The somewhat delayed report of this weekend's mission is as follows:I left my apartment at around 08:30 and had some terrifically cold hands and feet for a while. In Ōse 大瀬 I just had to keep reminding myself that I could come back any time to take pictures around there. I had a quick chat with two old ladies taking a walk. When I said I was going to Matsuyama one of them thought I was going back to Uchiko and taking the train. But I explained and she realised what I meant confirming with "on this". Indeed, on the fabulous yellow this. They told me take care, 'cause old ladies are sweet like that.
Before I knew it I was passing the turn off to Oda 小田 and continuing straight on. By the way, this route is walked annually by students from the junior high school there. I heard they walked it on the Friday night. Yikes!
From here I took it easy moving slowly up into the Tobe town area 砥部町. The cold air was also finally explained when I saw snow at the side of the road. It blocked the cycling path here and there, but it wasn't a big deal. I was just pleased that there was any form of cycling path most of the way.
I passed through Hirota 広田町 and this looks like a nice place to visit again some time. I took a picture of the picture tourist map so I can try and figure out what all the major points of interest are.
Just when the slow and steady uphill was beginning to tire me out the cycle path ended and there was a series of tunnels—going down hill! This was of course immensely enjoyable and it was hardly necessary to pedal again until I reached Tobe city. I have to say, respect for the cyclist I saw coming from that direction a bit earlier. I wouldn't want to do this route in reverse!
The city isn't as interesting as the countryside, so before I knew it I was passing by my cycle shop in Matsuyama 松山. I had a chat with Ryō and was very embarrassed to find out my tyre pressure was way too low. As he said, maybe try a little harder with the inflation next time.
I went on to the hostel where I was staying and picked up my bag that I had sent ahead by courier. On my way down to to Dōgo Onsen for a much needed bath I witnessed the Botchan clock (not for the first time, but for your enjoyment). Anyway, Dōgo is of course the only establishment in Japan that charges less, but provides no soap or shampoo! Personally I'd rather pay more and have these amenities. Of course I noticed the vending machine selling silly tiny sachets of soap when I was leaving. At least I had some face wash with me in the first place. But I didn't have any 10 yen coins to operate the pay-to-use hairdryer! Ark! So anyway, this more stingy approach just doesn't work with onsen.
Next time I visit there I guess I'll try work out all the complicated ticket options so I can also put on a yukata and have tea or see a different bath or something. As it stands my first visit inside Dōgo was not very memorable.
After the onsen I head back up to the hostel to officially check in and get my bed ready. Then I went back to the cycle shop and arranged to have a carrier and some bags ordered to be put on the back so I can now really get into this thing I'm apparently already doing but have only now found a word for: "touring".
I took the bus into town for some dinner and hanging about until our evening programme of Scottishness with an AJET Burns Night. Upon returning to the hostel I enjoyed a fellow patron's insane snoring and sleep related noises for hours, as well as a continuation of really stupid air conditioning. Won't stay there again.
But anyway, the next morning I snapped a few snaps and was just too happy to get home and clean, of all things. This has got to have something to do with my age. Which I honestly couldn't remember when I was checking into the hostel. I had to do math. I knew I had had a birthday recently, but which one? I've also since found I'm in a new age bracket for filling in surveys. Whatever that means.
Total distance: 53.6km
Lowest point: 40m
Highest point: 460m
Inspiration for taking pictures of some shop fronts: hello sandwich