Volcano driving in Nicaragua

Border fiasco behind us we drove deeper into Nicaragua. Nicaragua is the land of volcanoes. Pretty much everywhere you turned your head your eyes would meet at least one or two of them towering over the horizon. On the road to Leon we were passing many parks that looked good for camping.

We turn down the road into one of the parks, A guard meets us at the gate. We tell him we want to camp near the Volcano. He seems confused but then explains there is a road that goes up the Volcano and points towards some farmers and their cows plying up some path.

We ask “Can we camp up there?” He says “Sure!”

So we headed off towards the “road”.

We end up in “traffic” behind a farmer, his horses and his young son. The “road” appears to be more of a cow path that farmers use to move their cattle from pasture to pasture.

After slowly creeping behind this farmer up this horribly rutted and rocky path for about 15 minutes he stops and asks us what we are doing?
We tell him we are trying to drive up the Volcano to camp….

He says he has never seen anyone drive up this road and it gets pretty rough ahead. I ask him if he thinks its possible to continue, He replies “Maybe…”

We push on further up the volcano, the road continues to deteriorate the higher we get.

I am mashing in 4×4 over huge boulders, the path is barely wide enough for the 4Runner to fit. I was having a blast tackling this challenging trail, letting the 4Runner do what she was born to do. The farmer is enjoying watching these crazy ass gringos drive up his volcano. Poor Lauren is bouncing all over the truck, worried about breaking our home while driving up this crazy path.

The farmer is now on-board with the adventure to drive up this Volcano. Him and his son are going up ahead of us clearing huge differential murdering boulders out of the way and helping me pick lines to climb up and over rocks, cliffs, and washes.

After about an hour of mashing the living crap outta our truck we reach a point where we just cant clear the differentials any longer. The farmer looks heartbroken. He offers up his horse to Lauren and I to continue our journey. He wanted to take us back up to his ranch and to spend the night with him and his family.

We considered his offer. Unfortunately, the 4Runner was wedged in the cow path, Nothing else could fit through. I figured I should probably turn around and not leave my truck out here in the middle of nowhere blocking the way.

Sadly we had to say Thank you and Goodbye to our farmer friend and his son. We reversed in 4×4 for about 1/4 mile to a wide enough spot to turn around and start heading back down the mountain

Eventually we get back to the guard at the park gate. For some reason he was laughing his butt off when he saw us drive up… turns out that bastard knew it wasn’t a trail for trucks! He was pretty impressed when we told him how far we got up though.

We caught a beautiful sunset that night as we drove into Leon, Nicaragua.

It was sweltering HOT in Leon. We found a hostel that offers free drinks with each night of stay. Our kinda place.

The bartender is pouring strong drinks of Flor De Cana, Nicaragua’s local rum. It is delicious, and now my favorite rum. Some say it is the best in the world, I am inclined to agree.

We post up for a few nights checking out the sights and beaches of Leon

Leon had some beautiful colonial churches.

Largest church in Central America (Mexico has much much larger)

Playa Penitas. A great place to escape the heat of the day.

TONA, the official beer of Nicaragua. Tastes exactly like every other beer since we have crossed into Mexico…

The beach had these creepy aids worms all over the place. Anyone know what they might be?

We say adios to the heat of Leon. We were headed to capital city of Managua to try to find some propane.

Looking back relying on these little 1LB green propane cylinders was a bad idea. They are hard to come by. Next time I am getting a white gas stove or a big refillable propane canister and mounting it outside the truck.
Rough road from Leon to Managua, no pavement for 100 miles. I later learned there is a newly paved highway that we could have taken… Oh well this was more fun anyway

Standard Nicaraguan Transportation. They usually rig these carts with old Toyota axles

Guy cut me off with his horsecart!

We spend all day in Managua trying to track down these bottles, finally we track down a SENSA which is an American style hardware store similar to Home Depot. They have the bottles and tons of other stuff we have been looking for for months. We spent way to much money there but it was good to restock the toolkit.

I also got pulled over TWICE in one day in Managua for legitimate reasons. It appears Nicaraguans actually enforce laws of the road. Passing on a double-yellow and using a turn-lane to pass is illegal here…

I explained to the first cop I was just a dumb tourist and he left us off with a warning.

The second cop actually confiscated my license and was about escort us to the bank to pay our citation. Before he pulled off towards the bank he asked where we were going for the day. I explained we were trying to get to Volcano Masaya. He starts laughing and explains we are very lost and completely off-track. All of the sudden he gives me license back, tears up the ticket, then pulls out his motorcycle, stops traffic both directions in the 6-lane highway and gives us a police escort all the way across town to the correct highway to Volcan Masaya.

Talk about a turn of events!!

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