We handed over our passports to the officer in charge and looked on as he strode with considerable purpose to the small military post and picked up the phone.
The soldier left behind to guard us explained his boss was calling the capital to check on our status in the country. After thirty minutes and numerous questions surrounding our intentions for traveling in this area one of the soldiers took pictures of us and our motorcycles before we were given permission to continue our ride.
Chris was organizing Motorcycle Mondays to get some friends together and explore the less travelled areas close to home. This week’s ride was set to go to a small town on the south west side of Lake Nicaragua called Cardenas.
I knew how to travel to Cardenas on the highway, but the windy dirt road Chris took us on was way more fun. We crossed a couple of pretty good streams that would be tricky in rainy season. All of us were relatively experienced riders and we put our 125 cc workhorses through their paces. Of course our friend Voytec had to show off and be the big man with his 200cc black stallion.
We reached our destination early in the day and saw a map showing us how close to Costa Rica we were. Although there is no border crossing on this road we wanted to see how close we could get. We set out south along the lake and within two minutes we met up with the first of three military check stops. The military officers recorded our passports and questioned us each time. Fortunately only the first stop involved a call to Immigration and a photo shoot. We got the impression not many cheles (light skinned) travel these rural back roads to no where.
Surprisingly the road to the end of the road was in much better condition than the beach roads around San Juan del Sur. Even though we are in the middle of dry season the jungle was lush and creeks were still flowing. This little micro climate was a welcomed change from the dusty dry coastal scene.
We stopped for a beer at a cantina where the road ended and across the lake we had a view of the Solentiname Islands. The bartender moved a couple of tables together for us while being careful not to disturb the sole customer who was asleep on the floor. I asked which brand of beer was coldest and he said they were all the same.
That is to say all warm and still in the case. With out needing any prompting from us he solved this little inconvenience. Pouring our beer over ice in huge beer mugs wouldn’t be my first choice especially since I could see by the random shapes the ice was not purified. As the ice melted and stated to release some not so small particles I surmised we were drinking frozen lake water.
Our sleeping customer must have heard a song he liked because he suddenly popped up off the floor and danced around the bar. The next song must not have been to his liking because we went right back to sleep. Our second round of beer we drank warm but the view of the lake and the entertainment made it all worthwhile.
If you find yourself in San Juan del Sur connect with Chris to rent a motorcycle and join our crew for a ride.
Check out the video below to see where the next lightly traveled road took our little bike gang.