japan.  However, the natural beauty, the calmness of the road, the spring flowers and fresh green leaves everywhere, and the accepting culture and simplicity we feel being here in Japan has given a sense of peace to our pace.  We are not covering a lot of ground, we are still on Kyushu, and now, we've come to agree that reaching the far north in Hokaido will likely be a tour of the future.  We are committed to fully enjoying each day and taking it as it comes.  Incredible consequences occurred this past week.  As we were coming out of the grocery Rick said "Whoa - look at that...!" A giant plume of ash cloud was spewing from a volcano peak looming above the valley we were biking through.  Fortunately the spewing tower reached a threshold, flattened out and began dispersing away from our valley.  It was indeed this peak that we had planned to hike around.  Our first encounter with a English speaking business owner was exactly when we needed it, at an outdoor store at the volcano's base.  The morning was spent drying out our wet gear in his park-like store grounds, using the  best wifi we'd encountered, and receiving maps and hike descriptions, in English, of the areas of the mountain that were still open and reachable.  We count on moments like this to fill in the blanks of ideas we have in our minds.  That afternoon we biked up the volcano and found ourselves soaking in a natural hot spring onsen looking down on the valley we'd climbed above.  We were camped in the narrow picnic area space across the road.  Life can be good, really good. The next day and days after, we find amazing encounters with people and nature confirming our mode that where you are is where it is.

 Does this happen in your backyard?
Just biking down the road brought us by this shrine in the towering trees...
I guess we are already on the climb up this volcano...
Tarn at the top.  At 13 he still loves to climb up boulders.
Pink azealeas bloom everywhere.
We had no idea the campground across this lake would show up.  A long day biking and 5:30PM allowed this gorgeous shot.
However, the campground was slightly difficult to get to.  Downed trees blocked the path that lined the lake.  Another small hurdle before the reward of a quiet and peaceful place to camp.  It didn't hurt that this night's cool down was in a crater lake.
Incredible views, great bikeways.
Sampson setting up his go pro to catch the movement of clouds above the town of Taketa.
Seafood pasta sauce.  Gourmet camping for sure!

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