Bikers Galore!

We left Esteli on Monday morning, having enjoyed a rat-free hotel with a hot water shower. We did a little bit of climbing through the mountains on our bikes first thing, but then we left the hills behind us for a while. We shouldn’t have to do any more climbing until we get to Costa Rica, which is a relief to my thighs.

The hood in Esteli.

As soon as we cleared the mountains, a huge plain opened up before us. If it weren’t for those peaks in the distance, we could have been in Kansas; it was that flat. In fact, some Nicaraguans seem to have been a bit confused themselves, because their farm was called “Kansas.”

A gate in the middle of Nicaragua that says “Kansas.”

A nice farm picture.

Big, wide-open fields with mountains in the background.

We made our way through a busy farmer’s market in Sebaco shortly after, stopping only so Mike could photograph the colorful and nicely displayed vegetables. The vendors in this town were especially aggressive. We saw several leap into the air, grab hold of bus windows, and shove their onions into the faces of the trapped passengers. I’m not sure who buys bundles of onions while taking a bus ride through the countryside, but apparently the vendors thought there was a market for their wares. Personally, I think they would have been more successful with some cold beverages and less competition.

Pretty vegetables!

One of those crazy onion vendors.

Monday night we ended up in Ciudad Dario, which turned out to be disappointingly dull, despite its large-ish city size. We stayed at a cheap hotel that lacked screens on the windows. Luckily there weren’t many mosquitoes, but all manner of other insects were attracted to the light in our room. This meant that by morning Mike and I were lying inches deep in bug carcasses. Okay, not really inches, but maybe a few millimeters at least. Some of the bugs had unwittingly flown into the fan and been pulverized, others were squashed by us, and still others seemed to think that our bed was just a good place to grow old and die. After discovering a giant, poisonous centipede in our bathroom sink, I was ready to leave. Clearly some of the hotels we have been staying in recently are not CNN partner hotels.

Tuesday we biked about 70 kilometers further south, mostly going downhill or along flat stretches. We ran into a pair of cyclists heading north and stopped to chat for a bit. They were from Spain and had been traveling north for 7 months from Patagonia. We swapped info about what to expect on the road and set off again. It was kind of fun to meet a couple of people even crazier than us – especially since any other tourist has become a novelty. Sometimes I feel like the kids we pass on the road who point and shout after us, “Gringos, gringos!” Every time I spot other gringos my curiosity is piqued and I wonder what the hell they are doing in the middle of nowhere (just like us). It’s been a few weeks, but as of today we’re back in tourist country.

Tuesday night we stayed in Tipitapa, which is fun to say. Tipitapa, Tipitapa, Tipitapa. Otherwise, it’s fairly unremarkable.

This morning we had barely left Tipitapa when we ran into a whole gaggle of bikers – several gaggles even. Turns out that the Tour de Nicaragua is in full swing and we ran across the teams on one of their time-trial days. The whole way to Masaya (our half-way town of the day) we were continuously passed by racing bikers, completing their 40 km circuit for the day. They had a slight advantage though, since they weren’t carrying 60 lbs. of crap with them.

Tonight we’re in Granada, which seems to be a very nice, touristy, colonial town. We were planning on staying at least an extra day, but the ferry schedule on Lake Nicaragua may prevent that. Apparently we can only catch a ride to the island on Thursday or Monday. Guess we’ll just have to laze around the island for an extra day instead.

A nice mud hut.

An Army convoy.


Mike really liked this mural. Partly because it says “ASU Nightclub.” Ha ha.

Typical Nicaraguan transportation.

2 Responses to “Bikers Galore!”
  1. Anonymous says:

    I am enjoying your blog SO MUCH. What an interesting experience of a lifetime!!!!! Your stories are GREAT. See you soon, Aunt Kathy

  2. Kristen says:

    i really like the hood picture

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