Well there comes a time in everyone's life when they should act their age.....thankfully I do not think I have reached that point yet Another birthday come and gone, another year older, am I any wiser yet?
Let's see, April 27th was of course the marking off of another year for me. I think a quote a friend sent me pretty much sums up me at this point "Getting older in mandatory, growing up is optional". Now while I am still trying to work out if this is compliment or insult, I think being a glass is half full type of person I'll go with compliment.
A nice early start to the day had us up on the Izu Skyline by 9am. Days don't get much better than this, the weather was perfect with blue skys while being just about the perfect temperature. Traffic, well it just didn't seem like there was anthing else on the roads as can be seen from the typically packed parking area in the photo above. Bieest excitement to be seen was a Lotus Elise and film crew going thrugh the curves. Due to the packed parking area I had trouble parking correctly....
The aim of the day was to get to a place called Mobility Park where you could have some good "clean" off road fun. This started off by being taken by an instructor around the courses in one of their vehicles. The mountain course they have is strictly for advanced drivers confident in the ability of their cars. Not open to the rental vehicles and not something I am ready to attempt yet. Very steep narrow tracks with a mix of loose rocks, mud and trees to keep things interesting.
Once around the easier course with the instructor and I was free to try it on my own in their rental car. This really had been my first time driving off road on some of these testing conditions. It was very useful having seen the instructor handle the course first and learn how to use the cars. After successfully going around in the rental car, it was time to try my luck with my own car.
A noise first time around of something bottoming out proved to be no issue. Checking under the car showed no marks of anything having hit. Raising the air suspension a little higher resolved this on subsequent runs. The scariest part of the course has to be the steep descent. You can see nothing but sky as you crest the top of the hill, then you are heding downwards at such a stupid angle, all you can see in the ground coming up at you. You feel such a big relief when the car is leveling out again at the bottom.
Well the day would not have been the same unless I tried something really stupid, and so I did. They of course have a water/mud pit for you to try and drive through and so I did. Now although the water does not appear so deep, what does not show is how deep the mud is. I would guess the mud is actually deeper than the water that covers it as it did not take long for me to get stuck in it. Panic set in as the wheels could get no forward traction and water started coming through the bottom of the doors (would have thought the door seals would be water tight....). It seemed to take an eternity, but according to the video camera (yes we videoed it), it was just over a minute between getting into the mud and getting back out. How did I get it out of there? Thankfully had the idea to select reverse which could find some traction and quickly got out of the deep water. Result....a slightly muddy car with wet carpets.
No real harm done and importantly no damage to the motor, just a little pride. The journey back had plenty of time to enjoy the scenery and find perhaps next years new hobby... Look carefully, can you see it yet?
Of course no birthday would be complete without a nice birthday dinner. This one took place in TY Harbour resturant in Shinagawa. Some excellent food in a nice atmosphere. Great desert with the staff singing happy birthday. Will be going there again.