Whew! Made it!!! :)
After a far more difficult struggle than expected, I made it to the north coast -- exhausted.
The heat and humidity have been immense. There have been nightly thunderstorms. The mosquitoes have been harsh.
I've had some flat tires, and other bicycle problems. I'm down to my last tubes installed in my bike, and two or three patches. I haven't connected to wifi in a while, and am running low on cash.
It feels fun!
To get out there, achieve, accomplish, in spite of the obstacles. Still, it's also quite difficult, and I want to spend the next while working.
I've been eating up a storm. Trying tons of Dominican foods, which I like.
The comedors are among my favorite types of eatery. Small informal restaurants, they often have a choice of white rice, rice & beans, various stews, along with salad and drinks. Usually all of that for a small price, around 100-150 pesos (two or three dollars US).
I notice that often stews have lemon flavors.
Just last night made it into the mango-growing part of Republica Dominicana! I've been eating numerous fresh mangos.
The people out here away from the busy city centers are nicer, and I feel like I can finally relax more about crime.
Now at the coast, I'm writing while looking out at the sea!
Another thunderstorm is approaching. I've ducked out of the intense sun.
So many thoughts have built up. It's been something like a week since I've had the chance to write, or do much other than survive the ride. Feels more like a year!
From what I've seen of the map, after here (Miches) and the next town west, I think there's no direct road to the nearby Samana peninsula which I want to make my next destination. Instead, it looks like there's a long, difficult mountain road, or an untamed forest. I'm leaning more towards the mountainous route, for the occasional towns and the roads, but I'm somewhat tempted by an outdoors adventure.
As of now, I've had my fill for a while of the riding.
Here's how my feelings went on riding out of the capital:
Day 1: Yay! Riding again. This feels epic!
Day 2: So happy to have got back to riding again.
Day 3: I still have at least another day or more of riding in me, before taking a break.
Day 4: I'm tired. Forgot how sore I can get!
Day 5: Can't wait for a break!
Day 6: This is so hard! Why am I doing this again?
Day 7: Hey, I'm starting to recover again, and I didn't even take a day off!
Day 8: OK, I'm exhausted, I have other important things to do, I sure hope there's wifi in one of these places.
Bike's (La Poderosa) hardly holding together.
The rear derailleur is still missing the screw to hold it onto the frame. The rear derailleur is therefore only holding on by the wheel to which it's attached, which means that any occasion when I change the tire, the derailleur pops off too. The rear wheel's been rubbing against the frame, slowing me down and making annoying sounds.
A few other minor issues, but overall she's holding up like a stud. It's now around 300 km since the capital, in one week of riding. I guess I've been averaging around 30-40 km per day.
The terrain has been hillier than I thought. The map didn't show much elevation, as I recall, but it's been quite a lot of up and downhill. Without functioning gears, it's been hard to climb the hills in high gear.
I've had a chance to reflect while riding for the last week. Overall, I'm very happy to be riding through the Caribbean. I can't wait to get to the next islands, and back to the continents, while wanting to take it slow and appreciate the beauty of this area.
I feel stronger, as a person, for taking on challenges such as independent travel. It's extremely hard, for me, to travel by bicycle, work, etc., but I feel like that improves my learning.
I encourage you to take on any type of goal, big or small, that you've been wanting to do for a while. Once you get going, the momentum (and adrenaline and caffeine!) can carry you a while!
Now feel like I'm finishing one section up, and starting a new section of travel!
Each area of each country has its uniqueness. RD may have less variety than a larger country, but still considerable.