to Liberia

Yesterday, when I was strong enough to get out of bed and check on the bike, I found poor Lucinda with a flat front tire. Both sick. In a way I wasn’t surprised – the dirt road two days earlier had plenty of sharp rock. I rolled the wheel around, couldn’t see anything, pumped it up with the compressor to 36 and went back to bed.

A couple of hours later I went back with a bowl of hot water and a bar of soap, checked the tire carefully, then the valve – nothing. The tire pressure was down a couple of pounds. Shit, I thought and went back to bed again.

This morning it was down 8 pounds. I packed, filled the tire and started riding around Granada looking for a tire shop with a tank and thankfully found something. Off came the wheel, into the tank and lo and behold, no wonder I couldn’t find the leak. It was between the tire and the rim. In the tank


It was leaking a bubble a second and you’re wondering why no bubble in the pic. Try catching a bubble on film during a 1/2 second transit. But here’s a bubble I caught of one waiting on the rim, pre-launch, dead center in the shot


Anyway it was a relief I didn’t find something needing a fix. We deflated it, cleaned and lubed it and off we went, at about 10:00 a.m.

Although not feeling so hot Lucinda (feeling much better than me) and I headed in the direction of the Costa Rican border. I wasn’t so thrilled with a few things about Nicaragua, I like Mexico, Guate and Salvador much more, despite not having given it the same exposure and despite the better security. Hugh, Blake, Colin and Eddie had crossed this border days earlier and told me it had taken a few hours. Plus there was a ride, probably in torrential rain to Liberia on the other side. A bit ambitious and my fall-back was to see how it looked at the border, check in on my mood and health and if need be return to San Juan del Sur and do it tomorrow.

I got to the border at noon and decided to go for it. Exiting Nicaragua was a breeze, maybe 45 minutes. As Eddie warned me in an email, Costa Rica looked a bitch so I forked out $10 for a helper to point the directions (no shame in that, many do it) and got through in under two hours. So total about 2:45. It’s probably a fact you can get through faster solo than in a group. No talk, no checking in with others, just focus. I think groups should break up on border day, leave the comfortable shelter of friendship, and do it alone. Just a theory!

I was in too much of a hurry for many pics but here’s a couple of typical scenes. The money changers, etc


Some flair to the booths


These can be immigration, customs, insurance, copy places, whatever but the most important thing about them is they can be (and are, in the case of Costa Rica) a hundred yards apart, require visiting maybe twice, in no particular order and can drive you crazy. The helper points directions to prevent you from loosing it and makes sure you don’t forget a step. Helpful when you’re tired or in a hurry. Only my second time. Then off into Costa Rica where the skies opened and we rode into weather chaos. Thankfully Liberia was only an hour or so away at rain-speed so no problem.

A strange bug in the hotel room floor this morning


Anther view. I’m sure you’ve figured out what’s going on here


Into Liberia.

The heavy rain is now a daily fact and it’s going to get worse as I head further away from the sea. The day’s track. Innocent looking for such a difficult day

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