Page 26: - Dominican Republic Again - Tropical Adventure /w Pics - From the beginning
OK, we are off to the extreme southwestern side of the country, the Barahona region. This area sees few foreign visitors but has some of the most beautiful Caribbean beaches, cactus filled desert and scenic cliff lined roads. Sounds good.
Our plan is to ride east to Sabaneta, then south over the Cordillera Septentrional Mountains to the autopista, south along the autopista to Pedro Blanco, then southwest to the Barahona region.
A month or so ago I discovered a great empanada stand in Sabaneta.
Heidi said these are the best empanadas she has ever had. I agreed. I tell Heidi this thread should be called ‘The Dominican Republic empanada tour!’ She agrees.
We pass small village after small village crossing over the Cordillera Septentrional Mountains. We stop to hydrate and stock up on water. I asked these guys if they would mind taking a photo of us.
Heidi and I haven’t been down this road since 1995’. The scenery is still beautiful but it seems like the number of villages have tripled.
The ride over the mountains was beautiful
We rode into Moca, a large city at the foothills of the mountains. We had a little trouble navigating through the city but I am use to that. At the first intersection, I asked a couple motoconcho guys which way to turn. The next intersection I asked a person in uniform for directions, all good.
We made it to the autopista, a double lane freeway running down the middle of the island north to south.
The Barahona region is too long of a ride to do in one day. I picked a city half way where I knew there is a nice hotel. I wanted to pick nicer hotels and treat Cavegirl right, anything to help her enjoy these Dominican Republic motorcycle adventures more so she will continue coming along.
The city Bonao has a nice hotel, hotel Aquarius. Hipster and I tried to stay here on our ride a few weeks back but the hotel was full. While Hipster and I tried to check in I could tell that it was a nice place. I am hoping it is not full today.
Super, we checked into hotel Aquarius. We were pleasantly surprised that it has a pool. Cavegirl is happy and so am I. Our guidebook talks about the city Bonao being a place where foreigners rarely visit. We found it to be a quiet and friendly Latin American city complete with a beautiful Central Park. I went out walking to pick up a small bottle of rum, chinola juice and a bag of ice while Heidi waited poolside. We played cards, talked and enjoyed poolside cocktails, all good…
The next day we continue our ride down the autopista. We are shooting for the city Pedro Blanco where we will turn off the autopista and ride southwest toward the Barahona region. We studied a few larger cities along the road to Barahona looking for other hotels closer to Barahona . Our guide talked about these cities being in a mountain setting but the hotels were basic and no frills. The ‘mountain setting’ description concerned me. I have never been down this road before, I was hoping that the road would be in good shape and most of all, paved. I relayed my concerns with Cavegirl.
“It will be a full day ride down this mountain road and if it is not paved, we will have to go to plan-B”
The only problem is, we have no plan-B.
Nice homemade panniers
In Pedro Blanco, we needed to ask directions twice to get us out of town and on the road to Barahona . No problem, everyone was over the top friendly and helped us find our way through town and to the road we wanted.
The road quickly turned rough
The further we rode the more potholes we encountered. At times, there were more potholes then pavement.
As soon as we reached the end of town, the road turned to all dirt. After our last ride together to Punta Rucia, I vowed never to take Heidi down any more dirt roads, especially mountain dirt roads.
I stopped the bike to talk about our situation. Immediately Heidi started apologizing for not wanting to go any further. I tried to assure her that I was not willing to go any further either. I suggested that we ride back into town, find coffee and come up with a new plan.
At the highway intersection, we find an open-air café. We get out our map, guidebook and start talking about our situation.
“Caribe tours rides to Barahona , they do not ride dirt roads, there has to be a paved road to get there.”
We study the map hard. There is no other route to Barahona unless we ride into Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic. Santo Domingo has a population of over three and a half million people. The traffic there is crazy. While we ride, our number one priority is always safety. There may be an easy way to get to the Barahona road but we do not know it. The last place I want to ride around looking for an unknown road is Santo Domingo. We reluctantly cancel our Barahona plans. I will ride to Barahona next week during my Haitian border ride. Dirt roads are of course no problem for me riding solo.
The mountain village Jarabacoa sounded like a good alternative. Jarabacoa's main attraction is the natural beauty of the area due to its location in the center of the Cordillera Central Mountains. Jarabacoa has several waterfalls, hiking and good hotels. Heidi spots a hotel in our guidebook that has a pool, a bar, restaurant, rooms with large patios and it is only a kilometer outside of town, perfect.
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