Page 10: - Dominican Republic Again - Tropical Adventure /w Pics - From the beginning
The rain poured down all night long. We wait over an hour for the rain to end but still start off in light rain. We did not even get out of Las Terrenas before it starts to pour again. We wait under the shelter of a building for the rain to ease. I wish we had coffee nearby.
We hammer steeper and steeper into the mountains. This is the bad road. Our guidebook suggests taking another road that adds an extra hour to the trip because of how bad, steep and sharp the turns are on this road. The bad road sounds good to me, it is going to be a highlight of the trip.
The road is steep. I have to scream the engine in third gear to make it up the hills and to slow the bike on the down hills. It is raining but the bike keeps running. I am thinking I fixed the problem we had with the bike killing in the rain. Then it starts raining harder and the sky looks darker the higher we ride. Suddenly the motorcycle engine dies. We are in the middle of nowhere, but luckily, we happen to coast up to the walkway to a small home. We get off the motorcycle and are standing in the pouring rain. There are two young men and a small child inside the home. They motion for us to come inside their protected patio.
We could not believe our luck. We could have been caught miles from anything in the pouring rain. We are carrying a tarp for just such an emergency but that would not have been any fun for Heidi. I am kind of into that type of survival stuff but I am a little goofy that way.
Check out the motorcycle parked outside with the plastic jug for a gas tank. And the cylinder head is from a different engine. I say to Heidi that I bet that motorcycle will run in the rain. We had a good laugh.
Next, a young woman appears from the home with two chairs and invites us inside to sit down. Again, we could not believe the kindness of complete strangers. We are soaking wet and they want us to come into their home and sit with them. Wow!
My theory about the motorcycle is that the engine heat will eventually dry off the hi- voltage coil, or the plug wire or the sparkplug that is causing our problem and the bike will start back up. We wait for maybe fifteen minutes until the rain almost ends. I go out, kick over the bike and the engine fires right up as nothing is wrong. Heidi knows this drill all too well. She jumps on. We do a pinky shake to commit to ride safe. We say the word “!Seguridad!” before I stick it into gear. That word means Heidi is ready to go and we will ride safe.
We scream up hills and scream down hills and go slow around steep banked turns. The rain comes and goes. The engine kills temporarily a few times but kicks back on before the bike coast to a stop. This is freaking us out. We know all too well the danger this puts us into. One time we coast to a stop after the engine kills. Heidi gets off while I push the bike under a tree attempting to keep the engine from getting wetter. The side of the road is washed out where I stop. I wait. I kick the bike over and it starts. I start backing the motorcycle to get back on the road when my foot slips off the edge of the road. My heart almost stops! I could have tumbled down a five-foot ditch with the motorcycle. I hid this fact from Heidi. I position the motorcycle and tell her that I am ready for her to hop on. We pinky shake “!Seguridad!” then ride off. I feel like I was shot with adrenaline directly into my chest. I will never come that close with a motorcycle to the edge of a washed out road again.
We make it down the mountain to the village Sanchez. We connect up to the main highway that leads along the north coast. We come to a gas station. Heidi tells me that if I am smart, I will stop for gas. I pull in for a fill up. I ask the gas station attendant if he knows of a restaurant. We are hungry and I want coffee. He gives us the name of a restaurant one kilometer up the road.
I kid you not. The rain starts to increase. The engine dies again and we coast to the front of the restaurant we were told about. I push the bike under an awning. Inside, Heidi and I look deeply into each other’s eyes. The skies are dark all over. The rain is coming down harder then ever.
We feel better now. We have food and coffee. We just passed a hotel before the engine quit and I can see another hotel from where we are sitting. If the rain does not stop, we have a place to stay, and by the way it looks, it will not cost us much.
An hour later the rain almost stops. I kick the bike, it fires right up. We take off.
The rain kicks up again. The bike dies again. We coast right up to the gate of a ‘pequeno’ (small) $300 peso hotel. Wow! Is this a sign? I kick and kick and kick and kick. The engine finally fires back up. Heidi jumps back on.
We ride. The rain increases. The bike kills. We coast to a building overhang where two other motorcycles are taking shelter along with two other people. One guy is throwing rocks at a dog sharing the shelter with us. Heidi is getting upset by this. We are not sure what the problem is with this dog, there is another dog resting next to Heidi that no one had a problem with.
I see a Tiki face. I go over to ask for advice. Twenty minutes later, the rain slows. I kick the bike. We ride off.
We ride for a while with no rain. All is good. But, of course it starts raining again. We pull over to this cockfight ring for shelter. It looks super dark ahead and we do not want to take the chance of getting caught out in the open in heavy rain. We have pressed our luck too much to take another chance. I mention to Heidi that if we need to, we can spend the night right here. I say it with a little humor but she knows I am serious and she also knows that it is a good thing. We are safe and completely protected. We are feeling better. I know we are just miles from getting away from the peninsula’s mountain ridge. I mention to Heidi that it seems the weather front is coming from the north and as soon as the front hits the mountains, it dumps rain. I hop that if we can make it to the north coast, maybe it won’t be raining there. She knows what I am saying and agrees. We hang tight, we talk, we laugh, and we strategize. This is the life and adventure I dream of. This is my dream come true sharing my adventures with Heidi. I need to get her out of this. I need to get her back home to Cabarete. We will make it, we both know it, maybe not today, but we will make it and it will be good.
Interesting red nuts on that palm tree.
Nice looking cockfight ring.
The sun comes out right overhead. It still looked very dark in the direction we needed to travel. We push the bike out into the sun and try to dry it and ourselves. Heidi is cold. The sun is just what she needs. This is good. She tells me her teeth were chattering that last stretch.
We take off again with no rain. When it starts to sprinkle again, we pull off to another buildings overhang. I tell Heidi that I do squats when I am cold while riding a motorcycle. The kid in the photo in red is mocking Heidi doing squats. We laugh with the kid and his mother from across the road.
I tell Heidi that I think we are chasing the rain. She agrees. We wait a while longer after the rain stopped before we start off.
As soon as we pass away from the peninsula, the road hugs the north coast. We have no more rain. We are correct, it is the weather front passing over the mountains that brings us the rain.
We ride, we ride hard. No rain but Heidi asks me to slow down because the vibration at the higher speeds is making her feet and legs fall asleep. We pull over just to rest our butts. We are happy to say the least. Sore butts are not a worry, not at all.
The longer we rest the darker it looks out to sea. We blast off…
We sail along. The roads completely dry off. This is good. We are running late and we do not want to stop but we just have to, one more stop.
Are butts are sore, our shoulders ache but we are happy.
!!!We made it. Time for a little chow and R&R.
The more difficult the ride, the more diverse the conditions, the more uncertain the outcome, the bigger the rewards. We feel a level of euphoria that is completely unexpected. I cannot tell you how pleased I am to share this experience with Heidi. I scream aloud inside my brain
“Oh flippen yeah!”
What a great ride… But, I do need to figure what is wrong with the bike!
We hope you enjoyed our Dominican Republic motorcycle ride report to the Samana Peninsula.
Tom & Heidi
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