The leaves, they are a changing.

It’s getting too cold to type at night and that means winter is on it’s way. But in giving way to it’s cold hearted sibling Autumn does give us some of the most beautiful natural scenery imaginable. Blue skies set against the warm palette of dying leaves. We managed to catch the beginnings of it on our last drive into the mountains of Gunma…

Unlike the majority on the roads that day however. Nature’s beauty was not the reason for us to venture out on to the mountain passes. It just happened to be there when we went for our drive.

We met up in Haramachi and our convoy headed over the Kuresaka Touge. We were an odd bunch to be fair. A Silvia S14, Alto Works, an EVO2 and an FZ-400 (its a type of motorized bicycle). But what the EVO lacked in looks it made up with handling and power and what the Silvia lacked in control it made up for with devilishly good looks. As for the Alto and the bike… they had.. enthusiasm!
As we crested the pass, the colours warmed up and as the drive continued they beauty got rather distracting actually. If it weren’t for my lovely passenger I may have put myself over the side of a mountain trying to drive at a reasonable pace and take photos at the same time. However since my lady didn’t have a nifty bucket seat like I did she had her own problems with stability while taking though photos. Yes. I thoroughly enjoyed the drive.
I discovered a whole new driving world because this was the first time I have ever driven with high grip, well treaded sporty tires on all 4 wheels. As a result the car was more poised and had far more purpose in corners than I ever imagined it could. Yes. The Nissan Silvia can in fact grip and grip well.

I must admit, driving on public roads with a passenger in broad daylight means I would never have tested the full extent of the grip but in places where i would have expected the rear to hint at some fun, it stayed put and just followed through. [In subsequent tests in more private locations, I have found that the grip on these tires far exceeds the limits of my courage on the mountain.] Its a very new feeling for me in the Silvia. I think I like it.
Anyway we passed through Kuni and hit up my favourite tonkatsu house in Gunma before heading up Mount Shirane. At the top we disembarked and stared at our valiant steeds before we walked up a hill to look at a lake. Okay so the lake is a hot sulphuric pool at the top of one of Japan’s most active volcanoes. and the top of a vast complex geological system that happens to have provided the water for the most famous hot springs in the whole of Japan. Nothing special or anything.
We had timed it for sundown and as a result we were treated to another spectacular feature of the planet we live on. or we would have been if certain people's biking gear wasn’t BRIGHTER THAN THE SUN!
No really though the sunset, like all sunsets all around the globe was a unique and spectacular sight. 
As the sun descended behind the mountains in the west we descended the one we were on and said goodbye to our two wheeled companion. We then headed back to Kuni for a dip in another one of Japan’s natural wonders. The geothermally heated river better known as the Shiri-yaki onsen (lit. roasted arse hot spring) Where we did indeed roast our arses. or at least boil them.
The trip was capped off back in Shibukawa at Icchou where we ate good food ( Is it just me ore have Icchou’s portions gotten smaller recently. Thank you bankers for making us healthier) In all. A great drive and one well needed by all those that did the driving. Let’s do it again. and soon!

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