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  • Writer's pictureJeremy Brown

Rio Sucio "Dirty River"

Updated: Jun 18

Rio Blog Post

Arriving in Rio Suicco, aptly named “Dirty River,” was like exhaling after holding our breath. As we took a fleeting farewell kiss from the mountains, a brief shower embraced us, a last touch from the highlands. The road untangled itself from the mountain’s grip, morphing into long, graceful S-curves. The dense jungle receded, making way for farms and houses clinging to the muddy track, still slick from the deluge. When the pavement began, so did our relief. Mud splattered away from the tires, rocks shot out, dancing behind us, and the bike felt lighter. Speeding up, the sun warmed our faces and dried our soaked gloves.

With each turn, the road and city came alive. The beat of music from pool halls and the city’s vibrant pulse welcomed us. The single ribbon of concrete unfurled into multiple lanes, descending into a tangle of options. Heather, seated behind me, balanced our weight in my weary arms. We zigzagged down and down until we finally joined the main road.

Rio Suicco was unassuming, not crafted for tourists but a genuine stretch of city between a mountain and a river. The main road cut through old colonial buildings, their history etched in their walls. The streets dropped sharply towards the valley floor and the river. Navigating a maze of one-way streets, we found the town square, neon lights advertising hotels and rooms. Heather scrolled through Google, seeking a budget-friendly place with parking. Finding none, we looped around in idle circles. Two gringos on a Royal Enfield didn’t stay unnoticed for long, and the motorcycle’s loud thump did us no favors. We felt out of place. But not unsafe.

Finally, Heather found a place just outside town, back the way we had come. We idled off, arriving within minutes, but faced one last challenge: a steep driveway, two narrow cement strips. Leaning forward, we hit the right strip and ascended. The bike thumped up, faltering only in the last twenty feet. I pulled the clutch just enough, throttled back, and the bike surged, gliding to the top. We parked under a small carport next to other motorcycles, muddy, wet, sore, and tired.

Our spot sat atop a sliced hill, the big house to the north, overlooking the steep valley, the city, and the river to the south. The casita perched on the hillside, its front porch offering a private view. Inside, it was basic but had a hot shower. We asked about laundry, and Heather handed over our mud-soaked clothes.

Showered and in fresh clothes, we savored a surviving bottle of Sauvignon Blanc on our porch, taking in the scenery. Relaxed and examining the empty bottle as the sun set, hunger crept in. We arranged for a taxi into town, our host driving us in his pristine 1991 Mazda 323. The hot, sticky air from the afternoon rain was now filled with the gorgeous hues of sunset.

The town square, once bustling with trucks and workers, was now lit with string lights and lanterns. Couples and families strolled around, the square calmer, music strumming from the park in the middle. Street dogs trotted across the road, and the whole place seemed enchanted by twilight. We wandered, finding a small bistro down an alley off the main square, full of outdoor dining. Opting to sit inside, which felt like outside with the main doors open and an 18-foot green wall of live plants towering over us, we enjoyed the ambiance.

A flickering candle on our table danced with the cool breeze. We ordered a bottle of red and burgers, and with laughter and cheers, we let the night carry us away. The glow from the cafe lights warmed our faces, the wine our souls, and we marveled at our adventure.

Back at our casita, we sat on the porch, the city lights shimmering below. In those moments, we cherished everything: the ride, the mud, the falls. It was all amazing.

The next morning, refreshed and with the bike loaded, we sipped coffee under a sunny, warm sky. We waved goodbye to our hosts, gliding down the steep driveway, back through the city. After finding a cash machine and a car wash, both harder to locate than expected, we set off with a clean bike, some pesos, and a full tank.

To be continued...

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