Back on the road, across the border, we hit the fumigation zone.
The fumigator originally waived us through to a booth just passed his operation. Thinking it was immigration we waited for a while confused as all get out and multiple people telling us to go to different building we had no idea what to do. Then out of nowhere some little kid off the street tells the fumigation guy that we need our bikes sprayed. Politely declined, then more adamant, then the fumigator got a bit testy with me and I gave in. It was obvious this was a line for the truck drivers only and we just stumbled into it on accident. $3 later we departed to immigration just up the road. $12 got my passport stamped relatively easily. We swap positions and I find more kids bagging for money. No comprendo…No comprendo…No comprendo….Silence (on my side). They on the other hand continued on until Al came out with a passport stamp.
Onward….to the next checkpoint where it was explained to us that we still need to go to the customs office and import our bikes. At which time I now understand that I purchased Insurance…..not importation.
I am absolutely burning up inside with my gear on as we head back to the Aduana. Standing in line with 15 truckers I get light headed, heart racing, just about to black out. I drop to a knee and pull off my jacket and breathe while everyone stares. Regaining composure and a cooler internal temp I supply the necessary paperwork (Title/Reg, DL, Passport) and wait for 15 minutes while it is processed. Very lazy individual…didn’t even verify the VIN on the bike. Then I get to go outside, sit in the sun, and listen to the kids ask for money while Al does his thing. This is what they thought about my comments:
Only 2.5 hours total to exit Honduras and enter Nicaragua but it felt twice that and was by far the worst crossing to date.
The ride to Leon was nothing exciting, just very hot and got to stare at a volcano for the majority of the ride.
Signed up for a nice Hostel (Via Via) that I searched out the night before. $20 for private room/bath. Beers under $1 and great food. I asked the waiter to choose something good/local for me and she brought me a large bowl of fried chicken and French fries. Not exactly a refreshing first meal of the day after sweating a Liter of my fluids but it was damned good Pollo frita con papas.
The heat took a toll on me today so I’m just absorbing some unsalted fluids and resting a bit.
Ended up getting snockered across the street at the Bigfoot Hostel…..some sort of toga night proved good stuff. Met a retired lawyer named Barry from New York that rides a BMW 1200 GS. Entertaining old guy.
As you can see in the above photo the michiladas have changed to a yellow color instead of red. they use sweet & sour mix instead of clamato juice. The Worcestershire sauce added to the neon sweet n sour produces a bland yellow……yes they are still delicious.
Woke up rather hung over. Grabbed the typical Nicaraguan fare of gallo pinto (brown rice with pinto beans) and added some eggs to make it a breakfast. I am really loving the prices in this country. I wish I was here longer to make up for some of the other areas.
Heading for San Juan del Sur out of Leon the road quickly turned to shit…which was perfect. For the most part is was 300 yards of concrete and then 100 yards of gravel/dirt/pot holes/etc…. It went on like this for probably 25 miles until we neared Managua at which point it became decent pavement again (reclaiming the CA-1). Out of Managua the wind started blowing like crazy. I was watching Al in the mirror and he is tilted at about 15 degrees just to maintain equilibrium. The light bikes were literally getting blown all over the road. Then we got flagged down by the traffic police.
I strongly considered not stopping but they were just releasing a car and I was a bit curious how all this would work out. Just checked for license, import papers, & insurance and then let us go. The darker skinned man that “helped” me was rather rude and not a happy individual at all. Probably because I had my paperwork together so no steak dinner tonight for him. The lighter skinned guy that helped Alex was real nice, very interested in the motos, and posed for a picture. Then I busted a wheelie upon departure in front of them and the dark skinned guy glared while the other gave thumbs up with a big smile on his face. To each his own huh?
We saw one truck already loose his load so I snapped this photo hoping for a priceless pick….maybe next time
The rest of the trip (80 miles or so) we were blown around on the road like rag dolls. Even passed a good number of wind towers. Pulled into San Jorge just to check the ferry schedules and get a feel for the area before returning later in the week. Unorganized shit show provided little information so we took off to San Juan del Sur.
We stayed at Rositas & Joxis on a tip from an uncle in law that I have never met. Nice little hostel just a block from the beach.
Really wanting to do some sport fishing we hit the town looking for information. Unfortunately due to the extreme winds all the warm water has been pushed out to sea and the fishing isn’t worth a damn. Maybe a booze cruise then?
Alex did laundry while I went for some offroading north of town to the next few beaches. Prior to leaving I had to fix up some wear points on my gas tank. My previously applied leather strips wore off so I used some Mexi-epoxy to glue on Pesos, Quetzals, and Cordobas.
Pretty decent riding and some beautiful secluded beaches known for their mild tubes for beginner surfers.
On the way back I drove up the hill with the statue of Christ overlooking San Juan del Sur.
Then went and did what I do best….two for one mojitos and dollar cervezas. Still not real hot on Nicaraguan cuisine.
Dropped off laundry and headed in the southerly direction for more off road, secluded beaches, and an oil change. I accomplished all three. Then laundry, internet research for where I’m going tomorrow, then rum & coke.
Did meet up with my uncle in law, Bob, who I have never met. Been living down here for the past 7 years or so. I think he has his stuff figured out…..less work more sun…more fishing….more golfing… Somehow I failed to get a photo with him.
Off to Ometepe island. The island is located in Lake Nicaragua and consists of two volcanoes (one of which is quite active; Volcan Conception). No problem getting to the port in San Jorge. Pay a gringo tax to get through the gates ($0.40), then pay a port tax for the motorcycles ($0.50), then pull up next to the ferry.
Alex goes for it and just rolls the bike onto the ferry. I prefer to wait, figure out what needs to be paid, etc…. so that they can’t just charge whatever the hell they want at the otherside (already met a guy that this happened to). So I’m waiting and watching Al when this guy comes up to me dressed relatively nice and says it’s $10 do get the bike on. With no official paperwork handy I just said no I already paid and start rolling the bike onto the ferry. Of course he wants to show me where to put the bike and follows along behind it while I hope he doesn’t steal anything. I park the bike and he starts asking for the $10. I pretend like I don’t know what he is saying….as he is badgering me one of the boat crewman walks buy, hears him talking, looks at me in a serious sort of way and rapid fires some Spanish at me. Then the original guy looks at him and says something to the effect that he has it handled and don’t worry about it. Crewman walks away while this idiot continues on. After some silent treatment he moves on to Al…..”don’t give him anything dude, this guy is full of shit.”
Eventually he walks away. During the crossing the official guys came out and had us pay for actual tickets for the bike and person ($3/bike, $2/person). Later on during the ferry crossing I spoke to a Canadian couple that were driving down here and that guy conned them out of $20. These are by far the most shameless people I have met on the trip. It just disgusted me when one of the crew was actually going to help swindle me out of money for this jackass.
We finally dock on the island (San Jose del Sur) and the unloading process was actually painless and fairly quick.
We head north to drive around Mount Conception. Nicely shaped volcano with large lava flows that are still smoking along the side of it. The nice road made of pavers ended shortly after passing through Moyogalpa and turned to a hideous rock strewn road that was full of horses, pigs, and cattle.
10 miles later the road morphed back into smooth pavers and a mile after that I felt therear end getting rather sloppy. First flat tire in just over 5,000 miles of traveling!
I roll into a tienda that has a ceiling over a dirt car park area and ask the later if I can work on my tire. She says no and tells me to go to the mechanic up the road. I explained I would like to do this myself and may I please do it here. NO! Well I guess I won’t be shopping here for my stay on Ometepe.
I push the bike 50 meters down the road so that I have some shade under a palm tree and get to work. Quickly find the problem and get the tube out of the tire. The heat has me rather impatient so I opt for a new tube and I’ll patch this one up later.
A kid on his way home from school stopped to chat and watch. I think his biggest interest was my motorcycle gloves. He wanted them to play goalie on the soccer field. Sorry bud these things are like gold down here.
An hour later we’re rolling down the pavers and locate Lil Morgan’s Hostel….looks like a real dump and very heavy on the flies so we head back to some hotels that we saw. A little negotiating gets us 50% off but it is still rather expensive for us ($40).
We unload the gear and setoff to the Ojo de Agua. We had heard that these are “really neat” blue pools full of minerals and perfect for swimming. Not so. The pools had a bluish tint but it was walled in with concrete. This was not a natural wonder but a shoddily built in-ground.
Due to bumping into a crown in SJdS that received a parasite from the seafood on the island I went with spaghetti and Al had the Lasagna. Not too bad.
Jumped out of bed today and headed out to ride around the south volcano. Again, a tremendously rough road that tried its hardest to bend my front rim on a few occasions. Arrived in San Ramon and pulled up to the gates that led to the waterfall. The guy wants to charge for us plus another charge for the bikes. A little tired of the shameless “rip off the gringo shit” so I tell him what he should do for the rest of the day. I’m here for the ride anyway so I’ll just keep on roll‘in. The rest of the road never let up.
At one point when the road was following the coastline a group of wild horses came out of nowhere so I raced ahead, jumped off the bike, and snagged some quick photos.
Back at the hotel we decided to load up quick and fly to the port to catch the first ferry.
Arriving in town they say no ferry until 2:30 because of a sand bar that has to be dredged. Having skipped breakfast I am ready kill local horse so I cruise up main street and spot a place full of gringos waiting for the boat. I try to order breakfast but they say too late. I opt for a hamburger. Looks great when served…a couple bites into it I questions the source of the meat….very fatty, not cooked enough….half way through I give up because I know this isn’t going to end well.
We drive back to the other port and try our luck there. Next ferry is 3:00 but at least this port isn’t crawling with people and it has a nice view.
Stomach starts to hurt after waiting about an hour. Al starts fishing to no avail. I drink water, a little soda, try to stay out of the sun. Meanwhile the soldiers who ride on the ferry show up and let us know we don’t have reservations. For the next hour Al fed them beer and cigarettes and magically we showed up on the list and were allowed to roll the bikes onboard.
I thought the rough seas would be enough for me to get rid of the burger but it wasn’t coming up. I laid in agony. An hour later we disembarked and I had a miserable ride back to San Juan del Sur.
Shortly after this I started with minor vomiting bouts. Soon turned into projectile vomit. Then escalated to PV with simultaneous diarrhea. Absolutely exhausted with no bodily fluids remaining I tried to pass out.
I think I left my bed for a total of 20 minutes today. Nothing worth a damn to repot.
Probably left the bed for a total of 60 minutes today….an improvement.
Made it to Costa Rica today!!
Spent one last movie night in Nic.
Border Crossing: Not nearly as bad as we had heard. Leaving Nicaragua was a pain in the ass because locating the correct buildings in the correct order is all but impossible. I finally hired a “helper” who whisked me from office to office to complete the exportation. When getting the passports stamped (I use a plural “passports” because I carried around Al’s paperwork while he watched the bike) my “helper” told me I had to pay $12 each for the stamp. Bullshit! I just read online last night that it ranges from $2-$4 to stamp out of Nic. After a bunch of arguing my broken Spanish got both stamps for $4 total. Total time to exit was 1 hour.
The last 10 miles of Nicaragua were interesting. We saw what knocked out our power yesterday, flipped over vehicle, and landed is some sort of fly territory….they taste disgusting.