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Thursday, November 9, 2017

DAY TWELVE: Choluteca, Honduras to El Coyol, Rivas, Nicaragua


"Man, I still can't believe how lucky I was to hit Honduras just as they had reasphalted the roads", I'd thought to myself the previous evening.

Chucho and I mounted up and hooked a left out of the hotel.  We immediately hit a bad, but not terrible, stretch of road.  The road improved and then...

...it turned into the most terrible stretch of pavement on which I've ever driven.  There were more than a dozen times the entire road, in both directions, was covered in potholes, and it was a matter of choosing the 'least worse' path.

This immediate part? About as good as it got!  Note the truck  farther up front trying to traverse without dropping an axle.  I couldn't take pictures of the medium to ABYSMAL stretches as I was focusing on Opie's survival.


I spent arguably the slowest ninety minutes of my adult life on this road until I reached the border to Nicaragua.  As bad as things were with the sun shining on the road, it became a guessing game puckerfest when going under  trees.  I constantly flipped my sunglasses up and down so as to better contrast in the shade, then sun.  Many times, the pot-craters blended in to the shaded asphalt.  There were a couple Opie sank into that were so bad and hit me so out of the blue I felt as though I'd been suckerpunched.

In one particularly nasty stretch, I pulled off the oncoming traffic lane onto its dirt shoulder to avoid a couple of seemingly impassable sections of thirty or so meters.

Eventually, we were flagged down and I once again heard my government name.  I was told to wait at a not fully-functioning gas station with a half-empty convenience store.  I asked the clerk why the roads are so bad, were they just stealing the maintenance budget?  He said yes, although it's gotten better (!).

I won't go into the rigamarole of the crossing but long story short it took us just shy of four hours to get in.  I thought Chucho was going to collapse from heat exhaustion in that black fur coat of his.

We drove non-stop and reached our destination  after more than five-and-a-half hours of driving through only Nica.  I could tell it was a haul because my buttcheeks went numb.  The roads were VASTLY better on the main highways in Nicaragua, though they were atrocious in some spots on the local roads.  I wondered if it was a federal versus local funds situation (much like interstates versus surface streets in the States).

Once it got dark and I got off the main drag, things complicated.  Opie's windshield fogged up a bit and there was no shoulder to pull off onto.  Apparently, Opie's left headlight was out as well.  When oncoming headlights hit me, it was very hard to see.  I was driving just under the posted speed limit, but getting hit with high beams from behind.  I kept violently waving them ahead of me as I pulled as far to the right as I could.

Eventually, I reached the first gate to our complex and I hit a washboard road.  I heard Opie's struts whir in pain from the expedition and the toll inflicted.  Raquel and co arrived about forty minutes later from Costa Rica.

The total mileage for the trip came out to 3440.5, including a short trip to my cousin's house in El Salvador, which was the only intentional detour.

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