Thursday, March 26, 2015

Taking Time for Ometepe

Our cute 5am alarm clock.

From Granada, I think the 5 of us were looking to get off of the tourist trail a little bit. Seb had heard about a nice beach just North of San Juan del Sur which apparently was off of a dirt road (i.e., fewer tourists) where we could probably find camping and basic services.

So off we went and after stocking up on water and snacks, we followed Seb and Kim as their Hondas bounced over the gravel and potholes that were between us and a refreshing dip.
When we finally arrived at Playa Maderas, we made quick work of finding a spot to set up camp, and had parked the bikes and were in the water in under 30 minutes.

That night we had a lovely campfire and enjoyed trading a few stories and pondering life a bit.

Beach Breakfast

Adios Amigos!

Seb, Kim and David were border bound the next morning and we were waffling. We felt like we were rushing through Nicaragua a bit, but at the same time, we didn’t want to be on the “tourist trail” any more. We decided to take a ride to Rivas and at least check out the ferry to Isla Ometepe: we knew that Cisco (Bring My Wheelchair) and Shannon and Mike (S & M Boilerworks) were there at a nice camp spot and it would be fun to ride around the island a little. When we arrived at the ferry and they had just enough space for our bikes and the ferry was leaving in 5 minutes, we decided it was meant to be and crossed Lake Nicaragua to Ometepe.

Isla Ometepe

The two volcanoes that rise up from Isla Ometepe are truly a sight to see. And riding around the island was pretty fun. The temperatures were much more friendly once we got to the smaller part of the island and when we finally made it to to Hacienda Merida, the sun was setting and the breeze was delicious.

The view from our campsite at Hacienda Merida

We finally caught up with Cisco, who made Roel a rear brake retainer for the Africa Twin just before he left for his own year+ ride.

It was great to finally meet Cisco, Shannon and Mike who we’ve “known” through social media. We traded stories, routes and plans and also a lot of laughter.

Shannon and Mike left Seattle six months ago with their dog Ducati. A couple of days before we arrived, Ducati died tragically on Ometepe, and poor Shannon and Mike are now facing with how to move on without a cherished member of their family. They were troopers and continually put on smiles and positive attitudes, but as anyone who has lost a pet knows, it’s a heartache that continues for a while.

Little Ducati's final resting place on Ometepe

After paying our respects to little Ducati, we rode around the island and met up with everyone else to take the ferry back to the mainland and head to the Costa Rican border.

Interesting and colorful cemetery

All of the chicks on this island are painted pink! Given that they seem to spend most of their time in the middle of the road, it's a good thing they're a little more visible.

There were evacuation route signs everywhere. I'm pretty sure that if the volcano blows, following an evacuation route around the island would be just about the worst thing one could do.

Modern cowgirl


The ferry back over was a PITA as they delayed boarding the bikes, so every backpacker and his cousin took the seats on deck AND these guys thought it was acceptable for the bikes to rub against the railing of the boat AND that strapping a little bike onto the Transalp was a good way to keep everything
secure. Um. Really!?

So, I stayed with the Transalp for the duration of the crossing and fortunately managed not to toss my cookies.

Really, this is not acceptable.

Cuddling my baby.

Seeing the sheer number of people on the shores of Ometepe on a Saturday morning made me a little nervous about being anywhere near water during Holy Week.

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