Thursday, August 12, 2010

Las Pinetas to Parque Nacional de Volcan Masaya. 110 miles

All roads lead to Managua so we will have to negotiate our way through the capital. As a rule the large cities are not RV friendly and Tom does not relish the thought. True to form, we got lost. The problem is that we have maps but the streets do not have signs, so although on the map the streets have names, with no signage we don't know where we are! And also, the rain has started once again which only adds to our anxiety and dilemma. Fortunately we see a stadium and a fire station. We park by the stadium, I walk Winston and Tom heads across the street to the fire house. Someone speaks English and Tom was able to get some exact directions to get out of town. As we follow them, we realize that we would never have gotten out of the city without help and we make a decision that from now on, if we get lost we will immediately hire a taxi to lead us to the road we need to be on. As we get ourselves situated on the road to Masaya, we heave a sigh of relief. It has taken us over 2 hours to get through Managua and now time is not on our side. We need to be at the national park no later than 4:30pm, closing time as this is where we are hoping to spend the night. We pull in at about 4:40 and talk to the ranger at the gate. He calls ahead to the visitor's center to ask permission for us to park there overnight. No problem and we pull into the park. As we drive the mile or so to the visitor's center, we pass huge boulders of lava, reminders of a time when the volcano was active. It actually still does have an active steaming crater which we hope to see in the morning. The ranger told us that the crater had been closed all afternoon because of the rain. It seems that when it rains, the gases are held in and it is too dangerous to be breathing them in. As it usually doesn't start to rain until late afternoon or evening, we hope that the weathr will hold and the crater will be open. Aa we pull up to the center, another ranger points out a beautiful grassy area for us to park. We have amazing views over the valley and can see Lake Managua and Lake Nicaragua from our vantage point. As the rangers begin to leave, three armed military vigilantes arrive, they will be the guards for the night. Pretty soon, we have the park to ourselves and we feel completely safe. It is so peaceful. I give Winston a final walk of the night, passing the guards. We chat, the stars are out and I can't help but think that this is very unique. For this night, we have our own personal park with guards. We sleep with the door amd windows open to enjoy the night air.

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