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This Weekend's Drive Pictures

"You live where? How many people live in your village? What do you do out there?": These are the three questions that people always seem to ask when they first meet me. The answers are:

1. Ubuyama
2. Under 2000 people and falling
3. Many things, but I really enjoy driving.

Here are a few pics that I shot over the weekend while driving. The views around here are spectacular and the variety of driving conditions and roads are as varied as you can get.

This is a picture I shot on the Yamanami highway (also known as the 11) on my way down to Ichinomiya. This road has great views from the top of the caldera and snakes through the gentle rolling hills of Ubuyama, eventually taking you through Kokonoe, Kuju, Yufuin, and eventually Beppu.

A full moon rises among clouds scattered in the twilight. This was taken in Ichinomiya from the beginning of the Yamanami (it starts from the 57, near Aso shrine). I was late meeting a friend, otherwise I would have stopped to take some pictures of the beautiful night sky.

Ah, last night was one time where I was more than happy to drive well below the posted speed limit. I even turned the radar detector off for once. Why is it still snowing in March? I dunno, but it gave me a chance to use the chains that I bought at Autobacs (yes, Autobacs is a Japanese company). It was pitch-black when I started climbing the mountain road into Kuju and pulled off to the side, of the road. I had to work in a blizzard using the light on my cellphone to see what I was doing. I drove through the raging tempest on a road that was fully covered with snow, and didn't see one car for 45 minutes straight. The snow was so deep that mine were the only tracks visible on the road. The winds whipped the snow into dancing mini-hurricaines, and swishing around in snake-like movements. The snow seemed to move like a composite of tumbling sands and rising steam, riding the strong currents on the ground.

There's something really exhilarating about entrusting your safety to something which has time and time again pulled through for you whenever you needed it to. When all ends well, after you take that long relieved sigh, it was really worth it (but if all goes to hell, then your mood will probably turn sour and humiliation is likely to handed out in liberal portions). Last night, I strapped on my chains, and decided to meet up with everybody because had enough confidence in my car to see me through safely to the other side of the mountain. Driving was surreal. I can honestly say that I had a blast driving through those extreme conditions. On top of that, I had a blast playing drinking games inside a warm cabin on a cold and stormy night.

If it keeps on snowing, then I think I might take my snowboard up to Kuju pass next weekend! But I hope the weather gets warmer, because its hard to type when your fingers are stiff and numb.

Comments (1)

Scuba Steve:

I enjoyed that Full Moon in Santa Barbara. Paul's Birthday. I ate a great $30 ribeye. Probably the best steak I have had to date. I ate it with the butter knife and it cut like jello. On our way back we took Paul's '03 v8 Tundra out for a spin. It's got some good power for a J-made Truck. (U.S. now...we aren't used to Japanese v8's...yet). BTW it was about 75 farenheit that weekend!

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