Days 221-239: The Wet, the Cold, and the Hot



Copan Ruinas, Honduras to Leon, Nicaragua: 778km

We weren't sure what to expect when we crossed into Honduras; would the steep roads continue, improve, or possibly even worsen? Fortunately we found that the grades did improve, although we would continue to come across some very potholed sections of highway, cobblestoned town streets, and a couple of stretches of very rough unpaved road. We also found ourselves passing through very different climates. Dark cloudy skies and near constant mist dominated our first few days in Honduras, and although we came close to needing to dig out our rain gear, no major storms materialized. Later on we would enjoy near ideal temperatures as we climbed over one pine covered mountain after another, and cruised down to cross a clear flowing rivers before starting to climb yet again. Recently, we have returned to the hot and the dry, although tall volcano peaks are always in sight. 

Here is the slideshow:

Honduras



Even though it felt like a reprieve for us compared to the majority of our riding in Guatemala, our friend Carolyn who joined us in Copan Ruinas assured us that this was not easy riding! She was a good sport about it though, and was able to keep up with us most of the time despite having a bike that lacked the same climbing gears as ours. After a couple days of riding with her we did find a very nice place with hot spring fed pools to soak our sore muscles, and also pitch our tents. Unfortunately that evening Glenn had some major stomach gas, and a couple of emergency trips to the washroom during the night - possibly some sort of bacterial reaction triggered by a beer he drank earlier. We therefore decided to simply bike into the town of Gracias the next morning, less than 10km away. Within that 10km though, Carolyn noticed that her rack was seriously bent and then her derailleur snapped right off! Needless to say it was a day for recuperating. 

Not content to stay still for too long though, the next day we were tempted by Honduras' highest peak, a volcano just a few kilometres out of town. Glenn was feeling better and Carolyn had found a new derailleur, so the three of us headed out for a hike. Hiking to the summit is a multi-day endeavour, so we settled for hiking up to a waterfall lookout, still a strenuous climb with about 1000m elevation gain up into a cloud forest. The air was much cooler up there, and we saw quite a distinct change in the vegetation. The waterfall was beautiful as well, though we had trouble spotting it at first because it was hidden by the clouds. 

We set off the next day only to find that our bodies were more sore than ever thanks to our hike on our "day off"! Gorgeous scenery helped take our minds off it though, as we continued to cross the sparsely populated mountains. Also, we occupied ourselves with composing a song for our new milestone!



That night we found another hot spring place to camp at, although the waters would be better described as warm, or perhaps even refreshing. We more or less had the place to ourselves though. Another enjoyable stop was the twin town of La Esperanza/Intibuca, where we took another "day off" to go for another hike, this time to see some mysterious holes, up to a meter wide and 20m deep, on top of a volcano of course! Also Carolyn was able to find a bike mechanic to fix her rack which had finally broken completely, and he was able to improve her derailleur which hadn't been shifting properly. In addition, the nationwide 'Telethon' kicked off while we were there, a 27 hour fundraising effort to help children with developmental disabilities. 

We will also never forget Roberto and his family who stopped to advise us about a turn we would surely have missed on our way to the next town, Marcala, and who then came in search of us when we took longer than expected, invited us to stay at their house, showed us around town (which included observing the Telethon festivities at the town square), fed us breakfast and made us feel like longtime friends. We couldn't thank them enough. Two days later we made it to Tegucigalpa, the capital, where we stayed for a couple of nights and picked up new chains for our bikes, visited some museums and galleries, and sadly said goodbye to Carolyn who headed up to the bay islands for a change of pace.

We, on the other hand, headed due south, and after one more day of biking through the mountains finally found ourselves in hot, flat lowlands near the Pacific once more. We continued to be greeted with generosity, as people offered us free smoothies, water, bananas, and helpful advice. Then it was across another border, into Nicaragua! We've biked three days here so far, and have never climbed higher than 135m. On the downside, the heat makes it unpleasant to bike pretty much anytime after 11 am, so we have had to adjust our schedule to get the majority of our riding in before then. We took today off and visited the very interesting Museum of Legends and Myths, which is housed in a former prison, and thus serves as a sort of two for one museum. The Centro de Arte was also an interesting place to visit, with a large selection of art from Central America both historical and contemporary, and some international pieces as well. 
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