Motorcycle Adventure - Short loop round the Dominican Republic – Tom Junkans

cavebiker

Have a dream, live it. Set a goal, achieve it.
Alright! Off the beaten path motorcycle adventure, cavebiker style!
-----------------------------------------------------
Of course skip the dribble if you like and just check out a few adventure photos.
-----------------------------------------------------
IMG_4636-XL.jpg

Enjoy!

Alright, Dominican Republic North Coast adventure central. We are here for a couple weeks, my wife Heidi and sister Cassie (who gave me my first motorcycle at 14), how great! After settling in my first mission I believe is to locate a good motorcycle rental and helmet. Heidi and I jump on a guagua to los charamicos and get off at a moto shop we have frequented in the past. Great, they have helmets just like years ago. We are enjoying seeing a lot of the Dominican family businesses still here and not taken out by 2021’, street empanadas, homes with roasted chicken and the Sasua beach bars and shacks all still here. There is a ton of new development going on so we will see where all that goes, hope for the best for Sasua.

Let’s Go! I flew in with enough gear to pull off a proper DR dual-sport motorcycle adventure. No reservations or solid plans, just a want to go where I’ve never been. We will see…

Gear:
-Motorcycle boots,
-Gortex rain jacket and pants,
-Bike gloves,
-Poly turtle neck, t-shirt, travel pants.
-Survival kit & first aid.
-10 X10 tarp.
-SpotX satellite SOS & text box.
-Off-line DR maps on a spare Android phone.
-Large paper road map Dominican Republic.
-Two good cable locks.

Sasua has motorcycles for rent everywhere. The trick is to find one with light use and good tires. I’ve had my share of flat tires and bike problems in the DR. There is no shortage of bike repair shops or people willing to help here. Some of my most fun memories are getting help from or giving help to locals while on the road. Anyway this is a short visit so I want minimal problems. Haa! Big fun comes from the big rides with the big problems! Ha that is nuts! I think I can still have massive fun on a shorter more reliable ride. (I must be growing up) I could have paid half for other bikes at other places but I like this place, it’s a brick and mortar and I have a history renting here six years ago, they are still here and I like that!
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The Bike: Yamaha Dual Sport 200cc or something? ~5,000 miles on the clock, Sweet!

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The Plan:

Day-1: Sausa to Las Terranes A recon looking for potential rentals for next season while enjoying empanadas and fruit in route.

Day-2 through 5: Ride through areas that are new to me, just for the adventure and fun of it. There is a joke on advRider.com “Adventure rider, those who go boldly where other people live” I know that I respect that, the DR like Mexico and Central America we are in people’s front yards all the time and the goal is to be as non-intrusive as possible, respect and enhance dignity of local culture and norms as much as possible, all the time. The love and help Heidi and I have received from people we didn’t know or speak their language seems nothing short of a miracle and we will forever pass that forward.

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Day-1: I’ve ridden this route many times in the past so the plan today is enjoy the ride as much as possible while looking for great Caribbean chillin’ spots (what I always love to do) and homemade empanadas, no problem. Near Sabaneta I spot the family run street stand attached to a small moto shop, I’ve been coming here for years.

The best empanadas de huevos (egg empanadas) in the world made right here. Score!
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Making egg empanadas is an art. I’m constantly amazed how perfect these places turn them out. There are two or three places making them in Cabarete and at least two stands here in Sabaneta. Some are serving ham and cheese (jamon y queso), chicken (pollo) or just queso (cheese) empanadas at different parts of the day. I like them all but a fresh egg empanada is not to be missed.

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Motorcycle adventure travel especially on a small machine requires constant chillin’, hydration, nutrition, map reading or just being Zen with the surroundings is good here.

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One observation on this route is more beach development and cleanliness seems way up. No crowds of people today either so I really like this.

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One of my favorite activities is stopping at mom and pop mini marts. Hydration is important and sometimes there are homemade empanadas at the counter, and I love practicing Spanish with locals. Just great!

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Wow Cabrea has sure grown! The traffic is nuts I don’t like that but the town has a more modern feel and a cleaner look, that is positive.

Hang on! We just started much more to come :)
 
Aug 21, 2007
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Next time, write to me. I have contacts that will travel with you on roads you never knew existed and you will see life as it was 100 years ago. When you have done that, you will have seen the Dominican Republic.

Thank you for being adventuresome and enjoying all the DR has to offer. We need more tourists like you.
 

JD Jones

Moderator:North Coast,Santo Domingo,SW Coast,Covid
Jan 7, 2016
12,731
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You also want to check out Hato Mayor and Bayguana, El Puerto and Los LLanos.
 
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cavok

Silver
Jun 16, 2014
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Cabarete
Do you remember if the empanada stand is on the east or west side of Sabaneta? Any prominent buildings or landmarks nearby?
 

cavebiker

Have a dream, live it. Set a goal, achieve it.
Motorcycle Adventure – Just a little loop round the Dominican Republic – Tom Junkans

-----------------------------------------------------
Of course skip the dribble if you like and just check out a few adventure photos.
-----------------------------------------------------
IMG_4317-X2.jpg

Pushing East I pass Caribbean dreamscapes I remember, palm trees and beautiful beaches. The only thing different now is access and parking has improved. Thirty years ago some dirt biking was required to get to them.

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Pickup trucks filled with fresh fruit and vegetables always amaze me here. Shop is setup anywhere in a parking spot with shade. A single traveler like me pays almost nothing plus the chitchat is worth it times ten.

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Fresh fish.

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Love the rustic sea side communities on this stretch of road.

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Nagua is bustling and more beautiful than ever.

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I jump on the new super highway to Las Terranes. Nice road with cool scenery, great until I get into town.

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Las Terranes! What has happened to our small mellow beach village?? The traffic is insane, commuters going, moto taxis doing their thing and kids just racing the main street loop!!!

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I’m relieved when I see the Malecon and realize I am OK, and I know where I am.

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I stop to catch my breath at a sea side calf. I know there are affordable options near here but decide to go with my old standard just past the Malecon start and a block in, nice and peaceful. This is the same room Heidi and I had ten years back, how fun!

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This is a great location to start a walking tour of the area. There are a number of improvements like this walking bridge to the old Malecon area, although all the old food shacks are bars are just skeletons now blocked with fence to reach them. Not sure what’s up with that I assume an improvement project underway. A new super plaza is already up just adjacent to the old shacks.

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Score! A fresh batch of Empanadas by the expertos! What could be better.

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Walking back to my room I pass the Malecon central park, it has a liquor store and bar at the corner as well as the same across the street. A party seems well under way with a huge boomer stereo of a parked SUV blasting in competition with the liquor store’s music. Everyone seemed to be into it including crowds at the liquor store across the street. I recognize several bikers from the racing when I first come into town. I decided to take my beer back to the casa, although they offered to open it at the store. How nice…

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Wow! The peaceful little room a block off the Malecon is on an alley that’s now used as a motorcycle dragstrip at night. It could have not been louder. Too bad I love this place and will return solo, but with Heidi I will need to rethink.

Next morning I’m on the road again heading to places unknown. With my large paper map I plot a rough course across the interior towards the mountains on the other side of the island, near Constanza. The goal is to stay off major roads as much as possible thinking I will see and experience more República Dominicana I’m here for, we will see…


Hang on! Lots more on the way :)
 

cavebiker

Have a dream, live it. Set a goal, achieve it.
Next time, write to me. I have contacts that will travel with you on roads you never knew existed and you will see life as it was 100 years ago. When you have done that, you will have seen the Dominican Republic.

Thank you for being adventuresome and enjoying all the DR has to offer. We need more tourists like you.
You are on! I will contact you my next trip (y)
 
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cavebiker

Have a dream, live it. Set a goal, achieve it.
Do you remember if the empanada stand is on the east or west side of Sabaneta? Any prominent buildings or landmarks nearby?
Just a couple clicks west of town on the North side. Look for the yellow stand. There is also a favorite empenada stand closer to town in the parking lot of I think a paint store, also are fantastic.
 

cavebiker

Have a dream, live it. Set a goal, achieve it.
Alright! Off the beaten path Dominican Republic motorcycle adventure, cavebiker style!

-----------------------------------------------------
Of course skip the dribble if you like and just check out a few adventure photos.
-----------------------------------------------------
IMG_4360-L.jpg

The goal today is to take the old road over to the other side, to Samaná Bay. Heidi and I did this a few times 2-up on a 125cc two-stroke bike, sometimes in pouring rain, it's just a hoot! I look for a back way out of town.

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Normal DR moto traffic, all good all clear to out of town, perfect route. I super love the moto culture here. When I’m on a bike like always, I fell at one.

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I didn’t know what to think about the bike, it’s a dual sport and it’s a Yamaha. Both are really good things for an adventure bike in the DR, Yamaha is not some unknown brand. I like the beefy rear tire and the dual sport treads, better on the twenties than dirt bike knobby tires. I get use to the road performance, not like a dirt bike but better and more fun on these twisty DR roads (evil grin)...

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The engine is a little small, maybe 200cc if lucky. I can hit 100kph easy on the flats, good for a single traveler. 2-up would be a little slower but similar or faster than most other bikes. I think Heidi would like it, just wish it was a 250 or more.

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Bottom of the hill I always stop here for coffee at least, the meeting of the roads and often the meeting of the minds is great here.

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I enjoy chitchatting always in Spanish. Coffee black & fried cheese (es poseblie café negro y queso frito?) I ask if a photo is OK. “permiso tomar una foto?” Se! I'm not good at Spanish but thats all I speak, out of respect, this is the DR not the USA. Road coffee always tastes great on the island, usually it’s just a half a small cup preloaded with sugar. all good.

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I feel comfortable at places like this, I’m not sure why. Everyone is so upbeat and pleasant, you can’t look at anyone without a greeting, everyone greets each other. I remember in 97’ after 2 years in the DR coming home to my old job, I immediately kiss my boss on both her cheeks, normal right! Ha! It’s a way of life here.

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Tooling West along Samana Bay I go through cool little Caribbean villages with lots of food options. I look for activity like people and lots of food behind the glass, not just a few things, it’s part of the fun - the hunt.

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Perfect timing the counter is stocked full. Fried eggs y mangu my favorite and a number one DR breakfast. Protein and good carbs are essential for motorcycle adventure travel, DR rules!

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I connect up with the new highway to Santo Domingo and Punta Cana. Fast double lane road I make the island interior by midday. At the first turnoff to Punta Cana is a large travel center, tons of people inside and out. Drinking coffee latte in the parking lot is perfect, studying the map verifying position with the off-line DR phone maps, this is great. I turn inland right here so all is good.

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Not sure what this guy’s issue is, it’s a wide shoulder! Cell phones could be a problem here:|

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I dirt bike the back roads and fire lanes of norther Wisconsin. The chilli places I pull over here feel the same, all good muy tranquilo. Drink some water, read the map, eat a snack, check the position. This is adventure maximum no matter where you are, the activities are the same, beautiful fun and renewing. Not that I feel the need to be renewed but it just happens, I like this type of travel, it feels good…

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I like this more every k. The roads are good and using the phone position I know this is the correct road. Not sure where I will stay tonight, all depends how it goes today.

All good, more is on the way! :)
 

JD Jones

Moderator:North Coast,Santo Domingo,SW Coast,Covid
Jan 7, 2016
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I did this "driving without a destination" for years in my Wrangler. Take the top off and just go. Some of my best times in the country.

Many times when I would stop I would be approached by women asking if I was looking for someone to come home with me and "take care of me" I was tempted more than once.
 

cavebiker

Have a dream, live it. Set a goal, achieve it.
Alright! Just for fun a little loop round the Dominican Republic - Continued!

-------------------------------------------------------------
Of course skip the dribble if you like and just check out a few photos.
--------------------------------------------------------------
IMG_4396-XL.jpg

The vibe is good here, lots of activity.

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Twenty or more people are under the shade next to the river grilling out and having fun. I just enjoyed a few minutes at river side looking at the map and chilling.

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The villages here are modern but many homes are traditional, painted beautiful and in ideal locations.

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Quiet today.

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I’m digging this motorcycle more all the time. Especially I like how quiet it is, no intrusion rolling through town or pulling up to a mini store or wherever. Often I’m so close to people and going so slow I say hey! ‘hola’ and hear the response! Great fun, what a ride.

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The colors speak Caribbean.

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I’ve seen this before near Moca. I should have asked what he’s roasting “que sabor?”

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The terrain here is hilly and cool and so far the roads have been in great shape, I did not expect that.

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I take only a small fraction of the fantastic Caribbean vistas I come across, I would never get anywhere if I stopped for them all. A small sample gives the idea, unreal!

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Hogs with a view! No pen needed here, there’s nowhere to go living on the edge.

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This looks like a school, the kids jump out the back of the truck. School bus?

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cavebiker face enjoying the ride.


Hope you are enjoying. More is on the way...
 

cavebiker

Have a dream, live it. Set a goal, achieve it.
Alright! Just for fun a little loop round the Dominican Republic - Continued!

IMG_4436-XL.jpg

Lots of jogging around here, some roads on my map are ‘dotted lines’ meaning it could be bad in the rainy season. All dry and good so far.

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“Bad Roads Bring Good People” It’s a complete different world up here. When I see a home every few kilometers or so I always know I can get help if things go wrong. If not the last home, likely someone they know.

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No problem with this bike

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I wish him happy Easter and startle the donkey ‘¡Felices Pascuas!’ Think I said it wrong. Cool spurs on his boots.

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Often I kill the bike to stop to take a scenic photo then find myself talking with people. Right on the edge of a ridge these people have a spot. I enjoy telling them how beautiful I think it is here and how incredible it is to me ‘¡increíble!’ The bike is so quiet even when I hit the starter, it’s like nothing happened and it’s running ‘¡adiós!’

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I need to hydrate this looks like a good place to stop, biker friendly.

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I ask the pool players if it’s OK to take a photo of the pool table. Then this guy at the bar suggests I take his photo, cool!

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I could have stayed all day chilli. Maybe next time, this trip is too short.

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Looks like school is out as streams of moto taxis wiz by…

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This is the greatest shot!

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Nothing over the top just a great ride through the heart of the Dominican Republic. Hope you are enjoying:)
 

cavebiker

Have a dream, live it. Set a goal, achieve it.
Off the beaten path DR motorcycle adventure continued :)
-----------------------------------------------------
Of course skip the dribble if you like and just check out some photos for fun.
-----------------------------------------------------

This is great the real Dominican Republic places I’ve have never been.
IMG_4481-XL.jpg

I must see what kind of tree this is. ‘Palm’? Looks exotic.

IMG_4482-XL.jpg

Bummer the truck is down. They have help coming so all is chill.

IMG_4486-L.jpg

This route cuts right through the center of the island and requires several road changes. The landscape is varied the navigation is difficult and fun.

IMG_4488-XL.jpg

I try to keep small change in my pocket for special causes like this. I always ask ‘por qué?’ the guy with the sigpractices his English “Money” Ha ha! All fun!...

IMG_4491-M.jpg

I need to ride the super highway for a few clicks, good opportunity for lunch. I hit the big travel stop ‘Jurassic’ for a Cuban. A buzz of travelers the place is hopping.

IMG_4493-XL.jpg

Off the main highway heading up into the mountains towards Constanza. I know of motels here to spend the night. That’s important when doing a ride like this. It helps to know you can always find a place to stay.

IMG_4496-L.jpg

The first hotel before town is almost full with only a cabin available, over my price. The concierge is super nice and suggests downtown. In town there are four hotels close to the center. The first one is perfect, $30, secure parking and food on site, groceries are two blocks away.

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The next morning I head out late in search of coffee. Right at the first corner I score DR coffee and cut fruit with a stick. Fun friendly chit chat is my favorite travel activity, perfect!

IMG_4503-XL.jpg

Shooting for Jarabacoa today the back route I have taken before. Five years ago there was a lot of construction but the road was mostly dirt. Now it’s 100% tarmac and beautiful (if you like that) the scenery is awesome but a little tame in a way, compared to what it was, wild and on the edge.

IMG_4504-XL.jpg
The entrance to the Jurassic Park filming site is gone! It was a long steep hike and then down to a ladder to the bottom where the most unreal turquoise colored water pools are at the filing site. I planned to hike it today but never saw it. Maybe there are guided tours to get there now.

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Everything is so clean and colorful it’s just magical.

IMG_454-XL.jpg

Jarabacoa has exploded! I did recognize the main circle but not much else. One-way streets everywhere with no signs.

IMG_4516-XL.jpg


I had a bad feeling when I started down this street. One cop immediately took out my key and held it asking for my passport. When I hand over the passport I get the key back. Whoosh I thought this is a good sign, at least I have the bike. I sign the ticket, I get a copy and am told this is a one-way ‘una via’ Again just unreal the change here in the DR, I did not hand over one cent! Boy I got some stories to tell of riding a motorcycle around the DR back in the mid-nineties.

Hang on, more is on the way!
 

bob saunders

Platinum
Jan 1, 2002
32,868
6,254
113
dr1.com
Off the beaten path DR motorcycle adventure continued :)
-----------------------------------------------------
Of course skip the dribble if you like and just check out some photos for fun.
-----------------------------------------------------

This is great the real Dominican Republic places I’ve have never been.
IMG_4481-XL.jpg

I must see what kind of tree this is. ‘Palm’? Looks exotic.

IMG_4482-XL.jpg

Bummer the truck is down. They have help coming so all is chill.

IMG_4486-L.jpg

This route cuts right through the center of the island and requires several road changes. The landscape is varied the navigation is difficult and fun.

IMG_4488-XL.jpg

I try to keep small change in my pocket for special causes like this. I always ask ‘por qué?’ the guy with the sigpractices his English “Money” Ha ha! All fun!...

IMG_4491-M.jpg

I need to ride the super highway for a few clicks, good opportunity for lunch. I hit the big travel stop ‘Jurassic’ for a Cuban. A buzz of travelers the place is hopping.

IMG_4493-XL.jpg

Off the main highway heading up into the mountains towards Constanza. I know of motels here to spend the night. That’s important when doing a ride like this. It helps to know you can always find a place to stay.

IMG_4496-L.jpg

The first hotel before town is almost full with only a cabin available, over my price. The concierge is super nice and suggests downtown. In town there are four hotels close to the center. The first one is perfect, $30, secure parking and food on site, groceries are two blocks away.

IMG_4499-L.jpg

The next morning I head out late in search of coffee. Right at the first corner I score DR coffee and cut fruit with a stick. Fun friendly chit chat is my favorite travel activity, perfect!

IMG_4503-XL.jpg

Shooting for Jarabacoa today the back route I have taken before. Five years ago there was a lot of construction but the road was mostly dirt. Now it’s 100% tarmac and beautiful (if you like that) the scenery is awesome but a little tame in a way, compared to what it was, wild and on the edge.

IMG_4504-XL.jpg
The entrance to the Jurassic Park filming site is gone! It was a long steep hike and then down to a ladder to the bottom where the most unreal turquoise colored water pools are at the filing site. I planned to hike it today but never saw it. Maybe there are guided tours to get there now.

IMG_4509-XL.jpg



IMG_4510-XL.jpg


IMG_4511-XL.jpg

Everything is so clean and colorful it’s just magical.

IMG_454-XL.jpg

Jarabacoa has exploded! I did recognize the main circle but not much else. One-way streets everywhere with no signs.

IMG_4516-XL.jpg


I had a bad feeling when I started down this street. One cop immediately took out my key and held it asking for my passport. When I hand over the passport I get the key back. Whoosh I thought this is a good sign, at least I have the bike. I sign the ticket, I get a copy and am told this is a one-way ‘una via’ Again just unreal the change here in the DR, I did not hand over one cent! Boy I got some stories to tell of riding a motorcycle around the DR back in the mid-nineties.

Hang on, more is on the way!
That is the only ticket they give in that location. They get lots of locals there as well. There are plenty of locals that are white so that isn't a factor.
 
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