The road to choir camp is a long one 〜 合宿への道が長い

I’m on the road again, this time for business. Well, I must admit that I am mixing pleasure with work. The annual spring choir camp begins next Tuesday, and I left home today (Friday) in order to spend four days cycling to the Iwai, where the camp is held. But not directly! Today I was up at 3:30 am in order to catch the 4:50 train with my bike. I started pedaling from Tsuchiura at 6:30 am. The route was ideal – lake dikes and cycling paths for half of the way, and country roads for the remainder. Not to mention the fact that I was blessed with tailwinds for the entire day! This must be a foretaste of heaven.

Day one details:
1. The first 20 km was on a lake dike, with Kasumigaura on one side, and lotus farms on the other. Lotus farmers have a tough job – they muck around in the chest-deep mud in cold early morning. I have no idea what they were up to, but don’t envy them their job.

At the 20 km point, I happened across a rest house for cyclists, and most amazingly, they were serving breakfast! Fukaya-san was on duty, and he and I had quite a chat about this and that while I enjoyed a plate of his excellent French toast. Quite an unexpected pleasure!

For the first half of the ride (100 km today in total) I saw no cars, riding along the lake-like Kasumigaura dike and cycling path.

As always, there were oddball things to enjoy. (The sign in the first photo says “Heaven is eternal life. Hell is a lake of fire. The Bible.” So, who wants to be a Christian? いつものことですが、面白い発見は多くありました。以下の看板と捨てられた石造り巨大招き猫。

The real point of this ride was to see the mouth of the Tonegawa River. A great bridge spans the river at this point, leading to the fishing port Choshi City. I met a man on this windswept bridge who told me all the places I should see while in town, as well as giving me a cycling map to the area. People are friendlier here than in the city.

My goal, the Inubosaki Kanko Hotel, was exactly 100 km from the start of today’s ride. You really should come here. The rooms are gorgeous, the lobby funky, the food good, and the hot spring bath fabulous. The combination of the ride, bath and dinner made today one of the highlights of my cycling career. Tomorrow I continue down the Pacific coast of the Boso Peninsula.

Finally, today’s map, and the proof photo:

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