Page 14: - Dominican Republic - Tropical Motorcycle Adventure /w Pics - From the beginning
Cavebker & Hipster (Tom J & Tommy C), MEGA Dominican Republic Motorcycle Adventure.
The plan is to ride along the north coast on dirt roads, which are said to pass some of the most beautiful beaches on the island that are mostly deserted due to the rough roads leading to them. My guidebook says the dirt road is mostly a donkey trail and is difficult to navigate. Sounds like a good time to me. All we know is that the trail starts 10 kilometers outside of Puerto Plata and neither of us have working odometers.
We have trouble finding the north coast trail. There are several dirt tracks 10K outside of town but no road indicated any city we can see on our maps. Back and forth, stop and look at the map, back and forth, nothing. I remember my guidebook indicating the village name we needed to turnoff at. I dig out the guidebook and sure enough, Guzmancito is the name of the sign at the turnoff we want. And of course, Guzmancito is not indicated on any maps we have. Without the guidebook, it would be almost impossible to locate the correct trail.
Not sure which way to go so we continue to pick the most beaten route
We find a lot of water and deep mud, perfect for the bikes we're riding.
I know these are donkey trails but this donkey is all alone. I guess he must know where to go.
In the middle of nowhere, we run across a beautiful deserted beach.
This beach has one family living onsite selling beer and fish.
More great mud and dirt
We continue to follow the north coast and more deserted pristine beaches
We pass through a small village adjacent to the above beach. ‘Colmado’ is the word for mini-market in the Dominican Republic. I suggest to Tommy we stop to hydrate and a little chitchat. Inside there are several people slicing and sharing cheese and sausage. They offer some to me. It is a very warm feeling. We have fun watching the three guys on horses mount up and ride off. The horse on the far left had no stirrups but the person riding it uses a large rock to step onto first before mounting.
I tried to show off for this water-crossing photo by racing through.
I guess that is the last time I try that. My engine killed from the water. A quick wipe of the sparkplug with a paper towel is all it takes to get running again.
The trail continues to be fantastic
And the culture along the way interesting
We cannot help but check out a few side trails. This one looks cool.
Luperon is a village midway between Puerto Plata and Monte Cristi. Luperon is a well-known safe harbor for sailors sailing the so-called ‘thorny path’, the route against the trade winds from Florida to the Caribbean Sea. We can see the sailboat masts on the left of the photo. The famous author, Bruce Van Sante lives here. I have his book, ‘The gentleman’s guide to passages south’ just after I first met Heidi. I planned to sail a sailboat with Heidi to the Caribbean and live onboard for a year or two. This book is known as the gospel guide on how to sail a sailboat against the trade winds toward the Caribbean Sea. Anyway, the book talks a lot about the Dominican Republic and was my first exposure to the island talking about the friendly people and how to navigate around the island using ‘gua guas’, a type of public transportation on private mini-vans that run all over the island. That book left me with a strong desire to visit and live in the DR.
Luperon has a kind of a ‘wild-wild west’ feel combining live aboard sailors, ex-pats, local Dominicans, sea and sailboats. Luperon is the first long ride I did back in 95'. That trip could make a good chapter in an adventure story for sure.
We rode directly to the end of the long pier running out into the harbor.
Back in 95’ there were only a few sailboats anchored here. Today we see over fifty.
We have a huge lunch at an open-air thatched roof restaurant, ‘Captain Steve’s’. I get the largest cup of coffee I have ever had. This is definitely an ex-pat hangout. Captain Steve introduces himself along with his wife, a local woman. He invites us to play free pool or foosball and hangout as long as we like. TomC mentions he could see spending days here just hanging out. That is one of the best parts of motorcycle travel, discovering places you dream and plan to return to.
We ride on along the north coast. The road out of town is in good shape, we are making good time.
Soon we ride into the village La Isabela, the first city of the new world, Columbus’s first permanent settlement. There, the road again turns to rough dirt. It is not at all obvious which way we need to go to continue along the north coast trail. I stop here to ask directions. It is just UNREAL how friendly people are here in rural Dominican Republic. They not only tell me which way to go but a whole lot of other information that we would evidently need, only a small fraction of which I understand. But I did get the distinct impression that things are going to get interesting…
We pass intersection after intersection. I ask directions after directions. Everyone is ‘out of control’ nice, trying to help us as much as they can, animating their explanations. If you do not speak Spanish here, you are lucky to find your way.
OK! I knew there is something special ahead based on the help we got. I just had
I jump on and in no time the raft is back to pick up Tommy. I don’t even ask how much, I just hand him RD100, thats about $2.80 US. I am sure he expected a fraction that but it is well worth it to us, just the ‘fun factor’ alone.
After asking directions several more times we hit pavement again. I keep asking directions to Monte Cristi and keep receiving positive directions, plus a whole lot more. People continue to be nice far beyond expectations.
Tommy got a big kick out of the roaming advertiser motorcycle carts. The message and music is so loud we imagine the operators being deaf at a young age. We hear and see these loudspeakers roaming everywhere we go.
Unexpectedly, we run upon the most beautiful beach we have ever seen. Humm…. we must stop to check this out.
Along the beach, is a line of shacks cooking food and selling beer. Humm…. We must investigate further.
Oh, lobster , fish and platanos…
OK, the water looks inviting and a table and chairs are waiting for us on the beach…
Tommy and I engage in some hi-level discussions --> This looks good…
We ride on along a rough dirt road looking for a hotel. Less then a mile later, we find a nice place, $30 a night.
Back to the beach we go ---->
Tommy and I are in awe about the ride we are on. We have done so much and have had such a great time in such a short time we cannot believe it. This beach is a gem. I think Heidi would like it to.
TomC had a little trouble navigating a slick mud puddle on the ride back to the hotel. He blames his warn tires. I agree, bearing a huge grin, saying "yeah right! the tires” Just a curled front break lever, no biggie. After I confirm TomC is OK I have a hard time controlling it as we ride on. :O
Don’t go away, lots more to come!
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