Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Golden Week Day 7

Golden Week Trip Day 7 - Sunday, May 7th, 2006




I need to learn to hold back a bit at these Zazen Boys parties. Of course, it doesn't help when the music promoter hands me a beer mug that's as large as my head and says "This Bud's for you."


So Yuka and I check out of our hotel and cruise around looking for something to eat. We swing by a Mosburger, where I have a milkshake. That's about all that will sit well in my stomach.

It helped...a bit.

Then it was over to Obihiro Station for some souvenir shopping, me for the office and Yuka for whoever. After that, we headed over to Rokkatei, a nationally famous candy shop that's based out of Obihiro. I had some coffee, which helped some more, plus it had the added bonus of being free. Yuka bought some candy, and we were off again.

We filled up the gas tank and headed west toward Nissho Pass. We made a stop at a big supermarket along the highway. Yuka wanted to send some Hokkaido stuff home, so we followed the advice that the Shiretoko youth hostel owner gave us: if you're looking for good things to send to friends, shop where the locals do. So that's exactly what we did. And Yuka came away a few yen poorer, but with a lot of good Hokkaido eatins in the mail to her family in Tokyo.

Yuka said she wanted to spend the night in Sapporo, so the plan was to drive her to Sapporo and then head home. So we hit the road again, cruising over Nissho Pass and continuing on the Sekisho Forest Highway toward Sapporo. We made a quick lunch stop in Hidaka, where I had some soba noodles (still going easy on the stomach). After taking a bit of a break from the road, we were off once again.

We drove through Yubari City, following the Sekisho Train Line which runs from Sapporo to Obihiro. I noticed something odd and pulled off the road into a small parking area near the tracks. It was the former location of Kaede Station.

I remembered reading on Yahoo Japan about how this station was getting closed down in late 2003 or early 2004. It was a spur off the main (Sekisho) line to a small local area located right along the highway near some apartments. It had one train a day, one arrival, one departure, and that was all. If you click on the link, you can see what it looked like when the station was in operation. When I got there, the tracks were still there, but everything else was gone. No station building, no signs, no nothing. The only real evidence that the station had been there was a bus stop sign that said "Kaede Station". When I get my last roll of film from the trip developed, I'll post a photo or two.

The area was actually a little creepy, what with a boarded up staircase to the station and bars blocking off the tracks, plus an abandoned Forestry Service building on the hill above the station.

After I got finished snapping photos, I went back to the car and we continued on to Sapporo. As we got closer and closer to the city, traffic started increasing. No major traffic jams, but a lot more cars than we'd seen all week. The original plan was to drive Yuka all the way to Sapporo Station, but the further into the center of the city we got, the worse the traffic got, and I didn't really want to deal with nasty traffic on my way home. Yuka was nice enough to let me drop her off at a subway station so that I didn't have to deal with Sapporo Golden Week Return Rush Traffic Nastiness. Thanks, Yuka!

So we unloaded her stuff and said our farewells, and then I hit the road for home. A brief stop in Tomakomai for groceries and coffee, and then it was on the way to Muroran.

One hour later, I pulled into my apartment parking area. I was home after one week on the road...

...and 1516 kilometers.

Unpack, relax, and hit the sack. Back to the grind. But one hell of a fun road trip. Where to next year? That's a question for another day.


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