The Return Route - Vulcan Arenal, Costa Rica
Trip Start Jun 21, 2008
35Trip End Sep 03, 2008
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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!
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!!...it 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 back...it'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
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