Page 3: - Dominican Republic - Tropical Motorcycle Adventure /w Pics -Cordillera Central Mountains
Heidi and I move to a different and better apartment in town for almost the same price. All is good, we are into the island life now, the scene and the rhythm. So, it's time for an exploratory motorcycle ride, the Cordillera Central Mountains. My goal is always to do a solo ride first before bringing Heidi along. Much of this country is still Wild West, I need to know what I'm getting into when I have a valuable cargo onboard. Anyway, here we go…
Yesterday, down at the beach is a tree stump that is perfect for tipping the motorcycle over to oil the chain. While riding back to Cabarete, a kid is standing on the side of the road with a long muffler pipe in him hand. My self talk 'This biker needs help" I ask "?problema? (is there a problem?) Out of gas. I immediately stick my boot out to put it on his rear fende. I have seen this many times where one motorcycle rider pushes another by sticking his leg out to push. Anyway, he points to his rear foot peg meaning I should put my foot here. I stick my boot out and start pushing. What a surreal experience, we are both focused on the road, each other's line of travel and any hazard on the road, it is unreal, Zen to the nth degree. I start out slow being this is my first time doing the maneuver. Eventually, I manage to get it into 3rd gear and start clicking along. It is a good thing that I have been pounding my legs in the gym, this dude is being pushed for close to four miles. The first gas station, he yells out "bien aqui, gracias amigo" (this is good here, thanks friend) I reply "da nada" (it is nothing). He goes sailing into the gas station.
The Ride: I am off on a mission into the Big Dominican Republic Mountains, the Cordillera Central Mountains. They are the highest mountains in the Caribbean. I have read it snows there at times and the rivers freeze over. Anyway, this is where several scenes from the Jurassic Park movie were filmed and it is said to be a beautiful part of the island. Ten miles along the Atlantic coast, I stop at our favorite Dominican restaurant for breakfast, Sabaneta. Heidi and I started coming here in 1995' and it is some of the best Dominican food on the island, we are told and can attest to.
2 fried eggs, A pile of mashed potatoes, and a sample of something else that looked like olive green mashed potatoes piled with sweet onions. As always, everything is fantastic and it only costs me 70 pesos ($1.90). This is a great way to start a long motorcycle adventure.
I am riding east along the North coast to the village Gaspar Hernandez. Some villages enforce a law where motoconcho riders (motorcycle taxi drivers) need to wear an orange numbered vest. This law enacted because of the large number of accidents involving motoconchos. The number is to help identify the rider involved in the accident and I am sure the orange vest is to help minimize accidents.
At Gaspar Hernandez I turn south on a road I never traveled before, that is part of my mission, explore new roads and places. The road is spotted with potholes. It is sometimes dirt and at times mostly washed out, exactly the types of roads I enjoy.
The scenery is beautiful and tropical.
I like to stop at places like this to replenish my water supply or buy a snack. Staying hydrated needs to always be a prime ingredient of any motorcycle adventure.
Of course, I enjoy chitchatting with the locals also.
Interesting sights along the way.
The road improves the higher up I ride.
I need more fuel for the body. I stop at this market at the inner island city Tenares.
3 bananas, 5 pesos ($.13) A third of the price we pay on the North coast.
I go out of my way to stop at places like this.
I should have backed up more for this photo to show the mayhem that occurs at a busy gas station here. Motorcycles are buzzing everywhere and everyone wants to be first to get gas. You just have to get your bike as close to the pump as possible and assertively ask for gas. “!Prima! lleno por favor” (Premium! Full it please) That works….
My bike does not have a working horn. It doesn’t even have a horn. The proper procedure before passing another motorcycle is to give them a heads-up with two quick beeps. Most bikes have no rearview mirrors so a little beep is much appreciated.
I love stopping at motorcycle shops in Latin America. We are all motorcycle brothers here. I always feel that I am welcomed whenever I show up at a motorcycle shop.
“?tienes un bocina de moto?” (Do you have a motorcycle horn?)
The guy behind the counter immediately hustles to the back room then comes back with two different motorcycle horns. I pick out the stronger horn, 100 pesos ($2.70)
I then ask if he has any cable (wire). He pulled a spool of red wire from the rack behind him. He asked if this is what I had in mind.
“!si! cuatro metros por favor” (yes, 4 meters please)
The attendant measures out 4 meters of wire, cuts it, coils it up and places it in my bag. I ask how much. Of course, no charge for the wire. Did I say I love stopping at motorcycle shops in Latin America :)
Working Bikes: An example of how loaded up some are. Today I also see a bike with aluminum panniers so tall and wide I cannot even see the rider.
Hold On! This ride is far from over…
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