Page 28.2: - Dominican Republic - Tropical Motorcycle Adventure /w Pics - From the beginning
Tom Junkans (cavebiker) - A Motorcycle Ride Report -
The border city Dajabon
At the largest of the border cities, Dajabon, my plan is to buy some packaged cookies for passing out to kids in the rural areas. The delight on their faces is priceless. Oddly, while stopping for gas, a man on crutches is waiting to sell me cookies. I couldn’t believe the coincidence. I buy all the cookies he has while I’m injected with a feeling of magic.
Gas stations are a fun place to practice Spanish, and I rarely pass up an opportunity for that.
In town, it is hot, several Haitians are walking with overflowing bucket of stuff they hope to sell, all of it effortlessly balanced on top of their heads, (at least appearing effortless) this gives the city an exotic look and feel. In Dajabon, Haitians cross the border to sell wares of knock-offs; shoes, clothes, or almost anything. Dominican entrepreneurs travel to Dajabon with truckloads of food used to trade for these Haitian wares.
After Dajabon, the border road quickly rises in altitude twisting past small farms and tropical forest.
My time machine is a motorcycle.
It is getting late. The border road continues to climb into the mountains passing homes selling tropical nuts and fruits.
A modern looking fire engine at a crossroads village in the mountains.
Another small village on the Haitian border, Loma de Cabrera. Stopping at places like this to check out the street food is often a highlight of my day.
Seeing motoconcho riders parked around street food is frequently a sign of a good place to eat, this time is no exception.
Practicing my Spanish with the motoconcho dudes, always a pleasure.
I say “el mundo total verá la foto en mi sitio Web” (The whole world can see the photos on my website)
The border road continues to climb yielding a noticeably changing climate. The palm trees look different here with pine tree forests and wooden homes.
Homes are noticably more primitive and basic the higher the road climbs
The road continues up. While stopping to oil my chain near a river, a teenage local walks over and strikes up a conversation. Strangely, he asks for soap “?tiena habon?” motioning washing his armpits. No problem--- what a refreshing change compared to the kids pestering for pesos in the tourist areas.
There are more small villages along the border with nice clean streets lined with palm trees and mountain views.
With only an hour of daylight to spare, I pull into the village Restauracion, the last village before the carretera internacional. Restauracion is a small but beautiful mountain village with churches and a large central park.
The village Restauracion is located just before a rough section of border road known as the ‘carretera internacional’. The carretera internacional is said to be lined with Haitian villages and huts painted with symbols of voodoo deities and is noted to be an extremely isolated section of road. I am spending the night in Restauracion so I can start this section of road early.
Looking for the Central Park after entering a new village is good protocol. Experience drives my inner voice “Look for a place to chill and get your bearings first Tom”
I check into an $8.00 hotel where I’m told I can park my motorcycle down a stairway next to my room.
Halfway down the stairway with my motorcycle a police officer starts holler at me in Spanish from behind. He asks how long I’ll be staying in town. Only one night “solo una noche”. After telling him my ride plan and solo status, he gives me a very serious look. I ask the dumb question “?es carretera seguridad?” is the road safe? He says “si” but continues his serious concerned look. ‘What the heck was that all about?’…!
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