04-27-2014, 08:04 PM
Joined: Apr 2011
Location: Alajuela, Costa Rica via MN.
Montes de Oro, Alajuela/Puntarenas
Like any good ride, you must get out of The Valley.
It is not very far before things start looking different.
Whichever way you go, you have to go through San Ramon.
Outside of San Ramon the road remains paved. We are on the edge of the cloud forest.
This road takes you to the “city” of Piedades Sur.
Piedades Sur defines sleepy. One nice thing to note is the tarmac ends at this sleepy little mountain town.
The gravel track gently climbs to 4000 feet and the views begin to open as we were now looking down the Pacific slope.
That is where this road goes, down the pacific slope to the coast and boy it takes you there in a hurry, kind of.
Mr. Caged complained of some snowplow affect his BMW has in this terrain. The road, although well maintained, is covered with a layer of loose golf and base ball sized rocks. I remember in 2008 thinking “What a weenie” as I chewed through this stuff on a 200cc chino-bike. That 1150 is nearly 6x’s the bike mine is, why is he whining so much? I was naïve.
Well, 2012 was a learning experience. I don’t know what this snowplow affect feels like, but two-up with the wife and loaded for a day at the beach on a 650cc bike was a little different. There was no traction. Not because of bald tires. It was a combination of weight, pitch and road surface. Ana and I were sliding down the mountain and at some points out of control. Ana dismounted when I could get the bike to stop and she walked a lot on this day. We would get to the next switchback only to see another slippery slope. Ana fell to her knees at one point in defeat. All 80 lbs of her created enough to slide as well. I was using every bit of brake and clutch to keep from sliding through the next switchback. These stones acted like marbles.
YBCaged dumped the pig a few times (I so wish there were pics ) and my wife decided to hitchhike. It was that steep .
Both kept asking, “How much further?” My response was the honest one, “I have no f*cking clue”, either because the road was new territory for me or I had forgotten. They were in the same mood at this point .
According to Google Earth we had dropped 2,800 feet in 6 kilometers. The road cannot continue west due to a very large and deep river valley. Instead the road turns north and makes a big loop back up into the mountains to cross the big river’s tributaries where they are more manageable. This meant lots of up and down as we twisted down to the riverbeds and back up into the mountains. Most of the insanely steep stuff was paved in 2012. Not so in 2008 and we got to lift that behemoth Beemer a few more times.
There are a few small towns along this route. One in particular stands out in my memory:
The roads become paved here. You are thinking, “what a relief, good roads!” Wrong! The pavement ends shortly after town. In 2008 we were ignorant. In 2012 I was wise. I knew the biggest obstacle still lay ahead.
This obstacle is a motherfu*cker combination of turns and elevation change. It is a right, left climbing chicane into a right-hand, nearly 180° switchback followed by an immediate near vertical climb up a washout covered in loose stones.
2008: took both riders down and ripped off a fancy BMW side-case . We were very tired of picking up the big pig, it was very hot and on this particular fall the bike was laying nearly upside-down on the hillside. Once again, sorry no pics of this debauchery. I was green.
2012: took two attempts. I was anxiously anticipating this section and once again dropped Ana to walk before my first run at it. I took off too much speed in the hairpin and was spinning the rear, nearly stopped half way up “the hill”. The eject button was hit, and I laid the bike down . I backed the bike down, unloaded the top case and walked the extra weight to the top if the hill. I had set me helmet on some fire ants which was nice when it came time to gear-up for the second go. No sympathy from the wife, I am pretty sure heard her laughing at the top of the hill.
This part is a grand finale of sorts because the pavement reappears shortly after. The road dumps you out on the Pan Am and it is smooth sailing, west to the coastline.
Each trip had its own final destination but the general idea was the same .
Now we know why the Yellow GS1150 vanishes from my RR’s.
Ride Time: A normal ride from Alajuela to Puntarenas is two hours. In 2012 the first picture timestamps at 9:47 and the last picture on the beach is at 14:45 . Not exactly for s.
Costa Rica: Trippin' with GR
, The Bike Teardown
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"My father taught me to work; he did not teach me to love it." -Abraham Lincoln