Thursday, May 31, 2018

Riding Strong on the Island of Honshu



Sampson....our boys have become travel savvy.

Sampson and Markos learn how to make a tasty treat from Japanese workers who are staying at the same hostel we did 10 days ago.  Our days off have been farther apart, but golden when they come together.

The shrine we came upon at snack time - amazing things that show up out of the forest.

Rick and Tarn in a selfie, flying down a river road.

Misty clouds and moutains.

My rims were cracking.  Rick spent a day on our arrival to Honshu building me a new wheel.  At the same time Markos' rear hub completely failed and fortuneatly, a bike shop appeared at the right time.  The owner was super resourceful , and though he hadn't the right type of wheel at his shop, we waited a bit and one arrived by car.  Rick took Markos' former rim and used it to replace mine.  Rick's mechanic skills are extensive, as well as his patience.  He keeps us all rolling.
Japan is a surreal experience.

I’m sitting on a couch, drinking a cup of tea.  Seems like a normal thing to do, yet I haven’t had a home like this in….how long?  We’ve decided to treat ourselves to an AirBNB in central Hiroshima.  The historical significance of this location is one that we wanted to take time to digest.  Our bikes and gear have a place to be without us “babysitting” them and today, we went to the Peace Park and the museums and monuments. These locations are dedicated to Peace and designed to teach the world about the results that occur from the use of nuclear bombs. The discussions over lunch amongst my family were proof that our visit to Hiroshima had a significant impact on my children’s understanding of nuclear weapons.  From the number of Japanese school kids piling into the museum from a sea of buses, I could see that Japan is making sure they teach their youth about the significance of the use of nuclear weapons also.

We have been cycling the main island of Japan, Honshu, for just about a week.  It took me a short bit to embrace it as I had such an incredible experience on the island of Kyushu where we started our cycle journey in Japan.  Here on Honshu there seemed to be more noise, it was busier, there were thundering motorcycles….but then the Japan Cycle Network route we are currently following led us up through gentle climbing river valleys, low clouded, older looking mountains and into new landscapes.  A high karst region – prairie lands speckled with sharp limestone boulders.  An ancient samurai town with river fortifications and unique architecture.  Beautifully maintained community gardens. Seas of green rice terraces perfectly planted by amazingly designed machines.  A huge 800 year old cedar looking over an ancient Shinto shrine where we stopped by chance for a snack break.  Honshu has character of its own.

Sampson, Markos and Tarn are buckled down to their last month of studies.  Distance learning this year has taught them time management and significant communication skills.  I have no doubt that in their year ahead returning to the traditional classroom they will feel on top of their game.

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