Thursday, Sept. 21
City of steam

  It was overcast and muggy. We had a short, easy ride from Yufuin to the coastal city of Beppu -- uphill about 5 miles, through Yufuin Tukahara Heights and around Mount Tsurumi, then all downhill. A spoke on Rick's front wheel broke near the top of the climb, but his bike was still rideable. 

  Beppu has many hot springs, and there is steam rising everywhere the water flows -- indoor and outdoor baths, and drainage culverts under the streets, and above-ground vent pipes on the sidewalks, and the famous jigoku (hell) ponds, the eight main hot springs, which eject boiling water, steam or hot mud. The city is a plumber's dream, Rick commented. All together, Beppu's hot springs yield more than 100,000 kiloliters of natural hot water daily. Much of it is piped to spas in Beppu and other towns.