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Old 01-24-2015, 01:22 PM   #1
Momo-san
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Ride Report: I Left my Heart in Nicaragua

Fresh off the plane from an epic journey in Pakistan, I wasn’t yet searching for my next moto adventure. Well, over the next month life proceeded to slap me in the face and when I saw Pelon post up this thread: http://www.bayarearidersforum.com/fo...ight=nicaragua, the only appropriate response seemed to be, “Fuck it, let’s go!”. It was easy to say yes: we would be in a beautiful, tropical location, there would be friends, dirtbikes, and beaches. This sounded like a proper vacation!

Takeoff was only 3 months away, but I already felt prepared. I already had supplies, vaccinations, and gear acquired over the 6 month prep-time I had given myself for the Pakistan trip. All I needed was a ticket and some dirty boots (hi-de-ho) and I was set. Oh wait, I don’t *really* know how to ride a dirtbike, but it’ll be ok, right?

There are no direct flights to Managua from San Francisco so I ended up on a red-eye to Mexico City. What a sight this city was at sunrise!



I was met in Mexico City by Greener and together we headed to Managua where Pelon, racerXgirl, Nabil, and Jen were waiting for us. On the flight out I had a perfect view of Popocatépetl, or El Popo, which happened to be spewing plumes of smoke and ash out of its maw. Sadly, I didn’t get a photo because I couldn’t quite believe what I was seeing! Instead I just stared, slack-jawed, at El Popo until it disappeared from view.

Once in Managua, we were met by Gabriel, one of the owners of the company, NicaMoto, they rented the bikes to us and supplied the support vehicle. He welcomed us to Nicaragua and shuttled us to our first destination, Laguna de Apoyo, a crater lake nestled in Apoyo Volcano. Our bikes were there, waiting for us to arrive.



The Fellowship finally started taking shape: Pelon, racerXgirl, Greener, Nabil, Jen, momo-san, Gabriel, and Jimbo. Oh yes, Jimbo, he was to be our guide, this guy with a Florida twang and a map of every dirt trail in Nicaragua contained in his grey matter, far superior to any GPS device. Gabriel would be driving our support truck, meeting us at our destination with our luggage each day, and making sure things go smoothly. He's our fixer.

It was an early night, we wanted to get enough sleep to be fresh for our first day of riding. I woke up at sunrise and took in the view before taking a dip in the warm waters of the lake.



This first day was a challenge, gear-wise, as my luggage didn’t make it to the airport at the same time as I did. We were reunited that evening, but this meant I had to cobble together something to ride in that day. It made me nervous as I am an inexperienced dirt rider and I had no idea what kind of terrain we would be on. With a little help from my friends I was able to gear up enough to join in the fun. Now, let’s check out the bikes!



There was one dr650, being admired above, ridden by our guide. There were four Yamaha ag200s, awesome little agricultural tractor-bikes: http://global.yamaha-motor.com/busin.../lineup/ag200/, a couple of two-stroke Yamahas, and a Raybar (?). After selecting our steeds we packed up, geared up and hit the road.



Jimbo was merciful on this first day, he was sussing out our skill level and would modify the route as needed. At our first water stop, Jimbo clued us in to a spectacular view just behind a rise on the road we were traveling.



Greener surveys our new playground:



Oh yeah, this trip is off to a good start! We also discovered at this stop that Nabil is a selfie magician-just look at our dirty, happy faces!



Even though we were having a great time, it was tiring. Especially for those of us who were relative beginners to riding in the dirt. After lunch we elected to take the shorter, easier route to our destination, Mag Rock in Popoyo. This is where the Fellowship was united with its final member, rzypvs. He’s that crazy dude who hit a goat in Baja and watched his bike go up in flames, his adventure is chronicled here: http://www.bayarearidersforum.com/fo...d.php?t=448151.

We lined up the bikes and headed inside:



And we found out why this place was called Mag Rock, it’s short for magnificent:



I couldn’t fit the whole thing into one photo:



We frolicked in the ocean, we took in the sunset from Mag Rock, and we properly introduced ourselves to the national drink, Flor de Caña rum! Next day we struck out, Fellowship intact, and me reunited with my luggage and moto gear!
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Sometimes I ride to cool places:

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Nicaragua

Last edited by Momo-san; 08-11-2015 at 08:00 AM..
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Old 01-24-2015, 01:23 PM   #2
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A brief stop at a nearby beach for a photo op: racerXgirl sitting pretty



After all of this mellow riding, we had a steep hill to climb today. I really thought I was going to make it but ended up crashing and getting my leg pinned under the bike, d’oh! Once Jimbo lifted the bike off of me, he rode it to the next plateau, I think that plateau is where this one was taken by rzypvs. Yeah, we are totally riding through the jungle!



During the trip we encountered challenging terrain here and there, my bike was on its side many times. Every time, Jimbo or Pelon would be along pick up the bike and make sure I was ok. This would always be accompanied by pointers for making it through said terrain and, by golly, the next time I would get through just fine!

Well, anytime there is a steep climb up, there is a steep descent back down the hill. I was a little freaked out by this long, thankfully paved, section. I’m pretty sure I would have panicked if it had been dirt or wet, as it was the traction was pretty good and I was able to keep it together. We dropped down into a coffee farm and, since Jimbo knows everyone in Nicaragua (possibly literally), we were able to stop and take a gander:

Coffee beans drying in the sun,



smile for the crazy gringos,



crazy gringos,



During our lunch stop, this nice fellow let us take some photos of ourselves with his HUGE cows. They are used for pulling carts of goods around, with the yoke of the cart strapped to their horns.



This little fella tried to join us for lunch:



We intended to have a light lunch, but ended up getting twelve plates with two tacos each instead of twelve tacos. Oh well, sometimes details get lost in translation, and they were delicious tacos.

This day our destination was a private house in Playa San Juan del Sur with a beautiful view. We could see Costa Rica from here!



Gabriel loaded all of us in the truck and drove us down to the beach for the sunset. Catching sunsets together was quickly becoming a theme with our group, and they were all spectacular.



As is the case in many countries, there are street dogs to be found everywhere in Nicaragua. This little one stole our hearts, she was a sweet little girl who would have made an excellent canine companion. Alas, her lot in life is going to be a rough road. For a moment, her name was Jenny, and she pulled apart the hearts of a few gringos.



I think Jenny and I would be pretty happy here:



The next morning we got to play on the playa before heading north to our next destination.




Along the route on this day we got to see one of Gabriel’s projects, he works in the renewable energy industry. These wind turbines were huge and strangely elegant.



I remember this as being my favorite day of riding. It was dusty and hot, but I was starting to feel more confident. I tried increasing my speed bit by bit, until I ran the bike up the side of an embankment. Oops. Thanks again, Jimbo!

We stopped in the town where Jimbo lives, Rivas, for lunch. Everyone’s faces seemed especially dirty and the smiles were big.



At the end of the day we ended up in Playa Gigante, at the Hotel Brios. This is where we would spend Christmas, and rest for 2 days. We were all stoked to be there and wasted no time getting cocktails into our hands and our bodies into the pool! Ahhhhhh, Christmas Eve sunset poolside.



Christmas day was really special: not only did the crew of Hotel Brios serve up delicious Nicaraguan tamales to us for breakfast but sunset cruise on a catamaran (booze cruise!) was arranged for us, and Jimbo managed to catch a mackerel for our dinner!



We got rained on, but it was warm and we were already wet from diving from the boat.


The clouds made for a spectacular sunset. Well, an even more spectacular sunset...

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Sometimes I ride to cool places:

Death Valley
Nicaragua

Last edited by Momo-san; 01-24-2015 at 03:08 PM..
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Old 01-24-2015, 01:26 PM   #3
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To continue our perfect Christmas, for dinner we had a better-than-traditional turkey with all the fixin’s. Oh, and we had the fresh-caught mackerel, too. Perfectly cooked, I think it was the most delicious fish I’ve ever had! Thank you making us all feel at home, Hotel Brios!



Remember that rain on Christmas day? Well, it would come back to haunt us the day after, and this time we were on our bikes! The day after Christmas we had a ferry to catch, we were headed to Ometepe Island which rises out of Lake Nicaragua, the 9th largest lake in the Americas. Our time limit to reach the ferry became a little worrisome after we were hit by a downpour, making the trail super-slick. So slick that we had to abandon the original trail, simple on a dry day but treacherous in the rain, for a more difficult, steeper, but safer way through. The more experienced folks shuttled the bikes through while the rest of us watched-and took pics and video!





That’s my bike, taking one of many naps. Here is Jimbo, showing everyone how its done, sumbitch! I know, it’s a vertical video, deal with it.


youtu.be/6FZRV3HdAoY

The calm before the carnage:



Carnage, you say? After getting the bikes through what has been dubbed Fireball Canyon, we were all tooling along just fine. Then, we come to a downhill section and I start doing what I’m supposed to be doing: standing on the pegs, looking ahead, nice and loose on the bars. The front wheel slips to the left and I find myself heading toward a ditch, I scream like a banshee and both the bike and I end up face first in that damn ditch. I crawl out and look behind me: I see Jen has gone down and right behind her is Greener, with his bike’s front half swallowed up by the earth.

It was a hell of a scene. We’re are all standing there, staring at our fallen steeds, then Pelon rolls up and starts laughing. The spell is broken and we all join in, it all looks so ridiculous! Meanwhile, Jimbo has looped back around to find out where everyone went, (this is one of my favorite memories of this trip), he rolls up on the scene and I can hear him muttering in his helmet, “What the fuck...?!”. Ha, it was perfect!

Unfortunately, I have no photos of this but I know there is video out there. Maybe one of my travel buddies will post it up.

I know you were worried but rest easy, we made it to the ferry in time!



This was to be our home for the next two days. Throughout this trip, I kept seeing pirate flags, signs, painting on boats, and now we were staying at a pirate hotel! A few of y’all know I have an annual pirate weekend with some close friends, so I was pleased as punch and felt right at home in Nicaragua.





While we were on Ometepe Island, we went for a horseback ride. By the end we decided that there were more injuries from this 1 hour ride than from all of our moto riding days put together.



We had a great view of Conceptión during the ride. It is an active volcano (last eruption was in 2010!) whose top was masked by cloud cover that has the appearance of continually pouring down the sides of the volcano.



Did I mention I sprained my foot in the triple-crown of crashes? Yep, and I am still nursing it as I write this, but at least it isn’t broken! This meant that as our vacation was winding down, I was unable to ride the last day back to Laguna de Apoyo. Sad bike is sad.



On the bright side I missed out on, what was dubbed by Greener, Misery Mountain. I was napping when everyone else returned, I’m at peace with this.

After a long night (oh right, we might have partied a little bit on Ometepe, yarrr!), rzypvs took the opportunity for a nap on the ferry ride back to the mainland. Sleep well, amigo, you earned it.



Now is when the Fellowship starts breaking up. It was an incredible trip and a huge part of what made it so great was the people on it! Nine relative strangers traveled together for a week and we managed to like each other the entire time! I cannot thank these folks enough for just being all around great people, and I hope we all get to travel together again.

I obviously don’t need to say anything about the beauty of Nicaragua, right? I was very happy to have two more days to enjoy at the lake, I can’t get over how perfect the sunrise is.



As our numbers dwindled I spent time in the lake, swimming out to the dock and baking in the sun. We read books, napped in hammocks, drank beer and rum, ate pizza (?) and...daydreamed. When was the last time you just lie down to watch the clouds pass by, making them come to life as dragons and fishes? Sigh.

Finally, the last of us said goodbye to Nicaragua, we all vowed (or threatened?) to come back again.



I really do hope we will all get a chance to travel together again. But if not, we will have some wonderful memories to carry with us from this experience. Thank again to all of my travel-buddies, especially to Pelon for putting the idea out into the world of Barf and FB, Jimbo for his knowledge and support, and Gabriel for organizing everything for us. Most of the photos are mine but I grabbed a few from rzypvs and Nabil to round out the report with some awesome selfies, thanks guys! I think this is one of the only photos with all of us in it, including Jimbo and Gabriel. Sumbitch, Fireball!!




You may remember my ride report after a trip to Death Valley least year. You did all read that one, right? In case you missed it: http://www.bayarearidersforum.com/fo...d.php?t=458010.
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Sometimes I ride to cool places:

Death Valley
Nicaragua

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Old 01-24-2015, 01:51 PM   #4
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Thanks for taking the time to write this up! It was truly one of my favorite trips of all time. I made some awesome new friends and feel very fortunate and grateful to have been invited! Its time to plan the next adventure!
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Old 01-24-2015, 03:02 PM   #5
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Great write up Jeanette, I can't wait to see Nabil and Pelon's videos
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Old 01-24-2015, 04:13 PM   #6
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Ooopsie, fixed
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Sometimes I ride to cool places:

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Nicaragua
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Old 01-24-2015, 08:51 PM   #7
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Thanks for sharing. Looks like it was a great trip.
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Old 01-24-2015, 10:20 PM   #8
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Awww yeah. From tropical splendor to rum sippin' to thrashing in the mud. That's what an adventure's all about!
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Old 01-25-2015, 07:41 PM   #9
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Awesome ride report.
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Old 01-26-2015, 03:13 PM   #10
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Very cool, quite the array of bikes, riders and terrain...awesome.
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Old 01-27-2015, 12:28 AM   #11
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I love the way BARF is getting all moto-international.
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Old 01-27-2015, 05:03 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Nemo Brinker View Post
I love the way BARF is getting all moto-international.
Apparently its only the beginning
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Old 02-05-2015, 07:25 PM   #13
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I was in Baja when this went up, Thank you for taking us along for teh ride Momo. Looks like a great time one more ride added to my "TO DO" list.
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Old 02-19-2015, 07:22 PM   #14
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Awesome! A land, sea, and air adventure.

How was the horse riding?
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Old 02-19-2015, 09:39 PM   #15
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I don't wanna talk about the horses
; (
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