Over a Mountain!

Submitted by eagle on Thu, 09/19/2019 - 18:44

After work, went shopping for provisions. Tried a yaroa, a fast food item I've seen on Dominican cafeteria menus. Turned out to be a hot mess of french fries, cheese, and other stuff.

Rode/walked up the first part of the hill. Slow-going, interrupted by a thunderstorm, but still I made better headway than expected. Now around halfway up the hill.

Camped out, one of the quieter spots I've found in a while. Woke up early again.

I had been concerned about the route being remote. I prepared by carrying more food and water than I ordinarily would. However, the situation was opposite: I hardly got away from the buildings and vehicles! Even came across numerous luxury vehicles. I guess it makes sense, this road leads from a bigger inland city to the sea.

Next I aim to finish the walk/ride into town. Then, get some more work done!

Eagle Gamma while traveling in Republica Dominicana

Tons of hardships along the way, but they build character, and they can even be kind of fun!

Also, tons of pleasures along the way!

I like the geography of RD. Tons of tropical plants, including numerous edible ones. I picked up a bunch of guava, etc., yesterday. The vitamin C, sugar, water, fiber, etc., may only represent small amounts. However, the taste is amazing, and the thrill of finding and eating such food is rewarding!

I continue to find country people friendlier than city folk.

My legs are somewhat sore from the walking & riding. Still, my body is holding up and performing way better than expected! Often the humidity makes me hurt. Now I'm doing fine.

Looking at the weather here in the mountains, it rains more, it's not as hot during the day, and it's cooler at night. I guess that explains different populations.

Made it to the peak!

Now a scary downhill ride.

Made it!

There's something exhilarating about large achievements, like climbing over a mountain!

My brakes barely worked. I had to manually pull on the front cable, hurting my hands, to slow down.

Now in the satellites of Santiago de Los Caballeros!


Climbing Up!

Submitted by eagle on Wed, 09/18/2019 - 15:33

So much different working in AC, with decent wifi. So accustomed to working in sun, w/ iffy wifi. Herenow can afford some indoors food!

Woke up early again. Beautiful sunrise!

Now planning my ride through the interior.

The first step involves a large climb to get to Santiago, the biggest city in the area.

Route planning, Republica Dominicana

I have to stock up on provisions before setting out, it looks like there aren't many towns along the way.

Then I'm probably going to head towards the second largest city, San Francisco de Macoris.

The upcoming larger city, Santiago de los Caballeros, is only 60 km away. However, the elevation goes over 842 m.

From Santiago to San Francisco, the distance is another 60 m. In this case, the route has only 143 m of elevation difference, largely downhill.

After that, I plan to make up a route, probably including Cotui, Bonao, and various other towns, depending on weather, interest, time, etc.

Then, it looks like I'll probably return to San Francisco, on the way back down to the coast.

Along the remainder of the coast, a city and a few more towns remain.

Then, make my way to Haiti!

As we continue to make our way, whether through countries or within a single residential area, we reorganize ourselves to improve delivery.

Likewise, the lands through which we travel, literally or figuratively, reorganize themselves to improve their delivery.


Westward Republica Dominicana!

Submitted by eagle on Tue, 09/17/2019 - 14:33

Whether you're riding, writing, or applying for gigs, the route is full of hardships. Just keep at it!

Atardecer, Republica Dominicana

I think that Dominicans have the most obnoxious music I've heard since some parts of Miami.

An epic journey just to get to work at 9 AM!

A continuing source of frustration and difficulty to find wifi in RD, but understandable in a somewhat developed country.

Eating delicious foods, some local, others local takes on international food. Had more Dominican breakfast today, which includes a wide mix of foods, from fried cheese and salami to plantains, eggs, spaghetti, and more.

Continuing to make headway westward along the coast, I'm planning soon to head back inland, and go up to the heartland, Cibao.

Probably the steepest part of the journey in this country coming up. Should also have some of the core music, food (cacao!), etc.

Previously I've mentioned that RD has some music that annoys me. It also has some music that I like. The music, like the population, is diverse.

I feel like I'm finally getting a feel for Dominican culture!

Dominicans are kind of noisy.

Typical activities include riding a motorcycle around (the country or city), eating and drinking hearty contents, including heavy doses of rice, beans, and tropical fruits, and yelling in good cheer.

It's not a particularly pensive society, but it does the basics very well.



Submitted by eagle on Sat, 09/07/2019 - 15:55

I think that in Republica Dominicana, and other developing countries, it makes far more sense to buy food at local restaurants than at supermarkets. You seem to get around the same amount of food, but already prepared, often tastier, and better environments.

I'm now in Nagua, deciding where to go next. My two main options are to continue west along the coast, or to go back inland to the mountains. I want to see the coast more, but I'm not sure yet that I'm ready for it. I'm considering spending another while in the interior, before heading back to the coast. As of now, around fifty-fifty, leaning somewhat towards the inland detour.

Either route looks ok. If I do the inland detour, I can probably see both routes, which argues in favor of doing the inland detour.

Actually, I don't see a road that leads back to this part of the coast, so doing the inland route may imply leaving behind a section of the coast. In that case, I think I'd rather just stay along the coast. Much easier when I'm not looking for a challenging ride, plus beaches!

The inland route doesn't look too appealing to me, now that I'm seeing it on the map in more detail.

The coastal route does look appealing.

It stays so consistently hot and humid here that, for the first time in a while I've been thinking about colder, more northern places.

It's around 75-100 km from here to where the inland/coastal routes meet up.

Looks like I'm finally getting into the Cibao region of Republica Dominicana. This covers the northern part of the island.

There's a city in the inland route which produces a lot of cacao. Now that is interesting.

As an alternative, I can do a lengthier ride through the interior, either now or later. I've been considering doing quick detours into the mountains.

By the way, a funny (to me, anyways) phenomenon in RD. Tons of places, even small colmados (general stores), cafeterias, etc., often have delivery. They use motorcycles with baskets or crates attached.

The beach area looks extremely nice.

I'm now thinking of maybe doing the coast first, then head inland for a lengthier tour later.

I don't see how I'm going to get much work done in any case. Seems like Republica Dominicana is set up for farming or vacations, not for doing modern work.

There's tons of nice scenery in Republica Dominicana. Also sizable noise. Seems like a convenient trade-off for farming, tourism, etc., so that makes sense!

I now want to do both the coastal and inland routes. However, in this case it appears that it may be easier to do so by going the coastal route first.

At any rate, I do later plan to head inland to see Santiago de los Caballeros, a larger city. Maybe I'll combine the inner stuff over here to the east with that venture later, doing the coastal route first.

In any case, I plan to spend the next few weeks or so seeing northern RD, then head over into Haiti.

One route I can see doing goes along the coast first, but only a short while, then e.g. at Gaspar Hernandez heading inland, going back east, then returning again west. Maybe too complicated and long.

Actually, I don’t see a route back to the part of the coast that I want to see next, if I go inland. So, that would argue fairly decisively for doing the coast next, which I kind of like. Then, if I feel like it, I can come back later for the inland stuff.

I think that these planning sessions are important. They reveal a ton about what you can or want to do, and also you learn about the geography and culture along the way (e.g. looking up places, routes).

I'm now planning to take the coastal route next!

Then, e.g. when I get to Santiago de los Caballeros, I can also go to San Francisco de Macoris.

Some photos from the last couple of weeks:

The Road in Northern Republica Dominicana

Eagle Gamma @ Republica Dominicana


Submitted by eagle on Tue, 09/03/2019 - 12:27

Yesterday after working, I went for a brief walk. Found a store, asked if they sold food. No, more like rum and cigars, said the somewhat surly woman as she cleaned the place. I noticed they had some snacks, and bought two large cartons of orange juice, and a bag of potato chips for breakfast.

As I was getting set to leave, I walked towards a waste bin. The counter woman was now standing somewhat in that direction. She said, "se murio" (he died), pointing to a person lying on the ground. The person did seem motionless, may actually have died.

At a different store, I picked up some more snacks for the road. Rode over the significant hills surrounding the town of Samana. Went by some fish places. I wasn't hungry and they were noisy but scenic places, so I kept riding.

Later in the day, I did stop at a smaller, quieter fish place.

Along the way, I had a huge (2.6 liter) bottle of soda. Overall I drank something like 5 L (over a gallon) of liquid during the day.

The juice and soda did not seem to upset my stomach, so for the first time in a while I kept down a large amount of fluid, and felt fine instead of thirsty.

Makes me wonder whether it was the caffeine, or maybe the phosphoric or (even less likely) a flavoring in the cola that made me feel sick?

Arrived early at the next town, Galeras. This town appears to have no road leading around anywhere other than the one back to Samana, so it looks like I'll be returning along the same route. I vaguely knew that beforehand, but didn't look carefully at the map before selecting this route.

Looking for a place to camp last night, found some beautiful but difficult terrain. Left that immediate area, found a place near the edge of town. Some people stopped, we talked. "It's dangerous," one of them said. "Yes," I answered. Later, the person reiterated that it's dangerous. "Yes," I answered again.

Now watching a sunrise over the sea!



Submitted by eagle on Mon, 09/02/2019 - 12:49

Now in Samana!

Dominican Republic feels like Mad Max.

Tons of dirty motorcycles, people walking around with machetes and other implements, etc.


Made it to Sanchez, Republica Dominicana!

Submitted by eagle on Fri, 08/30/2019 - 15:01

Rode over a mountain. Largely downhill. Gorgeous!!!

Dominican Republic in summer. So hot. Even at seven AM in a ton of shade, lying down, I can hardly bear it. Riding uphill, fully loaded, midday without clouds, extremely hard!

The ocean is so warm, it's like getting into a bath.

After a few difficult rides, where I'd planned considerably, then had easier rides than expected, yesterday I had a short (21 km) ride on straight ground. Easy!

Instead, it wound up far more difficult than expected.

The road had numerous rocks, obstacles.

The sun shone brightly.

I made slow headway. Then, while riding slightly up, I pressed down hard on the pedal, and snap! The derailleur fell off. Already jerryrigged, I jerryrigged it even further, with significant difficulty. Finally I got the bike running, but by then the sun felt too hot for me to ride in. So, I took an extended pause in the shade.

Even in the shade, the air felt hot, so I cooled my feet in some water on the ground.

As the sun descended, I made my way to the edge of the next town. Along the road, piles of garbage burned, cows and birds grazed. Some people went by on motorcycle and foot, often carrying machetes. Barbed wire lined the road.

I was thirsty the night before setting out. By now I feel extremely thirsty. I have had numerous fantasies of the different drinks that I want to consume.

Now around Sanchez, Rrepublica Dominicana, I am getting set for the Samana peninsula!

It's often been somewhat too hot in the day, and somewhat too cold for comfort at night. Recently, it's been way too hot during the way, and somewhat too hot at night.

In town, a fishing village, had breakfast. Then, drank like three liters of liquids including cola.

Felt sick, threw up.

Now resting, improving!


Yet More RD Riding!

Submitted by eagle on Wed, 08/28/2019 - 12:54

The ride yesterday went way smoother than expected!

Instead of a tough slog, it was kind of fun!

Camped out by the side of the road.

Ate queso ruffles and nachos for breakfast, with tomatoes and chiles.

Sunrise over the mountains!


Routes in RD!

Submitted by eagle on Tue, 08/27/2019 - 16:54

Woke up, rode.

Through some pleasant small towns.

Now in a larger village. Having coffee in a hotel.

Recharging. Filling up batteries (laptop, phone, spare x 2).

Supposed to hit 36 degrees C or so today, plus humidity!

Also, looks like another large mountain ahead. Around a thousand feet elevation. Hopefully has some more of those delicious fruits!

Thunderstorms predicted. I'm planning to go carefully.

I aim to make it over the mountain this week, while getting some work done. We'll see how that pans out.

The Dominican people seem hospitable and commercial. By contrast, many Americans seem commercial but not as hospitable. In the South, hospitable.

It's an agricultural region here. So there are tons of agro shops, not much in the way of modernity.

The map suggests an alternative route that goes around the mountain. Way farther, still has significant climb, but it looks lower elevation.

141 km versus 20 km.

Maybe half the elevation, but hard to say because of the length of the route.

A few more small towns, and one more sizable town on the alternative route.

I'm still kind of leaning towards my straight over the mountain shot, but considering the alternative.

Looks like the alternative route, the one the map suggests, goes around the mountain on a shallower slope, but still over it rather than around it. It adds mucho distance, which I may want for a chance to do more work. However, it may be less interesting.

Each route has one medium town, somewhat likely to have wifi, so I don't think there's much increase in work.

I'm thinking of heading straight over, keep it straightforward. Then, I can still visit some of the other towns on the alternative route, if I do another inland detour further west.

Nagua looks like a coastal place where I can head inland again.

Feeling somewhat stuck. It's such a pain to find wifi, AC, etc., out in the middle of nowhere!

Still, I think it's important to go!

I'm aiming for the mountain!