Moto Time!

One of the things we all had a blast doing in Panama last year was renting scooters in Boquete and if there was a way to get the freedom of two wheels on Ometepe it was going to happen! One of the issues with the island is the limited public transportation. The fact that gas costs about $8 a gallon makes taxi fare pretty pricey. I had heard of a guy that people on Trip Advisor used to rent motorbikes and as luck would have it his shop was a block or so from our hostel. It was a $50 deposit and cost $25 from 8 am – 6 pm for a 150cc scooter, however for $5 more you could go with a 200cc dirt bike. I of course wanted to go fast, and being the more experienced rider wasn’t too worried about shifting or falling so 200cc it was.

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It’s moto time!

After brief instruction on use and a quick lesson we set off on the one paved road on Ometepe that runs from Moyagalpa to Altagracia with a little spur heading toward Santa Cruz and passing our first stop along the way, Ojo de Agua. The ride took about 45 minutes and we passed through small pueblos along the way. Before getting on the road toward Santa Cruz we did have to stop at some sort of checkpoint where our bike registration and our drivers licenses were looked at and written down. The transit officer was pretty funny and made fun of both Clark and Harmony’s license pictures.

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Clark and Laura – ready to roll

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Harmony – scooter action Nica style

The actual road down to Ojo de Agua is mostly gravel and at the bottom Harmony’s steering column locked up and the bike took a spill. Luckily no one was injured but the steering column was locked and no amount of fooling with it could unlock it, this unfortunately resulted in us having to have a replacement scooter brought out and even though it was a scooter malfunction they still charged $25 extra so that was a bit of a bummer. In this situation what do you do, if it was America where the customer is always right we could have made a big deal out of it but being that no one wanted to argue with the rental guy and the fact he had all our $50 deposits we had to roll with it.

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Entrance to the road to Ojo de Agua

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The swimming hole at Ojo de Agua

That aside the day was fun, we spent an hour or so at Ojo de Agua (Eye of Water) which is a spring fed with what they said was mineral water that had all sorts of homeopathic benefits. I don’t know about all of that but they had Toña’s and a rope swing so I was happy, side benefits to my skin or no. After the swimming hole we did a quick circuit through Altagracia (2nd biggest town on the island) before having to call it quits with the bikes. Given that we had to catch our cab early evening to take the overnight ferry our time was cut shorter than desired. On the way back Laura and Harmony both seemed comfortable enough that they were leading the way going pretty damn fast.

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Clark and Laura lounging at Ojo de Agua

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Taking in the healthy benefits to the skin allegedly attested to the waters

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The moto crew – check the volcano in the back

I was initially unsure of how quickly I’d get used to shifting with the feet a opposed to shifting with the hands like I’m used to with the Stella scooter or manual shift car. Turns out it took me half a mile maybe before I was foot shifting like I was made for it. Now I really want a motorcycle…..

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Well satisfied with my my ride

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