1. Adventure Rider Print Magazine!
    We're doing a print magazine this November - 128 pages of high quality adventure riding stories, photography and interviews!

    Click here to purchase a copy for $9. Limited copies still available.
    Dismiss Notice

-No Return Ticket – Two People, Two Years, One Motorcycle

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by cavebiker, Jul 14, 2007.

  1. cavebiker

    cavebiker Old School Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,716
    Location:
    Hayward, WI
    The Border with Haiti


    [​IMG]
    I could feel the temperature fall noticeable and it seemed like I was riding up into the clouds. The trail improved, more crushed stone and less large boulders and gullies. I was still climbing, just not as steep.


    [​IMG]
    It wasn’t long before I found myself riding through lush tropical rainforest. Long strings of moss are hanging from the trees. There are palm trees and broad leaf plants all over and the fog continues to thicken.


    [​IMG]
    At times, it was hard to see through the fog.


    [​IMG]
    I rode a long stretch then ran across another military outpost building. Again, only one person was stationed there. This person wore full military gear complete with army boots and M-16 rifle in his lap. He was a pleasure to talk with. He also gave me quite a reaction when I told him about my ride.

    “?solo? “ir la moto!” (you are alone! you are traveling on a motorcycle!)

    He ends it giving me a thumbs up.


    [​IMG]
    The trees are covered in Spanish moss giving the trail an eerie look, I like that.


    [​IMG]
    If I could invent a scene on a ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ ride at Disneyland, a scene where I would ride a motorcycle through, this is what it would be. I am riding through rainforest jungle, a true tropical island paradise. I spot a babbling spring shooting up next to the trail. I see this as a good spot to check the radiators coolant level, and it was.

    I am happy, I am not boiling off anymore radiator fluid and the road seems to be getting better, meaning I think the motorcycle is going to survive and I am going to make it back to civilization, eventually. At times, It was easy to think about just wanting to get the hell out of here in one piece when I see the first paved road. I think this is a common emotion with any adventure or struggle. I got over it. I am in my element.


    [​IMG]
    I reach the other side of the mountain and I am going down fast. I coast without the engine to save fuel. The rainforest is gone, I am back in light and dry scrub brush and vistas of far away mountains, way cool.


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
    While riding down it was 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.


    [​IMG]
    I rode steep down hill to another official building with a roadblock across the trail. They used a downed tree for the roadblock. I have a tall dirt bike. I hop over the tree in the middle of the road without much trouble. 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 told them where I just rode from, solo! They told me I needed to get a permit somewhere. The way I came in is not the normal way into the park. They made it seem like it was no big deal that I was riding without a permit.


    [​IMG]
    I make it to the bottom, find water, check the radiator fluid then proceed to circle the lake. There are over 6 villages on the shores of this lake, I know there are hotels. My first choice is to get to Descubierta, a village on the Haitian border closest to where my trail starts tomorrow.


    [​IMG]
    I pulled into Descubierta with only a half an hour of daylight to spare. I checked into the only hotel in town that had adequate motorcycle security. At least it was cheap, $7.50 a night. I tried to go shopping for adventure supplies for tomorrow’s ride. Water was no problem but I could not find any good road food, and I am not fussy, I can pack and eat almost anything. The stores looked like no supply truck had been here in months. I was happy to come away with enough food for an evening meal. It was weird. I saw many people cooking road food when I first pulled into town. An hour later, everything was shutdown.


    [​IMG]
    In the hotel, I took deep breaths thinking about the ride I just did. I looked in the mirror and gave myself a big ‘Woow!’ face. 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. I feel like I just completed a marathon. I feel like I just experienced something culturally significant. I will never feel the same about the Dominican Republic or Haiti again. I like that feeling…


    .
  2. cavebiker

    cavebiker Old School Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,716
    Location:
    Hayward, WI
    Hey Timmer,
    Good question. I am sure that big bite I got on my neck is from a giant spider. There are no rodents or jaguars or anything like that here. I don’t think there any snakes to worried about either. But for sure, I wore my boots, gloves and rain jacket while sleeping. :eek1
  3. GroveRider

    GroveRider 2005 FLSTC

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2007
    Oddometer:
    10
    Location:
    Shakopee MN
    Looks Like a great adventure! The roads/trails look like they would be fun but ten hours of it would be nerve wracking! Glad to know you and the bike are holding up!:clap
  4. cavebiker

    cavebiker Old School Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,716
    Location:
    Hayward, WI
    The Border with Haiti

    I am up before the roosters. What is with that? I feel physically toasted from yesterday’s ride. I think I should be able to sleep. Maybe it is like when you over train and cannot sleep. I am sure! Or maybe I am excited about today’s ride, probably more apprehensive, ‘I need to be on my toes today’, ‘I need to navigate well’. I think about what I would do if I had a flat tire. I wish I were more prepared for a flat. I should have an air pump and a patch kit. If I get a flat in an isolated area today, I will be filling that tire with towels, socks, T shirts, leaves or grass, not air. At least I know I will be able to deal with it. My main concern is that the bike keeps running. If the bike quits, my only option will be to push the downhill route, whichever route that is.


    [​IMG]
    I missed the trailhead turnoff. I ended up in a small village. I stopped at a colmado, bought three loafs of bread and two more bottles of water, more emergency supplies. I have to be prepared for a long hike at all times. Anyway, there was only one turnoff outside of Descubierta so I knew where my missed turn was.


    [​IMG]
    The trail was steep. It wasn’t long before I was high above the lake behind me.


    [​IMG]
    I passed stunning views of rugged terrain


    [​IMG]
    The road was steep but nothing like what I rode yesterday, not bad, not good.


    [​IMG]
    I pass by a few homes and people walking with donkeys. The road is carved into the side of the mountain and at times, the side facing the mountain was covered with flowers.


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
    My guidebook talked about one type of flower that is bell shaped, yellow with blue strips and how the Taino Indians made a strong hallucinate tea from the flower. Reports are that there is still religious use of the tea today, although it is highly illegal. The bell shaped flowers were everywhere.


    [​IMG]
    On a steep section of road, I passed a motorcycle riding 2-up. I stopped to take some pictures and they stopped to stay hello. The driver wore a small tight black leather jacket and a helmet. The passenger wore a T-shirt and baseball cap. They looked out of place for some reason.


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
    I rode through the center of a small village and pulled over. I saw a small counter outside at a colmado. Standing at the counter were the two bikers. They were fun to talk with. They just rode up here for the day, the boy on the back was originally from here and the driver was from a town on the lake. The driver showed me his ID badge to prove he is Dominican. I am not sure what that was about, I figure he is a spy, maybe CIA. He knew the state of Wisconsin all too well and knew how cold it was there right now. I consider everyone a spy and up to no good until proven different. I have fun with that and it serves a purpose. I study everyone I come across well, I want to know what his or her deal is ASAP. There are bad people everywhere, I want to know if I am close.


    [​IMG]
    Standing at the counter, this is the hub of the town.


    [​IMG]
    While drinking a coke at the colmado, a kid from the village walks over and tries striking up a conversation with me in English. He struggled with English but he was having fun. He asked me

    “Are you going into Haiti?”

    “Where are you from?”

    “That is Haiti right over there” pointing across the valley.

    He is from Haiti, he told me. He made me feel at home here in this micro village centered around the store counter I am standing at.


    [​IMG]
    The two guys on motorcycle were eating a plate of sliced sausage, cheese and yucca the colmado served up. They told me that this is as far as they go. They were surprised when I told them I was riding further. I am not sure why. I wonder what they were really doing riding up here. The atmosphere in this isolated village is true Wild Wild West. It is for sure the most primitive village I have ever ‘hung out’ at. There are severe road gullies riding into the village. The buildings all looked like they were just thrown together with whatever material they could get a hold of. One small home was made of what looked like metal strips from large tin cans. One person inside the front door of a brick home with a nice tin roof motioned for me to take a photo. He stated that it is a “buen casa” (good house). I agreed and told him so.


    [​IMG]
    At the end of another building, there were five or six people huddling around a pile of stones with a fire in the middle. They were starting to cook something. They looked as comfortable as if they were in the middle of their living room and probably were. They gave me nothing but smiles. I am glad I stopped in this village, it was fun to rest, drink a coke and talk with the locals. I like feeling the pulse of the culture and the scene. I wished I had spent more time here.


    .
  5. cavebiker

    cavebiker Old School Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,716
    Location:
    Hayward, WI
    The Border with Haiti

    [​IMG]
    Haiti is constantly to my left defined by the ridge I am riding.

    After the village, the road turned extremely technical. I was right in front of people’s homes just hammering it to continue forward progress. That was weird. I thought I must have missed a turnoff in town somewhere, I thought this can’t be right. There was no other road in town, this has to be the right way. I ride on.


    [​IMG]
    Home with a great view


    [​IMG]
    The trail soon became less beaten down, much less. At times grass grew across and it was difficult to distinguish the trail. I feel bouts of panic shoot through me. I hope I am not lost. I hope I have not wandered into Haiti.


    [​IMG]
    I pass a few homes with tarps laid out in the sun drying coffee beans.


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
    I zoomed my camera to a Haitian village across the valley. The deforestation is extremely evident on the Haitian side. It is a dramatic landscape with steep and sharp hillsides.


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
    The trail continued to change form. I rode through long sections of mud and water. There were areas where it was hard to distinguish the road, areas that were so narrow there was only room for a single track. At times the trail darkened, I felt engulfed in a canopy of green wet jungle, other times I rode on hillsides going almost straight up hill on bowling ball sized rocks. I was continuously surprised. I never had a chance to get bored with any conditions because soon they would change, usually to something completely new and different. This trail is an absolute motorcycle dirt rider’s dream. But, at the same time, I feel like I am just waiting for something major to go wrong with the motorcycle, I am having ‘way’ too much fun riding for it not to be bad.


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
    Going up and getting greener


    [​IMG]
    and thicker


    [​IMG]
    and wetter


    [​IMG]
    and steeper


    [​IMG]
    I wish I had someone along to photograph to show what it looks like when a motorcycle pounds up these trails. I am sure it would look cool.


    [​IMG]
    Oh Yeah! I just swam the bike through this. I had to peddle with my feet. Proof, you can still see my 2-cycle smoke from standing on the throttle trying to keep moving. That was fun.


    [​IMG]
    more fun


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
    The trail narrows


    [​IMG]
    Around a corner under a dark canopy of green pops out a massive bull. I pulled the bike over as much as possible and stood still. I let the bull pass on his own. Soon after, I passed a man and his young son walking with another bull. Everyone whom I have come across has had generous smiles and waves for me, I felt like I was always among friends.


    .
  6. Marco Moto

    Marco Moto Voyager Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,711
    Location:
    Tuscany and Michigan
  7. KLRUSERIOUS?

    KLRUSERIOUS? Farkle-whore

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,897
    Location:
    Toronto Ontario Eh?!??
    Tom, I commend you sir on your ride report. It has been so hard to tear myself away from the PC as I have spent the last two days reviewing the whole thread and would like to add that you are now OFFICIALLY my new hero.....of all time.....period.

    Your spirit wholly and unquestionably encompasses the true nature of this site. Please send my best regards to the uber beautiful and most down to earth Heidi.

    Thanks again and BE SAFE!
  8. GroveRider

    GroveRider 2005 FLSTC

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2007
    Oddometer:
    10
    Location:
    Shakopee MN
    The trails seem to just keep getting better!!!! :clap
  9. Skrow

    Skrow Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 1, 2009
    Oddometer:
    223
    Tom,

    So, how was the "tea"? :wink:

    Excellent RR! I'm sitting here drinking a beer with about 10lbs of venison on the smoker/grill making jerky with ~30degree temps in MN. Your trip definitely looks like a better alternative!

    Skrow
  10. cavebiker

    cavebiker Old School Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,716
    Location:
    Hayward, WI
    The Border with Haiti

    [​IMG]

    As I ride along, I realize that ‘no way’ could a four-wheel drive vehicle get through here, not without a chain saw, a way to move large boulders and a winch. The trail is too narrow and the gullies are too severe. The trail is ultimate for a small dirt bike though.


    [​IMG]
    I have been on the trail for over 4 hours now. I finally reached the top and am now going down. I am always surprised at the gas mileage I get with this motorcycle. I only have a 2.2 gallon tank. I take precautions and ride down the mountain without the motor, to conserve gas. This is a fun way to go. It is a silent sport. I still have all the severe drop-offs, boulders and gullies to ride, I just have no need for more power. Gravity is providing me all the power I need and usually more.


    [​IMG]
    I stealth down the side of the mountain, I pass a few very isolated homesteads and some very isolated people living in them. The homes are primitive, usually one room. The roofs are often made from palm tree bark and sticks. The windows and doors are simple openings, uncovered.


    [​IMG]
    I pass young children riding donkeys packing heavy loads up the steep terrain, teenage boys carrying huge plastic buckets atop their head. Everything feels so mellow and natural here. Everyone lights up when I stop the motorcycle to just say hello. It seemed like many do not speak Spanish but a polite ‘hola, buen dia!’ (Hello, nice day) always worked well. Every area I rode through I wish I would have stayed longer to just ‘hang out’.


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
    The trail continues on and on seemly for hours. I can see a valley below with civilization, it is just taking me so long to get down there.


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
    The riding continues to be technical and I am taking a physical beating. I try to rest often and eat the bread I packed.


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
    What a dream trail


    [​IMG]


    The Dominican Republic Rocks

    .
  11. Hipster

    Hipster Long timer

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Oddometer:
    2,580
    Location:
    Mpls, Mn.
    Wow Tom, it looks like fun exploring that part of the island.
  12. cavebiker

    cavebiker Old School Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,716
    Location:
    Hayward, WI
    The Border with Haiti

    I came to another military outpost. Again, I am told I need to get a permit to ride the trail I just rode. The military person explains in detail where I have to go and whom I have to talk with to get this permit, always being very friendly, pleasant and helpful. I assure him I will seek out the permit office and pay. Everything is good. He was surprised I came through the way I came.

    [​IMG]

    Further, down the trail I ran across an area of road covered in giant blue tarps. Haitians come here with huge sacks of potatoes they grow and sell them to someone who eventually comes up here with a truck. There was one military person there from the Dominican Republic, there were maybe a dozen Haitians hanging out in the shade with their potatoes.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    They all seemed to freak out a little when I asked in Spanish if I could take a photo but then the military person translated to them in Creole that I just want to take their photo for fun. They light up then. I took a couple shots. They got a kick at looking at their images on the camera.

    [​IMG]

    The trail continued to be rugged and steep. I passed a young couple walking with a donkey loaded with firewood.

    [​IMG]

    I asked if I could take a photo. The young girl got into trying to make a good pose, her tattered and torn t-shirt was no hindrance. I looked at the image and remarked how beautiful it is. I showed her the photo. They were both beaming with friendliness.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I like to stop and chat with anyone I see out on the trail. It a huge pleasure and most times I cannot spoil the moment by whipping out my camera.

    [​IMG]

    coming down

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I finally hit the bottom of the mountain and hard packed road. I can see the village I am at on my map. I know exactly where I am now.

    [​IMG]

    I paid 50 pesos for my park permit at the first official building I saw. There was one guy working there, he was glad to sell me the permit and have his photo taken.

    [​IMG]

    I continued along the border road until I reached the start of the carretera internacional (international road). Again I needed my original passport to get the permit. This fifteen mile section of road runs along the Haitian side. Maybe this is an extra precaution because of the cholera outbreak. No big deal, I rode 90 percent of the border. Good enough. I expected this.

    [​IMG]

    I did a U-turn and started to ride southeast and closer to a road leading home. I can make Cabarete in one day if I first put on some more miles today. My body is screaming from fatigue, my ass is raw. I am heading for home, this signals the completion of the ride. That felt good.

    [​IMG]

    Today is Dia Independencia, Independence Day for the Dominican Republic, their independence from Haiti. Some villages had large celebrations and blocked off streets while others seemed like ghost towns. I assume because everyone is at the celebration.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I hit four roadblocks of children asking for donations for some cause. The young girls had a ball having their photos taken and looking at the images. Once I handed the camera over for them to look at, I thought the camera was going to be torn to shreds form the girls grabbing it from each other.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    There were bands of roaming teenagers dressed in costumes wearing ghostly masks and cracking bullwhips. The masks have significance in the history of the celebration and in a way represent the conflict between the Dominican Republic and Haitian voodoo spirits.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I screamed the motorcycle toward home and made it to a sleazy $11 hotel in a large Caribbean port city, Azua.

    [​IMG]

    I could clearly hear the Dia Independencia celebration from my room. I was toast. All I could do was drink a beer at the hotel and reminisce about the ride. That works for me.


    I think now, the Dominican Republic will forever feel like it was a dream.

    .
  13. cavebiker

    cavebiker Old School Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,716
    Location:
    Hayward, WI
    DR14_6

    The Border with Haiti


    [​IMG]
    Today, I am starting on the shores of the Caribbean Sea and will end up on an Atlantic Ocean beach.


    [​IMG]
    While eating an empanada this person came to a rear tire skidding halt. He quickly answers his phone and is just as quickly off again. Americanized ?


    [​IMG]
    The motorcycle developed a new noise. It was coming from the rear wheel. I pulled over at my camping spot I used several days ago to check it out. The rear tire was rubbing on the chain guard. This was weird. I adjusted the chain tension slides to straighten out the wheel. I am afraid a wheel bearing is going or maybe the mono-shock is failing. I am still a full day’s ride from home. I take it cool and slowly ride on.


    [​IMG]
    In the Dominican Republic, even the ride home is an adventure.


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
    This ride is almost over. I do not think I am the same person. I try to make the ‘face’, the face that says ‘Oh freaking yeah! That was a ride!’


    [​IMG]
    I am as giddy as this kid on the horse.


    [​IMG]
    Cabarete Beach – Home –

    Now that was an adventure!

    I hope you enjoyed riding along - The Haiti Border Run -



    .
  14. GroveRider

    GroveRider 2005 FLSTC

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2007
    Oddometer:
    10
    Location:
    Shakopee MN
    Love the pics and the commentary!! Glad to know you and the bike survived! Guess you are getting you moneys worth from that rental! Cheers!!:1drink
  15. cavebiker

    cavebiker Old School Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,716
    Location:
    Hayward, WI
    [​IMG]

    Here is a map of my route – The Border with Haiti –

    Thanks for the comments everyone. This has been a great time. I especially liked your comment KLRUSERIOUS about the “uber beautiful and most down to earth Heidi” That was nice :)

    .
  16. Marco Moto

    Marco Moto Voyager Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,711
    Location:
    Tuscany and Michigan
    Very cool Cavebiker, the DR looks awesome from the office desk, thank you so much for sharing!
  17. ywr969

    ywr969 Ye Wilde Ryder

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2006
    Oddometer:
    745
    Location:
    Casa Grande, AZ
    love your trip reports, CB! :clap
  18. KLRUSERIOUS?

    KLRUSERIOUS? Farkle-whore

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,897
    Location:
    Toronto Ontario Eh?!??
    I just call it like I see it. Ride on brother! :ricky
  19. Syntroxis

    Syntroxis Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2009
    Oddometer:
    45
    Location:
    BryanTexas
    :thumb I really have enjoyed your writeups. You go places I would never dream of. I appreciate the time you have spent to relay your experiences to us.
  20. gasandasphalt

    gasandasphalt Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Oddometer:
    567
    Location:
    S/W New Mexico
    YOU THE MAN!!!!!!!!!!!!:bow