When you start every day by packing your life onto a bike and then get on the bike and ride 100 km away, it’s hard to develop a sense of home. Sometimes, when we find especially good campsites, there is an urge to linger but more for convenience than anything. Truly feeling at home is something I think we’ve all had to put aside for the duration of this trip. That being said, even though we were only there for some 60-odd hours, leaving the Kasai household and my old friend Haruna today felt a little like leaving home all over again. Maybe it was because we got much-needed shelter from the typhoon there; maybe it was the familiarity of a friend from the good old days. Probably, a lot of it was the sizeable, bustling family of five siblings, mother, father, and brand new grandson all packed into a cozy, well-lived house. But whatever it was, I know I’ll be looking back fondly on this midpoint oasis of home-away-from-home as we continue down the road.
Continuing is exactly what we did today, although not too far. We slept-in a bit again, a luxury that just doesn’t work as well when camping in a city park. Eventually, I rolled out of bed and set about making a tower of french toast for breakfast. Halfway through, Haruna came down and beckoned me outside, saying that the clouds had cleared and you could see Mt. Fuji. I came around the corner, expecting a little hump on the horizon, and was blown away by the view. The typhoon had kept the mist quite thick, so I had not realized, until that moment, how truly close we were to the imposing mountain. It was all I could do to tear myself away and go flip my french toast. Honestly, I don’t know how people near Mt. Fuji work on clear days and not just gaze at it for hours.
Scott and Andrew were lured out of bed by the promise of Mt. Fuji and french toast, and we spent the morning and early afternoon taking pictures, eating, and packing. Finally, around 4 pm, we were ready to set off. We took a few more group shots with Fuji, graciously accepted the sandwiches Haruna had made us for lunch/dinner, and got on the road, looking stylish in our brand-new team shirts, graceful kanji calligraphy also courtesy of Haruna. The two-day rest was definitely noticeable and welcome, and our afternoon ride went by smoothly and quickly.
Now, we are camped, almost 30 km down the road, beside the Fuji River. We are currently facing the mouth of the South Japanese Alps, planning to follow the river valley up into the mountains. We’re not sure what kind of hills and challenges await us tomorrow and beyond, but sitting here, listening to the running water and croaking bullfrogs, with homemade sandwiches in my belly and a fading, happy sense of home, I feel sure we can somehow handle them.
Crash: Excited for the Alps
Calves: Early to bed