Naeba (holy shit that’s a lot of snowz!!)

It was a sunny day. My lady was over during the day. I needed a drive. It was the perfect setup for what would become a rather nice little trip into Niigata Prefecture.
The lady is from the mountains. She gets depressed with the lack of snow and flatness (compared to Nagano not Jo’burg) of Gunma. It had been a warm week and thus most of the better traveled roads into the mountains would likely be passable. I set off toward Minakami to show here how awesome the stretch of 17 between Shibs and Numata is (and to get some good cruise on the new sound system)

IMGP0001We were going to head to Takayama from there but the excitement she expressed upon seeing the white tops off in the distance was enough for me to see how close to them we could get. After all… I had never driven the Mikuni Touge before.
As we passed The turn to Takumi no Sato and headed up to Mikuni we noticed a rather spectacular sight.
Lake Akaya. Technically it’s a dam but the naming system is different here. I mean its OBVIOUSLY NOT a lake… but screw semantics it was damn pretty. Even more awesome was the fact that this was the view from a convenience store. 
From there was a run up the touge and what a beautiful one it was… all the while the snow on the side of the road got deeper and deeper. We climbed the narrow winding stair until we reached a tunnel. IMGP0020
Thankfully Shelob was not there to greet us precious. Yessss Thankful indeed.
The tunnel was a time warp though. on the Gunma side it felt like Gunma. even with the snow. It was still Gunma. Crossing into Niigata may as well have been like crossing into Mordor… apart from that fact that One does not simply drive into Mordor. Mordor is also hot and dry. I think Hoth would be a more approximate comparison.
Regardless It was the most snow I have ever seen in daylight. I was impressed. freaked out but impressed. The lady was well pleased with the more natural surroundings… I was just worried that the dark clouds in the west were going to come and sump snow on us stranding us in Ski Paradise. Yes Snow still doesn’t sit well with  me.
The skies turned ugly so I decided it was time to get back across the tunnel, Just in case. We then tried to find the outdoor onsen at Shima only to discover it was closed. but there was plenty of fun driving along the way. We capped off at the Onogami onsen and headed home.

First touge drive of 2011.

Great success.


Total distance covered:

About 140km

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