The Dominican Republic Deal of a lifetime.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Thor Hiney, May 22, 2008.

  1. Thor Hiney

    Thor Hiney Been here awhile

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    I have posted this thread on another site dedicated to V-Stroms so if you are one of those blessed folk it will be a rerun.
    Due to a last minute guest cancellation I was a able to go on a 7 day all inclusive trip with MotoCaribe and do their first "Virgin tour" gratis except airfare. I had about 3-1/2 days from the time I heard I was going to be going to flying across the country. I have a great wife and she did a lot to get me ready and make this trip happen. I had worked the last 6 weekends in a row so they owed me the time off at work. Fortunately I have a good boss and he let me go for the week.

    If you are thinking of leaving the US please take the lessons I have learned by this trip to heart.

    1. Get caught up on all your immunizations. Hep A, B, Yellow fever, etc.

    2. Have your passport ready.

    3. Keep yourself in reasonable physical condition. (Long distance travel is not for wimps).
    You are far less likely to get fatigued and sick and maybe ruin a good trip.

    4. Research as much as possible where you are going and bring only what is necessary for the trip. When you are by yourself schlepping through airports without all that extra luggage you'll thank me.

    5. Have copies of all your trip info passports, insurance, phone numbers etc on you and in your luggage just in case.

    6. Hand sanitizer and your own TP can give you more than a little peace of mind in developing and third world countries.

    7. Be aware of your surroundings but look for the fun in every situation.

    I left PDX (that's Portland Oregon for you non locals) on Saturday May 4th and flew down to Phoenix for a plane change. While in the Phoenix airport late in the evening I got hassled by TSA while wandering around stretching my legs.
    While putting all my possessions back together I promptly lost my cell. #$@&%*!!! I discovered it was missing about 1 minute before boarding for New York.

    I ran into Ewan there in Phoenix. He was looking for his next adventure also.
    He wasn't that talkative and was more interested in selling perfume. If it smells like motorcycles, smoke, dirt, etc. I will buy some and maybe even drink it.

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    From New York to Santiago DR I was one of 3 people on the plane that were not Dominican, The other 2 guys were Chinese and to hear their Spanish was really a car wreck.

    Was greeted Sunday afternoon at the airport by the crew at Moto-Caribe and they took me for lunch before we had to pick up the next guest at the airport.
    That airport is modern and fairly small. Saw a drug bust as soon as I got off the plane. This is my advice:don't try to bring drugs into the country. Those guys will shoot you and that's if your lucky.
    They don't feed you in Dominican prison!

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    Had a meet and greet with the crew after Craig arrived from KC Missouri. Sat on the bikes and talked a little about the country and culture. Ed, Craig, Dave, Robert

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    Just part of the fleet of 12. "This is gonna be great".

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    Got checked into The Gran Jimenoa hotel. The nicest place in the area. This part of the country is mountainous and is called the "Dominican Alps" and aslo "God's hammock".
    They say God is everywhere but he sleeps here.
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    The bar at the hotel Gran Jimenoa (Cafe is on) Fresh baked rolls everyday.

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    The karaoke bar across the Jimenoa river where we had our orientation and first riders meeting.


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    We went down town Jarabacoa to get a feel for the local flavor.

    The best way to describe the Dominican Republic for me is full color, 3D, non stop, with the volume turned up to 11.
    (Notice the speakers in the the trunk of the car. Playing loud Meringue music.)

    More thread coming.....
    #1
  2. Thor Hiney

    Thor Hiney Been here awhile

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    Typical Dominican breakfast fare. The Cafe con leche is top notch and ubiquitous here. And that is coming from a dude in the land that birthed Starbucks.

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    We had our orientation and a lesson on Dominican riding etiquette. The rules are not the same as here in the US but it seems to work down there. Ed told us there are 800,000 "Motos" there and people "see them" more so than here. We definitely had the biggest baddest bikes down there. Go ahead and puff out your collective chests with pride NOW Wee owners. That's better!

    I put my tank bag on the New black wee and adjusted the suspension so it would felt like my bike at home and was ready to hit the roads around Jarabacoa.
    Ed said he was going to email my bike back home and tell it I was cheating.
    (What happens here, stays here I say)

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    We rode up to a falls and hiked across some suspension bridges to get up there. This was a good ride to get used to the terrain and bikes and also the tropical heat. (Wasn't it just snowing around PDX"?)

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    Salto Jimenoa

    Judi (a cruiser rider at home), Craig (a hardcore mileage monster), Yours truly, and Alida (our culture and plant expert)
    #2
  3. Thor Hiney

    Thor Hiney Been here awhile

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    We rode some more up in the mountains and had a lunch stop at this place perched on the hillside. The pool was filled from a stream from the side of the mountain.

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    These guys were enjoying their dominoes, rum, and a fabulous view. I bet they are here hanging out everyday. They chatted with me but my high school Spanish is a little rusty.

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    Che on a Yam?! Typical 125cc Chinese "Moto".

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    We got up early the next day and went for a walk to see the town. We would be riding the bikes at 9AM.

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    Duarte park downtown Jarabacoa. That tree is Ginormous!

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    Dominican Vacas and white egrets.


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    Work a day in the Caribbean. This bakery was on the way to the hotel. Very typical transport system. Honda cub 50 "Buns up" and loaded.

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    On the bikes and headed for the Beach. Ride leader Daaveed giving us the skinny before entering Mocha." Stick close and hold your ground"

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    The now famous "Mocha pickle". That van and trailer just wouldn't fit and it became necessary to go door to door until the owners of the side parked vehicles could be found to come out and move them.

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    Meanwhile traffic backed up as far as you could see.

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    The road up to Rancho la Cumbre was amazing...Total sensory overload! We had to ask to slow down the pace because we couldn't take it all in and watch the road at the same time. (I haven't seen that many Stroms together since the Breakfast club).

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    This is the view from the top. We had a water and coffee break up there and took in the view.

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    #3
  4. Thor Hiney

    Thor Hiney Been here awhile

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    We got to ride through the mountains and I was a little surprised that even 10 or 20 house villages would have a welcome to sign and they were all sponsored by Brugal the national rum.

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    My first close up view of the blue Caribbean. Looks like this Moss back North westerner has seen a little too much sun here.

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    Lunch stop with a view and no one else around.

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    A day at the beach with V-Stroms what could be better?

    http://www.motocaribe.com/adventure_tours.html < check them out!

    Riding out toward Samana I saw huge rice patties and with the coconut trees it looked a lot like the pictures Iv'e seen of Vietnam. I showed my pics to my Vietnamese coworkers and they agreed there is a lot of similarities between the look of countries.

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    The presidential election was on the 16th and campaign signs were everywhere.

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    Sweep rider Ed getting a shine from a local. Yeah I did it too. About 30 pesos. ($1 US) but I am a good tipper.

    The people here have a lot of energy and I was impressed how much they look out for themselves and work to make their lives better at any opportunity. I was taken by surprise by that. I guess I had preconceived notions that it would be really a lot more laid back here than it is.

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    We stayed a couple of nights at La Tambora. This place had a private beach, good vibe, and terrific food.

    http://www.colonialtours.com.do/la_tambora_beach_resort.htm

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    I keep thinking the alarm is going to go off any minute and I will wake from this dream.

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    Taking nourishment before heading out again. Breakfast buffet. Gotta have that cafe con leche!
    #4
  5. Thor Hiney

    Thor Hiney Been here awhile

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    I keep thinking I get to ride V-Stroms down here every day for a week. This is unbelievable!

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    Tall bike+ short legs+ sand + gravity=Oops. It wasn't me...this time. My turn would come later for a 3MPH tip over. "Oh, my pride is damaged".

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    Me and my ol buddy Sammy. He was selling woven hats and talking to us tourists.

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    This placed reminded me of the movie "the old man and the sea" I kept an eye out for Spencer Tracy.

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    The people here are beautiful and friendly. I bought water from this little fellows mother while he entertained himself in the sand on the floor of the restaurant.

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    A ride through farm land and a walk through the jungle led us to El Diablo
    Cue the Indiana Jones theme music now.

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    What a view!

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    El Diablo is a blow hole where the air and mist from waves comes out. I was too hard to capture in a photo but this is near it. That coral/rock is razor sharp.

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    Banana with blossom on the bottom.


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    There had been some mining of marble in the area. the 2 track road skirted these cliffs for a ways.


    We rode out to El Limon and rented horses to get us part of the way to the falls and then hiked down the really steep part. This was very refreshing. I hadn't ridden a horse for many years. I think my horses name was geezer or wheezer or something. I kept apologizing to it for having to haul me up and down those hills. "Estoy lo siento mi viejo amigo".
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    El Limon. It was wet cool and refreshing.

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    The horse trail back to trail head.

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    Lunch at the top typical Dominican fare. Rice, beans, salad, chicken, fries, etc. It's all good!

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    Typical Dominican farm house.

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    My black wee mistress. These bikes were made for Columbia and it had no catalytic converter that I could see and was louder and a little peppier than my bike at home but not as smooth shifting or running.

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    Stopping for a water break in downtown Samana we were an impressive site lined up.
    #5
  6. Thor Hiney

    Thor Hiney Been here awhile

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    The daily rides were getting more and more interesting. I would give the crew credit for ramping it up some every day. I was left wondering what on earth was going to be next at the end of the day.

    We rode out of Samana with a couple of extra guests that lived on the island. These 2 guys were great riders and terrific resources for explaining the cultural nuances and for getting different perspectives on what we were seeing around us.

    The road we went on was rough, slick, and under construction. I felt right at home but they warned me of the super slick red mud that can be found there.
    Yeah, it sticks to tires longer than the stuff around home.
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    The sign says "Use low gear".

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    Typical "Tienda"
    We stopped here to buy water but the bottles looked tampered with. No thank you. You just don't drink anything that's not factory sealed or squeezed fresh from a fruit.

    Next moring we got up early and had a short, fast ride out to Las Terrainas. Very lite traffic but heavy on the cattle. We came back and piled in the van for a rest and a day at the beach.
    Down a rough and lonely road is Playa Rincon.
    We had lunch and did some snorkeling. I had a nice much needed nap. One of the top places I can think of to take one.

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    Notice the hoards of people. ;)

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    Dominican drive thru!

    The next day we headed back to Jarabacoa.
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    Gas stop. That is Dominican pesos and liters.

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    This was a great little french restaurant in Gri Gri at Rio San Juan.

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    The French owner/cook took this photo. He was a great guy and awesome chef!


    The scenery on the way back was spectacular.
    I was sorry the week is coming to an end. I felt like I had earned my wings so to speak as to riding in the DR. It was a real confidence booster.
    I think Craig summed up traffic down there best in 3 words. "Total Vehicular Anarchy". Anything and everything goes. If it runs walks or trots it's on the road.
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    We got back into to Jarabacoa and I had a different room than before. This room was brand new and I was probably the first guest in it. It was much more modern than the first room I had before. It was also away from the pool so it was much quieter. 57 Spanish stations on the telly and a new quiet air conditioner. Sweet. (I like the shows that started out in English and got dubbed in Spanish and now have English subtitles) :rofl
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    Here is the view from my deck.

    We did an all day trip out to Rio de la Magua and hiked up the 27 pools in the river. That day is a thread in and of it self. I'll save that for another time.
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    I was very sad to leave the Dominican republic. I had a fantastic trip and made some solid friends along the way. I feel blessed to have been given the opportunity to go and do this thing. Thanks MotoCaribe, that was very cool!
    I would highly recommend this brand of adventure touring for people looking for something that's not at all what your used to. These guys can pack a lot of riding and fun into a single week. Besides it would be much more costly to ship your bike down there and these guys are going to show you the good stuff anyway. Riding Stroms In the Caribbean...what's not to like.
    Hope you enjoyed the pic's.
    Take care, Thor

    <object width="425" height="355"></object>
    Ed was nice enough to make this video and it shows some riding also. Thanks Dude!
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    PS My phone was waiting for me at home. Thanks Hon.
    Yeah, I took care of the lil woman. I bought her a nice silver bracelet with Amber and a Blue/white cross Made from a local stone. (Mazamar sp?) She was happy!
    #6
  7. GB

    GB . Administrator Super Moderator Super Supporter

    Joined:
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    Excellent ride, report and pics!! Thanks for posting :thumb
    #7
  8. quota

    quota Been here awhile

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    Great ride report. I haven't been to the DR in 16-17 years. Looks like a return trip may be in order!
    #8
  9. MotoGrandpa

    MotoGrandpa advdualsportendurotrials

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    Excellent report Thor! Thanks for sharing.

    I'm surprised Ewan didn't have more to say. Those Hollywood types....

    That is some incredible scenery. Although the water might have looked a bit more blue if you were on a big blue and orange KTM :wink:
    #9
  10. Thor Hiney

    Thor Hiney Been here awhile

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    I know, first Charlie Boorman in Vegas and Ewan in Phoenix. Nobody'll talk to me!

    That Austrian Blau clashes with the Caribbean Azul. The orange looks like a mango though and that's fine. Big and fruity.:smooch

    The Sales manager from Bonanza motors in Santa Domingo who joined us for a few days said he handles Husqvarna. I never saw one though. Lots of 2 and 4 stroke dirt bikes flying down the road however. No lights at night..it's normal down there. Not to mention 3 and 4 up on 125's. T.V.A.!
    #10
  11. Thor Hiney

    Thor Hiney Been here awhile

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    I wonder what changes have come since you were there last. They say it is a "Developing Country" not a third world country.
    #11
  12. MK96xj

    MK96xj 100% Seat Time

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    Great scenery that i am sure the picture do not do justic.
    #12
  13. cavebiker

    cavebiker Old School Adventurer

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    RockenÂ’ report, adventure and pics!!! Thanks for the post man. The Dominican Republic is a gem made for motorcycle adventures. cavegirl and I are exploring Latin America right now looking for someplace comparable to the DR. We havenÂ’t found anything even close yet.

    cavebiker & cavegirl 1995 Dominican Republic
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    #13
  14. El Jefe de Caribe

    El Jefe de Caribe The Boy Ain't Right

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    Daryl, I know you forgot to take a pic at your favorite restaurant, on the road to Jarabacoa in La Vega. So I stopped and took one for you...:D
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    You're welcome! :evil
    #14
  15. Chanderjeet

    Chanderjeet IndiYeah !!

    Joined:
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    Good report. Lots of V-Stroms........the more the merrier.
    Thanks for posting the pics :thumb
    #15
  16. Thor Hiney

    Thor Hiney Been here awhile

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    Thanks for the posting the pick El Jefe. I love it!
    I thought that's what the sign said when I rode by that place.
    I guess this is were you can get the Dominican "Happy Meal". :rofl
    I Wonder if they sell tee shirts?

    Hey Cavebiker and Chanderjeet posted on my thread that's as big of celebrities as I may get around here.
    Best wishes Cavepeople. Have a happy journey!
    #16
  17. motococoloco

    motococoloco Adventurer

    Joined:
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    NJ and DomRep
    There's a lot of exciting stuff going on at MotoCaribe. We've launched :


    * 4 Day Weekend Tours
    * 1 Day Tours
    * New Dates/Pricing for the 7 Day Tours
    * An Entirely New Website

    So if your sense of adventure is taking a nap, wake it up already!


    4 Day Tour

    So, what are your plans for the weekend? If they're anything other than spending 4 days riding in the beautiful, unspoiled paradise of the Dominican Republic then you need our help. MotoCaribe is proud to announce our 4-day "Paradise Found" tour. Winding mountain roads, pristine beaches and one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world await you on a fantastic min-excursion through this unique and peaceful tropical paradise. The tours run over the weekend, so the best part is you don't even have to tell your boss. Beats cleaning out the rain gutters, huh?

    Check out http://www.motocaribe.com/4daytour.html for more information. Book by 11/30 to receive an additional $100 discount on the 4 day tour. These will go fast, so drop me a line today if you'd like to take advantage. info@motocaribe.com



    1 Day Tour

    Planning a trip to the DR and looking for something unique to do? Check out our 1 day ride! Starting in Jarabacoa, your guide will lead you through the local mountain roads to waterfalls and the incredible vistas of the tropical Dominican Alps with lunch, snacks and photo-ops along the way. If you want to see more of the Dominican Republic than a gated resort and a drink with an umbrella in it, this is it. Please visit http://www.motocaribe.com/1daytour.html for all the details.


    7 Day Tour

    The classic MotoCaribe 7 day tour has a new pricing structure and new dates for 2009! It is now more affordable than ever to take the trip of a lifetime. Our all-inclusive 7 day package will take you deeper into the beauty of the Dominican Republic than you ever though possible. Check out http://www.motocaribe.com/7daytour.html for more information. Also, you can save an additional $200 on our 7 day tour just for booking by 11/30. The 7 day tours have very limited seating, please email us for availability. info@motocaribe.com


    Spanish Language Website

    MotoCaribe has launched http://www.motocaribe.com.do, serving our Spanish-speaking friends from around the globe. Adventure is an international passion, and we're thrilled to make our tours more accessible to anyone seeking the unique and wonderful experience of a MotoCaribe tour.

    Cheers,

    Ed
    #17
  18. Thor Hiney

    Thor Hiney Been here awhile

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    Ed, If I can get back to work soon....I would love to do one of your shorter tours in Dec. Glad to see the new options. It is starting to get cold here and I am looking forward to that tropical climate.
    I will contact you when I find out what I might be able to afford.

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    #18
  19. motococoloco

    motococoloco Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    12
    Location:
    NJ and DomRep
    C'mon and take a free ride!
    CLOSED - THE WINNER WAS DAVE P FROM UTAH


    MotoCaribe is giving away a free ride on any of it's upcoming 7 day Dominican Republic motorcycle tours.

    It's the all-inclusive adventure you've been waiting for and it's simple to enter. Just fill out the form at www.motocaribe.com with the code "freeride" and you'll be entered into a drawing for a seven day motorcycle excursion through the beautiful Dominican Republic. It's one of the most amazing riding spots on the planet, and no one knows it like we do.

    Pick a date (based on availability), fly into Santiago International Airport, and we'll do the rest. 7 days of amazing riding on a V-Strom 650 (the perfect bike for DR riding), three meals a day, luxury hotel; you just twist the wick and have the time of your life. There's also a 2nd prize of $200 off any of our upcoming 7 or 4 day rides, so what do you have to lose?

    For more information on the tours, go to http://www.motocaribe.com/7daytour.html. The adventure of a lifetime is waiting (and free, for the love of God!), and all that's missing is you!





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    #19
  20. Thor Hiney

    Thor Hiney Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Southwest Washington state
    Heading back Feb 1st for a second helping of Dominican riding. Sure will beat all the snow we have here. We are doing a dry-run virgin tour this time to the desert south west end of the country on some back-back roads. I will post of ride report on it. Maybe upgrading my camera.

    Note: Mr. Fisherman needs some premium cigars. Give him a donation and maybe he'll share.

    Here I am looking for King Kong! May 08
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    Brand new bar with a terrific view from the back side of the deck.
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    Inside, well stocked and clean.
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    d
    #20