72ml. Rain has finally stopped so an early morning start today, trying to make it to a warm shower host, Danny. The roads are quiet and I take the R24, 793 and 730 to Namwon. I have a break here and sons Gimbap to eat as I’ve my 1st decent climb soon. The road is scenic and quiet and as I get to Hamyang, I mail Danny to confirm I’ll make it tonight. I have a tuna sandwich outside a garage and the owner invites me to a table and makes me a coffee. After this it’s a great climb up the 1084 to geochang and call in a shop for some food. Danny is at work till 6 so I wait and chill in a small park for him to arrive. A great guy and he also runs over hills and mountains for fun. He’s doing an ultra marathon in a few weeks, 110km over hilly terrain and his flat has lots of race numbers hung on the walls as well as trophies for winning and top 3 placing at these long distance races. An amazing young man.
82ml. After a restless night in the park due to the noise from the port, I got on the cycle path of the Yeongsangang river. All the way up to Damyang-eup. I’d followed this path down most of the way with Paul, so I wasn’t stopping for photos along the way as usual. I rode the last 10ml with a cyclist tucked in behind doing a bit of drafting lol. He spoke a little English and showed me a shelter with a toilet nearby. It forecast rain in the early hours so I’m glad to camp under the shelter. In the morning the rain comes and it’s a typhoon on its way so I decide to stay. I visit the bamboo museum and go to an internet café to download my Garmin activities. I’m just going to set off as the rain is light when it changes to heavy downpour and now I’m stopping. I’m in contact with Darna and Janneka by WhatsApp and they suggest to stay till the typhoon passes on Sunday. They send me a link for a 24hr sauna/ jimjilbang nearby so I check in here for 2 days due to the bad weather. Hopefully it’s going to be fine on Monday. Probably won’t get much sleep due to snoring but I’ll be dry ha.
168ml. This was done over 6 days cycling anti-clockwise around the island with a couple of side trips to Udo island and the lava tubes. There is a cycle route all around the circumference of the island. After an early rise of 5am, we head to the port for the 9am 5hr ride on the ferry via trips to 5 different banks before I find one with an international ATM.
Day 1 was 22ml to Darak shelter which we thought was a camp spot but realized it was just a stamping booth on arrival there. You can do different routes collecting stamps along the way in a cycle passport and you receive a certificate and medal at the end. This is on the 4 rivers cycle routes. Well the island is beautiful, very busy along the shoreline with nice cafés and restaurants. We decide to camp at a sportsground just off the road and nice and quiet.
Day 2 was 44ml to Daepo-dong. Much of the same today along the coast and steady away. We camp in the grounds of the African museum. Not the best place but was difficult to find somewhere as it’s very touristy around the coast in this location.
Day 3. 38ml to Sinsan-ri. After another early start, Paul is a real early starter, we come to a beautiful Yakchunsa temple. We stop off here to view it and Paul does some gear maintenance on his bike. Changing and fitting a new cable and resetting the gears. The weather is great again so a relaxed pace and we arrive at a small port to camp but a fisherman tells us the sea splashes over the wall, so we follow him and he shows us a sheltered spot right at a fresh water pool that runs into the sea.
Day 4. 22ml to Udo-Myeon. Paul left early this morning to camp and then hike up Mt Hallasan, the highest mountain in south Korea. I ever hear him go and after a few hours cycling I come to another small port, Jongdai with a small ferry in dock and find out it’s going to Udo island so I buy a ticket and take a side trip there. It’s a beautiful island and the speciality there is peanut ice cream. It’s only a small island so I decide to camp after going all the way around and the shelter I want to camp under is exposed and it’s quite windy so I head to one lower down which is more sheltered.
Day 5. 29ml to Hamdeok beach campsite. Got the 7.30am ferry back to a different port this time. Arrived at Seongsan port and went to look at Seongsan llchulbong ( sunrise peak ) A tuffed cone formed 5 thousand years ago by hydrovolcanic eruptions. It’s 180m to the top and I could see the famous women divers from the top in a bay not far away so after here I decide to go and watch the divers, some who are in their 80’s diving to 10m down for fish and seaweed without oxygen tanks. After watching them I take a little side trip to the lava tubes which are tunnels 18m high and 23m wide in places, formed by flowing lava. It also boasts the biggest lava column in the world at 7.6m high. After here I camp at a small campsite at Hamdeok beach. It was quiet here due to the strong wind.
Day 6. 13ml to Jeju. Short ride back to the port to find the early afternoon ferry back to Mokpo is cancelled and I have to get the later one which arrives in Mokpo at 9.30pm. not good news as it will be dark looking for a camp spot and I don’t fancy the jimjilbang again with all the snoring there ha. Paul is in port after his hike up Mt Hallasan and he is catching the ferry back to Busan. After goodbye’s to Paul and a French couple cycling on their honeymoon, I get my ferry and sleep on the floor in a park not far from the port in Mokpo.
244ml. This was done over 6 days.
Day 1, 28ml to Pungho-dong. Set off with Paul from Scarborough who I met briefly in Japan and was in Busan at the same time. I stayed in Busan at the grand motel for 4nights and Janneka and Darna was also there for 3nights, so it was great to have company while I was there. Did some shopping, bike maintenance and was treated to meals out by the very kind and grateful ladies for doing some maintenance on their bikes. We said goodbye and later me and Paul set off in the rain.The day wasn’t enjoyable as we were riding on a busy highway to get out of town and ended up coming to a road we wasn’t allowed on so had to go over the wall and down an embankment to carry on and save going back a long way. We found a park just off the road at Pungho-dong to camp for the night.
Day 2. 46ml to Munsan-eup. Tried to find quiet roads off the highway but seemed to have to go back on the busy highway for stretches. We stopped to look at the phone for navigation when a driver came over to us and offered to show us a cycle path to the next town and buy us a meal. A nice chap who spoke a little English and great timing as we entered the restaurant, the heavens opened for a massive downpour which we missed. We arrived at Munsan at the end of the cycle path and found a little camp spot next to a sports ground.
Day 3. 36ml to Gosa-ri. We reached the Seomjin river bike path today. This was great riding with no cars. Very scenic and found a nice camp spot on a small park with a toilet with power for charging our devices. Happy days.
Day 4. 43ml to Saseok-ri. Great day on the river path all day and pulled off for some shopping food supplies at Gwangju. Great cakes at Paris baguette next to the mart that me and Paul got food supplies. Paul eats really healthy and puts me to shame ha.
Day 5. 52ml to Seungchon. Much of the same today, great river path following the blue line, nice scenery and a nice shelter to camp under. It’s also cooled down today and dull sky’s which was great. A change from hot and humid.
Day 6. 39ml to Mokpo. After a good night’s sleep due to the cool night, me and Paul set off for the port of Mokpo. A steady day and spend the night in a Jimjilbang, a kind of 24hr bath house/sauna where you can relax and sleep over in communal areas. It’s ok but for the snoring ha.
238ml. Done over 7 days. Took my time here as the I couldn’t get a cheap ferry crossing until the 4/9/19.
Day 1. To Iwakuni, 27ml. After a good night’s sleep in the hotel it’s pissing down again. All day so I decide to stay at the beautiful park behind the 5 arch kintaikyo bridge at Iwakuni on the Nishiki river. I sleep under a shelter in the park as it’s warm and not worth getting the tent wet and trying to dry out in the morning.
28.8.19. Due to the relentless rain I take a day off here and the river gets high and catches a few locals out.
29.8.19. to Tsuwano, 59ml. Arrive at Tsuwano just before going dark and rain starts to fall and it’s in for the night according to the forecast. So I find a shelter to sleep under and explore the beautiful town with old samurai mansions lining the streets.
30.8.19. To Mito rest area. 50ml. Another day on beautiful quiet roads following the river. R13 into the R11 to Hagi then the R191, onto the R490 and then the R32 to Mito rest station. Great weather and scenery all the way. I buy some suchi at the supermarket on the rest station and set the tent up. Then the station manager comes over and I ask if it’s ok to camp and he takes me to his house to shower and offers me food which I have to decline as I’m full from the suchi. Really nice couple and so kind. His wife made me some Onigiri, ( rice balls ) for my journey tomorrow. Lawson’s convenience store opposite the rest station so I get milk and cornflakes for my breakfast before going to sleep.
31.8.19 To Yoshida kasen park, 23ml. A very short day today, just chilling and taking my time now to Fukuok.
1.9.19. To Wakamatsu, 29ml. Another short day. Mainly due to the rain again lol. I camp next to a big river and it’s raining again in the morning ha. Like being back home in blighty. I try to dry the tent under a bridge and the fire brigade turned up to do some kind of exercise. Just my luck so they wait patiently while I pack up and make my way to the Kanmon pedestrian walkway under the sea 60m and joins Honshu with Kyushu. ¥20 for the bike (15p) great experience, take the elevator down to the tunnel under the sea and halfway across is the only prefectural border under water in Japan. Then when I get to Wakamatsu you have to take a small ferry across the river, ¥150 with the bike, as bikes aren’t allowed over the bridge here. I then find a park at the side of the R495 on the way out of town.
Day 6. To Tsuyazaki, 30ml. After a restless night, forecast said no rain and at 1am I had to abandon the tent with all my stuff due to the ground flooding, I manage to get the tent mostly dry under a shelter. Bad night with the heavy rain storm but hey, that’s just weather. A little frustrating that the forecast says no rain but today we keep going. The rain stops after dinner and it gets hot with nice sunshine yippee. I follow a deserted bicycle path from Ashiya down the coast to a new rest station where the path ends.
I take off the bags here and try to straighten the rear derailleur hanger, as I know it’s out of line, and then spend half an hour setting up the gears again which aren’t changing that sweet as before.
3.9.19. To Fukuoka, 20ml. Up early and dry out all my gear completely in the hot sun. I only have 20ml to go so try looking for bike shops on route to purchase new jockey wheels as the center bush on the bottom pulley wheel is really worn and wobbly. I arrive at cycle base Asahi, a big chain store and ask the young lad inside if he has pulley wheels for my deraileur. He has a look and finds 2 what fit and also has the alignment tool for the deraileur so I get that straightened properly and new jockey wheels and wash the bike while I’m there. I book a hotel, my first in 4 months, as the clouds are turning black and I don’t fancy wet gear again on my last night in Japan. I’m glad I did as at 9pm it started raining ha. Well tomorrow it’s goodbye Japan as I’m getting the ferry to south Korea in the morning. What a fabulous country with a kind and friendly people and fantastic culture. I will be sad to leave.