blog: Vail local motorcycling ’round the globe – p.1
Vail CO, Colorado
Over 3000 miles have rolled away since we left Colorado nearly one month ago. Not a huge distance in the span of earth that lies ahead.
The first stop on our trans global journey was Japan and if I could get ” DOMO ORIGATO MISTER ROBOTO” out of my head for just a minute, perhaps I would relieve enough space to remember a few crucial Japanese symbols.
What a tough language.
Regardless, we have managed to retrieve our bikes from Tokyo International and experience plenty of culture to compliment our riding time. Which by the way has been exceptionally wet. As my dad would say, ” the weather is very close.”
We rode three days north on service roads through 987 stoplights, I started counting on day two, to the northern island of Hokkaido. Something similar to getting off the “It’s a Small World After All ” ride at Disneyland, hopping the “Magic Submarine” and ending up at every kids favorite “Race Car Track” where you get to drive your own little car.
Hokkaido is a motorcycle paradise. Perfectly groomed, serpent-like roads winding between volcanoes and rivers. It was that good. I could have spent weeks exploring the endless expanses of paved bliss, but progress pushed us like a kid on training wheels and our ferryboat to Russia await in the north.
Little did we know that escalating tensions between Japan and Russia over Sakhalin Island would make it extremely difficult to travel there. Impossible actually. After nearly 1,000 miles from Tokyo, the Russians denied our entrance.
It was a huge shot to my morale as backtracking 1,000 miles to Tokyo is not the forward progress I had been anticipating.
We had only one option at this point, tuck tail, stuff sushi and head back south to where we started. Entering Russia in the far southeast corner near North Korea.
All in all, it has been an exceptional experience riding a motorcycle through Japan. The people are unbelievably friendly. I could write a book on the stories of hospitality we experienced here.
The food is exceptional, towns are clean, roads are tidy, and the government’s even tidier yet. Not quite the barren landscapes I am expecting in Siberia and Mongolia but a cultural and natural pleasure to experience non the less.
We are now awaiting a 40 hour ferry crossing to Russia, which should provide plenty of time to anticipate the miles ahead. Not to mention, recover from the squid flavored ice cream that I won’t put my money on as the 32nd flavor.