(March 11 – written by Dave)
We had a long, but relatively easy day today – reaching Leon just about noon. We were on the road by 6AM and blasted through the cooler morning on super smooth Nicaraguan roads. Traffic was almost non-existent. We had the Volcano Cristóbal Casita as a nearly constant companion throughout the day. We couldn’t see it early but by 8AM it took its place off to our left and stayed there for nearly the rest of the day.
Volcano Cristóbal Casita last erupted in 2008 but it is probably more famous for a massive mudslide the occurred when hurricane Mitch went through here in 1998. That tragedy buried two villages and claimed some 2,000 lives. There was little that could be done for the villages once the mudslide hit as they were buried in up to 60 meters of mud and debris. They say that you can still see the scar from the slide today but we didn’t really know where to look – the whole scene was very peaceful to us. Had we not looked it up, we would have never known the rest of the story…
When you have a long mileage day planned, it kind of gets in your head a little. You stop less for photos and keep the speed up more consciously. I was not given the “limit photo stops” order today but it probably wasn’t needed as I was happy moving along just as much as Nancy was. We only stopped three times all day and had more than 100k on the clock before noon. I snuck in a few photos – but they were quick stops – no time for framing or light checks – ha.
The first stop was at a servo where I was the only one brave enough to try out their toilet. And I didn’t touch anything! Our second stop was at a roadside stand that I was sure would not have cold drinks but Nancy proved me wrong. The owner/woman working the stand had to make two trips to her house to get our three drinks but they were all cold. The last stop was just in the edge of town at a Puma station – where we got lunch. We only had 3k to ride from there.
Impressions of riding in Nicaragua are good so far. The roads are quiet and smooth. Drivers have been polite and today at least the scenery was nice and green with lots to look at. I hope these trends all continue – we do have to skirt Managua (the capital) in a day’s time so things may get crazier.
We had a lot of debate about the hotel. Nancy found a really nice one that was a tiny bit spendy. We rode straight to it but found the doors locked and no one around. We knocked and yelled but nothing. I got out the phone and discovered that a hostal that Manja and Martin (friends ahead of us) stayed at and reported to be nice was nearby. We decided to try it out, just as the hotel guy came out. Too late, we decided to check out the hostal anyway.
We are in the Hostal las Vacaciones and it is nice. The only trouble is there is no A/C and it is stinking hot right now. I’m not sure how we are going to sleep – the fan may not be enough. Nancy has been giving me a hard time about “my” choice all afternoon but to be fair, it was a team decision. We have lost A/C but the sink works and we don’t have a bucket flush toilet like last night so at least the hygiene side things has improved.
We had a bit of a wander about Leon this arvo and I’ll share some photos here. But I’ll keep this post brief now as we are taking a day off to see and report more on Leon tomorrow and if I get the post done, I can turn my computer off – and get one less heat generating thing turned off in our room. Nancy is passed out on the bed (at 7PM) – it could be today’s ride in the heat, or simply the heat in the room now. I’m afraid to ask her to proof this post now either way…