Three to Tango, Part IV - Country Roads
Trip Start Jul 22, 2006
59Trip End Aug 15, 2010
And so it was that a bit after three on Sunday afternoon, we found ourselves on a road heading south and east. Ever hopeful, we'd chosen a route that would hopefully allow us to see Lake Biwa (the largest lake in the country). Because we hadn't yet learned our lesson that no matter how good our intentions, we'd always arrive later than planned.
There was a moment of brilliant sunlight just as we left Yosano, and then the day went back to being severely overcast. We didn't mind so much, except for the fact that the chill made the windows fog up, and it was a little while before the temperature in the car became comfortable
At first the going was -- don't be too shocked, now -- slow, because the rain was keeping traffic more or less at the speed limit, which was 50km/h. When we finally reached the coast of the Sea of Japan, things picked up, though I made a couple of executive decisions of the "I'm stopping to take pictures!" kind, one of them being when I spied a gorgeous rainbow arching over the sea. I don't think I'd ever seen the end of the rainbow like that, plunging into the horizon.
The drive was enjoyable for the most part, since we weren't stressing out about being late to meet anyone, and traffic was fairly steady. I gave Emily permission to take as many pictures she liked with my camera, so you needn't worry that all the shots of the road were taken by me when my attention should have been directed at the driving. Emily went a little trigger-happy, taking many shots of the inside of the car, the road, various signs we passed, the mountains, buildings, other cars passing us in the tunnels, etc. etc.
We spent part of the afternoon on Obama-watch, because we happened to be driving near a town that shares a name with the current president of the United States
Having all brought our music players, we rotated them in an effort to broaden each others' musical horizons, i.e. we forced each other to listen to our silliest songs. It was great fun, though, as were the conversations that inevitable took place during the many, many hours of driving. It's incredible how much you learn about your friends when you travel together!
One thing we all agreed on was that our friend Tiffany, who had originally planned to come with us but had been obliged to bow out at the last minute, would not have enjoyed herself at all, as she dislikes being in a car for long periods of time.
Our experience of desperately needing a toilet on Saturday had traumatised us sufficiently that we kept a constant watch for signs of public facilities. Each time one of us spotted a convenience store, there was an exclamation of, "Toilets
Night fell, and the last dregs of light showed us the northern expanse of Lake Biwa, but the air was too misty to really appreciate it anyway. The weather was having a grand old time, though, because over the course of the day and evening, we experienced rain, drizzle, sun, hail, and even some snow, once we were up in the mountains of Nagano Prefecture.
Mountains that, naturally, must be really pretty in the daytime.
Our route took us onto the expressway for a short while, though again, our speed was reduced thanks to the wet conditions. I had a moment of terror when, as I was in the passing lane, two large trucks weaving through traffic came up on me and passed me (from the slow lane), nearly running me into the divider. Those of you who know me know that I hardly ever swear... but that made me swear.
When we got off the expressway, we were in the outskirts of Matsumoto, our port of call for the night
At long last, we made it to the heart of the city, and found the hotel without any trouble. Emily took a single room, Laura and I had a double, and we went to bed as soon as we reached our rooms, because Monday would be our last day of travel, and we had a special stop planned.