“My nature just changes.” Jimi Hendrix
Hey, we’re now in the season of giving thanks. And today I give thanks to my family, to friends, to health. This year, I am grateful, above all, to the brave people of Ukraine for all their sacrifices and successes in their battle for freedom.
I’m even thankful for holding this smartphone; it’s so smart I barely use 10% of its full potential. And now my thanks goes out to two weeks of motorcycle riding in Costa Rica. Consider this ride our manly man version of a game you might know something about. It’s where guys dressed in neatly pressed clothing and clean shoes are outdoors while trying to propel a small white hard ball into a series of ‘holes’ with as few swings as humanly possible, using a wide variety of sticks that they call clubs.
Yeah, that’s it, only our version of outdoor recreational fun sometimes leaves marks on you and sometimes it hurts. And in case you’re wondering there’s no such thing as a smooth grassy area for us. The entire countryside of Costa Rica that can be ridden, will be ridden, minus about a third of it that’s protected, a third of it, inhabited by the gringos and a third of it by the locals. And yes, this is now our dance floor, only some will always dance way better than the others. I’m not necessarily a good dancer but, I can at least do my best to try to stay up with the top third of the herd.
I’m mostly writing for me but, hey, if you enjoy a sometimes half baked decent adventure ride story then continue to read on.
Our ride group consists of eleven riders. Most or all qualified to get here. They underwent a rigorous vetting process by non other than the gpskevin adventure ride team. An insider once said that all our pictures are on a map wall and if your face wasn’t now covered by darts or failed to complete at least two previous gpskevin adventures rides, then no amount of whining, complaining or pesos, colones, or bucks would get you here. Well, maybe I’m wrong about the dollars!
Yoda Roberto and I immediately qualified because just last month we rode, with other like minded and extremely talented manly men. Approximately 2500 miles through the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Sinaloa and Baja. That particular ride started in the USA, crossing at the world famous Tecate border brewery before arriving at the very innards of what I consider to be the real Mexican culture.
We enjoyed visiting Copper Canyon, tried everything we could to look like tourists by doing things such as zip lining and rappelling and even visiting a local silver mine before finally returning across the Sea of Cortez; on a 9 hour ferry ride, a 9 hour ride, starting in Topolobampo. The seas here can turn on a moment’s notice. Just ask the Skipper of the SS Minnow that ran aground somewhere around here on one of the nearby uncharted desert islands.
The major difference between Costa Rica and Mexico is the food. I’m so not so looking forward to the bland Costa Rican foods that are always served with plenty of beans and rice, or rice and beans. But, the coffee, now that’s a totally different experience. You will love the coffee. They begin by roasting the coffee beans. And there’s a complete process for that. The way they prepare the coffee here is by gently pouring the boiling water over the grounds. The coffee water will next make its way down a fabric mesh that retains the flavor without adding its own like in a paper filter.
For further information visit gpskevinadventures.com not for the food but, for the adventure rides.
We are riding in Costa Rica because the Master Yoda said, “let there be a ride in December of 2022, a landscape that is of a much smaller scale than Mexico.” The only problem is getting here. You can’t ride a west coast motorcycles here without possibly being retired, self sufficient or a baby boomer. If you live on my west coast of North America it’s only an overnight plane ride. And even on the airplane over they serve rice and beans.
I’ve been to the country of Costa Rica and to tell you the truth it is much much smaller, than most of our US states. When you first arrive in San Jose itself, you will also not be very impressed. I remember looking around the city on the way out of the airport and thinking, if this is all there is of their capitol city, then where’s the wow factor?
Did the Spanish influence suddenly petter itself out when they finally got to Central America? At first I didn’t think that the rest of the place or country was going to be that impressive but, like most people who make a quick assessment of an area, based on first impressions, I was wrong.
On my last trip here for a hike across the country Marco, a local Tico, took the time to take me on a walking tour of his city. In that walking tour of San Jose I got to witness at least three crimes, one involving a guy that snatched another man’s iPhone and bolted with the man in hot pursuit. Marco said he possibly could’ve stopped the Tico, running full speed in our direction. I think Marco was simply hungry for the wilder days of his youth.
Marco is married to a native born Cuban woman who has made it her passion to create a walking trail across the entire country, from the Caribbean to the Pacific.
I am certain, with no reservations that Conchita would not approve of me returning to Costa Rica to ride enduro/dirt motorcycles. This is the type of adventure that slices and dices up the roads so much that there’s usually no recovery. We know because in June 2019 we walked from coast to coast and at times on roads so trashed up by motorcycle tracks that walking through rutted baked and hardened rain filled gouges made it a chore. The purpose of our walk then was to transit the country thus creating a usable route for a future Costa Rica caminos.
Conchitas non profit caminodecostarica.org goal is to help spread tourism dollars to the innards of the country, where they need it the most, that would subsequently help the locals and indigenous communities.
A very worthy cause I am sure but, I’m now with guys whose upper body type is similar to the working end of a backhoe. All of their body strength is primarily on the topsides. If I asked anyone of these riders to walk a mile with me in hiking boots up a steep Costa Rican muddy grade road, they would probably look at me funny and then just laugh.
This country is beautiful. Especially in the jungles where the mosquitoes can literally suck the life living blood off of you; ask me how I know. The wildlife is awesome too, especially when we’re chasing it on motorcycles. Just kidding! Seriously. The sound of those two strokes is enough to chase anything away within a quarter mile radius of you, unless it’s a two toed sloth.
Costa Rica is also cool for seeing an erupting volcano or for watching baby sea turtles hatch. But, you can’t see it all in one just one place. Getting around in Costa Rica takes longer than say us riding from Sinaloa to Chiapas. And Costa Rica also has beautiful beaches, nearly perfect weather, and an ability to slow your life down to that Pura Vida pace.
Another thing to share is that once you get off the plane start watching your valuables and get ready to be overwhelmed with the words “Pura Vida”. Tourist primarily travel around the country thinking they know Spanish because they can keep repeating the words Pura Vida
You can easily tell the tourists from the locals; they’re pretty much the ones traveling around Costa Rica repeating “Pura Vida” to anyone who will listen. Patti and I recently took a trip to Maui. I got corrected twice on how to pronounce Hawaii (it’s something like Havai) and everywhere we went the tourists were saying to other tourists ‘Aloha’.
After a certain amount of times I’m assuming it’s safe for them to declare their vacation over, jump back on a plane and declare the vacation a success.
Sure, now you’re thinking how could we possibly continue riding something so destructive and dangerous as a motorcycle in Costa Rica?
I don’t yet know. We haven’t started riding yet. And all my body parts are still intact. I just arrived a few days earlier to both climatize my more senior manly man body and to eat that fabulous cuisine of theirs. Not!
The food in Costa Rica is so far not anything worthy to write home about. It consists of rice and beans, a little chicken and maybe a sunny side up egg on top and no salsa.
…….to be continued
………..And now if I could only back time by say about 10-20 years, keeping my present skills, attributes and technology, people I know and love, our dog Lexie, then I would do it, and everything would be perfect in the world. My wife once told me something that stuck with me. “You can have anything you want, you just can’t have it all.
So how are you now enjoying my ride adventure story thus far?