Jerome, Nishibe-san, Tom and I had a successful ride out Rte 299 and then to Saku-daira, where we enjoyed a late lunch and then hopped a 3:34 Shinkansen for Tokyo. … Read about it all … and see the photos … on Tom’s blog. Or see his Garmin Player GPS log of the trip.
Though Tom’s blog is very comprehensive, I had a slightly different perspective at some points … I did not need to wait at all at the top of Jukkoku Touge (十石峠), and so did not get cold, or enjoy the opportunity to converse with the elderly couple and their talking dog.
Also, maybe it was the very early start (5:30AM departure from my house), or maybe it was the fact that we had already gone 130 km and over two of the passes when we started the Jukkoku climb, but I felt weak and plodded up pretty slowly, despite the reasonable grade. At least I made up for it on the other side, averaging 40 kph on the 18 km stretch from the pass (1351 m elev) to the junction with Rte 141 (approx elev 750 m). In the end, I logged 185+ km and 2600 meters or so of climbing … barely farther than my trip to Honjo Waseda, but one more good climb.
1. We avoided the big box stores and chain eateries along Rte 141 South of Saku, taking local Rte 2 through various small towns and past farms about 70% of the way from the junction with 299 to the Saku-Daira shinkansen station. The last 30% on 141 was not pleasant. This area is one big suburban sprawl, without much of a center–kind of like Kofu or Matsumoto enjoyed on the Tokyo-Itoigawa run, if a little less dense.
2. I still need to find a better way through Chichibu City. We stayed on 299 all the way this time, and as Ludwig had said it is not particularly nice until past Ogano (about 10 km to the west), though this did save a few kilometers and a few hills compared with taking Rte 140 (also not pleasant) and connecting via Rte 37/297 as I did last week. Next time I will try local Rte 209.
3. Also, for future reference, there were 3 7-11’s on Rte 299 after the middle of Chichibu City, 2 after crossing the Arakawa. The „last convenience store“ was a „Save-on“ shop at the corner of Rte 299 and Rte 37. And there some tourist lunch options, including a cafeteria at the „Dinosaur Center“ just a kilometer or two west of where 299 meets 462, after Shigasaka-touge. The town hall had a large glass window and a very large skeleton of a dinosaur — worth a stop next trip?