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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by GRinCR, Jan 17, 2013.
Or hit the road?
We chose to to the '?'.
Skies are looking good so far.
Things change so quickly .
Yo = +
Looks like a great place to spend some time GR.......
I thought so too... then 10 years later.
Parque Nacional Volcán Tenorio y Rio Celeste
It all begins at the crack of dawn readying for an 06:00 start time at the office. An 11:00 escape time had been secured with the hopes of beating the rain. On the way home it was not looking good even with the early departure.
There were some loose ends to tie up at the homestead prior to the trip. He was late. Then my wife added a few stops that needed to be made…
+ Sister's house
+ Friend’s house
16:00: We are finally in the trip. We had made it to Sarchí, the town with the big painted ox cart. I was starving so we pulled off at the local bakery for some grub. While we were there the rain set in.
We took the “Yellow Bull” route and what an experience. It was raining with apocalyptic force. The road was a small river. Trickling streams were now converted into rushing waterfalls pouring off the cliff side. At one point the Mrs. was frantically urging we turn back when we topped a crest and it looked as if one of these waterfalls was spilling right into our path. It took us an hour just to clear the pass. We needed to stretch. Wet gear is heavy.
The fun did not stop here. As darkness fell we drove right into another thunderstorm. Wish I had video because I would have tons of great lightning shots. One in particular; big, fat single bolt that just hung in the sky. This one got the Mrs. calling for mommy. We arrived in the rain, just in time. A few minutes later and the chef would have been gone and kitchen closed. I took the remaining Imperials, ordered some food and parked the moto. By the time I had everything offloaded the security guard was bringing the food to the room. After a four and a half hour ride in torrential rains, it was just what we needed.
By morning the plan was as uncertain as the weather. 08:54: raining.
09:02: the rain had stopped and off to breakfast in the fog.
09:29: Sun was coming out as we ate poolside.
09:42: We had finished eating and I jumped in the pool. As soon as I did, the rain started, again.
We headed back to the room and mulled around for a while contemplating what to do. I was not in the mood for four more hours of rain to go hike in the rain. The other options where a day pass to one of the local hot springs or another hiking attraction much closer and hot springs after. The wife started talking about just staying at the hotel so I started packing. An hour passed and it was go time. The skies had cleared and remained so for this past hour so we went with the gamble and stuck to the original plan. Rio Celeste or bust.
There was a bicycle race going on in the area.
The rivers were all very swollen from the days of rain.
Aside from that, there were no complaints otherwise.
Eventually we turned off the pavement and meandered into the mountain towards the park.
Upon arrival we parked at the restaurant out front the park entrance. They were nice enough to let us store the helmets and my boots behind the bar. We bought some drinks and snacks for the hike and walked over to get our tickets.
We were offered a $20 guided tour and they wanted to rent me boots when we declined the tour. I was told it was “casi imposible” to complete the hike in my choice of footwear. I was up for the challenge. The trail was six kms. round trip. It was pretty rough and muddy. More folks walking in the opposite direction also took the time to stop and warn me of my footwear choice. I bet they all got a laugh at the gringo.
The main attraction is only one km. from the Ranger’s station. It is a pretty sweet spot to just sit and chill for a while.
Hope you like stairs though .
With thick jungle all around, the trail continued to the mirador. The Volcano was off in the clouds someplace so we quickly moved along.
From the mirador the smell of sulfur became present in the air. We walked past this natural Jacuzzi; so tempting.
The muddy walk continued on to the laguna.
Then over a rickety bridge.
I almost bucked her off.
Finally, against the odds and all the warnings, we had made it to the end of the trail where all the magic happens. I had done the ‘nearly impossible’ and hiked it in flip flops.
On the way out I caught my wife in the act of... At the advice of counsel I respectfully decline to comment further and assert my Fifth Amendment privilege.
The wife and I did the hike in under three hours. After this, we returned to the restaurant which was holding our stuff, ordered up a meal and waited for it to arrive. The fajitas were excellent!
The run back to the hotel was much the same. Lots of 5th gear cruising and long, high speed sweepers. In these times, the roads in this zone are motorbike bliss. After our return to the hotel we lounged around until about 20:00 and took off for the hot springs. Our first choice was Los Laureles. They were closing at 21:00 and by the time we finished the beer run it was close to 20:30. The guard was nice enough to tell us to head to another set of springs called Termalitos; they closed at 22:00. Both of these are lesser known, budget options which charge about $8 per head. I did not recall seeing a special “tourist” rate.
Day three saw a late start. The Costa Rica national Soccer team was laying an ass whoopin’ on Russia. It was quarter of eleven by the time I started wandering the grounds to settle the bill.
Readying to leave, Wifey found this funny. I was not keen on the idea of wet feet right out the gate.
@ 11:27 it was all systems go. Onward !
We backtracked a bit back through La Fortuna to see if we could catch a glimpse of the monster which casts an oppressive shadow over the town.
There is a view point I knew of a ways out of town, down a little dirt road. It is easy to find. From either direction, turn at the Police depot.
Go three miles to this bridge. I did not remember there being as much foliage the last time I was there.
On the way back to La Fortuna there in another nice viewing point. We were lucky, lady Arenal had her head out of the clouds this morning.
With our final bit of wandering out of the way we set the dial to HOME. We pounded asphalt until hunger struck and a decent looking place appeared off the side of the road.
It was more than decent.
It started raining while we waited for the food and the rain gear came out. Fortunately the shower blew past and we were spared. Rain gear back in the bags, full bellies and we were happy campers, back on the road.
Inevitably we knew we would get what was coming to us. It is October in Central America with a hurricane pestering the SE United States. There was a nice view as we bundled up.
It never really rained hard, but we did get wet on the way up. Once twisting through the highlands the rain let up and a light patchy fog rolled in and out. Although I could not lean the corners in these conditions, the traffic was light, the road was no less curvy and it was just the ride therapy one is looks for in times of need. Our arrival in San Ramon was uneventful. A quick stop was made for a picture and to celebrate a moto milestone; 10!
Up until this point I had been thinking on how fortunate we were. The San Ramon route is usually socked in, raining hard or both. Well, the luck ran out here.
We rode right into that dark cloud and I can honestly say I have never felt it rain like that ever. Insane! We arrived under this deluge, quick picked up the keys from Sister’s house and ran our soggy selves home. It was nap time and kids got dropped off later in the evening. Then, it was back to normal…
Seat time is seat time, wet or dry. In the end it looked like this on paper.
Blue Line = Day 1
Orange = Day 2
Light Blue = Day 3
Brainstorming has already begun for the next one.
Awesome photos! I was able to visit CR in 2014 for work, and as a bonus, I was able to take my wife (who is Chilena) with me. What a beautiful country and a friendly people. We stopped for lunch at Don Rufino in La Fortuna on the day that we drove the long way around the Arenal. Saw monkeys and tons of other wildlife. It was a great trip. I'm jealous that you live there!
Hello Nice Goat,
Thanks for stoppin' by. All of what you said are reasons I have been here for so long. The long way round, lakeside is a top notch ride, car or moto. We nearly used it on this last trip but I was still in for taking the long way in the night before.
The awesomeness in the pics is in my surroundings, you know, you saw it. Even with nine years and eleven months as a permanent fixture in CR completed just past 00:00 this morning, I have only scratched the surface of the awesomeness.
For any tuned in, here is what's next: Beach Camping under an almost full moon.
A Whole Lot a Fun in Under 100 miles.
I had initially planned an ‘almost full moon camp trip to the beach for tonight, but as usual, life throws curve balls. All the participating parties had bailed and Mother Nature was not yet ready to give up on winter. All week the skies were clear day and night, then come Friday, afternoon rain into the night. Woke up this morning an d sure enough, overcast skies with heavier clouds already looming over mountains. “Now what?’’
In the end I chose to divert and at 09:00 I was on the road.
To start I took off looking for that little dirt road not too far away, the one my wife and I aborted on a few months back when the Cam Tensioner gasket went critical on us. This route took me through La Garita.
Not a bad backdrop for a fútbol match, eh?
Then under the highway and though Turúcares.
Outside of Turúcares the tarmac is a thing of beauty.
This does not last long. Arriving at a four way intersection, only one of the choices offers dirt… onward .
Not only was the Wife and I’s first attempt thwarted by mechanical trouble, but a navigational error also played its part. This error was rooted here; signage sure isn't helpful <---->
Sure that I was on the right track, having gone right this time, the glorious gravel track continued on, twisting and turning down to the Rio Virilla. Remnants of an old rocky road bed can still be seen in route, hop on and rattle the bones. Needless to say, it was splendid.
On the other side, I saw an excavator and things got muddy as I climbed away from the river.
It is .6 miles from the bridge to the lonely dirt road. To the left is this road but from wandering further on Google Earth I also knew the alternate had an exit which could bring me closer to some other fun I knew of in the area.
I did the right thing, I took a right. More miles means more happiness.
Arriving in Puriscal at 10:40 I found TRAFFIC. Thought this place was a smallish mountain town.
There was also weather moving in so in place of finding food I turned towards the next destination. Some unfinished business.
I took the main route out of Puriscal, heading back into the metropolis. About six miles out I hooked a right at the Soda El Cruze and wound my way through a few tiny pueblos.
Clouds had been accumulating against the mountains but I could still see it was clear where I wanted to be.
I turned off this road looking for the city of Corralar. The road goes to dirt, then to slabs of concrete through downtown.
At the local mini super, the game changes. I stopped to chat up the gentleman running the shop. As I pulled in a few dudes on much smaller MX bikes had taken off up the route I was aiming to tackle.
A little background: back in early 2014 inmate TheDudeHimself turned me on to this route.
We were completing an epic run back to the valley from Manuel Antonio. When we took on this monster, it was dark. Darkness combined with a throttle issue on Dude’s bike were our points of failure and we were turned back.
This time was no less thrilling; to date the hardest riding I have ever done. The shop keeper had told me of one particular portion referred to as “El Codo”. It is where I got stopped.
I’m getting ahead of myself. So, back at the supermarket, chatting. I made the decision to give it another go. Just past the store the pavement ends and things are manageable. Then all hell breaks loose. I managed to plow through the switchback where Dude and I stopped. The road just got worse, and no less grade, just straight up. If it wasn’t slick, red clay it was rocks. Big rocks and big, rocky step-ups. One portion somehow got steeper and the rocky incline was like riding up stairs. The pig bucked and kicked and in one particularly rocky incline La Chancha nearly got away from me. Shit got real. I continued on until seeing one of the MX dudes stopped. I stopped; this may have been my error or a saving grace.
This was “El Codo”. The gent on his little 2 stroke bounced off up the hill wailing on the throttle. It was now my turn. The bush pig was spent, no forward movement. Maybe a quarter meter, then the rear end just kicked out, momentum stopped, clutch in, breaks on and oh shit!!! Sliding backwards!!! Nearly went down and proceeded to park.
The guys on the dirt bikes were actually taking multiple runs at “El Codo” and began returning to where I was. I could not see what was beyond the bend, but they informed me it just gets worse. Bigger ruts, bigger rocks and more muddy. They had offered to stick with me and help me to the top if needed but I passed. Once I reconfirmed it really is worse moving forward I thanked them but had to admit, I had pushed my limits already. I am not ruling out a third attempt, but only with a knobbier tire and lower gearing. It will also be wise to wait for the winter/rainy season to pass.
I relaxed a while and watched these guys ride circles around me.
Then I began my decent. Benefit of practically walking a DR down a mountainside? The ability to take pics. When going up with the throttle on to stay alive, pics are not an option.
This is the step which nearly got me. Goes from steep, to partially vertical. I’ve never ridden up a steep staircase but imagine it would be similar.
The route, in very short order, gained some altitude too.
Here lies the spot where TheDude and I could go no further.
The final decent was made without incident.
And I left behind the road which has rejected me twice.
Back at the Mini Super I grabbed a Coke before setting the dial to Home.
This is another angle at getting to the top of the hill. It eventually intersects the road I was on, and gets shittier when the two unite, from what I was told.
Not this day though. It was 13:00 and I had had enough for the day. Not to mention winter weather had been threatening all day. This was as close as I got to the wind farms at the top.
I kept on the asphalt and decided to take an odd route in an attempt to get around a dark cloud in my path.
Had to pay to play today, but the plan of diverting the rain was working.
It was a nice thought. It eventually crept closer and I inevitably had to turn right and head right into the storm’s center. Bike got washed!
The day’s total was just under 70 miles. Did the loop anti-clock wise and the red bit is 1.5 kms of gnar.
It was not the ocean side hammock time I was originally seeking but I certainly got my fix on the redirect.
Pura Vida everyone!
All I want for Christmas is a time machine... rewind and not fall. Cast comes off Wednesday. After a bit of PT some much needed seat time is in store.
Happy HolyDaze everyone!
Pre-flight maintenance and checks complete.
Seven weeks is too long; the elbow is ready.
All systems go for an early departure!
You make me sick! I sit here at home looking at your pics and dream about touring in CR! I can't take it anymore!
I make it to SJ about twice a year on my XT250. Perhaps I could drop by to say hello on my next trip?
The cure to this illness is . There has to be some good stuff around you, especially with a 'lil 250, no? Exploring a bit in your area is definitely on my bucket list.
You are welcome here any time. That goes for anyone else reading this and riding in the area. I would post in tent space, but the internet is a bit too big and scary for me yet, to offer coords to my house and an open invite. With kids and all, not sure I want a random stranger showing up unexpectedly at 03:00 either. If your in route or doing future planing shoot a PM. If the beds are full there is a patch of grass out front and all the amenities a road weary biker could want: secure parking, beer, shower and speedy internet for story telling!