Nica, Volcan Hike, and Ometepe

In our last blog, we were in Honduras very close to the border of Nicaragua and our time in Nicaragua has been fantastic. Leaving Choluteca was easy for us because although the city is beautiful, it had some rough edges as well. On the outskirts of the city, a guy threw up some gang signs at us, but it appeared to be in a friendly manner. We were heading towards the border into Nicaragua and were only 40 km away. Twenty km from the border, we met one of the most inspirational bike tourists that we have encountered so far. Kim is from South Korea and has been bike touring with his two sons, twins, for the last three and a half years. And the kids are only seven! Kim rode and old bike with a large trailer that towed the kids and gear. His stories were very revitalizing and great to hear the encounters he has had…Kim informed us we were close to the border so we took off, with Nicaragua on our mind. The border crossing was muy tranquillo, easy paperwork, and we were scott free! We camped at this families yard that night not far from the border. We were given frijoles, tortillas y queso for dinner, which was a nice treat. After hanging out with the family for a while, they eventually insisted we sleep inside, away from ¨danger¨. They were convinced that the drunk neighbor would hassel us, so right as we were about to bed down, we shifted into the indoors.

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The sign says it all

Our next day in Nica, we got the pleasure of cycling around Volcan San Cristobal all morning. San Cristobal is the largest volcano in Nica and a very prominent formation as there is nothing but flat land in every direction. The volcano was beautiful, definately a sight worth staring at all day when escaping the view of paved road. We arrived to the city of Chinandega just around lunch time, where we wanted to chill for the afternoon, dig the scene, and then make our way south from there. We saw a Mexican taco restaurant and immediately decided to go there in order to feed our craving for tacos! Chinandega was a cool little city, filled with bike shops, large, old churches, and a very interesting central park. The park was scaped with toy castles, lots of play toys, and plenty of unique benches. After spending the afternoon in Chinandega, we biked south keeping our eyes out for a nice quite farm we could camp at. We found the perfect camp, a banana plantation, not far from the outside of the city. After asking permission to camp, we were granted a nice,quiet spot under some banana and avocado trees! Not only did we have camp, but we were told we could pick whatever fruits we wanted. With mango season coming soon, this would be perfect for foraging!

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Check out those razor sharp tan lines!

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Bike shadows

We took the morning slow, as we were pretty wiped from not having any rest days for over a week. The jefe of the farm stopped by our camp and told us that when we leave, stop by the office because he had fruit for us. When we got to the office, he handed us a overflowing grocery sack of grapefruits! Literally over 20 lbs. of grapefruit, way more than what we could eat. Graciously, we took them all with plans of handing them out to locals. Flor de Caña is the national rum in Nica and quite delicious is I do say so myself. The distillory was about 10km from our camp and we stopped to see how much the tour was. After finding out the ridiculous cost, we changed our minds on the tour and decided to make is further to Léon! The 25km to Léon was smooth, but we could definately tell we needed a rest day, which we would find in Léon.

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Volcan San Cristobal reflecting the sunset

The city is quite nice. It is a tourist hub and definately on the gringo circuit. After eating lunch at a local comedor, we sought out a hostel to rest our weary heads. We found Hostel Sonati. Tommy checked it out, the rooms were nice, proceeds go to local kids learning about eco-tourism, and there were tons of babes! Tommy told Bradie the previous and the babes is what sold him. As we entered and unpacked our bags, we were bombarded with questions from this old expat that was quite interested in bike touring. We also met our new friend Franzi there. She studied in Mexico and is now backpacking around. We made a pasta dinner with Franzi and then decided to go to the bar with her and some other travelers from the hostel. This is where we got to try the Flor de Caña for the first time and man is it sweet! A great rum! Some of you may have tried it as it has recently become world reknowned and sold globally. After a nice night out, Franzi and the Rangers stumbled back to the hostel and went to sleep!

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Our host family curiosly watching us cook breakfast

The morning was a little rough for the both of us. Not sure if it was the water or the food, but our stomachs were in knots and definately feeling sick. Regardless, we spent the day relaxing at the hostel, layin in the hammocks, reading books. Doing whatever we could to not ride bikes for the day. After touring the local market, we gathered a bunch of supplies to cook breakfast. We whipped up some eggs and Franzi fried some platanos! Fried platanos is definately a new favorite dish! We chilled out all day at the hostel, avoiding the heat as much as possible. Allegedly, Léon is the hottest city in Centro America. In the evening, we met up Ike and Hen and they sprayed us down with info on Volcan Telica. They had hiked it the day before and so Hen hand drew us a map and told us the beta we needed to hike the volcano without a guide. The map was courtesy of dirt bag tours! While at the volcano, Ike and Hen met this French guy named Tito who is a proffesional mountain biker and artist who is on a month long bike trip in Nica! We got to meet Tito briefly and it sounded like he had quite the adventure planned, biking all the volcanoes of Nica!

In the morning, we packed our bags to climb and camp at Volcan Telica! Leaving the bikes at the hostel, we jumped on the chicken bus and rode it to the national park where Telica was at. At the entrance of the park, there were these mud pots where boiling mud and water shot up from the earth! Pretty wild. We braved the heat of Nicaragua and started trekking up the volcano. It is funny how we bike every day and are in bike fitness but hiking is different muscle groups and we quickly realized we have not hiked in a while. The hike was really nice, pretty dusty, but nice. Only getting turned around once, we found our way to the top just before the sunset. There was a large field below the summit where the crater rests. This is where we would camp for the night and the other trekking tours were there as well. We quickly traversed to the westside of the volcano to watch the sunset. It was unreal! So bright and magnificent, one of the most memorable sunsets we have seen in a while. But as the sun was setting, something strange happened. It started pouring rain! For 30 minutes, the rains came down, washing off the dust from the trail, and soaking our clothes. Apparantly this is the first time it has rained in 5 months…After cooking dinner, we made our way to the crater of Telica. Telica is known to have a visible lava pool in the crater and is very audible. When we got to the top and looked down, it was absolutely incredible! The lava was pooled up in the bottom and the volcano was so lound it was amazing. It sounded like a boeing 737 screaming on the tarmack. We couldnt believe it, absolutely incredible. To make it better, Bradie spun fire at the top, staring into the depths of the Earth!

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Sunset from Volcan Telica

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The lava pool of Volcan Telica

In the morning, we woke up to watch the sunrise from the top. Camp was really nice, it was the first time we had camped in the backcountry, as every night we camp in the ¨frontcountry¨. We hustled down volcano and back to Léon shortly after sunrise in order to beat the heat. We rested at Hostel Sonati for the afternoon and repacked the bags before leaving. It was late afternoon by the time we left.  With the sunsetting, we started looking for camp about 20 km south of Léon. After questioning the Jefe of this building off the road, we were granted permission to camp. We found out this building was a safehouse, rehab center for the locals struggling with drug addiction. They told us it was muy tranquilo so we took there word, set up camp, and rested the busy day away.

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Gotta love the Toña

In the morning, Tommy was woken up to a huge bull staring at him in curiousity from 5 feet away. Bradie was getting quite the kick out of the staredown. Packing up camp, we got on the road and set out toward Managua. As soon as we hit the highway, the wind picked up. One thing that we have noticed about Nica, is that it is always windy here. Struggling with the wind, we put our heads down and pushed through the heat and wind. Weary from the wind, we got reminded how awesome our lives are by taking lunch at a restaurant lakeside of Lago de Managua. The lake is massive, surrounded by Volcanoes and mountains. We made the push, hoping to make it outside of Managua to bandit camp. Unfortunately, Managua was bigger than we expected and with the sunsetting, we had no other option than to get a hotel. The hotel was pretty expensive for our budget but thanks to the gracious gift from Ray and Heidi Schneider we got to indulge ourselves…Hands down the nicest shower we have had in months. We thoroughly enjoyed the steaming hot water.

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The morning staring contest…

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It´s always windy in Nica

The next day, our plan was to cycle to Granada, dig the scene for a couple hours and then bike past it halfway to San Jorge, where we wanted to catch the ferry to Isla de Ometepe. After crushing the 35km from Managua to Granada, we got there just in time for lunch. Browsing the streets for eats, Tommy saw a sign that said ¨Breakfast Buffet¨. Instantly, both of us knew we needed to eat there. We have been searching for the ellusive buffet the entire trip and have finally found it. As we stuffed out faces with omelettes, hashbrowns, and waffles, Tommy saw Bradie look forward and say ¨No fuckin´way!¨ Tommy looked back and saw Franzi walking through the restaurant which was also a chocolate museum. We had brief facebook contact with Franzi and had tentative plans of meeting up at Granada or Ometepe, but it was wild running into her like that! We caught up on the past few days while we continued to eat. That is when Bradie realized he forgot his ipod in Managua at the hotel. Deciding to grab the next chicken bus back to get it, Franzi helped Tommy monitor the bikes. Tommy chilled in the park with Franzi, chattin´her up, and drinkin beers in our chairs. Franzi got a taste of the bike tour lifestyle and how we often chill in the park, diggin the scene!

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Chillin in the park with Franzi (Total Babe)

Bradie didn´t return until late afternoon, making it too late to bike. So we got a room at the same hostel that Franzi was at and would take the ferry from Granada the next day. We stayed at Oasis Hostel which came with pancakes in the morning. They say they are free pancakes, but who are we kidding, they are just included. Also staying at the hostel was Tito our French buddy. We got to chill with Tito, Franzi, Emily, and Ashley for the night in our newly established crew. It felt like we were on the backpacker circuit again, but it was cool. Granada is a nice colonial city, right on the shore of Lake Nicaragua!

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Just another day in paradise

In the morning, we lounged around at the hostel, waiting for 2pm ferry to leave for Isla de Ometepe! Anxious for the 6 hour boat ride, we loaded the bikes onto the boat and prepared for take off. Our large group of friends occupied one side of the large ferry as we started to trek across the lake. One source had told us the ferry ride was a scientifically designed boat ride to please the Masochist, so we knew we had a bumpy ride ahead of us. The water was choppy, waves crashing into the boat as we crossed the 10th largest fresh water lake in the world! Watching the sunset from the boat was quite beautiful and a very tranquilo setting. We arrived to Isla de Ometepe after dark, and biked to a nearby hostel. Being the dirt bags we are, we just set up our hammocks in the courtyard of the hotel instead of purchasing a room. The gang went and got some dinner at the nearby restaurant and shared a few liters of Toña, the delicious national pilsner!

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Ferry to la Isla with the volcanoes in the horizon

The next few days on the Isla de Ometepe were very tranquilo. We spent 4 days there, enjoying the slow pace of the island lifestyle. We made camp at a finca (farm) called La Brisa. It was up a trail in the jungle, so we locked the bikes up at a locals house and then trudged up the trail with bags in hand. La Brisa was one of the coolest places we have camped. Full of edible plants, an outdoor kitchen, an open air shower staring at Volcan Maderas, and a composting toilet. The perfect sustainable establishement we were looking for.

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Stackin bananas on the island

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A rare moment when the clouds aren´t encompassing Volcan Concepcion

While on the island, we spent time on the beach with Franzi, Tito, and friends. We soaked in the sun, while staring at the two volcanos on both sides of the island. Our second day on the island, we decided to do a fruit fast for the day, indulging ourselves in loads of locally grown fruits. However, the fast ended in disaster when we decided to cook a large rice and veggie dish for dinner. Franzi was leaving the next day, so we wanted to have farewell dinner party for our new, but great friend! We chilled out really hard while on the island. Camping with Tito the whole time, we really got know him well, and all of the awesome travel stories that he has. It was a very humble experience on the island, eating nothing but locally produced food, living super low impact. Breakfast was fried platanos grown on the isla with eggs and cheese sourced from the neighbor. It was really cool getting to walk to the neighbors house to get supplies for the day! We also got to cycle around pretty much the entire island, checking out all of the villages and seeing how they different villages go about their lives. Our experience on the island was great and definately one of the highlights of the trip.

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Yaaa…Camp was pretty cool (La Brisa)

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The view from Finca Mystica, another sustainable farm on the island

We decided to leave the island on Saturday Feb 22, Tommy´s Bday! We spent the morning biking to the oppisite side of the island to the village Moyogalpa, where the ferry left from. The ride was muy tranquilo, getting to more or less circumnavigate the entire island. We arrived just in time for the ferry, bought our tickets, and hopped on the boat heading mainland. Since Tommy´s birthday is today and Bradie´s birthday tomorrow, we decided to continue our tradition of sharing the birthday party. We were heading into San Juan del Sur, a well known party spot, for the celebration. After getting lunch, we smashed the 30 km to San Juan, to find a nice little beach crawling with young tourists. San Juan was exactly what we had expected and been told. Americanized, full of 18+ year old travelling for the first time and getting obnoxiously drunk. Luckily, we got a room in the cheap quite hotel and could visit the party hostel if we so choose.

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Rad bus at El Zopilote…Another sustainable farm at the island!

Our birthday celebration consisted of a bottle of Flor de Caña,  several beers and a little bar hopping. We checked out this place called the Black Whale, which had some live music and fire spinners. Bradie rushed home to get his poi and was spinning with the performers. Sickin! Our celebration was great.

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Bikes WILL save the planet!

We celebrated on Tommy´s birthday and are recovering on Bradies´s birthday. The perfect combo.  Tomorrow we are leaving San Juan and heading to Costa Rica! With only a week and a half left of the trip, we can almost taste the crisp Colorado air! But we are making the most out of the time we have left, loving everyday. Next time you hear from us, we will be in San Jose, Costa Rica, preppin´ our bikes and boxes for the voyage home!

Stay tuned for the conclusion of Ranger Rides!

-Ranger B-Koz and Ranger Tom

 

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Finca Camping, Amazing Hospitality, and Border Crossings!

One thing that we always embrace on bike tour is change. This trip has evolved so much since its´ start and it continues to do so. Since the last blog many sizeable changes have taken place. The first is our return plans home. Optimistically we thought we could be in Ecuador by March when we needed to return, but that is not the case. We are returning March 5 from SAN JOSE, COSTA RICA! Needing to return for work, this is the new plan, and although we are bummed we´re not making it to the equator, the trip is amazing regardless. The other change is that the rangers and Ike and Hen have decided to break into groups of 2. With so many options to do in Centro and different agendas due to our return, it only makes sense to split up and have the journey become 2. We wish Ike and Hen all the luck headin´down to Mundial in Brasil and knew we would see them down the road.

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Sick painting of Everest at Base Camp Hostel in Antigua

We parted ways in Antigua, Guatemala and headed into the valley between the three giant volcanoes that emcompasses the colonial town (Volcan Fuego, Agua, y Acatenango). The ride was all downhill leaving the volcans which put icing on the cake to getting to stare at these massive mounds as we biked away. Camp was quite interesting that night and marked off our goal of staying in an abandoned building. We found this industrial compound that had clearly been destroyed by fire and now was unoccupied. We took pleasure in calling this eerie setting our camp for the night. It was our first night camping in a couple days and felt good to roll out the thermarest and sleeping bag.

IMG_1966Abandoned building campsite

In the morning, we went through the daily routine of coffee, oats with banana, and stretches. Just after we got on the road, we both looked to your right at the beautiful lookout of Volcan Fuego. As we stared in awe, smoldering began to arise from the caldera and a mild eruption took place! This is the closest either of us have come to seeing a volcanoe erupt and it was magnificent! As we rode away from the highlands of Guatemala, the road was downhill and the wind at our back (the 2 conditions you hope for most)! After a long day of riding, we started to inquire about camp for the night and that is when we met Herbert, who ran a tilapia farm. More than happy to host us, Herbert sliced us up some sugar cane and even cooked us dinner! Exhausted from the day, both of us feel asleep at six pm and didn´t wake up until six the next day. Twelve hours of sleep is definately out of the norm…

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Volcan Fuego

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Herbert´s amigo casting the net to catch tilapia

If the hospitality Herbet showed us wasn´t enough, we were provided breakfast as well. We were given the desayuno tipico (eggs with beans and tortillas), one of our favorites. As we rode on, enjoying our last full day of Guatemala, we took in the beautiful scenery until Tommy´s seat clamp broke. Looking for a roadside fix with what we had,  Bradie improvised by using the bolt on an extra brake pad to clamp the seat. It works great! Again searching for camp, we sought out this family who had a nice patch of grass for us to camp in. Before we could even finish asking, Fila the owner had said yes, and soon we would be welcomed into to one of the most hospitiable camp spots of the trip. We  were given a tour of the ranch that the family managed, as well as the Lagoon behind the house, where the fish for dinner had been caught. Fila´s wife cooked us fried tilapia with beans and of course fresh made tortillas! If dinner  wasn´t enough, it came with 2 beers as well. Wow! Dinner and beer what more can you ask for right? How about getting to milk the cows in the morning? Neither one of us had ever milked cows before and tomorrow morning at six am, we got to join Fila and family to the daily chore of milking the cows.

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The roadside seat fix…

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Laguna Grande

Six am came early, but with the anticipation of milking the cows it was well worth the early wake up call. We showed up with Fila and the others had already got to work. It was amazing at how fast they could milk the cows, making it look easy. Before we could milk the cows, we had to drink coffee and we enjoy a little milk in the coffee. So naturally, we put our coffee cups right under the udder and got the milk straight from the teet! First time for us. The coffee was great and now we are ready to milk some cows. It definately not as easy as it looks and our first few tugs on the udders produced no milk. Naturally, the locals were getting their kicks out of seeing the gringos fail at producing milk. After they got their laugh, they showed us the trick to getting the milk out and soon we were milking away, however, not near the velocity they could. Everyday the cows are milked producing around 60 liters. The family takes enough for daily usage and then leaves the rest to be sold for three Quetzales per liter ($.35). That is pretty cheap for farm fresh milk!

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Bradie concentrating on his technique

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Farewell photo with the entire family

After milking the cows, we hit the road, only 5 km away from the border of El Salvador! As we approached the border, semi trucks were lined in traffic kilometers long. It appears each truck has to be rigorously searched before crossing the borders. Some of the truck drivers were taking advantage of the traffic by stringing their hammocks up under the trucks and catching a nice little siesta. The border crossing went smooth as butter and we were off into the unknown, our third country of the trip! The land of Pupusas! It seemed like as soon as we crossed the border, the temperature increased! Not far off the border, we saw two guys walking down the road and they quickly held up a glass bottle, indicating that we should stop for a drink. Agua diente! Sugar cane alcohol! After taking a sip, they informed us that in 2 days, (Feb 2) was the election, and these guys are already celebrating. Upon searching for camp around a sugar cane field, we stumbled across a treehouse in a large tree in the middle of the crop. Saying Hola, we found the watchtowerman who invited us to camp. He would be working all night looking for crop vandals and providing us with a personal security guard for the night! As it was friday night, the watchman had his buddies come hang out in the treehouse, drink beers, and bull shit. We hung out with the dudes for a little bit and then hit the hay!

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Sleeping the traffic away

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Treehouse camp

The next day, our plan was to make the 85-90 km push to San Salvador, where we had a warmshower host established. The first half of the day was an uphill climb to inland El Salvador. The climb also came with a beautiful backdrop of Volcan Santa Ana, the largest volcanoe in El Salvador. Around lunchtime we stopped roadside to get our first pupusas of El Salvador! A pupusa can vary, but it is typically a tortilla filled with beans and chicharon and always topped with pickled cabbage salad! It is so delicious and great fuel for cycling! After lunch, crushed out the remaining 40 km to San Salvador that ended with a huge downhill into the busy city. Passing cars, swerving in between traffic, we made our way through the city to a busy restuarant corridor. From there, we made a call to Juan, our warmshower host, who informed us he would meet us at our location in 10 minutes! Juan showed up on his motorcycle and escorted us to his apartment and our residence for the next 3 days! Juan and family live in central San Salvador near the National University. Upon arriving, we met his lovely family, wife Patricia and daughters Paola and Lucia. After washing up, we joined Juan´s family and their family friends for dinner at what must be the best pupuseria in the city! We got to ride in the back of the truck to the restuarant which is a cultural experience in of itself! The pupusas were delicious, as were the pan dulces that came as dessert! The night was concluded with a walk through the street fair, crowed with food vendors, arteseans, and clowns!

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Volcan Santa Ana

Upon waking up, we were greeted with breakfast from Juan who had just got back from his early morning ride. Juan is a cyclist himself and has been riding/competing for 25 years. After breakfast, Juan drove us to the top of Volcan San Salvador to check out the ecological park at the top, where we could look down the caldera and see the crater! While driving there, we got to talk to Juan about his experiences fighting in The El Salvadeño Civil War  in the early ´90s. Although our view on war is negative, it was great to learn this local history and get to understand the problems that were plaguing the country. As we said, it is election day for the President, so we got to join Juan and Pati as they cast their vote for President. The voting system is interesting in that you actually go to the park where voting booths are set up and you write in your vote. None of this early voting, mail in ballot stuff we deal with in The States. Another interesting fact about the El Salvador election is that the sale of alcohol is prohibitted the day before through the day after the election. This was unfortunate for us as we wanted to partake in some libations while watching The Broncos de Denver win The Superbowl, but we all know how that worked out…

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Bradie´s new favorite pastime

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Juan and Bradie looking out over Volcan San Salvador

If we hadn´t seen enough great hospitality already, Juan handed us the keys to his house and left it to us for the day as the family went to work and school. We took advantage of having a house and did laundry, washed our dishes, and hung the sleeping bags out to dry. After doing our chores, we took a stroll into the Centro of San Salvador. It felt good to be off the bikes and walk around. We met up with Ike and Hen in the centro, where we admired the beautiful architecture of the National Palace and The Cathedral. Upon seeing an open air barber in the streets of San Salvador, Bradie got a straight razor shave and Tommy a beard trim. We loved the dirt bag bike tourist look, but also felt like cleaning up! On our walk back home, we picked up supplies to cook dinner for the family as a way to say thanks for everything they had done for us. Annd we also got Patricia some roses…Aren´t we sweet! Dinner was delicious! Tommy cooked some curry chicken and Bradie preparred the salad and rice!  The rest of the night was spent talking to Juan about very interesting topics such as US Immigration policies, Social Security, and the recent legalization of marijuana in Colorado!

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Eating Pupusas…I think the barber missed a spot

Juan and family gets up at the crack of dawn everyday for work and school, so we did as well so we could give a proper good-bye since we were leaving that day. We can´t thank Juan enough for the amazing hospitality we were shown while staying at his house. The family went above and beyond what may be  asked of a great host and we really felt at home while there. Unfortunately, Patricia was not feeling well so she stayed home, which allowed to hang out with her as we packed our bags. She sent us off with a lunch packed with sandwiches and these delicious little cookies called ¨Chickys¨. Feeling great and really stoked on life after having such a great time in San Salvador, we hit the road heading to the coast of El Salvador, where the road is supposed to be flat and of great quality. As soon as we climbed out of the valley surrounding San Salvador, we descended 35 km of sustained downhill that brought us to the coastal highway of El Salvador. Once coastal, we felt the heat everyone more inland was talking about. However, the scenery was beautiful and full of sugar cane that had fallen out of the transport truck. The sugar cane is an excellent source of enery while riding and quite fun to process, as it requires shedding the outside bark with the machete! Towards the end of the day with the thought of camp in the back of our mind, we saw two bike tourists on bridge, peering over the river. Who did it happen to be but the second best bike tourists (next to us) in Centro America, Ike and Hen! After catching up on the days happenings, we rode as a pack again for the evening to find camp. We got to stay on a families property that gathered their water from a hand drawn well. As Tommy biked to go get pan dulce for dinner, he came back to see Bradie pulling 5 gallons of water from 20 meters below the earths surface! Camping with the dudes was great! We had a bike tour camp cook-off, Rangers vs. Sustainably South, where I hate to admit it, but the unanimous decision was that Sustainably South won!

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Voting Salvadeño style!

Ike and Hen had a football match with the kids that lived at the house in the morning. While they played ball, we took advantage of the early  morning and tried to beat the heat! After getting a few km to warm up, we saw the opportunity for the perfect skitch (a tow while riding the bike). A farm tractor was trudging down the highway at about 25 kmph, with perfect handholds on either side. As it passed us, we held on for as long as the tractor was going on the highway, which ended up being about 10 km. By far our best skitch on the trip! We stopped for lunch at a roadside comedor, where we got a huge plate of food and a beer for $2.75. The benefit of being on the dollar in El Salvador is that you can visually see the price differences as to what something would cost back home. After lunch, we pushed through the brutalizing heat for another 50 km, and getting within 20 km of Playa Playitas, a small beach on the southern tip of El Salvador. Asking a local family to camp, they quickly said yes. We found out we would actually be staying in the local church, that was the Iglesia for the 5-10 families that lived in this little rural neighborhood. Typically when we camp at someones house, we talk to them for a little bit and then they let us be alone, understanding that we are tired. But this family was too intrigued by the gringos staying at their place. From the time we showed up to the time we went to sleep, there was anywhere from 3-8 people standing over us, watching everything we did, and touching our gear. We don´t want to sound ungrateful because they provided us with shelter for the night, but they had kind of taken it too far and were invading our privacy. It is understandable to an extent though, these people are pretty isolated from the outside world and having two gringos on bicycles stay with them is bound to spark some curiosity.

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They sell water in bags down here…

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Finally checked camping in the church off the list

However, in the morning, the family had taken it a little far. We had just barely opened our eyes and they were hovering in the windows of the church looking at us  and that is when we knew it was time to go. Quickly we packed our bags and said thank you for the hospitality. We got out of there and recollected our headspace as we drank some coffee at a roadside park. From there, we pedaled the bike to Playa Playitas to check out the beach for the day. The last 11 km of the road was rather rocky and bumpy so when we arrived to the beach, we were definiately ready for a dunk in the ocean. Playitas is a tiny beach crowed with lanchas that the local pescadores use to fish. After taking a swim we enjoyed a couple beers while gettin´some color. We decided to take the bus out of the beach and avoid riding the harsh road and for $.75 for a bus ride, who could beat it? The bus dropped us off at La Union where we got some pan dulces from the market and the necessary supplies for dinner. We hit the road, back tracking past the curious families house but making note to look the other way. Finding ourselves 20 km from the Frontera (border), we made camp at this water park that looked EXTREMELY inviting. There was a pool, a petting zoo, literally 3000 chickens, and mango trees. The perfect campsite! After getting the 3rd degree interogation from the owner, who wanted to see our passports and know our religion, we were granted entry. Naturally, we took a dip in the pool, washed the day off and chilled at camp!

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Playa Playitas

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Takin´a swim before settin´up camp

The next day, we are crossing into our fourth country of the trip, Honduras! The morning went really smooth, enjoying the nice rolling hills that lead us to the border. Same as crossing into El Salvador, lines of truck traffic crowded the road, but this time there were no hammocks! The border crossing went extremely smooth…We had to pay a small entrance fee, but with the fee came a stamp, which we were extremely pleased to get since we didn´t get one for El Sal. Not only did we cross the border but today also marked the 100th day of bike tour, indicating it takes exactly 100 days to bike from San Diego to Honduras!  It seemed like as soon as we crossed the border, the wind picked up and would continue to blow for the remainder of the day. For our afternoon siesta, we found what appeared to be an abandoned house, but it was actually occupied. Granted permission by the little niños who were playing there, we chilled out and passed the heat. The one little niño really liked one of the bracelets that Tommy had and he ended up trading for the necklace Jose had. Stoked for the trade! We pressed one, grinding through the wind for the remainder of the day. As the sunset was nearby, we sought out camp. Tommy spotted Casa del Amarillo and asked Maria the house owner for permission to camp in the back yard. Perhaps it was the shade of yellow of the house or the gated entry, but the house looked very appealing! Maria permitted us to camp and even set up hammocks for us to sleep in, mixing it up from sleeping in the tent every night. Along with the hammocks, we were also given a plate of sliced fruit, the perfect treat after a long day of riding! Our first day in Honduras has been muy tranquillo (very chill) and we enjoyed our interactions with the locals thoroughly!

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Wormin through the dead stop traffic. Another perk of bike tour

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Honduras roadside fire behavior

Not having much to pack up, we got an early morning start to make it to Choluteca where we wanted to take a rest day. It was only 40 km to the city and a very casual route, which included a couple skitches from passing semi trucks. One great thing about El Salvador and Honduras is the plethora of sugar cane that lays roadside after falling off the trucks. Instinctively, we forage the cane for a quick energy boost. Upon arriving in Choluteca, we were intrigued by the scene that encompasses the city. Definately a modernized area of the city but also a traditional and natural feel to the city. We copped a cheap hotel room to rest for the night, watch some Olympics, and maybe catch a little buzz, eh eh?

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Hammied out…

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Bridge crossing into Choluteca!

And that is where we leave you…Soon we will head down the road and position ourselves to cross the border of Nicaragua tomorrow morning. It is hard to believe we have less than a month left on this amazing journey. What lies ahead of us, is unknown but one thing for sure is that it will be incredible. With so many amazing places on our path ahead, it will be hard to spend the time we would like at all of them, but that is per usual for bike tour!

So much to do and so little time! In the words of Steve, ¨Life is fuckin´great man!¨

-Ranger Bee Koz and Ranger Tom