Page 32: - Dominican Republic Again - Tropical Adventure /w Pics - From the beginning
The Border with Haiti
The temperature feels noticeably cooler while the motorcycle guides me up into a cloud. The trail improves with crushed stone and fewer boulders and gullies, still climbing continuously.
It isn’t long before the trail leads me through lush tropical rainforest. Long strings of moss are hanging from the trees. There are palm trees and broad leaf plants all over and fog continues to thicken.
It is hard to see through the fog.
After a long stretch, the trail passes a military border outpost. Again there is only one person stationed here wearing full military gear complete with army boots, an M-16 rifle in his lap and the look. He is a pleasure to talk with and gives quite a reaction after describing my ride.
"?solo? "ir la moto!" (you are alone! you are traveling on a motorcycle!) A big thumb's-up.
The trees are covered in Spanish moss giving the trail an eerie look, cool!.
A babbling spring is shooting up next to the trail and looks like a good spot to check the radiators coolant level. Looking around this place it reminds me of scene on a 'Pirates of the Caribbean' ride at Disney. This is fantasy ride through tropical island rainforest paradise.
It is a good feeling not boiling off anymore radiator fluid. This means it not a leak in the radiator; its just me over stressing and overheating the engine. And the road seems to be getting better, meaning the motorcycle should survive the rest of the way and get me back to civilization, eventually. At times, it is easy to think about getting the hell out of here now, in one piece, as soon as possible. Surely, this must be a common emotion with any adventure or struggle. I get over it and carry on but use it as a reminder to be smart.
Finally, the trail reaches the top of the mountain pointing steep downhill fast. I shut-off the engine and coast to save fuel, gravity gives me all the power needed. The rainforest is gone now and the trail is back to light and dry scrub brush and vistas of far away mountains and valleys, way cool.
While riding down it is easy to see Lago Enriquillo off into the distance, the largest lake in the Caribbean. Lake Enriquillo is 25-40 meters below sea level. I started this ride today at sea level, I passed the second highest peak on the island and now I am descending to below sea level. How cool is that.
Steep down hill to another official type building with a roadblock across the trail. A downed tree is the roadblock. My dirt is tall so it's no problem hopping over the tree. The noise I made jumping the tree attracted the two people working the building. It looked like a park forestry building and was. Again, both guys 'wow out' when I tell them where I just rode from, solo! They tell me I needed to get a permit somewhere. The way I came in is not the normal way into the park. They make it seem like it is no big deal that I am riding without a permit.
At the bottom there is water. A check of the radiator fluid I proceed to circle the lake. There are over 6 villages on the shores of this lake, there has to be a motel or two. My first choice is to get to Descubierta, a village on the Haitian border closest to where my trail starts tomorrow.
After reaching Descubierta with only a half an hour of daylight to spare, I check into the only hotel in town with adequate motorcycle parking. At least it's cheap, $7.50 a night. Shopping for adventure supplies for tomorrow's ride after is a problem here, finding water is no problem but there is no good road food, and I'm not fussy, I can pack and eat almost anything. The stores look like no supply truck has been here in months. Enough food for an evening meal, all is good. It is weird because there were many people cooking along the road when I first pulled into town. An hour later, everything is shutdown.
In the hotel, I'm taking deep breaths thinking about todays ride and make a big 'wow!' face in the mirror. I have ridden dirt bikes on conditions similar to this but only for short bursts. This type of extreme off-road riding for 10 hours straight is new to me. It is like I just completed a marathon. Like I just experienced something culturally significant. I will never feel the same about the Dominican Republic or Haiti again. This is good...
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