Page 29: - Dominican Republic Again - Tropical Adventure /w Pics - From the beginning
The Border with Haiti continued
It’s fun riding up the narrow steps the next morning.
Overnight, the street in front of the hotel exploded into a market that stretches for blocks in both directions.
In no time, half a dozen kids offer to shine my boots. I make eye contact with one kid and point “Lo sento, est mi numeral uno amigo…” (Sorry, this is my number one friend and he will be doing my boots). They all like my moto (motorcycle) and have fun hanging around me while I practice Spanish.
I ask one kid, “¿Vive en Restauracion?” (Do you live in Restauracion?)
He tells me “si” he lives here, but then teases his friend and says that he’s from Haiti. Everyone laughs, but the kid.
Restauracion has a military fort and a large military presence. A mile out town is a military roadblock and checkpoint at the start of the section of road that leads into Haiti. I tell the two military dude’s on site who I am and where I plan to ride. Of course the first thing they ask is, am I alone “?solo?” “si, solo” Yes, alone. Their eyebrows rise. They tell me to go back in town and get a permit from the police. Back in town the police tell me that I need my original passport to get this permit, my photocopy isn’t cutting it.
Panic sets in for just a second before a new plan is developed; ride back north around the central mountains, then south to the other end of the island where the border starts on the Caribbean side. This is a huge detour indeed but hey, that is adventure. I will take as long as it takes for this ride, the only way to do it right. (Heidi and I always engage in post-ride discussions about safety and how number-one, we vow to never be in a hurry, even if things don’t go as planned.) Having ‘no schedule’ is motorcycle adventure euphoria …
The detour brings me through more lush and tropical mountain scenery which only adds to the ride. I push on all day long and finally at the south end of the island my route turns off the paved highway and onto another rough mountain dirt road. This will lead me up and over the southern Central Mountains range and toward Haiti again.
I am in a hurry but I know the importance in proper nutrition and hydration. I constantly look for road food while in route.
At times, the road turns to nice pavement, but that never lasts long.
I pass many mountain streams
My road passes primitive wood homes along mountain streams and people fishing.
I am surprised to see a logging truck.
Sensing the gain in altitude and thickening vegetation feels cool.
It is starting to get late and I need to find a place to stay. The next small village has one weird pink hotel, I keep riding. It soon is apparent that my daylight is almost gone. A personal rule of mine is to ‘not ride after dark’. If there are no hotels in the next village, I will be sleeping on a park bench or behind a gas station tonight––not a great plan.
Passing over a high bridge spanning a river gorge I spy a trail leading out onto the flood plane of a river. The trail is very rugged and twisty, just the way I like it.
Down the twisty trail I burry the motorcycle straight into some weeds along the river. After a survey I’m confident the bike is hidden from the road. I have food, water, shelter and two beers--- I am good for the night.
I make a mattress by gathering a pile of large green leaves and covering them with my camouflage plastic tarp. The sounds of the rushing river fills the gorge as I study my maps, soon a cloak of a billion stars fill in above me. This is good primitive camping.
Its a rough morning that started at 2:00AM when the temperatures quickly dropped. I get a campfire going and put on more cloths. That does the trick some but it is still cold. Some of my earliest memories are of my father stressing the importance of being able to start a campfire if caught out in the wild. I eat, hydrate and study my maps while waiting for the sun.
This is my favorite type of camping, primitive. Heidi thinks I'm weird...
Continued: ---> Page 30 <----