Sunday April 10th
AT 4 AM THIS MORNING, Dylan, Scott, and I departed from Lori’s apartment on our bicycles after staying up all night packing and prepping. Why didn’t we sleep the night before the trip you ask? That’s what you’re supposed to do the night before the biggest adventure of your life right? It’s definitely NOT because we were unprepared or totally not ready for this… we just had stuff that we still needed to do to get ready. That’s why.
Our end destination was Yakushima island whose mountain forests were the inspiration for the scenery of the acclaimed animated movie “Princess Mononoke.” It was a difficult trip to say the least. At Hakata station, the bullet train staff adamantly, but politely (they are Japanese after all), informed us that we had to take our cycles apart and carry them in bags to be allowed on the train. After about 45 minutes, we (and by “we” I really mean our resident bike technician Dylan) had our wheels off and bikes collapsed. Having no bike bags, we were again saved by Dylan who brought tarps and some duct tape “just in case.” That’s two points for Canada. After boarding, the bullet train ride to the south of Kyushu Island went quickly since all three of us fell asleep… and also since it’s the bullet train.
Arriving in Kagoshima (the southern most prefecture in Kyushu) we promptly assembled our bicycles and rode to the ferry that would take us to the forested island of Yakushima. At the ferry terminal, we were informed that we had to break down and bag our bikes again like on the bullet train. Just awesome -_-. This was a bitter pill to swallow since the process is fairly annoying. Once off the ferry on Yakushima we reassembled our bicycles and rode about 50 km around half the island to an outdoor natural hot spring overlooking the South Pacific Sea. Completely depleted from this somewhat tame ride, I was happy when we decided to camp right there on the rock beach neighboring the hot spring. Dylan made a delicious dinner of egg plant, curry, and rice and we all fell asleep instantly.
Monday April, 11
We awoke and broke camp around 9:30am after Scott made a great breakfast of instant noodles and soft boiled eggs. Sadly, Scott lost his iPod somewhere near the hot springs. This could be a major blow to our trip if it remains unfound since Scott’s life basically revolves around music. I’d give him 15 days maximum before he goes crazy without his tunes-of-life. Plus, it could mean I might have to share my music with him once in awhile. As an only child, this idea doesn’t sit well. After thoroughly searching the area several times and leaving my cell number with the hot spring manager, we departed to head back up the coast the way we came yesterday.
For me, the trip has been really difficult physically so far. We’ve only logged about 25km today, but my muscles are screaming. Right now we’re eating lunch ourside of a super market (I grabbed some tofu and kimchi with canned peaches for dessert mmmmhmmmm). We hope to cycle inland later to hike around the island’s famed foliage. The cell reception on Yakushima is spotty which leads me to suspect I may not be able to post updates daily as I had hoped until we’re back on Kyushu after this pre-trip adventure. Thanks for tuning in!