Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Approaching 8000 and expressway madness

Thankyou all so much! I am almost at 8000 page views! I'm sure there are millions of blogs with more, especially over the time frame that this blog has been going - since late 2005, but still, it's an achievement of sorts. After the next couple of posts, I might do a retrospective perhaps!

Last Friday we hopped into the car at around 3.30pm and started the driving down to stay with my wife's family in Yokohama. It's around 500km, so no Sunday arvo dawdle, we hoped to be there not too late. And it went mostly to plan, despite the inordinate amount of trucks on the road. We took the expressways for around 70% of the journey - otherwise we'd probably need two days. Students are often amazed in my classes when I try to give an idea of distances in Australia. I was telling students about a drive to Uluru from Sydney - well I've never done it, but that it would take a cgood 3-4 days minimum. That journey is nearly 3000km by road via South Australia as chosen by google maps.

See, Google Maps knows all! 30 hours driving but good luck doing that in two days. You'd have to be mad. At least the roads move at a good click back home. Non-expressway travel can be tedious, as it was on the journey, at times. To save money we did some stretches on expressways and some not. Turns out that it would have been cheaper to stay mostly on the expressway - I guess you get a charge every time you enter the expressway, because on our way home today we used it all in one long stretch, further than on Friday, and it turned out cheaper.
The expressways get crazy once you hit Tokyo. It had a futuristic feel with so many bridges and roads spinning around in circles, all lifted mightily above the ground. Sometimes there are like four levels of roads held up by pylons it's like the States in that respect. There are plenty of trucks,  just like at home, and just like at home tail-gating is a keen sport here. The limit is supposedly, I believe, 100, and generally cameras and police let you get away with 120 ish. Still there's always the odd car going at 150 km/ph and with the trucks trying to pass each other it get's pretty stressful. Then around Tokyo area the signs get very difficult to read. Thank you to the internet and wikipedia for the following pic:
Good luck figuring that one out! We made it to Yokohama at about 11.15pm I think. So nearly eight hours of driving. On the way home we did it in six and a half but boy is my brain frazzled from the concentration.
SO what did I do in Tokyo? Next time folks! Next time!

PS. don't forget this page - link to my travel book!

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