Page 30: - Dominican Republic Again - Tropical Adventure /w Pics - From the beginning
The Border with Haiti
The ride outnext morning
Still high altitude, even with the sun out it’s still cold. Sometimes its hard to believe this is a Caribbean Island.
It doesn’t take long before it feels warm and tropical again.
I never get tired of driving rural roads here
There are surprises every day.
Tooling along, my shift lever loosens again making it hard to shift. This is not good, but at least the problem is now and not in the remote mountains. Its easy to locate a repair shop. I explain the severity of my situation and that this is the third time in four days with the same problem. The mechanic seems to understand whatever the heck came out of my mouth and assures me he has a solution. He adds a piece of shim material to the shift lever, then proceeds to pound the lever onto the shaft using a vice grips to transfer the force of the pounding.
While watching him its obvious he has done this before and is confident of the repair. The cost is again very cheap: only 50 pesos, ($1.30) plus 50 for the tip, another enjoyable Dominican Republic motorcycle shop experience.
Some villages are surprisingly busy
There is a Lamar mine close to here. At a gas station, someone came up to me with a handkerchief filled with raw uncut Lamar stones. This is the only place in the world with Lamar, a semi-precious stone used in jewelry.
Fresh pineapple and cashews sold roadside.
Cashews are great motorcycle road food.
Three bikes, all carrying propane cylinders
The smell of salt air and a feeling of lower altitude.
Riding toward the Caribbean coast then on toward Haiti. The rolling hills, arid terrain, cactus, and seaside cliffs resemble the California coastline, perfect for riding.
At the south end of the island, the road skirts west along the Caribbean Sea. It’s nothing but warm air, seaside cliffs and turquoise waters.
The most beautiful white sand beaches are on this side of the island. Nevertheless, for some reason, tourists rarely visit.
The roads here are above average most of the time, but in the DR, a good rider assumes a road hazard around every corner.
Having a great time flying along the Caribbean coast toward the Haitian border, is all-good. My hope is that there will be a motel or two in the border village Pedernales, what kind of motel is the question. Pedernales is the southern start of the border trail not found on any maps. My only account is a few sentences in a guidebook mentioning “an extremely steep and rocky remote trail” That is what I’m looking for, I can feel it. More thought goes into my route now, contingencies plans are a constant part of my being, supplies, personal presentation, packing. Scenarios and solution play out in my head. This is what I call living.
The nicest hotel in town, $11, not great but it has secure parking and a restaurant.
Pedernales sits on the Caribbean Sea at the Haitian border
With a motorcycle or jeep, you can get to some of the most remote beaches on the island from here.
The motorcycle is packed and ready to go early. The hotel has great breakfast and strong coffee, a great way to start the day while studying the maps. Today the ride starts with 50 miles of unknown then 30 miles of road that is on my map. The thought is to allow 3 or 4 hours for the ride but the conditions are unknown and navigation could be a challenge. The ride today starts at sea level, then leads up and over the Sierra de Bahoruco mountain range, the second highest in the Caribbean. My guidebook says the Sierra de Bahoruco area is an uninhabited place and it is very inaccessible. I like the way that sounds and at the same time, it sends shivers up my spine. The map I am using indicates a couple villages in the area, just no roads leading to them, that is a main ingredient to adventure.
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