ADVrider

Go Back   ADVrider > Riding > Ride reports
User Name
Password
Register Inmates Photos Site Rules Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 07-23-2012, 03:50 AM   #1336
cavebiker OP
Old School Adventurer
 
cavebiker's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2004
Location: Hayward, WI
Oddometer: 849
Eek

The Border with Haiti



The temperature feels noticeably cooler while the motorcycle guides me up into a cloud. The trail improves with crushed stone and fewer boulders and gullies, still climbing continuously.



It isn’t long before the trail leads me through lush tropical rainforest. Long strings of moss are hanging from the trees. There are palm trees and broad leaf plants all over and fog continues to thicken.



It is hard to see through the fog.



After a long stretch, the trail passes a military border outpost. Again there is only one person stationed here wearing full military gear complete with army boots, an M-16 rifle in his lap and the look. He is a pleasure to talk with and gives quite a reaction after describing my ride.
"?solo? "ir la moto!" (you are alone! you are traveling on a motorcycle!) A big thumb's-up.



The trees are covered in Spanish moss giving the trail an eerie look, cool!.



A babbling spring is shooting up next to the trail and looks like a good spot to check the radiators coolant level. Looking around this place it reminds me of scene on a 'Pirates of the Caribbean' ride at Disney. This is fantasy ride through tropical island rainforest paradise.

It is a good feeling not boiling off anymore radiator fluid. This means it not a leak in the radiator; its just me over stressing and overheating the engine. And the road seems to be getting better, meaning the motorcycle should survive the rest of the way and get me back to civilization, eventually. At times, it is easy to think about getting the hell out of here now, in one piece, as soon as possible. Surely, this must be a common emotion with any adventure or struggle. I get over it and carry on but use it as a reminder to be smart.



Finally, the trail reaches the top of the mountain pointing steep downhill fast. I shut-off the engine and coast to save fuel, gravity gives me all the power needed. The rainforest is gone now and the trail is back to light and dry scrub brush and vistas of far away mountains and valleys, way cool.







While riding down it is 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.



Steep down hill to another official type building with a roadblock across the trail. A downed tree is the roadblock. My dirt is tall so it's no problem hopping over the tree. 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 tell them where I just rode from, solo! They tell me I needed to get a permit somewhere. The way I came in is not the normal way into the park. They make it seem like it is no big deal that I am riding without a permit.



At the bottom there is water. A check of the radiator fluid I proceed to circle the lake. There are over 6 villages on the shores of this lake, there has to be a motel or two. My first choice is to get to Descubierta, a village on the Haitian border closest to where my trail starts tomorrow.



After reaching Descubierta with only a half an hour of daylight to spare, I check into the only hotel in town with adequate motorcycle parking. At least it's cheap, $7.50 a night. Shopping for adventure supplies for tomorrow's ride after is a problem here, finding water is no problem but there is no good road food, and I'm not fussy, I can pack and eat almost anything. The stores look like no supply truck has been here in months. Enough food for an evening meal, all is good. It is weird because there were many people cooking along the road when I first pulled into town. An hour later, everything is shutdown.



In the hotel, I'm taking deep breaths thinking about todays ride and make a big 'wow!' face in the mirror. 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. It is like I just completed a marathon. Like I just experienced something culturally significant. I will never feel the same about the Dominican Republic or Haiti again. This is good...
__________________
Have a dream, live it. Set a goal, achieve it.

www.JustAdventureTravel.net
cavebiker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-23-2012, 03:53 AM   #1337
cavebiker OP
Old School Adventurer
 
cavebiker's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2004
Location: Hayward, WI
Oddometer: 849
Thumb

The Border with Haiti

Up before the roosters, what is up with that? My body is physically toasted from yesterday's ride, Sleep should come easy. Maybe it's like overtraining where you have trouble sleeping, I'm sure! Or maybe it's the excitement of today's ride, or the apprehension, 'I need to be on my toes today', 'I need to navigate well'. Thinking about what to do if I have a flat tire, I should be more prepared with an air pump and a patch kit. If the tire goes flat in an isolated area today, the tire will be filled with towels, socks, T shirts, leaves or grass, not air. A flat is not the main concern, its that the bike keeps running. If the bike quits, the only option will be to push it, downhill, whichever way that may be.



I miss the trailhead turnoff and end up in some small village. A good thing, I pickup three loafs of bread and two more bottles of water, more emergency supplies incase a long hike or push is necessary. I must be prepared at all times. Anyway, there is only one turnoff outside of Descubierta so that must have been my trail I missed.



The trail is steep leading high above the lake behind me.



There are stunning views of rugged tropical terrain



The road is steep but nothing like what I rode yesterday, not bad, not good.



There are a few homes along the trail and people are walking with donkeys. The road is carved into the side of the mountain and at times, the mountainside facing the mountain is covered with flowers.





A guidebook talks about one type of bell shaped flower, yellow with blue strips. It says the Taino Indians use to make a strong hallucinate tea from the flower. Reports are that there is still religious (and recreational) use of the tea today, although it is highly illegal. The bell shaped flowers are everywhere on this stretch of trail.



On a steep section of road, A motorcycle passes me riding 2-up. I stop to take some pictures and they stop to stay hello. The driver is weaing a small tight black leather jacket and a helmet. The passenger is wearing a T-shirt and baseball cap. They look out of place here for some reason.





Riding through the center of a small village is a small counter outside at a rustic colmado. Standing at the counter are the two bikers. They are fun to talk with. They just rode up here for the day, the boy on the back is originally from this village and the driver is from a town on the lake. The driver shows me his ID badge to prove he is Dominican. Not sure what that is about, maybe he is a spy, maybe CIA. He knows too much about Wisconsin. 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.



Standing at the counter, this is the hub of the town.



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 struggles with English but he was having fun. He asks 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 while he makes me feel at home here in this micro border village. The center of town seems to be this fifteen foot counter I'm standign at.



The two guys on motorcycle are eating a plate of sliced sausage, cheese and yucca the colmado served up. They tell me that this is as far as they go. They are surprised to hear my plane to ride further up. I'm not sure why and wonder what they are really doing up here. The atmosphere in this isolated village is true Wild Wild West. It is for sure the most primitive village ever for me, to hung-out at. Buildings all looked like they are just thrown together with whatever material they could get a hold of. One small home is made of what looked like metal strips from large tin cans. One person inside the front door of a brick home with a sturdy tin roof motioned for me to take a photo. He states that it is a “buen casa” (good house). I agree and tell him so.



At the end of another building, there are five or six people huddling around a pile of stones with a fire in the middle. They are starting to cook something and look as comfortable as if they are in the middle of their living room, they probably are. They give me nothing but smiles. This was an enjoyable stop for sure, a rest, a coke and a small talk with the locals. This is living to me, feeling the pulse of the culture and the scene from up close.
__________________
Have a dream, live it. Set a goal, achieve it.

www.JustAdventureTravel.net
cavebiker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-23-2012, 04:13 AM   #1338
KLRUSERIOUS?
Farkle-whore
 
KLRUSERIOUS?'s Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2007
Location: Toronto Ontario Eh?!??
Oddometer: 2,297
Oh my! Is it that time again!!!!

Go tom go!
KLRUSERIOUS? is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-23-2012, 07:02 PM   #1339
cavebiker OP
Old School Adventurer
 
cavebiker's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2004
Location: Hayward, WI
Oddometer: 849
Cool2

The Border with Haiti



Haiti is constantly on my left hand side defined by the ridge I am riding along.

After the village I rested at, the road turns extremely technical. I am right in front of people’s homes just hammering on the throttle to continue forward progress. That is weird to me thinking I must have missed a turnoff somewhere, this can’t be right. There is no other road in town, this has to be the right way.



Home with a great view



Soon the trail is less beaten down, much less. At times grass is growing across and it is difficult to distinguish the trail. Bouts of panic shoot through me. "Am I lost and have wandered into Haiti?"



I pass a few homes with tarps laid out in the sun drying coffee beans. One home is flying a Dominican Republic flag, good!





With the camera zoomed to a Haitian village across the valley, the deforestation is extremely evident. It is a dramatic landscape with steep and sharp hillsides and little vegetation.









The trail continues to change form, there are long sections of mud and water with areas hard to distinguish where the trail is, and areas that are so narrow there is only room for a single track, too narrow for a jeep. At times the trail darkens and engulfes me in a canopy of green wet jungle, other times the trail runs up a hillsides almost straight up on bowling ball size rocks. Its a constant surprise, changing all the time, no time to get bored because soon it will change and usually to something completely different. This trail is an absolute motorcycle dirt rider’s dream. But, at the same time, I am just waiting for something major to go wrong with the motorcycle, this is ‘way’ too much fun for it not to be bad.





Going up and getting greener



and thicker



and wetter



and steeper



I wish there was someone along to photograph a motorcycle pounding up these trails. I am sure it would look cool on video.



Oh Yeah! I just swam the bike through this. You can still see my 2-cycle engine smoke from standing on the throttle trying to keep it moving. That is fun.



more fun







The trail narrows



Around a corner under a dark canopy of green pops out a massive bull. Pulling the bike over as much as possible I stand still and let the bull pass. Soon after, a man and his young son are walking with another bull. Everyone on this trail has had generous smiles and waves for me, like always being among friends.
__________________
Have a dream, live it. Set a goal, achieve it.

www.JustAdventureTravel.net
cavebiker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-23-2012, 07:05 PM   #1340
cavebiker OP
Old School Adventurer
 
cavebiker's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2004
Location: Hayward, WI
Oddometer: 849

The Border with Haiti







There is no way a four-wheel drive vehicle could get through here, not without a chainsaw, a winch and a way to move large boulders. The trail is too narrow and the gullies are too severe. Ultimate for a small dirt bike though.







After climbing for over four hours the trail finally reaches the top of the mountain. This motorcycle always surprises me with the gas mileage, but with only a 2.2-gallon tank, I take precautions and ride down the mountain without the motor running. This is a fun way to go, a silent technical sport. The ride still takes me through all the severe drop-offs, boulders and gullies, there is just no need for extra power, gravity gives me all I want and more.







Stealthing 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.







A young child is riding a donkey packing a heavy load, another teenage boy is carrying a huge plastic buckets atop his head. Everything feels so mellow and natural here. People along the trail light up when I stop the motorcycle to just say hello. It seemes like many do not speak Spanish but a polite ‘hola, buen dia!’ (Hello, nice day) from me always works well. Every area makes me feel like staying longer, to just hangout.























The trail continues on and on seemly for hours. Finally, a valley pops into view with what looks like civilization.







The homes are looking more modern now







The riding continues to be technical and I am taking a physical beating. I try to rest often and eat the bread I am packing.















What an ultimate ride







The Dominican Republic Rocks

__________________
Have a dream, live it. Set a goal, achieve it.

www.JustAdventureTravel.net
cavebiker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-24-2012, 04:37 AM   #1341
cavebiker OP
Old School Adventurer
 
cavebiker's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2004
Location: Hayward, WI
Oddometer: 849
Eh?

The Border with Haiti

Another military border outpost where they inform me I need to get a permit to be here. The person explains in detail where to go and whom to talk with to get this permit, always being very friendly, pleasant and helpful. Everything is good. He is surprised to hear about where my ride started today.



Further, down the trail there is 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 is one military person here from the Dominican Republic, there are maybe a dozen Haitians hanging out in the shade with their potatoes.





They all seem to freak out a little when I ask in Spanish if it's OK to take a photo, but then the military person translated to them in Creole that the photo is just for fun, nothing official, they light up. After a couple shots, everyone enjoys looking at their images on the camera.



The trail continues to be rugged and steep. There is a young couple walking with a donkey loaded with firewood.



After saying hi I ask for a photo. The young girl is into it, trying to make a good pose, her tattered and torn t-shirt is no hindrance. After looking at the image I remark how beautiful she is. They are both beaming with friendliness while lookig at the image.









Stopping and chatting with people out on the trail is a huge pleasure and most times I cannot spoil the moment by whipping out my camera.



coming down







Civalzataion



Finally the bottom of the mountain and a hard packed road with a small village, This village is on my map so my location is known, and thats a good feeling after an all day ride.



The person at the first official building gladly takes my 50 pesos in exchange for a park permit.



He is also happy to get his photo taken.



I continue along the border until the start of the carretera internacional (international road). Again its a problem with my photocopy passport. Maybe this is an extra precaution because of the cholera outbreak, or just standard practice because this section of the trail runs into Haiti. No big deal, I did over 90 percent of the border, good enough, this was expected.



Doing a U-turn signals the end of this ride. My body is screaming from fatigue, my ass is raw but I am heading for home, triggering a new burst of adrenaline, and that feels good.







Today is Dia Independencia, Independence Day of the Dominican Republic, their independence from Haiti. Some villages have large celebrations and blocked off streets while others seem like ghost towns, probably because everyone is at the celebration village.








Roadblock after roadblock pop up with children asking for donations for some good cause. The girls have a ball having their photos taken and looking at the images. Once I handed the camera over so they could look, I thought the camera was going to be torn to shreds form the girls grabbing it from each other.









There are 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.







__________________
Have a dream, live it. Set a goal, achieve it.

www.JustAdventureTravel.net
cavebiker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-24-2012, 06:44 AM   #1342
yamalama
wet coaster
 
yamalama's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2008
Location: left coast
Oddometer: 1,078
Wow.
This is great.
Thank you.
yamalama is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-25-2012, 04:26 AM   #1343
cavebiker OP
Old School Adventurer
 
cavebiker's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2004
Location: Hayward, WI
Oddometer: 849
- The Border with Haiti - conclusion



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





The Dia Independencia celebration noise is blasting into my room. My body is toast and the only thing I want to do is drink a beer at the hotel and reminisce about the ride, and that works for me.



Today I'm heading home to Heidi starting on the shores of the Caribbean Sea and ending up on an Atlantic Ocean beach, cool.




Dominican Republic road-side coffee, strong and pre-packed with lots of cane sugar. Why does coffee always tasts better on the road?



Empanadas!





While eating an empanada I see this person doing a rear tire skidding halt. He quickly answers his cell phone and is just as quickly off again. Americanized ?





If you stay off the main highway in the Dominican Republic, you are guarantees a scenic ride



This is a view of where I camped several night ago.



My motorcycle developed a new noise, its coming from the rear wheel. I check out the noise, the rear tire is rubbing on the chain guard. This is weird. I adjusted the chain tension slides to straighten out the wheel but I'm afraid a wheel bearing is failing or maybe the mono-shock, Its still a full day's ride from home. I take it cool and slowly ride on.



Heidi and I tried this road a few weeks ago but we turned back, it was too brutal for riding two-up.







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! What a ride!’







Almost home to Heidi. I feel as giddy as this kid on the horse.


The Dominican Republic will forever feel like a dream.


Now that was fun! This is a do it again ride for sure, maybe combining it with a circumnavigation of the country, Oh Yeah!



- Tom and Heidi -


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



Here is a map of my route, color coded by day
__________________
Have a dream, live it. Set a goal, achieve it.

www.JustAdventureTravel.net
cavebiker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-25-2012, 02:25 PM   #1344
jerdog53
Crop Dusting Everywhere
 
jerdog53's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2007
Location: 80122
Oddometer: 3,807
I have gotten no work done today thank you two very much!!



Keep it up!
__________________
13 Hyperstrada 09 696 Monster

"Shorter of breath and one day closer to death"
jerdog53 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-29-2012, 05:13 AM   #1345
KLRUSERIOUS?
Farkle-whore
 
KLRUSERIOUS?'s Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2007
Location: Toronto Ontario Eh?!??
Oddometer: 2,297
Great freakin job Tom.....We are unworthy!
KLRUSERIOUS? is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-30-2012, 09:59 AM   #1346
gnuse
Ride to Fly
 
gnuse's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2006
Location: Dahlonega
Oddometer: 271
A great report from a good person. Not much more to add to that. Thanks for sharing.
__________________
"God does not deduct from one's time on Earth, that which is spent in the air"
gnuse is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-01-2012, 05:53 AM   #1347
CDillard
Team Kattouf
 
CDillard's Avatar
 
Joined: Nov 2004
Location: Upstate, SC
Oddometer: 576
Ditto!

Nothing more for me to say that others have not said. Thanks for continuing to take us along on your journey.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KLRUSERIOUS? View Post
Great freakin job Tom.....We are unworthy!
__________________
Whether you think you can or you think you can't... you're right
CDillard is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-02-2012, 07:26 PM   #1348
cavebiker OP
Old School Adventurer
 
cavebiker's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2004
Location: Hayward, WI
Oddometer: 849
Thumb

Again, thanks everyone for all the great words. This has been a super time and sharing it with ya all has been great!

I have been preparing for a little ride the last couple of weeks, and what a blast! And boy, the Sporty sure needed some TLC, a lot of TLC. But that is half the fun, working on your own machine, the machine that will get you there and back again. It won't be a super long ride, but long enough to qualify for Ride Reports! Oh freaking Yeah! I take off tomorrow AM.
__________________
Have a dream, live it. Set a goal, achieve it.

www.JustAdventureTravel.net
cavebiker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-12-2012, 04:35 PM   #1349
BriKielyGSman
BigBadBri
 
BriKielyGSman's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2006
Location: Alberta, Canada-motorcycle hell......
Oddometer: 510
Still ticking huh?

Fantastic guys.....
__________________
www.bckgs.blogspot.com - don't be scared - check it out!!


BriKielyGsMan's South America Ride Report - Two Up.
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=259451
BriKielyGSman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2012, 05:23 PM   #1350
SABREMAN
Gnarly Adventurer
 
SABREMAN's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2008
Location: NEPA
Oddometer: 304
Quote:
I have been preparing for a little ride the last couple of weeks, and what a blast! And boy, the Sporty sure needed some TLC, a lot of TLC. But that is half the fun, working on your own machine, the machine that will get you there and back again. It won't be a super long ride, but long enough to qualify for Ride Reports! Oh freaking Yeah! I take off tomorrow AM.
Three months now.... where's the report, and better yet, pics???
__________________
It is what it is
SABREMAN is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Share

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

.
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


Times are GMT -7.   It's 06:28 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ADVrider 2011-2014