Fri, Jan 31st: The 3 tents and related gear were
packed by 7am, and we scrambled away from the hacienda to catch the 9am ferry. It was only
a 35km ride, but with the road being mostly filled with large rocks or wind-swept sand,
the going would be slower than normal. We were just getting onto the good part of the
route when the fuel pump died on the Africa Twin. A quick, road-side fix got us to the
dock with 5 minutes to spare, only to find the ferry was out of commission again, and
would not be running again for a few days. What to do now??? We were told we could try to
get on the smaller boats the very precarious boats we saw the previous week and
vowed not to board with our bikes! It is amazing how quickly your perception changes in
relation with your predicament. (hey, whats with all the "p"s?). After
much discussion, we got the 4 bikes stripped of panniers and loaded into the passenger
area of the boat, and left around 1pm. All went well, except for the last 10 minutes, when
the swells were up and we thought the boat would capsize with the weight of the bikes!
Alas, all was well and we arrived in Masaya before dark.
Sat, Feb 1st: White Rabbits. After an early breakfast, John and Annet took
off towards the Honduras border. After almost 15 months in Latin America, Annet left her
bike in Costa Rica and was heading home to Germany for a few months. She hopes to be back
in 6 months. John will leave her at the airport, then continue north towards Alaska.
Chris F and Simi would stay in town for a few days, to wait for a new (mechanical)
fuel pump to come from Europe. We will see John, Chris, and Simi a few times more, as we
are all heading the same direction.
After some shopping at the local artisan market, we headed to see the crater Volcano
Masaya. It is the single largest natural air polluter in the world, and we had to pay $4
each to get in! At the top, we met Ed from www.edsgonesouth.com --- we had talked via email and arranged the
meeting the night before. Ed is a fellow American, 6-weeks into his own 15-month
tour of Latin America on his 97 F650. We found a lot in common, and Ed decided to take a
detour and join us for a visit to Leon, a large Spanish Colonial city near the
Atlantic. It wasn't a long way, but we took the wrong road, which was mostly
potholes and rocks. We joked that it was the longest 100km day we've had on a paved
road. We just beat the sunset into Leon, checked into a hostal which was formally a
dental clinic, and currently run by some very interesting woman.
The next day we spent lazily viewing the city and cathedral. It was fun spending
time with Ed, who has many of the same views/ideas when we started our trip. He has
a tag line at the end of emails, "Im Ed, and Ive gone south" --- I
just couldnt get it out of my head. After he saw our UJ stickers, he decided he
should get some "I met Ed" stickers made, which will be a hoot! (well, we
think its funny)
Monday, Feb 3rd: After a late breakfast in the plaza, we bid farewell to Ed,
and took the old road north of Lago de Managua to the spirited town of Esteli. There we
met up again with Marcel, a 24 yr-old Swiss guy who worked on a farm in the states, and is
cruising Central America in a 1991 Crown Victoria, complete with old cowboy hat and boots.
We had a nice dinner with Marcel and his girlfriend, and discovered we had some friends in
common -- such a small world!!!
Initially, I didn't think we would spend more than a few days in Nicaragua. I'm
glad we spent more time.
We woke the next morning and headed to the border at Las Manos --- we have been told
the Honduras crossing was the worst of Central America.