Wednesday 14 March 2012

Day 14: MotorFIX

"You're welcome to any bike you wish. Please." Of course the old gentlemen attending the bike hire depot out front of Gifu's train station didn't speak English, but I think that's what he said. Pulling out a black Bridgestone mamachari from the racks, I wait for the old man to record the bike's number and reassure him I'll have it back by 5 o'clock.

Pedaling through the empty streets of Gifu, my confidence returns and my spirits high. The weather is lovely, by the way, with the sun shining strong and a slight chill in the air. This is a perfect day to be visiting my hero workshop, not that I had wished for anything.

Coasting through the roads hugging the mountain base, I slowly ride closer and closer to the little estate of houses, of which one is the Motorfix garage. Taking a left at the fork in the road that takes me to the other side of, what I guess is, a valley when I notice a clapped out looking AE86 at the entrance of an empty lot. I'm now smiling like a complete fool. "Is this it? I've found it." Balancing my bike on its kickstand, I lot over the lot. There's no workshop, just a collection of assumingly abandoned examples of little Toyotas that regular folk don't care for. Boxy Celicas. Front drive Celicas with pop up lights. An AE101 and plenty of decaying AE86s and KE70s. I walk around, thinking about the ratty potential of these cars. I just want to move here to attempt to make something of these things.

Back tracking a little, I spot another Corolla, this time it's a minty white KE70 lowered on a stock steelies that are painted black with the little chrome dress-up ring covering the lip. I think I'm close. Out of no where a dog starts barking, and I admit, I jump a little. Wait. That's Noa. "Why are you barking at me, Noa? You cute, unwelcome thing, you." Honestly, as sad as it sounds, I'm heart broken. This garage I've respected and adored for it's awesome work and have ridden out to finally visit, yet their dog clearly doesn't approve of me. This sucks.

Walking around to the open garage front and Noa stops barking. No one's inside. I can't hear any in the office talking, so I guess they're out. Off to the side of the garage there's another open parking lot filled with Corollas where I spot the infamous beige wagon. Starting life off as a sedan, it has had its back cut off and replaced with a wagon's. Fitted out with an awesome 20v engine and strengthened with a beefy roll cage it is still filled with all the random items of a daily run about. Not even being flipped onto its windshield has stopped it. I love this rusted out thing and everything it stands for. Fun.

Content with finally visiting my hero garage, I ride back to the train station via the river side. The old man at the depot should be pleased I'll be back on time.

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