Pt I. Alajuela to Samara. 30Nov2012
Hi, my name is Greg and I am an addict. It has been more than a month since my last ride and here is the story. I will do my best to keep the verbiage to a minimum as I am no writer. This is good practice though…
This route has been on my bucket list for some time. I have just gotten back from the states, and have a few weeks more on my month and a half leave of absents from the daily grind. So, jump on it mister, hit the road.
Step one: Prepare
I haven’t known my speed or mileage since 2008 and I have a Vapor CPU lying around. So it is time.
Installed and dialed in.
Time to fill the void. $3 cookie sheet.
Few more cuts and bends…
It was a 4 day project with lots of trial and error. With that done, now for the route planning. Couple hours in front of Google Earth and wa-la!
Time to ride! Departure: 06:44 30Nov2012
2 hours later, we are in Puntarenas for the 09:00 ferry to Paquera. Bike + 2pax = $11/₡5500
All aboard the Tambor III.
Getting comfy and shoving off. (Notice: the wife is coming around and framing in some eye candy to offset my ugliness)
Had we taken the CR1/Pan-American, we would be wet.
One of the Gulf islands.
Taking this pic.
Welcome to Paquera. The time is now 10:37.
It only took an hour or so to reach Montezuma with some BS’ing as we ran into some Gringo friends in Cobano. They say on the planned route, we’d be three or four hours more to Samara. It is not even noon yet; good news. At Cobano, the pavement ends except for the quick and very steep drop into Montezuma. They finally paved it!
Time: 11:56 – Montezuma Centro.
We are hungry and hit up the main Restaurant on the beach. $10-20 main entrées! Make it a batido and we will move on.
Here is our guide. Who needs GPS?
Leaving Montezuma, the road is very nice and well traveled.
It has bridges. This will be missed dearly by the end of the day.
We hit the town of Cabuya and leave Route 160 for the Cabuya-Mal Pais road.
It was fantastic. The grader had been through recently on select parts and anything remotely steep.
River crossing No.I
River crossing No.II
This was as rough as this road got. Almost a double track.
River crossing No.III The time is now 12:51. It wasn’t much longer to Malpais.
Once in Mal Pais the road is dusty and very busy until you get past Santa Teresa. After Santa Teresa, bliss!
Almost bliss. The time is now 13:23 and we are very hungry and burning out fast. We have not seen a sign of civilization since leaving Santa Teresa. We take a quick 10 min break to stretch and calm the nerves.
About 30 min down the road we see a sign for Restaurante Dyka. We turn inland, up a hill, around a few corners and finally some food.
Arroz con Camaron
Sopa de Mariscos (From memory about $15 for the meal. I doubled up on the strawberry con pineapple shakes)
Back on the road. (The new dash revealed!)
Not a bad place to RIP, no?
At this point we are near the town of Ario. We have a choice: Ride on Playa Manzanillo or take the road to Betel then turn North. (These cities are marked on the NatGeo Maps) I didn’t fancy much beach riding two-up and loaded so we choose “B”. Wrong answer. We drive directly into the rain storm we saw from our lunch table. Once we hit Betel and turn North we exit the rain storm. Soaked!
Being wet didn’t matter much. Time is now 1459 and our first proper river crossing of the ride, or ever for that matter.
I had recently read some of Colebatch’s river crossing advice about looking for rougher looking water to find the shallow parts. See it above in the pic? Just a bit down stream. I ignored everything I read and took the direct route. It got deeper and deeper. Just before exiting the other side the river swallowed the front wheel, stopped all momentum and the clutch slipped with a loud screech! Just as I heard that water hit the header pipe and a cloud of steam billows up. My thoughts: F*uck me I just burned up the clutch in the middle of nowhere!! We pushed it out with the help of the engine, it killed and I prayed it would start and function again. It did, and I will pay more attention in class next time.
While pacing back and forth enjoying the adrenaline a car full of tourists came rolling by. They were just our F’in around in their rental car and we exchanged route info of what lay ahead and bid each other farewell.
Stealing BigAl’s line: ONWARD!
We round a bend just a short way down the road and guess what? Our second big river. I wish I could read her mind in this pic .
As I mount the DR she says I’m walking this one and you follow me. Ana plunged right in, no hesitation and just like that we are across. No drama.
The third and final big river of the day was a big more complicated. It was above the knees and had a rather swift current. First part was easy, follow the wife.
She’s having fun now.
Third proper river crossing in my life, 20+ inches deep with a steady current. The manly way crossed my mind. Gun it, lean back and hope for the best. The thought that followed was pulling soaked spark plugs and even the possibility of a free helicopter ride to the hospital while leaving Ana with a 350lb bike in the middle of nowhere. I promptly returned my balls back to her , she guarded them safely in her purse and we pushed the DR across.
(1:37 clip of the second part of this crossing.)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHg6rePL6xM (Sorry, the embed text isn't working for me.)
It is now nearing 1600 hrs. Remember 3 to 4 more hours in Cobano? Not even close. No more large rivers to cross from my ADVrider research. Smooth sailing with speeds between 50 and 80 km/h.
At Punta Islita we stop for a break. Time: 17:11. Not much daylight left and still a considerable distance to go.
No more pics because of darkness, but the show must go on. From Punta Islita it takes us roughly two hours to reach Samara. We stop in town and I call my buddy where we are to sleep this night. I am now informed he lives in the general area of Samara, but closer to Nosara. Another hour to an hour and a half!! Wait, there is a short cut which will make it about 45 minutes to an hour trip.
He explains the directions and that we will have to cross another “plenty wide” river but it is only about a foot deep. I relay this info to the wife, concealing the river part, and lay out the options giving her full control. We pitch a tent on the beach here or continue on. She chose “B”.
The directions were to take a left past some bar or super market. I find a left. It looks very f*cked up. Reach for the cell, no signal. We continue on looking for something more traveled. If we miss it we are on the long way around so no big deal. We did find the correct left and lucky we did. I was later told people have lost trucks in the part of the river where the first left leads.
Now at the river I feel the wrath of God bearing down on me when the headlight hits the smooth black of the river water. I hear the wife behind me asking in a scolding kind of way, “Hay rio? HAY RIO?” I tell her not to worry, it is shallow. Now with my fixed headlight it proves difficult to find the exit on the other side. We finally do, she hops on and away we go. Directo! A foot deep? Maybe down stream. Scroll up to the first proper crossing of the day. Same story.
Day one recap: Google distances were off… it was 300+ kms today and damn near 14 hours. We arrived to cold beer and buffalo wings in Playa Pelada around 21:00 hrs.
Day Two: Estimated 92kms. More rivers, cattle drives and general ADV!