Tonight I sleep about 997km (in a straight line) from Cape Soya, and I’m very pleased about that. Passing the half-time mark a few days ago has given me another reason to evaluate my progress thus far. Tania said of her big walk for Oxfam last year that halfway was really hard. Already in pain, cold and in the middle of the night it must seem crazy to have to do all that again before it’s over. I’m focusing on the day count. 52 down, 46 to go. And every day that passes makes the difference between those numbers greater.
It took me well over two hours to escape Nagano. I started in a quiet early morning city, tower blocks and hotels all around. Gradually it changed to low-rise apartments, schools and businesses until I passed a mix of orchards and car yards. Eventually I got onto route 117 and I am still there now. It has meandered through a wide valley and I watched the clouds trying to slip down the northern slopes. They didn’t get very far, somehow the lowlands were kept in sunshine all day. I can’t say much positive stuff about the town of Iiyama. It seems to be most an overgrown truck stop (though I did stick to main road and missed any residential areas). The huge warehouse-like shops sit well back from the road and their car-parks cover more ground than most normal people walk in a day.
Later I made the mistake of asking a clerk at the road station how far it was to the next one, it went like this..
“About 20km”, I knew that couldn’t be right because even a rough measurement on the map was more than that before adding all the wiggles, “About 1 hour”
“By car? 20km? 1 hour?”
“A very slow car, yeah?”
“Yes. That is so”
“But I don’t have a car. Walking only”
“Ahhhh”, he goes to consult the lady in charge and returns to confirm that it is in fact the same distance if you walk as opposed to drive.
“3 hours? That’s very fast.”, That is fast, jogging speed maybe
“Yes, 300 minutes”
I’ll not bother next time. I’d really prefer a simple “I don’t know” than being given bad info like that. My next interaction was much better. I stopped at a combini for my evening snacks and started a conversation by saying that from that very spot it’s less than 1,000km to Cape Soya, in a straight line, but the road is windy. That last part took a lot of arm waving. I got water and directions to a shrine where I am sleeping tonight. I’m glad I can get through little things like that without resorting to any English.
So yes, 1,000km as the crow flies, I estimate 1,600 by road, which is 1000 miles. So start up the Proclaimers or Vanessa Carlton, here I go. Though it remains to be seen if it’ll be Life is a Highway or Country Roads for me.
Word of the day: u-ta = song
Distance today: 49 km