Friday, Jan 10th, 2003: Chris and Simi leave for
Manuel Antonia National Park. Norval and his girlfriend Jessica pick us up and we go to a
birthday party for friends of theirs. The husband of the birthday-girl is the brother of
Costa Ricas first space shuttle astronaut (hes gone into space 7 times).
By Saturday we've finished working on the bikes---Chris shock is fixed and
reinstalled, Esteban adjusts my shock and makes it a bit taller but a much better ride.
Also, Ruth and Merv (UK R1150GS) www.mervandruth.com
arrive and we go for dinner and a chat. Merv and Ruth have been traveling for a
couple of years now as well and seen much of the same territory we've covered. It
was fun to compare places and people we know.
Sunday we decide its time to leave. Norval comes to the hotel at 7am to meet us
(this time on his shiny R1150RT) and the 3 of us head north for La Fortuna, a town at the
base of the famous Arenal Volcano, a few hours to the north. It is a nice ride with great
weather and wonderful mountain scenery --- reminiscent of the Alps. As we approach the
famous Arenal, it is unfortunately covered in a layer of clouds. This is normal we were
told as locals only tend to see the whole thing only 10% of the time. Norval takes
us to his favorite Italian restaurant at the base of the volcano, and we pass the time
telling stories. As the late afternoon rain clouds approach, Norval heads back to San
Jose, and we go in search of accommodation with no hope of seeing the volacano for the
rest of the day.
Mon, Jan 13th: The sky is clear at 7:00 a.m. except directly over the
volcano of course. No luck seeing dramatic displays of spewing red-hot lava. Around
mid-day we decide to leave and take a nice ride around the lake in direction of Monteverde
cloud forest. After about a half-hour ride on a so-so pot-holed road, Chris shock
breaks (yes, again). We stop for lunch and then switch it out for the old one, which we
are (luckily) still carrying. That's it we decide, we have to go back to San Jose to get
it fixed again. We arrive back at Larssons just before closing, and Esteban
finds the problem is a cut in the compression hose. He said he could fix it the following
day. Merv and Ruth are still at the hostel and happy to see us. We have another good
Since Chris' shock is being worked on, the next day Chris and Merv run around trying to
find tires for Mervs bike and a place to do an oil change on the big 1150GS. Ruth
and I spend the day shopping and doing email. At the end of the day when Esteban is
reassembling the shock, the bottom bracket snaps off (yes, just like happened in
Patagonia). Chris is very depressed --- Apparently, there was a hair-line crack in the
bracket from the initial bump last month in northern Brazil. Norval and Jessica come
to rescue us from our depression and take us all out for a nice Italian feast.
Wed. Jan 15th: Jurgen and Chris search for new bracket piece in US, NZ and
Europe with no luck. That evening Chris goes to the BMW club meeting with Norval to listen
to their discussion about their Easter week trip to Guatemala.
Thursday we get an email reply from the Ohlins factory --- they will send the parts,
but we have to pay the shipping. With clear skies and time to kill we decide to take
a ride up to Irazu volcano two-up on my bike. Its a very beautiful ride up to the top of
the volcano, only 35km from San Jose. The countryside is reminiscent of
Germany/Switzerland. Irazu is the highest volcano in Costa Rica at over 3,500 meters. We
are very lucky and have spectacular views over the green crater lake and the surrounding
valleys. Irazu is still an active volcano and last erupted in 1994.
Saturday, Jan. 18th: The BMW club has a weekend ride organized and invite us
along. We meet Norval and other members of the club for the ride up to Santa Elena.
After a nice stop for breakfast and loads of picture-taking of all the F650s
present, we take a turn off on the main road up the mountain on a rugged, steep dirt road
to the cloud forest area of Santa Elena. The cloud forest area here is famous for its lush
forests and abundant wildlife. Its called a cloud forest literally because it spends
nearly all its time in the clouds and drenched in mist. When we arrive, we have clear
skies to enjoy the great view out to the Pacific ocean.
While the others go off to do a "canopy tour", we take a walk around town and
bump into Jo Ann, a Canadian motorcycle rider, sitting on her black F650 by the side of
the road. We had been in email contact with Jo Ann and knew she would be somewhere in the
area at this time. We spent the afternoon together chatting, and in the evening we joined
the club members for another nice big Italian meal.
Sunday, Jan. 19th: Woke early to get up to the nature reserve to see the
wildlife in action. Theres a lesson weve learned on this trip--- when you have
good weather, take advantage of it!!! Well, we didnt remember this lesson and on
this day we were completely fogged in and it was raining. We went to the reserve anyway,
rented rubber boots and slogged through the mud hoping it would clear up. It didnt.
We saw exactly one hummingbird all morning. Well, this IS cloud forest.
After lunch, we all mounted up and started to make our way back to San Jose. Sunday
afternoons are terrible for traffic on the roads and we played a tiring game of leap-frog
with the cars all the way back to the city.