16 August 2011

Nicaragua. Check.

Location: San Marcos, Costa Rica
After entering Nicaragua at Las Manos, I rode through the highlands for a few days before descending to the balmy rice paddies surrounding the two main lakes in Nicaragua.  I found some great dirt roads and ended up in Managua, where I spent an unexpected, albeit enjoyable week with the Brien family.  Then I rolled south to Granada.  Having heard numerous tales about holdups in the Riva area, I rode the north side of the lake down to San Carlos, and crossed the Rio San Juan to Los Chiles, Costa Rica.  This route involved 3 ferries, and countless other bridgeless crossings.  As a result, cows substantially outnumbered cars on the roadway, and there were no expectant thieves lurking with their machetes, like my friend Ted encountered 3 times in southern Nicaragua...

well, this was as close as i came to building a kayak and running the rio coco.
the river was running swift.  it would be a cool trip to paddle all the way to the caribbean...

bike tent tree and me at the Grupo Fenix solar project
here is an example of a solar oven, using tin foil to shine extra light into the glass case.
here, a cat inspects a factory-made and home-made charcoal stove
we examine the technique of adding peanut butter to a groove cut into a banana.  delicious.
Susan of GrupoFenix.org .  If you want to build solar ovens, or bike-powered machinery, or efficient stoves, check them out.

lovely riding on community backroads in northern Nicaragua...

how much electricity you are using.

a shout out to my cousin victoria, and my aunt patty...

bike workshop.  most of these places carry almost zero parts or tools.  it is just a guy who will change your flat.

bicycle rush hour.  nicaragua is loaded with bicycle commuters

i think they tried to make a SQUEEZE, but everybody calls it ESKEEZ
the open road once again

the ice cream bikes are irresistible.  50 cent drumsticks!

Estelí was loaded with murals

Sunday is baseball day in Nicaragua.  Here, a little leaguer heads to the game.

as usual, i find my own way out of town...

and down the backroads...

some rolling nicaraguan countryside

pleasant riding until...
well, this is normal here.

but then the rain starts and you get to ride in the mud.  wrong day to break a fender!

but it was fun to race the utility company down the mountain.

Welcome to the Sauce!
so, is this an uphill warning, or a reverse downhill warning?

volcano ahead

pedicabs are in business in el sauce, nicaragua
momotombo.  steep and cloudy.  i decided to pass on climbing it.

albeit slighty bumpy, i enjoyed riding the brick roads in this area.

i think american drivers would crash trying to figure out what a sinuous road is.

the price of gasoline and diesel in nicaragua, august 2011.  Cordobas per liter
If you live in Managua, you need a gate, razor wire, and an armed guard.  OR  have nothing.

yay for old land rovers EVERYWHERE

oh yeah, Don King is coming.  And apparently he is the BEST of the WORLD!

This sums up Nicaragua.  Pink propaganda billboards, national pride, colorful buses, and FLOR de CAÑA (tasty rum)!!!
la pulga means the flea

In Managua, you can zipline around a below-sea-level green lake.  If you are female, you can go upside down with a ''guide''.

I took a bus back up to Estelí for a visit to the cloud forest and to sample the eateries with an NGO group I had met on the way through..
Bike and Garlic.

Estelí street art

the lines for the banks are crazy on pay day.

i can't believe this poser doesn't have a blue kickstand.

in true Nica fashion, you can rent out a power wheels for a few laps for less than a dollar.  The price includes a guy to push you, as none of them have batteries.

this bike was sent down by a canadian NGO and sold for 10 bucks.  Campagnolo hubs and cranks too!

ready for action, chicken buses await the dawn.

in the cloud forest reserve, families made little gues houses full of flowers.  very relaxing

lots of good hiking abounded

what i would look like as a harry potter character, from the neck up.

one of the highlights of the weekend was watching some baseball.

the other highlight was riding on top of the chicken bus, where low thorny branches mean business

although i rarely brush, it always feels fresher when it is EXTREME
view from the chicken bus

traffic jam!

the Brien family never has a dull moment.  I had a blast staying with them in Managua.  The best part about this picture is the shadow that gives me a unibrow.
yes, the top of the letter is 82.97m...

The University of Central America is coated with pirate graffiti.  Yaargh!

More pleasant riding on the road to Granada.
I like the wrinkly texture of this riveted sheet metal sign.

The Granada post office is pretty laid back.

Riding the streets of Granada, you always have company.

This contraption is supposed to shuttle the ferry across the river...  It did not function, so we just pulled on the rope by hand.
The ferry could bring a bus or 2 trucks, or 1 tatanka and some passengers.

this ferry was just a few plywood boats shuttling a truckload of fertilizer.

and the road becomes muck.

Felipe Madera, my hub mascot, gets muddy!

other places were a bit dryer...

rolling the empty highway down to san carlos, the end of the road.  this is the future panamerican highway.

chicken buses gather at the end of the road
Tatanka waits for the lancha ride to Costa Rica

It started off fun

then we picked up speed

and the spray came. i would have been drier underwater

at last, the costa rican town of Los Chiles.  Another country behind me, a new one ahead...


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