Day 117 – Cartago, CR to Santa Clara, CR

Day 117 – Cartago, CR to Santa Clara, CR 12/16/10 Mileage: 197

After weeks of being in the tropical heat, the cool mountain air of central Costa Rica feels awesome! Dare I say it was even cold last night, as the hotel was at a little over 5000 ft above sea level, or about the same height as Denver, CO.

GPS elevation data from todays route.

So I bid farewell to my love-shack and hit the road headed over the mountains back towards the coast and the surf town of Dominical where I’m going to stop in and say hi to the brother-in-law of my friend Danielle. The road was socked in with fog which was too bad as the views would have been great!

 But as the road climbed it broke through the clouds into glorious sunshine all the way to the top of the mountain pass at just over 10,000 ft!

The view was awesome back over the clouds with distant mountain peaks poking through.

That #$%$@# saggy rear shock. I stopped to take a photo and the damn bike toppled over again. Of course I have nobody to blame but myself, I just didn’t get it on enough of a downward slope…knowing full well the rear shock is toast. Bollix! This guy stopped to help me pick it up which was nice of him…

Ahhhh…this is good stuff!

Once over the pass the road descended into the town of San Isidro before climbing back up and over one last small mountain range before the coast.

 Looking down at the town of San Isidro

This jet was just sitting on the side of the road like it fell out of the sky intact….becasue there is no runway anywhere to be found!

Josh is Danielle’s brother-in-law and he owns a restaurant in Dominical called Maracatu. Unfortunately (for me, not him!) he was out surfing, so all I got was a picture of my bike with his restaurant.

That will have to do as the road south beckons along with my desire to reach South America! My goal now was to reach the small town of Santa Clara which is only a few kilometers from the small Panama border crossing of Rio Sereno, well off the beaten track and the Pan American Highway.

Here is yet another reminder why you can’t (shouldn’t) ride fast down here. Here is a shot of an obscured corner where….surprise! Half the road is gone…your side of the road! It was a good 10 vertical feet down into the ravine. Yep…no cones or warning either.

Once in Santa Clara I found a reasonable hotel and then wandered out to find dinner and some wifi.

All the nicest hotels have piles of debris like this one…  😛

Dinner proved much easier to track down, as the only places that seemed to have internet were computer shops that were now closed. Oh well, the blog will have to wait.

Day 116 – La Fortuna, CR to Cartago, CR

Day 116 – La Fortuna, CR to Cartago, CR 12/15/10 Mileage: 103

I spent almost 4 hours at a little cafe this morning updating the blog and looking for information on getting my rear shock spring replaced in Panama city. The bike is running great and I have no complaints or problems save for one….the stock rear shock spring. It is really soft, and even though I am traveling reasonably light and have it adjusted to its stiffest setting, it is sagging so much that the bike will barely stay on the side stand on level ground with bags on. To park the bike on the side stand now, I have to look for uneven ground and lean it to the downhill side. Once I get on the bike, I would say at least half or more of the suspension travel is gone and the ride is terrible on rough roads. So hopefully I can find a shop that can replace the coil spring on the rear shock, or else I might have to replace the shock all together which is big $$$. So after all that internet surfing, I didn’t get on the road until 1 in the afternoon.

The view of Volcan Arenal from La Fortuna….looks dangerously close to me!

A Wave Sport “Kinetic” whitewater kayak….I used to own one of those! (Remeber these John D!)

 The road south from La Fortuna towards San Jose is full of twists, turns, ups and down….in other words, fun!

Traffic in San Jose

Because of the late start, I wasn’t going to make it very far, and nightfall and rain both caught me just south of San Jose.

Are we having fun yet!?

I ended up in a no-tell-motel again, but this one did not have a stripper pole unlike that one back in Mexico.

However, it did come with 2 free beers!

I guess if you’re staying in this kind of place, you want to keep the good times rolling before either of you sober’s up enough to see how truly unattractive the other one is. Anyway, like last time it was quite clean and a bargain at $20. The “regular” hotel just down the road wanted $68! Did I mention it also had a garage?

It’s the no-brainer of motorcycle travel no-braniers. It was still pissing rain and I didn’t want to go back to town several miles for dinner, so I dug out my “emergency” tuna pack which has been riding around in my bag since San Diego. I washed it down with one beer and a granola bar with the other. Good enough.