Page 4: - Dominican Republic - Tropical Motorcycle Adventure /w Pics -Cordillera Central Mountains
I ride into the large city, San Francisco del Macoris, another inter island city that sees zero tourists. I like cities like this. I feel at home at places like this, I am not sure why. I need to change highways here and I am having a difficult time locating the next highway. I stop to ask several people for directions. I am slowly learning that I cannot ask how to get to example, highway 19. No one knows about highway 19. There are no markings in or around the city directing you to highway 19. Highway 19 has no marking on it saying highway ‘19’. I know this now. I have to ask people how to get to a major city that is on the highway I want to get go. The problem here is that highway 19 does not go to any city, it just ends at another highway, highway 1. Asking people how to get to the road that goes to highway 1 is not working also. Anyway, highway 1 leads to the major cities La Vega and Santo Domingo, both far from where I want to end up but at least people are telling me where to go and telling me with glee in their hearts for having been able to help me. This is fun for me but at the same time a little stressful because there are many roads that will take me to La Vega or Santo Domingo, none of which I want to be on.
Well, by the time I get to this part of town I pretty much knew I am not on the road I want. But of course I just keep going, my compass indicated I am at least heading in the general direction I want.
Soon I find myself riding through a dense residential area.
It is an interesting ride.
After many miles, I hit a paved road that looks major. I ask someone which way to Santo Domingo. I get a positive ‘Go left’.
I stop at this school to see if I can locate ‘La Jina’ on my map. YES, La Jina is on my map and NO, I am not on the highway I want to be on. But at least I see a route to get back to where I want to be. But again of course, the highway T’s and there is no T indicated on my map. I ask more directions and more directions.
This does not seem right but I am having a good time exploring interesting country.
All over the island we see motorcycles carrying large cylinders of propane.
At another crossroads I ask a bunch of dudes standing around some motorcycles for directions. I am told to turn right. I thought I needed to go left. I say “?for cierto?” (for sure?). “!si!”
This is a poor area and one dude who helped me pointed to his gas tank and politely held out his hand. I dig into my pocket and pulled out a little over a dollar in pesos and give it to him. He immediately divided it up and gives some to his friend. They helped me out. I have no problem helping them out.
It is early afternoon and I am feeling hungry. I see a restaurant roasting chicken on a grill outside. I stop and looked at what else they had inside a glass counter. It looks like grilled beef to me and is.
A few baseball players are hanging out inside. I have fun chitchatting and talked about the Dominican Republic being #1 in baseball. I receive many smiles.
Tender stewed beef and yucca with sweet onions. Yucca is some kind of root that is fantastic and a good source of complex carbohydrates. This cost me 50 pesos ($1.45). Food continues to get cheaper the farther away I get from the coast.
I am getting ready to leave and some guy from back hands me a bag of 5 bananas. I thank him a thousand times. “mil gracias senior” Then he hands me an avocado and wishes me happy travels. I am blown away by their friendliness and generosity. I thank them again. We all wave goodbye. I never did figure out what the name of this village was. I feel lost and at the same time feel at home. It is a good feeling all the same.
I had to turn back to get a photo of this. I will tell Heidi when I get home that she is finally going to have a chance to stay at a 5 star hotel. hee hee…
We see a lot of cock fighting rings around the island.
I have to see a fight some day, just to experience it, but I don’t think I will get Heidi anywhere near one.
I get to a major crossroad. I ask more directions.
My directions don’t seem right. I ask more directions.
A Dominican Republic baseball game. The music was blasting so loud here I can not believe it. It is like the volume of a throbbing discothèque. People are super into the game though.
Unreal! I find my way to highway 1, the main autopista running from the north coast to Santo Domingo. And I am just a few miles away from where I originally intended to be. What a good time! I just don’t understand people who travel through exotic foreign countries carrying a GPS loaded with local maps. That has to take away all the fun...
Ten miles down the autopista I turn west and start heading up into the major mountains, the Cordillera Central Mountains.
I soon hit a roadblock. I immediately dig out some pesos from my pocket and hand them over. I even forgot to ask what this is all about. I figured it must have been for something important (wink)
I knew it is going to get cold up here so I suite up in my rain gear and start looking for a place to buy gloves.
I pass a motorcycle shop in a small mountain village with many people hanging around. Bummer, I have to go into another motorcycle shop and chat with more Dominicans. Everyone here is electric and is have fun watching me trying to find a pair of gloves that will fit my oversized hands. Lots of laughs all around.
I am set and ready to scale the mountains now…
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