The Return Route - Vulcan Arenal, Costa Rica

Trip Start Jun 21, 2008
Trip End Sep 03, 2008

Loading Map
Map your own trip!
Map Options
Show trip route
Hide lines

Flag of Costa Rica  ,
Friday, August 8, 2008

Ok...Jess here, and yes, laying eyes on the Panama Canal was a dream come was hard to fathom that a year-and-half ago this was just another half-baked hair-brained scheme, and it's not about the canal per se (we've all seen massive man-made structures like the Golden Gate Bridge or the Panama Canal)'s the simple fact that we were able to journey our way there, together, on our motorcycle...and after 7 weeks and finally breaking through the shroud of the unknown, it's become a reality!  You learn that once you're accustomed to the Way of the Road, you can go anywhere, anytime, through just about any conditions...your patience and appetite for adventure are the only limiting factors (oh yeah, and dinero, but that's more of an exercise of correct prioritization, even if you work at Burger Barn).
So that said, we bee-lined it back north (or west actually) to Costa Rica, and yep, I got a second speeding ticket on the way back through Panama!!  I'll file that one with the other one.  Now we were actually backtracking through known territory for the first time in 7 weeks, so we knew that we could cross the border into Costa Rica in the evening, and there was a nice little border town called Villa Niely on the Costa Rican side where we could stay the night. 
When we got to our little hotel in Neily, it was typical Central American style accommodations...the place was new and beautiful, but at the same time - totally half-assed!!  For 25 bucks our room had a huge Jacuzzi tub, but no hot water, the electric shower head exploded (literally into 5 different pieces) when we turned on the shower, and the sink faucet would not turn off, so we had reach under the sink and turn it off by twisting the main valve!  We ended up having to take cold sponge baths in the Jacuzzi that night!  And this place is brand new!! was like the builders got 95% of the way there, and then went on permanent siesta!   Anyhow, Malin and I thought it was pretty amusing and we didn't have the heart to tell the owners about our experiences...even the humungous spider I had to kill (it wouldn't die, similar to my Hermosa Beach rat jihad).  The owners were vey proud of their place and were super cool to boot...we spent the evening with them sharing stories over beers.  The father of the owner kept urging us to go to this volcanic island in the middle of Lake Nicaragua called Ometepe...supposedly there are earthquakes there every day...hmmm, sounds somewhat dangerous...right up our alley!
In the morning, I rode into town and purchased a new H7 halogen bulb for the headlight that had burned out a couple of days earlier, and everyone at the auto shop was enamored by the bike!  I had to answer the question of how much it cost and how fast does it go about 5 times, but they were super helpful, and when I left,  I did a stand-up wheelie for them...when the front wheel touched down I turned around to wave goodbye and they all had their hands in the air like it was the Costa Rican Cinco de Mayo!
Ok, next stop: Vulcan Arenal in Costa Rica, a super active volcano and hot springs that we had passed up on the way down, but once we got some intelligence that the roads were passable, we  decided to hit it on the way's awesome here!!   Even though we're only at 500 feet, it's a totally misty cloud forest and the volcano rises to 3000 feet above us into the mist, but when the clouds clear, you can see the cone spewing out hot lava and big rocks that come tumbling down!  Our best viewing session was catalyzed by a 3am pee break I took...I just happened to glance out of the window of our hotel and saw the whole thing in action!!  Of course I woke up Malin...and although she wasn't as enthused as I was (given the time and circumstances) she thought it was cool too.
Yes, Malin here...we had been waiting to see the volcano for about a day and a half but we were completely socked in with fog and rain for most of the time! However once Jess woke me up the view of the lava just shooting out of the crater against the black night sky was a pretty awesome sight! Definitely worth the wait!!
The next day we booked  a jungle adventure trip to go zip-lining through the canopy and check out crocodiles, butterflies, leaf-cutter ants, turtles, and all that other good stuff  you see on the National Geographic channel. We had so much fun doing the zip-lining t,  I haven't laughed that much in a long time. We went down 15 zip-lines with amazing views and heights! Some of them were about 200 feet up in the air and 5 football fields long!! Jess of course was showing off doing one zip-line like superman with the help of one of the guides, as well as hanging upside down on another line...anyway we had a blast!!
 OK, Jess here again...After booking our trip for the next day, the real excitement of the day unfolded when it was time to go into town and change the oil on the Panama Pulverizer! (the bike, compliments of Trich via blog comment!). 
I bought 5 quarts of Castrol Syntec 20w-50 (partially synthetic, it's hard to find the full synthetic Mobil 1 15w-50 I normally use down here) from a Chinese-owned auto parts store in Panama, and I've been carrying a spare BMW filter and crush washers with me this entire time.  The oil capacity is 4L, which is a little more than 4 quarts,...the left over will be for the occasional top-off.  I found a gas station in La Fortuna and told the guy in Spanish that I needed to change my oil...he looked at the bike and told me it was impossible!...but once I told him I had my own tools and oil and only needed a little garage space, he was more than accommodating.  It was great!  Thirty minutes later we were done!  Usually I would pull the valve covers and adjust the rocker-arm and valve clearances, inspect spark plugs, and change the final drive fluid, but the Pan-American Pebble Pounder (the bike (or Malin), submitted via blog comment by marachuck!) is running great so I think an oil change will suffice until we get back stateside.  It was so much fun...I forget how much I love to wrench on stuff!!...and it feels good to give a little tender loving care to the vehicle that provides us with so many smiles!
Slideshow Report as Spam
  • Your comment has been posted. Click here or reload this page to see it below.

  • You must enter a comment
  • You must enter your name
  • You must enter a valid name (" & < > \ / are not accepted).
  • Please enter your email address to receive notification
  • Please enter a valid email address


jloder on

The Return
Sounds like fun, can't wait to see the pictures. Did you get to wear those cool helmets or did you just use your moto gear?

Use this image in your site

Copy and paste this html: