September 15, 2015
I had breakfast at the hotel in Somoto before packing up the bike and moving on.
With some time to kill before moving south toward Panama, I decided to slow down a bit and stay in the mountains of Nicaragua. The day was spent riding dirt roads between Somoto and Jinotega. Garmin got a bit confused, as usual, but eventually the right dirt road off the highway was located and some beautiful scenery presented itself along the way.
Monday was Independence Day in Nicaragua, and Tuesday was also a holiday, so there were a lot of parades in the small towns. While stopping for a slice of pizza in Jinotega (all of the comedors were closed for the day), a parade formed in the street next to the bike, and I found myself suddenly needing to get out of town.
About 15 kilometers up the road was another steep dirt road turnoff to La Bastilla Ecolodge. This place is absolutely beautiful, with lots of natural foliage, coffee plantation, and more. It is run as a foundation with the intention of teaching local farmers sustainable responsible environmental farming.
The lodge offers cabanas, dormitories, and wooden platforms for tent camping. The elevation made for much cooler weather, and an afternoon rainstorm cooled things off even more.
The next day was spent on pavement again, riding from Jinotega to Leon. The first part of the ride between Jinotega and Matagalpa is beautiful. Lush, green scenery everywhere and a first-class paved twisty highway with not a single pothole. Nothing but great fun.
After Matagalpa, the road flattens out and the heat returns. It was warm the rest of the way into Leon. Unfortunately, about three miles before entering Leon, my Garmin’s screen froze. Removing it from the cradle, pushing the power button, nothing would turn it off. And somehow I managed not to pack the 2.5mm allen wrench necessary to remove the battery. So without GPS (and it gets worse….my phone was dead and the power outlet on the bike had just failed also), I rode around Leon for a half hour until I stumbled on the hostel.
Lesson learned: I now have a 2.5mm allen wrench from the local hardware store in Leon, and although I have yet to fix the power outlet on the bike (on my list for a couple of days from now), I will be sure to charge my phone each night.
Tomorrow;s agenda: Volcano Boarding. What’s that, you ask? Stay tuned…