Costa Rica: Trippin' with GR

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by GRinCR, Jan 17, 2013.

  1. thwak

    thwak Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 30, 2014
    Oddometer:
    61
    Location:
    East of Toronto
    That was an amazingly long day. Both difficult and satisfying I'm sure. Well done and good pics.
  2. GRinCR

    GRinCR Oppressed Nomad

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2011
    Oddometer:
    608
    Location:
    Alajuela, Costa Rica via MN.
    Almost always find the level of difficulty and satisfaction are directly related. The body arrives beaten while the soul is at ease. At least until Monday at noon, then starts the 'where to next?' :norton
    thwak likes this.
  3. GRinCR

    GRinCR Oppressed Nomad

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2011
    Oddometer:
    608
    Location:
    Alajuela, Costa Rica via MN.
    I honestly thought after someone fell in and the press showcased the story that this thing would have gotten a top.
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    I guess not :loco.
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  4. The Dude Himself

    The Dude Himself Hooked on Dirt!!

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,809
    Location:
    Charleston, SC
    Guess who's back! Got an untagged dirt bike too.
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  5. GRinCR

    GRinCR Oppressed Nomad

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2011
    Oddometer:
    608
    Location:
    Alajuela, Costa Rica via MN.
    Whuzzz up y'all! A merry Christmas, Happy New Year and over all good vibes to everyone!!!

    Been a while since I've been able to saddle up to the PC, rummage through photos and make up stories. The positive is, there has been therapy sessions a plenty and an accumulated backlog. There is another on the dance card for this weekend which promises loads of tropical goodness.
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    With said backlog accumulating come the promise of future RRs... but for now, the man has me under contract and I must return to my doodies :topes. For now, a quick snip of what's to come:
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    Pura Vida!
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  6. GRinCR

    GRinCR Oppressed Nomad

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2011
    Oddometer:
    608
    Location:
    Alajuela, Costa Rica via MN.
    No tags doesn't limit where you can go, just who you stop for. PM'ed... Lets ride.
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  7. DADODIRT

    DADODIRT Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2004
    Oddometer:
    5,567
    Location:
    Durango,CO(closer to Purgatory)
    Getting some inspiration from this thread. Booked my flight and have a DR650 lined up from Thorsten.
    Looking forward to getting back down there - and as much fun as I had with the family on the other trips, I'm looking forward to some solo exploration time.
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  8. GRinCR

    GRinCR Oppressed Nomad

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2011
    Oddometer:
    608
    Location:
    Alajuela, Costa Rica via MN.
    Good to hear and hoping it helps you to get wonderfully lost. There is certainly way too much to explore and the DR is the right bike to do it on.

    I've luckily been getting out quite a bit so one of these days I really should crack the bottle-o-Johnny and start reminiscing in type. For now, just a quick fix from two weekends ago doing the pre-run for this coming weekend's family camp on what has become my favorite dry season road:
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    :asta
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  9. GRinCR

    GRinCR Oppressed Nomad

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2011
    Oddometer:
    608
    Location:
    Alajuela, Costa Rica via MN.
    Quick live report... The manhole cover on the back road to Walmart, Alajuela; still missing. Careful out there.

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  10. viducce

    viducce Island Explorer

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2009
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    117
    Location:
    Hsinchu City, Taiwan
    Tanto y nada ha cambiado en Costa Rica desde 1975...
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  11. GRinCR

    GRinCR Oppressed Nomad

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2011
    Oddometer:
    608
    Location:
    Alajuela, Costa Rica via MN.
    Tampaní Natl. Park Rd. - Round II

    Good evening Y’all. It is time to share a bit more than the single photo teaser of late and I will start with the most recent ride, yesterday! Due to the viral pandemic the world is tackling, work has fortunately enabled the work from home politics.
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    With the first week from home in the books, Saturday came and was accompanied with a strange vibe. You know that “I’ve seen you too much in the past week” vibe. Having been here before in the past ten years, I knew one of us would be leaving so I seized the opportunity, geared up, kissed the kiddos and stayed an arm’s length from the wife as I bailed.

    There was no plan, just confusion at first. Where to go? Beach…? I had just been a week prior on a full moon camp-out (pic on screen above – epic time rolling into camp @ 04:30). I have also been playing quite a bit on the backroads behind Puriscal which most will dump you on the coast anyhow (SW route on MAP). After running a quick errand East of home, I went with the flow, continuing in that general direction clear out the other side of the concrete jungle.
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    San Jose was still bustling but nowhere near as congested as usual, so I just grabbed the pista and B-lined to Cartago. From Cartago I followed the route to Paraiso, then on to Cachí.
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    Cachí is where the red loop on the map begins and things start getting therapeutic. It is pavement until the loop takes its western turn.
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    I arrived at the town of El Humo at 14:30, found double stop signs :dunno, then the road transitioned to a broken-up pavement which felt like riding on marbles.
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    From here I intentionally took a wrong turn. This is what I had done a few years back the first time I came this way. The detour took me up into the sugarcane fields looking out into the mountain range soon to be traversed.
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    Once finish with the bike porn shoot it was back down to gravel, over the river and through the woods to where the fun began.
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    :asta...
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  12. GRinCR

    GRinCR Oppressed Nomad

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2011
    Oddometer:
    608
    Location:
    Alajuela, Costa Rica via MN.
    At this point it was 15:15 and the meteorologist in me had been forecasting luck as thick dark clouds were hovering above. Only the occasional drop would fall here or there, fingers crossed the skies wouldn't open up. It was apparent there had been recent rains as the road was much damper than I remembered. Also strange for this time of year.
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    Continuing on I reached a section which was particularly memorable. The road becomes a creek bed.
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    This rocky downhill section, from what I remembered, marked the exit of the trail.
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    Well, things did not go necessarily as my memories had recorded. After the downhill I found my self climbing significantly while the ratio of rocks:clay became increasingly in favor of clay. Each new stretch around every bend had me thinking this is getting gnarly. Sure enough, the DR did what it does best, found a rut and next thing I knew I bottomed out, lost momentum, then wheel spin followed by sliding backwards. It took some effort, but the DR and I worked together to get unstuck without the need for any dead lifts.

    Right after, the ride gear came off and I started hiking to see what lie ahead. I certainly did not remember this section.
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    It was steep and ugly and wet. Who doesn’t love wet, red clay on a steep slope? I hiked past the above section picking the line furthest from the rut, around the corner which followed and through the rut where more gravel appeared on the other side. The incline let off some so I hiked no more. It was apparently not far enough as just beyond the next corner a longer, steeper, just as bare section appeared. I still distinctly remember my thought process playing out loud in my helmet, “What. The. Fuck” was all I could muster. Fortunately, in my panicked state I chose to grab more gas. Back on my hike, while contemplating life choices, I did consult the phone maps to jog my memory concluding the end was near. This recollection called on living brain cells in this case and the road began to show signs of maintenance soon after the WTF hill. At the first opportunity I stopped for a breather looking back upon the dreamscape I had just ridden through.
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    The route became more and more improved as it wound me down into the Orosí Valley.
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    At the bottom I crossed the river to where the pavement once again reappeared
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    I had to climb once more, back into Cartago leaving the city of Orosí behind.
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    No pictures of traffic on the bomb run home, everyone is “social distancing” and the roads were flowing nicely. I also had to make some time as it was pushing on 18:00 and I had been running around for about six hours. Lastly, I left my keys in the house upon departure and it was 100% at my wife's discretion if I would be getting in or sleeping on this sidewalk this night :annie.

    We too are full “State of Emergency” here so I will look to open the archives and catch up here. Cheers all y hasta la proxima! Stay safe and if you are going to go out, fuck off to the boonies to keep away from the zombies!

    :asta
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  13. GRinCR

    GRinCR Oppressed Nomad

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2011
    Oddometer:
    608
    Location:
    Alajuela, Costa Rica via MN.
    So, time to catch up a little. Getting back into the timeline we find ourselves in January 2018. David and I had just completed what should be the slowest average speed in route to Herradura, converting what is to normal people a 1.5 hour ride, into a 15 hour off road shit show. It was 28Jan to be exact and the wife had had enough. She needed some seat time too. Santa Clause had recently given us some new chairs that fit in a bum bag so we had to try them out… the perfect excuse.

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    I also got me a fancy pants GPS unit.

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    With a little negotiating, the kiddos were sorted out and scattered among the in-laws and the Mrs. and I were on the open road.

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    Early off we had the opportunity to view some soon to be roadkill. This “little” guy had been squashed and popped open and was not a happy camper. RIP buddy.

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    Our route on this day was to cross the Valley to the windfarms on the southern wall, hitting what ever dirt (Red line) we could along the way.

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    Event though we stuck close to home, this route leaves the hustle bustle behind in a hurry and before long things were looking country.

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    As I relive this, I am recall having been frustrated for the first bit as we got stuck behind one of “those” guys. You know, the one who looks over his shoulder to ensure he is going just fast enough for you not to be able to safely pass on a twisty road, but of course, just slow enough to know he is holding you up.

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    Fortunately, as we crossed the highly toxic Rio Virilla our paths parted.

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    We were now off the tarmac and lovin’ life.

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    The pavement appears again at a small town named Rodeo, where we continued on into Ciudad Colon.

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    From here we turned into the mountains and twistied our way up to the next dirt cut.

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    Same great scenery augmented by earthen roads.

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    Once we hit the top we busted out those fanny pack chairs and soaked in the views for a while.

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    It was short lived as I recall the phone ringing as our two hour ETA was up. With parental duties calling, we packed up, headed back down the hill, through the city and hole in time for sunset.

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    :asta
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  14. GRinCR

    GRinCR Oppressed Nomad

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2011
    Oddometer:
    608
    Location:
    Alajuela, Costa Rica via MN.
    The next one is a personal favorite. A benchmark of sorts. First though, this would not be proper without a teaser to advise I am not just slacking off. Rides are happening when life permits; as we all know, the MF’ing virus has made its way here as well. Thisi past Sunday saw me attempting a trip once again to Playa Herradura for some hammock time only to find myself denied of a land speed record. I made it only half way by 13:00 with a 06:30 departure. I ran into some show stoppers along the way:
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    For now, we are still stuck in a better year, 2018 and our story has rolled into February. I cannot remember now how the whole thing materialized but we were headed to the beach. By we I mean me and my eldest son. This would be his first time on the motorbike for more than pictures and/or a lap around the farm. Our destination: Playa Herradura. Of course, we stopped to say hi to the Crocs at the Rió Tarcoles.
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    One memorable moment is shortly after our arrival. The bike was still packed and being the responsible one of the group I had to unpack, string up the hammock and ready our home for the upcoming day of laziness. First thing was to get water wings on the kiddo. With this done, I strictly reminded him to wait until I can pay attention before going deep into the water. Yes dad, sure thing… I no more than tossed a rope around the first palm, looked up and saw him bobbing out past the break water. The image of those two yellow dots flanking the dark spot of his head on the undulating surface of the Pacific is engrained in my head forever. I'll have you know he is still alive today and we enjoyed ourselves to the max once settled in.
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    We hung out way past our bedtimes.
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    Our arrival time to home base was a few minutes past 21:00,
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    Hasta la proxima compadres!
    :beer
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  15. GRinCR

    GRinCR Oppressed Nomad

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2011
    Oddometer:
    608
    Location:
    Alajuela, Costa Rica via MN.
    The Long Road to Halfway There.

    Let us fast forward again to modern times, 02Aug, 2020 and yet another trip to Herradura. Working from home is nice and I sure bet it would be nicer if not also assuming the role of 3rd grade teacher, Kindergarten teacher and referee for a three year old who just wants to be a party and be part of everything. I got out for a ride a few weeks back having taken my second son on his inaugural long-haul moto trip but this COVID situation requires a few extra therapy sessions. Excuse, validated


    Currently there are vehicle restrictions in place based on the last digit of your plate. Last week and this week you cannot drive one day during the week and are also disallowed one day of the weekend. For instance, the DR’s plate ends in six and I am prohibited on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Starting 10Aug the shutdown gets stricter for two weeks to cover Mother’s Day, inverting those same dates making it possible to ride only two days a week. It made a good excuse… We are also restricted to only twelve hours starting @ 05:00 so that was the plan: be out for twelve hours.


    In true latino style, 05:00 came and went. I ended up hitting the road at 06:20.
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    No bites for additional riders so I was flying solo. The plan was to explore a bit on the way. Be to the beach late in the morning/early afternoon, lunch, beer, hammock and sober up by 15:00 for the hour and a half bomb run on the highway home. Just what the Dr. ordered.

    I chose the start the route by cutting across the valley quickly into Ciudad Colon. Once there I stuck to the pavement to make up some of the time I had lost on my late departure.
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    The roads are heavenly up here.
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    I had taken note of a few landmarks on Maps and after topping off in Puriscal I had reached my first waypoint, “hang left at Escuela Grifo Alto.” It was quite steep and slabbed for the first bit.
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    Then a favorite point in every ride, where the pavement ends.
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    The road’s state varied but I’ve been getting used to steep gravel downhills. Puck factor elevated but I have come to enjoy the moments of near panic as the bike does its thing sliding around beneath me. It is all too often necessary to get to all the good stuff.
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    At the waterfall above two gents on bicycles came by and warned of a larger river to cross ahead. There was an anticipated water crossing further along I was concerned about so this came as a surprise. I pushed on and immediately noted the road’s maintenance contract must end at the stables.
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    The clay was damp but nice and tacky, which built more confidence as I dropped down the mountainside. Until I reached “the” river.
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    No doubt this was the one my cleta friends were talking about at the waterfall. :hmmmmm...
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  16. GRinCR

    GRinCR Oppressed Nomad

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2011
    Oddometer:
    608
    Location:
    Alajuela, Costa Rica via MN.
    The time was now 09:00, I settled in here for a break and contemplated my options. There was an appx half meter vertical into the first part of the river which was about knee deep with a nice, swift current. Then through the rock filed to another portion of tame river to cross.
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    Out the other side I wandered up the road a few meters to find a rather dilapidated situation.
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    With miles yet to go to my next waypoint I knew the chances of taking this on had passed. I might have been able to muscle my way through the river but if for any reason that road got worse, I could not turn around. There was a confirmed 0% chance I could get out of the river I the opposite direction. Two dudes on a couple smaller, two-stroke endures came through to help me confirm this.
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    Although defeated, heading back out was no less fun.
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    My bailout route took ma back to the pavement which was not without its dangers.
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    The bailout landed me in San Pablo where the nameless (??) mountain peak I was heading for stared down upon me.
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    Here I spotted a secondary road to San Pedro named Calle los Altos which seemed promising.
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    It did not disappoint.
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    It is a short jaunt before being spat back onto asphalt just shy of San Pedro’s city center. I sopped a moment to soak up the small-town vibes and look back on the little hill I just came down.
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    The pit stop was brief knowing the next leg of the journey contained another possible turnaround. In the preplanning this river stuck out significantly on Maps and it had been raining regularly in the days/weeks leading up to this.
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    It was only two miles and a few minutes before I reached Rio Turrubares. It was fairly wide, a little more than knee deep most the way and strong.
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    The first fifty feet on the other side were quite gnarly looking too.
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    I had cell signal and was informed only 700 more meters more to the next town. While tempting, I once more chose to turn back. I was solo, had not a single spare/tool on me to boot and figured the go around is just a chance to cover more ground. There was about a mile of backtracking to the turn, then over the bridge and onto the ziggy zaggy gravel into heart of San Francisco.
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    ...
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  17. johnnywheels

    johnnywheels Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2016
    Oddometer:
    163
    Location:
    Jackson, MS USA
    I love the photo of the "living fence" - stick a green branch in the rich volcanic soil in CR and it will grow into a tree! FWIW, many eons ago I spent my teenage years in the San Jose area.
  18. GRinCR

    GRinCR Oppressed Nomad

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2011
    Oddometer:
    608
    Location:
    Alajuela, Costa Rica via MN.
    Still common practice. I love the ones which have been planted so tightly/so many times you'd need a hedge buster tank to get through.
  19. GRinCR

    GRinCR Oppressed Nomad

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2011
    Oddometer:
    608
    Location:
    Alajuela, Costa Rica via MN.
    At this point I had been turned around twice (red = incomplete) and found myself finally at the last waypoint I had sent myself, San Francisco centro. From here I had originally planned to find my way back to the primary routes and get myself tied off between two palms, beachside. Well, destiny ws pulling me in another direction. There was a mythical road nearby I have always wanted to cross. I had found and desired to run this route since the days of the Chinese bikes I owned. Every time I had even gotten close, I was turned away by weather, time and/or local resources telling me it would not be wise alone, on a big bike. Well, being a day of turning around curiosity got me wondering just how far over my head I could find myself today. This was an adventure after all, so it was off into Carara Natl Park.
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    At first there were bridges.
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    Then there were not.
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    Then the ground turned RED!
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    Much like earlier, the ground was damp but remained tacky. As long as there is grip, the DR goes anywhere.
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    Almost anywhere, at least for me.
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    At this corner I had to stop. I had just slid my way down a very steep section in the shade which was quite muddy, rutty and I needed to contemplate what to do. The road just around the ben looked like this.
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    While looking flat it was not. At first I planned to climb the hill I had just come down and if all was well return and continue on. While I sat there the expected silence was shattered by the sound of two strokes echoing through the mountainside. There were multiple sounding off, some far, some near. One group was getting closer and before long two quads came roaring up the hill, one towing the other. They got stuck on the hill I had just come down and rolled themselves back to less steep ground.
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    The running quad then proceeded to unhook and head back down to retrieve their other buddy who was also unable to get himself out under his own power. The stranded Quad’ist muttered little more to me than “esta bravo” and combined with the absolute exhaustion on his face I knew I would not be coming back down here, today. I was had done appx. seven miles of the route and per Maps, only had three more miles to El Sur, where I know the road improves.
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    I quickly got my gear back on to not get stuck behind the broken-down quad train. The muddy hill was sketchy to get up but my DR tractor’d right through it. Even though it was manageable I continued on without second thought, I still had plans to get the hammock up.
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    Once back in civilization I had to finally give in to hunger. The two samiches I ate back at the first waterfall had long worn off so I saddled up at a riverside restaurant for some fish, rice and beans.
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    After the meal I headed out of town to Highway 27 and had to stop under the bridge to again contemplate life and all the cross roads.
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    It was 13:24 and I was only halfway to playa Herradura. This posed a slight problem because under COVID restrictions I had to be off the road by 17:00. This left minimal hammock time. So, I decided to keep straight under the bridge, stay off the highway and hit the twisties on the Aguacate route through Atenas. While the restrictions do suck in many ways, one nice thing is the roads are relatively empty making for great ripping.
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    That is all for this one. It was about 120 miles total in way too many hours. Out on the Green, back on magenta starting at the river lunch spot.
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    :asta
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  20. DaveCR

    DaveCR Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2010
    Oddometer:
    504
    Location:
    Costa Rica -
    Thank you for sharing!

    I also want to ride that road that goes to El Sur - looks bad for my heavy bike and my riding skills hehe - you are right, from El Sur to Bijagual the road is nice, or you can turn left at El Sur and head to Santiago de Puriscal or La Gloria/Parrita. There are only a couple of river crossings but they are not slippery.

    I will wait for the summer to try the road you showed us today.

    Pura vida !