Like a kid loves candy and fresh snow, new trails and culture, I love you oh so well. I built TukTuk (my bicycle) up at an open air terminal, plenty of spectators and biting bugs. Agriculture land. I was the only gringo on the flight; a good sign for sure. Turns out TSA lost the nut to my front wheel skewer. Translation: the piece that prevents the front wheel from rolling off the bike was missing. Dripping in sweat, determined, and applying my community college B- physics, I made a skewer with four zip ties and a bike lock key.
“Don’t ride at night,” that’s the only consistent pre-trip advice I got from folks who’ve ridden in Dominican Republic. I left the airport and headed to Moca. A dusty town surrounded by agriculture on three sides and a mountain range on the North. Mopeds are like mosquitoes, cars are in varying states of decay but rest assured horns are intact. I ascended a, not the, ridge out of Moca just as the sun set. Alpenglow on broad leaf palms and eucalyptus are like finding a long lost brother. Ascending the first ridge, based on my maps, I’d anticipated seeing a beautiful descent down to quaint little coastal village. Instead I saw countless jungle ridges and a closing curtain of darkness; I suppose that’s when the trip really began.