Finding Freedom...World Wide Ride

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by BcDano, Jul 19, 2012.

  1. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,424
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    There are also a lot of political messages in this Sandinista Party stronghold.


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    Leon Nicaragua 54 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr


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    We did a lot of wandering and taking in the sights.


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    Leon Nicaragua 45 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr



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    Here was a first for us this guy actually got a ticket for not wearing his helmet.


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    Leon Nicaragua 55 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr



    Here is Daniel skyping his parents in Hawaii.


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    Leon Nicaragua 56 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr



    This is how you order a drink in Nicaragua. You get a bottle, a bucket of ice, a bowl of limes, and a bottle of coke for $3.60.



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    Leon Nicaragua 58 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr



    We stopped for our first Nicaraguan gas at the UNO.



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    Playa Quetzal 1 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr
  2. decodent

    decodent CyberGypsy

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
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    Sara ... You two seem to be going in style on this trip, and also doing really good ride reports. Am wondering what you're taking along for gear.

    I'm starting to wonder about how much stuff I should take on my own top-to-bottom ride.

    Still a couple years out ... but your ride report keeps me inspired and even planning this far out gives me a place to channel my wanderlust!

    ~Doug
  3. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    You will never wish you had more stuff. I will PM you our gear list and what we sent home, what we would not be without, and what we would not bring if we did it again. The problem with "stuff" is that once you have carried it a while its hard to get rid of it...."you might need it". Ha ha


    Sara
  4. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
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  5. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Now we really needed to retreat from the heat by heading up into the hills near Estali. Yes we finally made it to Estali! It was very hot riding the whole way, but It was almost 10 degrees cooler when we arrived.


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    Screen Shot 2013-02-24 at 4.38.57 PM by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr



    There is quite a nice cathedral here also.


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    Estali 7 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr



    These huge pigs were actually walking him!


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    Estali 12 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr



    We rode up thru the hills to Somoto, which is near the Honduras border.


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    The area around Estali is lush with farming. There are large fields of tobacco for the local cigar companies.


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  6. marior97

    marior97 marior97

    Joined:
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    Hola Sara and Daniel, so you went all the way to Somoto ! good riding over there and San Rafael del Norte-Matagalpa even better ! salud with the flora !:freaky
  7. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Yes and the ride to Muy Muy and Managua too. Except the 20 km near Muy Muy the road is really bad in spots. The scenery is amazing.


    Cheers


    Sp
  8. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Thanks to some local advice we headed off on the back roads thru the mountains to San Rafael del Norte, Jinotega, and to Matagalpa.


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    Screen Shot 2013-02-24 at 4.18.22 PM by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr


    This is a not to be missed ride. Resist the Pan Americana turn left! The road initially is brick, but eventually good pavement. The scenery is lovely on this often curvy road with little traffic.


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    Estali to matagalpa 8 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr


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    There are several nice towns and we stopped in San Rafael del Norte for a snack. The bikes drew a lot of interest from the locals.


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    Estali to matagalpa 29 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr


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    There is a nice square here in front of the church and the trees are filled with bromeliads.


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    Estali to matagalpa 38 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr

    Ten km from Matagalpa is a Quetzal bioreserve (turn at the tank), but as we were there in the heat of the afternoon we did not stop to search out the elusive bird.


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    Estali to matagalpa 35 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr


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    Matagalpa is a busy place, but there are very few hotels. We did find a nice place for 22$ with AC/Fan/Hot water and secure parking 50 m away for .80$.


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    Estali to matagalpa 44 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr



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    The moneychangers or Coyotes in action. We just used the ATM seems easier.


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    The cathedral as usual is the center of the city.


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    The main square has a large revolutionary statue and there are murals everywhere.


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    The call to mass brought out a whole lot of nuns!


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    Hey Joe this is for you!!!


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    There is an amazing coffee place in this small city. The best cappuccinos ever! The crepes are not too shabby either.


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  9. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,424
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    Leaving Matagalpa we opted for the long way round.


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    This is 3 kids on 1 bike.


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    There is a few km of dirt on the way to San Ramon for some fun, but even paved this is a great ride!


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    There is a fairly sketchy 20 km just past Muy Muy, but the rest of the road is good.


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    The traffic on the drive thru Managua luckily was not too bad since the temperature was 37.5.


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    Even in the heat we had to stop and run back for a photo of this statue with the machine gun.


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    matagalpa to managua 24 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr


    We had been offered a stay in the private casita at the Home of fellow ADV rider Salvador.


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    matagalpa to managua 27 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr


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    He is actually riding from Cape Town to Egypt right now { http://tripwelove.com/], so his lovely Mom took very good care of us.


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    matagalpa to managua 26 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr



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    There are Christmas lights on all year round in Managua!!



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    There is a massive Mango tree in their backyard so we had lots of juicy fruits!


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    Nikita is one HOT dog!!

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    matagalpa to managua 42 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr
  10. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,424
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    We went to visit Salvador’s grandma at her farm.


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    They have an equine therapy center for disabled children.



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    They also have trained horses that dance.



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    Leaving Salvador's and heading out thru Managua.


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  11. decodent

    decodent CyberGypsy

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Sara & Lou ... your ride report is becoming one of my reading staples! You two are so inspiring.

    I'm wondering (hoping would be more accurate) if you'll be doing more writing about what you experience along the way. I know it takes time to do all that - and God knows you're probably spending enough time just getting all these great images up.

    But you're spending a lot more time exploring than most people do, and - because of that - are no doubt experiencing things at a more intimate level than most travelers doing this journey do.

    My guess is that you have some great stories you could share.

    Just sayin' ... ;-)

    ~Doug
  12. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
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    Hey Doug

    So strange! I was driving along today and thinking to myself " I should really be putting some local colour and historical background to my reports". Are you a mind reader??? Ha Ha.

    I will try, but as you said it takes a lot of time just to get the facts down!!! I'll try harder.

    Sara & Daniel
  13. decodent

    decodent CyberGypsy

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    Not so much looking for the historical facts, numbers, etc. What would be more interesting is YOUR experiences there.

    What do you see? What do you experience? How does it feel?

    On a bigger level, how is this trip changing you? What shifts, if any, do you feel inside?

    What are you learning about yourself along the way? How about the lives of others? Is there a common thread you see through this journey?

    What's it like to be on the road so long - where the real constant is your bike, the road and your partner?

    You two have done so much to DO this journey, so now what does it feel like to BE doing it?

    Stuff like that.

    ;-)
  14. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

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    Well this might take a bit more thought. Number one people and especially kids are the same everywhere. I always laugh when a person from one place tells me how dangerous it is in the next place, because i heard exactly the same thing about this place when i left the first place the day before. We have been treated well everywhere we have been. Local people have been universally friendly and very interested in what our "mission" is. Despite our poor, but improving grasp of Spanish people are so happy when we try. Our lack of fluency has really never been a problem. Well except for the time in Becan, Mexico when I got Tostadas and not pan tostada for breakfast.


    I think being on the road for so long can be hard especially if you are in a hurry. I can really appreciate the small luxuries......toilet paper and soap in a public bathroom for instance. Enjoy each days good and not so good thing, thats what makes it interesting.


    This trip has changed us for sure. We are off the corporate/professional gerbil wheels and actually doing what we want every day! That is truly amazing. What is cool is that it is such an adventure. It is really hard to explain the small funny things like the hotel rooms with pepto bismol pink walls and lacy toilet seat covers or food that comes as we say in "a rendition" of what you would get at home. I will try to add more personal commentary. I was not sure people were interested.


    Sara
  15. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

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    We had a very short ride past Volcano Masaya and on to Granada. We went up the volcano last time we were in Nicaragua and it is really worth it. I love the sign in the parking lot beside the active crater that says “ park facing out…just in case”.



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    There are lots of horse drawn carriages on the square if you want a tour of the city, but as Daniel is very allergic to horses we opt out and walk instead.


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    We had a “drink” and some amazing ceviche mixta on the front veranda of the hotel.



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    The Cathedral here really stands out because of the bright yellow color and you can see the tower from all over the city.


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    That is Mombacho Volcano in the distance and where we go hiking tomorrow.


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  16. decodent

    decodent CyberGypsy

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    Looks like you're seeing a lot of great architecture on your ride.
  17. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
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    We went to Volcan Mombacho where you have to take a transport truck up the “steep road” to the crater rim. Actually it is steep, but paved and “don’t they know we went up El Impossible!”


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    Of course it says on the Internet that the transports leave daily at 830, 10, 12, and 130, but when we arrived at 1115 for the 12 truck they say it will leave at 1 are so unless it fills up before that. This is typical in Latin America. While waiting for the ride up we walked thru the orchid garden. Luckily at 12 one of the park wardens was going up in his pickup so we got a private ride up.


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    We hiked the El Crater trail to the first mirador looking over Lake Nicaragua and the city of Granada


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    On the way to the second viewpoint we took the right turn thru “the tunnel” to get a view inside the first of the 4 craters.


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    This is the view from the second mirador. There were lots of wild flowers.


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    You can also see the second crater from here towering above us.


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    When the third crater blew out about 10 thousand years ago it created the isletas below.


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  18. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
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    The volunteer firemen or Bomberos were putting on a demonstration in the square. It was quite exciting to see them. They met up, had a pep rally, and then all jumped in their trucks and took off. About 5 min later they came screaming back with lights and sirens going. Then it was a race to see which of the three teams could get their water hoses going fastest.


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    We also came across a large procession walking thru the streets. The Priest was leading the group of men carrying the Jesus Cristos and followed by a band.


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    This is a hip and happening place especially on the main street on a Friday night. The cafes and restaurants are packed.


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    We ran into a large group of riders from Edelweiss tours. Their 2-week trip is mostly in Costa Rica, but they came for a few days to visit Granada. We also saw them when we were crossing the border.


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    We have also been to Isla Ometepe before, so we will not go again, but it is a not to be missed trip to these two islands formed by the two volcanoes in the massive lake Nicaragua. There is a nice hot spring on the way to Merida on the south island where there is a good hostel Hacienda Merida right on the lake.


    Heading out of Granada you pass a number of very colorful churches and the massive cemetery filled with ornate tombs.


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    These people in the truck were all taking pictures of us with their cell phones!


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  19. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
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    1,424
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    Heading south to Costa Rica we stopped for a visit back to San Juan del Sur and not much has changed since we were here in 2009.



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    Thanks Orvar for the tip on the hotel with great parking. We ran into a Honduran tour group Maya tours here too.



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    The seafood here is really amazing.


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    Big D finally bought a new pair of sunglasses for 5$. He and Garry Dymond had bodge glued his current pair of riding glasses in Mexico in October!


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    Why is sunset so special? They are not all the same for sure and I will never get tired of them. Sunrise is a whole other story.



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    Summary of Nicaragua experience.

    This country has come a long way since the revolution and is on the verge of breaking out. This place has nothing but up side. It is less expensive by far than El Salvador and Costa Rica, and is the “safest” country in Central America. There is a ton of great riding off of the Pan Americana! There a gorgeous spots that see few tourists and rarely over-landers. We met a lot over very friendly locals. In 2009 we had seen a lot of police check points. This trip our only police stop was in the middle of absolutely nowhere somewhere after Muy Muy. They asked for the bike registration and we said “seriously” and they said ok don’t worry about it and told us to keep going.

    Next another border crossing :puke1
  20. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
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    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    One thing I hate to drive in is wind and that means a wind farm is never a good sign. Gusting to 35mph. I guess it could be a lot worse it could be dark and raining.


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    I really used to dread the border-crossing day, but as Guaterider says expect the worst, but hope for the best. I really look at as a game now. We really find the horde of “helpers” that descend on you very stressful. We just continue to say no gracias and they eventually get tired of us.


    The exit for two bikes and us from Nicaragua and entry to Costa Rica is 3 hours 45 min (2 hours was standing in line to get passport stamp at CR immigration).

    Step 1 is to get out of Nicaragua. You stop at small blue shack in the middle of the road where the official looks at your passport and signs your Nicaraguan import permit. Ask for a tourist exit paper. You need to fill this out for exit. Drive past the white Migration building ahead and turn left, then continue past the buildings and go left again around to the back to park.



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    DSC05294 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr


    Here you pay 1$ each tax and then 4.50$ exit fee at different unmarked windows of course. Keep your receipts. You get your passport exit stamp here as well. Then the official will check your VIN and sign your permit (again).


    [​IMG]
    DSC05298 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr


    Then you need to find a cop to sign and officially stamp your Nicaraguan import permit. Look for them across the lot sitting in the shade under a tree.


    [​IMG]
    DSC05300 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr


    Then take the permit back in side for more signatures.


    [​IMG]
    DSC05303 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr


    [​IMG]
    DSC05302 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr




    Finally you take your import permit with multiple signatures and give it to the official on the road as you leave Nicaragua.




    Next part 2 getting into Costa Rica.