Crossing back into Nicaragua, our plan was to meet up with Gavin at the ferry terminal and take the bikes out to Ometepe, the twin-peaked volcanic island in the center of Lake Nicaragua.
Riding along the western edge of Lake Nicaragua, we found these wind turbines under construction:
We met up with Gavin at the ferry terminal. He was in good spirits although he had suffered an accident in the previous week. The consequences were some broken plastic and a groin injury (ouch!) but he can still ride. Having children may be a different matter.
Our bikes, tucked away nicely:
Ometepe is a beautiful island. A road runs a figure-8 around the two volcanoes and half of it is paved. There are a couple small towns but we went out to Playa Santa Domingo, where the pretty hotels are. They're still dirt cheap.
We stumbled on a place called "Little Morgan's". It's beautiful and cost us $6/night each. Unfortunately the owner (an Irish guy named, not surprisingly, Morgan) turned out to be a total asshole, one night getting drunk and turning what was a light-hearted discussion about guns (my experience in Panama, politics of gun control in the US) with some Irish and Australian girls into a really ugly scene. The guy started screaming obscenities at Gavin and I and at one point threatened to knock over the bikes. It was weird, but it was pretty obvious to me that he has deep-seated anger issues with Americans. His Nica wife was deeply apologetic. In the morning Morgan just pretended nothing had ever happened; for all I know he doesn't even remember it.
This kind of stuff doesn't phase me at all. I laughed.
We climbed one of the volcanoes the next day, along with two Australian girls. It was a long, incredibly steep climb, lasting about 8 hours up and back. There were howler monkeys and birds and leafcutter ants everywhere.
The caldera at the top:
The following day we left the island. This was not without a minor scare - my bike started having the same inability to rev beyond 3k rpm that left it stuck in the mountains of Costa Rica. This time I had a flat, dry place to work. I drained the carb float bowl and spent 5 minutes running the bike just above idle but below the cutout point. It finally started revving and has been reliable since.
I'm not sure if this is caused by water in the carburetor or water in some other part, perhaps the ignition system. Rain is definitely an issue.
On the way back to the ferry (via a dirt road) Nir's rear tire went flat. A can of fix-a-flat got him to a llantera:
Waiting for the ferry:
The first ferry they tried to load us on was a passenger ferry not designed for vehicles. They put up a short, steep, narrow ramp to the top deck. We would have had to strip off the luggage to fit between the railings and even them I'm not sure it would work. The probability of dropping a bike into the lake was pretty high so we said "no thanks" and waited for the large vehicle ferry in the afternoon. I was surprised they were even willing to try.