Friday, July 29, 2011

This mornings coffee is brought from... The hills of Maricau


On our next to last day in Puerto Rico, I had this brilliant idea to go see the radio telescope at Aricibo. Our GPS unit (Garmin NUVI... a unit that has NEVER missed using a back alley or dirt road if possible) said it was an hour and a half trip. I figured.... "Kewl! Nice drive in the mountains, and we get to see a major human achievement too".

An hour and a half later, that Garmin NUVI reported we still an hour and twenty minutes to go.

For more than two hours... I drove UP. No part of the mountain drive was consistent in any other way, except the part where the road went UP. Every turn produced something .... interesting. It might be dogs asleep in the road, or an amazing view through gaps in the trees. Road washed out? Creep along the ruts! Tree brought power lines down? Take the ditch for a while! Garmin NUVI takes you through some guys driveway? Smile and wave!

On more than one occasion, what a turn brought was a vehicle coming the other way. Now, on an American road that may not be such a big deal. On a Puerto Rican mountain road.... oncoming traffic is a very big deal indeed. You see.... none of the roads in those hills are more than 1.5 cars wide.

Think about that for a while.

Now consider... the longest straight piece of road, where you can actually see oncoming traffic as it... comes on..... is about 200 feet. Most of the time on that two hour drive I was sitting forward, head near the wheel, trying to look sideways around corners for rapidly approaching death threats. Our path of travel on the Garmin's screen looked like an X-ray of Ralph Kramden's small intestine.

Two hours of driving UP.... and that Garmin NUVI said we would arrive in forty five minutes. Once again, it lied. The whole trip took almost four hours.

But, I did get to see where the coffee is grown on the island. Beautiful place, it is.

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