I had flown down to Costa Rica a couple years ago and ridden around on the backroads on a Honda 250 Tornado rental bike. I put quite a few thousand kilometers on that poor thing. Wore out a set of tires riding from the Nicaraguan border to the Panama border at every crossing, begging them to let me across. That's the problem with a rental bike. You can't leave the country with it. The best they could do is let me walk across the bridge to Panama at Sixaola if I left the bike at Costa Rica immigration. That bike needed new chain and sprockets, new tires and fork seals when I got back. Costa Rica has some rough country roads. But I LOVE Costa Rica. I don't know what it is about that place, and of course I stay away from the tourist areas. But the back country of Costa Rica is spectacular.
I headed to the capitol of San Jose for a wild ride through rush hour traffic before heading up, up, up into the mountains. Through the clouds where the road is over 8,000 feet for a sixty mile roller coaster ride on the Cerro de los Muertos (road of death) that takes you up to the pass at 10,000 feet. It is cold up there. I remember from last time. So I put on all my warm clothes at the gas station before heading up. After winding up through the clouds and fog the road broke out and you were looking down at the clouds swirling below. It was like being in an airplane. The sun was setting and lighting up the skies, and the clouds were turning peach and pink. It was AWESOME! Of course I didn't get a picture since there was nowhere to pull off on that narrow winding road. And then you drop straight down switchbacks passing semi trucks with Jake brakes blapping and the smell of burnt brakes in the air before you get back to the lower elevations. I think it drops more than a vertical mile in 20 or 30 kilometers. And it is warm again in San Isidro de General. After that chilly ride I took the turn off down to the warm beaches south of Dominical to spend the night.
I see a sign on the coast road down near Uvita pointing to an ecotourist place that rented yurts with wifi called Rancho Diandrew. PERFECT! Only problem is, it's dark out, and has just been raining, and the road is red clay mud, and it is STEEP! It was only 4 kilometers to the place according to the sign. But MAN, what a muddy 4 km that was. I couldn't use the brakes since it was like grease.
And one steep downhill section had a curve at the bottom. But the little Sherpa is so low it made it with a dab or two. No way I would have kept upright on a big beast of a bike. Not with my weak skills. Once I get to the place I learn that Landcruisers got stuck last week when it was really raining.
The owner is a surfer. His Son Andrew runs the place. Andrew fixed me a pork chop and soup and gave me a beer. Now that's service! I was the only one there since they are getting ready to put gravel on the road and the graders have made it nearly impassable. In fact he thought I was fellow inmate Ziguener53 who lives down the way and was supposed to come up and fix their Landcruiser. Anyway, I highly recommend this place. It is way cool, with ocean views, stream with waterfall, swimming hole, next to one of the best surfing spots in central America for ten bucks a night. I think I'm in heaven. Minimalist touring is the shizzle!
I wake up in the morning to the sounds of the jungle. Howler monkeys groaning, parrots cawing. I spent the night in this tent that looks like it is out of the Arabian nights. A bit rustic, but they have nice cabins if you want to spend the money:
The rain clouds are starting to clear in this photo I took the next morning of the view from the tent
looking out over the jungle to the coast.
Andrew fixes me breakfast in the morning and a Toucan actually landed in the tree next to the deck. He invites me back on the return journey north, and I know I'll be back.
But for now it is Panama or bust. So I hop on the bike and slide down the hill to the highway. This is a picture of the road in the only flat spot I could actually get off the bike