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Old 10-28-2013, 08:41 PM   #151
GRinCR OP
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Location: Alajuela, Costa Rica via MN.
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Central Valley - West. Pt.I

0500 felt too early but it is not often the wife suggests I take a ride. It is also non-existent that I pass the opportunity. Our planned departure was 0530 and a call to JuanCa revealed he was on schedule.

You may be asking why so early? That is because it is winter. Winter means rain. Our winter starts at the end of May and will sometimes spill into November. The first few months are clear in the morning, clouding up by noon, afternoon downpour and star filled skies at night. This time of year though (September and October) it is a craps-shoot, but you can still play the game of chance getting out early and off the road by 1300. Since moving here the Sept/Oct record has been 14 days of non-stop rain. It may not have been torrential rain, but it never stopped raining. I got wet going to and coming from work every day.

Now you know how winter works… 0530, lets RIDE… Well, almost… We drank coffee first then took off at 0600. The Sugar Cane is tall this time of year, almost ready to harvest, but still leaves a peek-a-boo view of Volcán Turrialba hissing away on the other side of the Valley.


Another nice thing about early departures is the lack of traffic. There are ALMOST no cars on the twisties as you wind your way down, up and off the Central Valley floor. This day was interesting as clouds were hovering in the valleys so we laterally drove in an out of the clouds.


This section of road, RT3/El Aguacate, is epic for bikes. Twists, turns, switchbacks, great views and large rocks dotting the sides of the tarmac.

Now rocks are not exactly the most exciting thing, I know. These are different though. A local artist took a lot of time to paint an individual work of art on each of them.


This local art expo takes place where RT3 crosses the Rio . Pretty tranquil place so early on a Sunday.



Not far up the road was the first time we would “break new ground” today. So many times I have continued on the Aguacate Route wondering what lay down “that” other road. Now I need not wonder. It is another beautifully paved, twisty mountain road.


It was not far to our first obstacle of the day; the Toll Way.

We were only getting on the “new” HWY 27 for a little ways but our problem was that between the two of us there was zero cash, only plastic. We could turn back? I said no, let us push on and see what happens. It isn’t that I don’t have the money; it is that you don’t have the means to collect it. Also, I doubt they would send us back the wrong way down the freeway because we did not have a dollar. Turns out we hit one of the only free sections of this new HWY and got on and off without hitting a toll!

We hit the old Rail Road town of Escobal and turned uphill heading to Atenas. This is where the pavement ended for the first time today.


I will shut up now. Let the riding do the story telling…




JuanCa and his first river crossing! He started the day with 1,100 on the dial, lifetime.


The pavement reappeared as we approach town. We had been on the road for about two hours and were feeling hungry. The first place we saw with the Visa sicker on the window was it. A few, day old, overpriced pastries later and we were nourished.


I am sure they bake well but I picked yesterday’s batch and they were double what the Franchise bakeries all over CR charge. Stick to “SODAS”, you can’t go wrong there.

Back on the road I was starting to notice everything is in bloom right now!


We slab it out of Atenas climbing slightly as we pop in and out of the clouds.



We were looking for a right had turn before the next major city, but me ended up at Central Park. We cut a U and head back. My original route had not included the first little dirt run so my navigation notes were off up to this point. GPS/GoogMaps on the cell phone helped to let us know the turn was about 3-5 kms out of town. If we find it, the pavement will be behind us again.
__________________
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'90 DR650RS
Costa Rica: Trippin' with GR , The Bike Teardown
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
"My father taught me to work; he did not teach me to love it." -Abraham Lincoln

GRinCR screwed with this post 10-28-2013 at 08:52 PM
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Old 10-28-2013, 09:21 PM   #152
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Central Valley - West. Pt.II

Forgot the updated map:


Success, we found the turn! 0859 and eleven seconds with roughly 70 kms clocked (started the day with 8.6), we begin the next leg of the journey: Climbing and climbing and climbing. New territory for the both of us.

I’ll quiet down again…







It was now 0956 and holy sh*t! I am sweating my as* off. My Shoulder, neck and upper back muscles are on fire! Some of the best riding I have done to date, intense. We hit this semi flat spot and take a break. Soak up the view and bask in the SILENCE.



Ahhhh! Enough lollygagging, back on the bikes and we climb again, now up into the clouds.


We start seeing signs of civilization again, we are in coffee country. It is around where I made the first navigational error. Missed the right-left combo somehow and ended up on the Left-Right alternate. All ends up where we wanted to go so no biggie.

The fog got quite thick at times.

But we would eventually start to drop and things cleared up. This was also the beginning of my second navigation error.





Purdy flowers!


I had not been paying too much attention to the dash notes since we left the little coffee town where I made my first error. My second error was more than apparent when we hit the bottom of the hill and found ourselves on tarmac again. I pulled out the phone and realized my mistake. Good part was we could still get back on track. We just had to climb out of the mistake up to the road we were supposed to be on.


It was not too far up before we were reunited with the original route.


The time was now 1100 and we had ridden roughly 90 kms. It was here when JuanCa said something about missing pavement . I said tell me that on Moday when you are stuck in front of the computer.

We were also as high as we were going to get today with respect to altitude. Back in the town outside of Atenas, when we cut the U-turn and part two begins we sat at 850 mts above sea level. Here as we sat just below 4,400 mts.

We stopped and JuanCa whipped out two of the biggest oranges I have ever seen. We cut those babies up with his Rambo knife, soaked up the view and watch a local cat on his XR rip back and forth, up and down the route we were supposed to have taken.



We move on. There were no more turns to miss. Keep straight and the road would turn right and drop into the valley to our south. It did, but the road got increasingly sh*ttier and sh*tier as we neared the turn. I stopped in a mud puddle and dismounted. It was getting slick.



Not that I’ve done it or anything, but something told me not to push on. Sliding uncontrollably down a slick, muddy hill with a motorcycle in tow only to find out you can’t go back up, and have no clue how much more lie ahead, didn’t seem appealing.

Now I have read it but will repeat it. STEEP just doesn’t show in pictures. This was the end of the road for us.


There was a young fellow walking up this hill as we stood there laughing in shock. I asked him how much of this road was left until the bottom. His response couldn’t have been more appropriate. He said, “Un montón.” Kind of sounds like “a mountain” but translates to “a sh*tload”.

There was another road about a kilometer back or we could head back into the town we found by error and look for a way home from there. Luckily the gentleman walking confirmed for us that the road we wanted not only existed, but it was paved! For once I was happy to hear of pavement. Steep downhill runs on gravel/dirt are not my favorite and JuanCa is still so young. He doesn’t need to die just yet.

We backtrack, find our alternate route and rapidly descend.




At the bottom we zig zag through many little towns in route to Grecia. It was almost psychedelic as the colours flew past. Every home’s front boulevard was covered in tropical flowers. Faster I said!





I was hauling ass. The stretch to Grecia was also new ground and perfectly paved. It had some switchbacks.


Crossed the Rio Colorado.


Over a bridge.


Under a bridge.


And finally home, back in the Central Valley.


Today’s totals: 120 kms linear, 3,550 meters vertical and roughly 6.5 hours.

We had reason to celebrate.


Thanks for riding along, all 15,000+ of you!!!
__________________
Greg Smith
'90 DR650RS
Costa Rica: Trippin' with GR , The Bike Teardown
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
"My father taught me to work; he did not teach me to love it." -Abraham Lincoln

GRinCR screwed with this post 10-28-2013 at 09:44 PM
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Old 10-28-2013, 10:54 PM   #153
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I'm really sorry that I missed the "pants on fire" tour of 2013. Loving the downhill loose gravel shots.
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Old 10-29-2013, 04:29 AM   #154
GRinCR OP
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Originally Posted by YBCAGED View Post
I'm really sorry that I missed the "pants on fire" tour of 2013. Loving the downhill loose gravel shots.


2BCAGED, try a re-read. No downhills with loose gravel from what I recall.
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Greg Smith
'90 DR650RS
Costa Rica: Trippin' with GR , The Bike Teardown
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
"My father taught me to work; he did not teach me to love it." -Abraham Lincoln

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Old 10-29-2013, 09:48 PM   #155
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As always, nice report and pics Greg.

What's with Juanca and the 1,100 milas? I've done that just
in the driveway this year. I know, I know...he'll get there.
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Old 11-15-2013, 08:37 PM   #156
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Cool2 Escape the Grind - Exploring the Nicoya Peninsula



So, I have been going ape shit for the past ? months. I don’t even remember what it is like to slow down to a snail’s pace anymore. It is all go, go, go and even the little half day, Sunday rides are not feeding the need .

In the past days I have been scoping out the Pacific Coast and the Peninsula of Nicoya on Google Earth. What I have noticed is a large quantity of Dirt. What I also spotted was a stretch of beach out there, 5kms long with only two structures visible from about 2,000 feet of altitude. Add a shady looking airstrip and now I am curioso .

My plan? Leave my house as early as possible, catch the ferry to Naranjo and ride a bunch of gravel roads I have never been on. Find this 5 km deserted beach named Bongo, set up camp and call it mine for an evening. The kid: still too young to come with. The wife: staying behind. Just me and what I can carry on the back of my bike.

My excuse? The 28th is Thanksgiving. Good enough for me. I have put in for a vacation day on the 29th so barring my bosses wanting to flex and say no, I depart on Black Friday for an Adventure into the unknown. I will also be celebrating my 7 year anniversary of living in Costa Rica and will be 31 years and one day old.

Stay tuned, I hope this will materialize.

And a HUGE thank you to all 16,000 of you who have viewed this thread! That is so awesome! Sixteen Thousand wow!
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Old 11-16-2013, 07:26 AM   #157
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I'm finally getting back to CR about this same time, I was hopeing to meet you but it looks like our paths won't cross! I rode around Nicoya last year, it is my least favorite place in CR, a lot of flat, non-scenic land.

On several previous rides to San Jose, I took the route over the pass from San Isidro. This time I want to follow the coast. I understand that the new road turns from the coast north of Jaco towards SJ. Is it possible to miss this turn? How is it marked?

I enjoy following your mini-rides. A lot of your pics look under exposed on my monitor.
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Old 11-16-2013, 03:40 PM   #158
davidbrundage
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Looking forward to seeing this one unfold!

The peninsula was one of the best parts of my trip down there earlier this year.

If you want to skip that paved section on the west side of your map, there is a rad dirt option if you keep heading north a bit and hang a right about half way between Osotional and San Juanillo that will dump you out in Santa Cruz where you can hook up with the pavement again. It's a pretty awesome ridge with amazing views of the peninsula.

Enjoy the ride!
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Old 11-18-2013, 09:49 PM   #159
GRinCR OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KLRmonkey View Post
As always, nice report and pics Greg.
Quote:
Originally Posted by KLRmonkey View Post
What's with Juanca and the 1,100 milas? I've done that just
in the driveway this year. I know, I know...he'll get there.

Monkey man, I am grateful to see you are still here. I too feel Juanca should sack up a bit, but he still rides more than YBCAGED.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chiriqui Charlie View Post
I'm finally getting back to CR about this same time, I was hoping to meet you but it looks like our paths won't cross! I rode around Nicoya last year, it is my least favorite place in CR, a lot of flat, non-scenic land.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chiriqui Charlie View Post
On several previous rides to San Jose, I took the route over the pass from San Isidro. This time I want to follow the coast. I understand that the new road turns from the coast north of Jaco towards SJ. Is it possible to miss this turn? How is it marked?
I enjoy following your mini-rides. A lot of your pics look under exposed on my monitor.

Mr. Charlie, I don't know... The maps I am looking at of Guanacaste look like it wouldn't take to many wrong turns before finding some real gnarly stuff. If you want, pack a tent and we can split the 5 kms of beach I plan to claim that weekend.

If you are heading up the coast you can't miss the signs to San Jose. Once you start hitting the toll booths you will know you are on the right route. IMHO: take the road of death. The coastal road and new HWY is FLAT and STRAIGHT

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Looking forward to seeing this one unfold!
Quote:
Originally Posted by davidbrundage View Post

The peninsula was one of the best parts of my trip down there earlier this year.

If you want to skip that paved section on the west side of your map, there is a rad dirt option if you keep heading north a bit and hang a right about half way between Osotional and San Juanillo that will dump you out in Santa Cruz where you can hook up with the pavement again. It's a pretty awesome ridge with amazing views of the peninsula.

Enjoy the ride!

Good to have you along David.

And dood, why did you do that? If I found the right road it goes through the National Park.

Cheers to good advice.
__________________
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'90 DR650RS
Costa Rica: Trippin' with GR , The Bike Teardown
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
"My father taught me to work; he did not teach me to love it." -Abraham Lincoln
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Old 11-19-2013, 10:50 AM   #160
Chiriqui Charlie
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IMHO: take the road of death. The coastal road and new HWY is FLAT and STRAIGHT



I have traversed the Road of Death six times. The first one was a real pucker factor. I was in unfamiliar surroundings, it was cold and light rain and VERY FOGGY. My visor kept fogging up, so I opened it, only to get a faceful of rain. I couldn't see much further than 30 feet ahead, so I was going real slow, and praying that nobody would rear-end me!

Have you ever gone to Tortuguero? Thats one of my goals on this trip, probably the first week of December.
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Old 11-19-2013, 11:16 AM   #161
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The reason that I am thinking of waiting until Dec is because I am hopeful that there will be less chance of riding in the rain. Is this a valid concern? When does the wet season generally end?
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Old 11-19-2013, 04:42 PM   #162
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Yeah I know that story on the Road of Death. Pucker factor is very high. You can't see shit and the truckers who traverse the route regularly carry on as if it were clear and sunny. I like to be at the base of the mountain by sunrise. Have yet to get socked in when I hit it that early.

Tortuguerro is nice; a different planet. I imagine it is about as close to the Amazon as you can get without heading to Brazil.

In Dec. you are sure not to get wet. High winds can be interesting though. Officially winter ends the second week of Nov. That last statement was from the hip, but seems to be holding true. I only got wet once last week in route home from The Job.
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'90 DR650RS
Costa Rica: Trippin' with GR , The Bike Teardown
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
"My father taught me to work; he did not teach me to love it." -Abraham Lincoln

GRinCR screwed with this post 11-19-2013 at 10:08 PM Reason: The 5th
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Old 11-19-2013, 08:30 PM   #163
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Good to have you along David.

And dood, why did you do that? If I found the right road it goes through the National Park.

Cheers to good advice.
That sounds about right. I didn't see any signs or anything indicating it was off limits; and it was awesome!

For reference, and also because it's super weird, here is a link to a company that is apparently building crazy high-end homes right on the road that I'm talking about: http://www.alltravels.com/costa-rica...photo-86041385
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Old 11-19-2013, 10:03 PM   #164
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That sounds about right. I didn't see any signs or anything indicating it was off limits; and it was awesome!

For reference, and also because it's super weird, here is a link to a company that is apparently building crazy high-end homes right on the road that I'm talking about: http://www.alltravels.com/costa-rica...photo-86041385


I have placed a few dollar sign pins on Google Earth labled Swank in the area. I think I am going for it. Less pavement = more peace.
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Greg Smith
'90 DR650RS
Costa Rica: Trippin' with GR , The Bike Teardown
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
"My father taught me to work; he did not teach me to love it." -Abraham Lincoln
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Old 11-24-2013, 07:46 PM   #165
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Talking

All systems go. A follow up with the Jefa revealed the vacation day has been “requested and approved”. The game plan has changed a bit; the wife is 50/50 on coming and the route got rerouted to add more dirt (ya’ll can thank davidbrundage ).


Spent this weekend going over my DR and all is well. A healthy beast.


As long as the DR starts this Friday it is game on! First ferry Puntarenas-->Najranjo at 0630. See you there!

__________________
Greg Smith
'90 DR650RS
Costa Rica: Trippin' with GR , The Bike Teardown
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
"My father taught me to work; he did not teach me to love it." -Abraham Lincoln
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