Be gone, evil cloud!
Be gone evil cloud
Waking up to the sound of the rain on the glass windows, shit I didn’t dream it. Malakas is real. I’m a bit nervous, have no idea what will happen today and the pictures online at the Japan News don’t promise much good. Miyo of Ducati Japan contacts me during breakfast, which was a hot meal to my surprise. Noodles, rice, eggs, hot tea, iced tea and even soup! I’m loving this country more day by day. You may have noticed on the pics but I ate it indeed with chopsticks and I did manage not to fling my eggs around the lobby at all, only a little bit of rice, here and there. And over there. And maybe on the ground too. Other than that most of it ended up where it should have been… Back in my plate.
But I’m wandering off, Miyo said there might be a ferry leaving from Osaka straight to Beppu this evening. Malakas will pass the Kinki pensinsula by noon so maybe the ferries will set out this night again. I check the map and the gps, it’s about 77km to Osaka from where I am and mostly highway. I am willing to pay the highway toll in this situation. Everyone has their own strategies that they use during riding, so I also have my own things that I do and check when it is storming and I’m evaluating if it is doable or not. Going out to check on the Multistrada Enduro that is hiding beneath the stairs in the parking lot of the hotel, the rain is pouring down and the strong winds are playing with leaves and litter they have captured in their small whirlwinds. I’m not sure about this and get back to my room, considering options. What are the positive sides of me getting the ferry this evening and what can the consequences for the itinerary be if I don’t get in Kyushu in time. I find myself lost in thoughts and hesitation until I decide that I’m just going to do what I always do : ride. Ten minutes later I’ve checked out and in the heat of the moment I strap my Nike bag to the Multi and off I go, into the preludes of Malakas.
The first 45km are just pispouring rain and heavy winds but nothing I’ve never ridden in before so apart from a pounding heart everything is just fine. The more I approach Osaka the heavier the gusts are but the Multi doesn’t mind, he’s got his advantage of his weight and power when he’s at speed. I feel like riding a powerboat through this typhoon. It has something enchanting, the rain coming down like a shower, the rear tyre shooting up a ray of water, the growl of the engine when I overtake at the highway and wiggling my dry toes in my fuzzy socks. (I really can’t get over the fact that these boots are awesome! Not used to having dry feet in rain.)
Entering Osaka wasn’t that enchanting though, traffic jams and so much cars! During slow speeds and stops the Multistrada Enduro becomes more difficult to handle due to the strong gusts. I continuously have to make triangles with the bike and my body to keep it up straight, this means one foot down on the right, left leg clinching onto the bike and make a triangle with the wheels and my right foot. Tilting the handlebar completely to the left, that way I can push the bike up if the gust is from the left and pull the bike towards me when it comes from the right. It’s my technique with a big bike in stormy conditions when I can’t put my both feet down. Eventually I get to the ferries but surprise there are none riding this evening. But hey I can’t complain, even if it wasn’t on my bucket list I can now say I’ve ridding through a tropical storm ;).
The kind ladies at the desk tell me to search a hotel asap because the eye of the storm is now just below us on the map. So I just took the nearest hotel because it has become almost impossible to ride anymore, I’m practically the only person left out on the streets anymore and me and the Multi are being thrown from side to side at intersections. We make it to the CosmoSquare Hotel just fine, get a cheap one persons room,let my wet luggage explode the room to dry and am now typing the blog. Outside it is storming as hell broke loose even the glass windows are trembling. Guess this Multistrada Enduro really deserves his title of Guardian of the Torch.
As soon as the storm has gotten a bit better I’ll take the metro into the city! I want to see the shiny lights of the big buildings by night.