A short visit to the McD at Ome station could rectify the problem before Laurent saw me who came appropriately clad in new Positivo Espresso wear.
On the way on route Ken 53 we took a left turn in direction Naguri dam, where I have heard that there is a road leading over Arima Toge to road 140 close to Chichibu city. This is a beautiful rockfill dam and should be the first of three spectacular wonders of civil hydraulic engineering we were going to see on this day. We stayed on the North side of the lake until we came to a Y fork and decided to take a right turn and stay at the river.
We always take right turns if we don’t know what to do, where we are and where to go.
This was the beginning of a long, long climb on a wet and slippery road which used to be in not too good of conditions. With the road being wet after the rain and many metal drain cover it proved to be a special challenge to ride up while chatting erratically about general life in Japan.
And going up into the clouds when we passed the 1.000 m elevation, the mist became even foggier and I was really worried about rain going to start any minute. It also became cold, the day has started with a miserable 25 degrees Celsius temperature when I left the house – hey, I thought we have August in Japan! And out there the temperature dropped to 16 degrees, like the average summer day in Germany, but we had less rain luckily.
And then suddenly before we reached the top, Laurent crossed a drain precisely at the location where the two drain covers should have met but didn’t; his front wheel fell into the hole and he had a flat (tubular) tire glued to his Lightweight wheel. From all the locations we could possibly have problems, this was the one where help was the far most away. But together we managed to remove the tire and glue a new one on, which all went rather quickly. After we had said our prayers and buried the tire on the slopes, we went on and reached rather quickly the top.
This miracle was followed by the miracle of a fast decent in which Laurent was almost killed when sudenly a huge truck came up the road around a corner. This and the car behind where the only one we met riding down and it is still a mystery to us what the truck was doing there.
Laurent has properly trained for the ride by scaling Odarumi the day before, so he was in the best of all possible shapes when we reached the second dam of the tour, the Urayama dam.
And so we decided to continue on road 140 in direction Chichibu lake. The road was nice and curvy, leading as gently upwards, the sun was coming out occasionally and we rode at a good pace to the lake, finally stopping at the tunnel before the dam.
This is very special tunnel. It is not as scary as Sasago tunnel or the one on Otoge, and by far not as dangerous and long as the new Sasago tunnel, but it is very small in diameter so that a traffic light in front controls the one-way traffic flow; plus it has a Y fork inside where one can take a turn to the left to come out just on top of the main arc dam.And from there onwards we started to climb up to the Mitsumine shrine. This again is a long but very steady climb on a big road with almost no traffic. Laurent and me could ride next to each other and chat about this and that and before we noticed we had done again more than 600 meters of climbing up.
This was my second time up there, the first time was with Ludwig in autumn, in miserable cold climate and running out of daylight. So I showed Laurent around and we went to the platform to have a better look at the mountains of Chichibu.
There was already one guy there with his girlfriend and I asked him to take a photo of us. I told him that he just needed to push the bottom, but he was not satisfied with taking a simple photo. He varied the positions constantly, was complaining about the natural light and did this and that with the result that he took three beautiful works of art of Laurent and me which I can not possibly withhold from the public.Stunning beauty indeed. Another family of four came up the platform and he was in his artistic mood he asked them if he could take their picture as well. I guess in their case you will see four shadows instead of two, otherwise everything identical.
After that both of us where of the opinion that we did our fair share of work for the day and we went on a fast downhill to the dam and then further on to Chichibu city.
We had just missed the express train to Ikebukuro, so we hurried up and packed so that just in time we could also miss the local train to Hanno. Checking the train schedules, we decided to part, I took the train over Hanno to Hachioji, while Laurent went to Ikebukuro and we were all home after dark.
There is a nice road over Arima Toge which is rideable.
There are many dams in Chichibu.