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November 5th, 2010 - The rain in Spain stays mainly…

The Nicaraguan border crossing was somewhat peaceful, but the rain almost closed down the border. The black skies and wind were telling us that something was coming, but what came unleashed was in a league of its own. In less than five minutes, the ground turned into a lake, and 50 gallon garbage cans got filled to the rim with rain water. Everyone at the border huddled under a canopy which was about to collapse. Even the dogs joined us to get out of the rain. After all the rain, we proceeded to the next station to get the bike fumigated. They sprayed the tires and chassis with some sort of chemical which stinks to high heaven and when it hits the hot engine, it makes some nasty fumes and leaves a stain forever. Somehow they believe that the chemicals kill the bugs and keep the noxious weeds from spreading over the border. Maybe they’re not aware that most bugs can also fly or walk right over the border. Well, it’s their way of keeping themselves busy I guess.

It wasn’t really a drive to Managua, the capital of Nicaragua, as we almost sailed into the city with the bike tires deep in water. Despite my high-tech rain gear, I was soaked again. When I took off my boots, there was water standing in the bottom, and my pants pocket where filled like fish bowls. Cynthia was dry and happy in the van, but when she opened the van door, her clothes bag fell in the water, and all her stuff got soaked as well.

At the Seminole Hotel in Managua, the night staff adamantly told us that there is no washer/dryer at the hotel. However in the morning, we tried talking to the manager to plead our wet clothes plight. They sent someone to get our wet clothes which we told them we needed by 10 a.m. After breakfast, we asked for the clothes to be brought back as it had been over an hour and we needed to pack. We were told that they dried them, but they were still a little “damp. The clothes weren’t “damp!” They were in the exact same condition we sent them down. No amount of yelling in English at the manager got me anywhere, so with no other choice, we packed up our wet clothes and started out to the border of Costa Rica with the all too familiar police escort again.

The vision I had of Central America quickly turned into the wettest dream of my life. Not only did we not see a thing in Nicaragua, I don’t even remember the currency. Very few bikers ride to Central America during the rainy season, and out of those few, I guarantee you that none will ever travel at night. From the US border to the Panama Canal, I rode pretty much every night, in one of the wettest years in Central America. Many people died in the floods and mudslides, many houses got destroyed as the rivers overflowed into villages, but we kept on pushing on.

Light bulb after light bulb went out on the bike as the water kept finding new ways to get inside the lenses. One headlight relay fried when swimming in the water, and finally I bought a tube of silicone and sealed everything. The seat cover ripped after 29 years of faithful service, and the water kept the foam wet, day and night. Every time I sat on the saddle, there was always a squish. My clothes were wet for at least two weeks and finding a dryer became my number one mission in every town we stopped. At every hotel, we asked for an extra hair dryer, and Cynthia set to work drying our drenched cloths with hair dryers and irons. But it was hot. The temperatures stayed in the high 90’s whether it rained or not. I kept humming the Beatle’s song, “Here comes the sun,” but the sun was nowhere to be found.

There are 4 Comments

  1. Mpanther
    November 6, 2010 at 2:01 am

    Wow, the Adventure sure is happening.
    You have something there with all the rain and wet.
    Some of my best memories of long trips and rides come from the days/nights when the weather was the worst. what’s up with that? lol.

    Close call on the pothole. man, that must have been Bad.
    Glad the rim and parts were fixable. to do that much to all that stuff, it must have been a near thing.
    I doubt you will even need this info again, but don’t cool down hot brake parts like that. you can break or warp them. best to just let it cool naturally if you have any choice.
    But I’d rather you just not bend up your brake system any more.
    It’s just easier that way.

    Was Cyn on the back for that?
    I would be interested in hearing her impression of the incident if she was.

    Also, Good skills for keeping it moving after a hit like that.

    Do you have spare tubes with you for the trip?
    And aren’t those “tubeless” rims stock?
    (I would take a spare tube for front and rear even if they are.)

    Safe journeys!

  2. Chris Sorbi
    November 6, 2010 at 2:02 am

    Claudio was on the back filming with a 15lb camera and almost flew off the bike. It was a hard hit but square in so we didn’t even come close to falling but i’m sure it would hurt if we did.

    The rims are mag wheels and were originally tubeless and the tires are tubeless too, but fixing a tube is much cheaper than replacing a whole tire. Once in Alaska I had 3 flats in one ire (tubeless) and I kept plugging it till it got scary. With tube, I can just patch the tube and be done with it. It’s more work but more permanent. I do have a spare tube now for each tire but i just keep fixing the old ones. The tubes that i have on right now have have been patched 4 times and i’m changing them in Argentina when i put new tires on.

    Cynthia has had her share of the rain as well, as when it rains too hard, claudio can’t film anymore and switches with cynthia. All the pictures come from her as i don’t even think twice about trying to take a picture when i’m soaked like a rat.

    I think i’m whining too much about the rain in Central America as today, we got rained on all day and this time it wasn’t 90 degrees, it was in low 40’s in the middle of the Andes Good times as always. I’m trying to catch up with these posts so here’s another one. Stay tuned. Your signed helmet is coming your way soon

  3. Spanky
    November 6, 2010 at 2:02 am

    After seeing some of the scenary pics, how could you complain about the rain??? LOL

    Try to keep the spirits up!

  4. CaddmannQ
    November 6, 2010 at 2:03 am

    Oh man, I couldn’t take all that wet weather, being mostly a desert dweller these days.
    Flat tires I could deal with. Being wet all the time on a bike is another story.
    I’ll do it on occasion, but there has to be a hot shower and dry clothes at the end of it all.

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