Monday, Sept. 18 

  This was the day we had the most trouble navigating. We were off the beaten path, and no signs were in English. We had gone over the map with Kazuko and decided on a 50-mile loop,and she told us the name of the farthest town on the route -- Ogawahara or Ogawabara (she wasn't sure of the pronunciation). We circled it on our map and wrote it in English. 
  Early on, we had trouble matching the roads we were on to the maps, so we decided to abandon the loop idea and just meander. We followed a sign that pictured a waterfall and walked down several flights of metal steps to the riverbank, where it was shady and cool. 

  We biked a short distance to another spot on the river and explored a little more on foot. After that, we found the road we had been looking for earlier and decided to head for Ogawahara after all. But then the roads got confusing again. There was hardly any traffic. 
  We bought food in a town on Route 212 (or was it Route 40?) and the young grocery clerk tried to direct us to Ogawahara, but we weren't sure we understood him. Then the man at the gas station next door drew us a little map and we got on the right road. We were really in the middle of nowhere. 
  Uh-oh: a fork in the road. We were stumped. Then a man in a van came along and we asked for Ogawahara and he gestured for us to follow him. We had a sweet descent to Ogawahara. The van man turned right onto Route 12 and pulled over just before the town. We intended to go the other way on Route 12, so we said our thank-yous and goodbye and took a picture. The man seemed baffled that we weren't even going to go into the town we had asked for.