September 28, 2006 GMT
In Motion Again in Costa Rica

9-27-06 5,200 trip miles, 34,200 total bike miles

I've been pretty lax on blog updates here lately, but I figured since I've mainly
been hanging out on the beach with my canine friends, that a motorcycle oriented
reader wouldn't be that interested anyway. At least that is my excuse. If you recall, I was house and dog sitting for another Horizons Unlimited member,
Lorraine Chittock.

Lorraine turned out to be a really interesting person, which was no surprise
after what she had told me about herself before I came down here. She was born in England, but grew up in California. (Edit: She has since told me she was actully born in the USA, but her parents are English. Oops.) As an adult, she lived in Cairo, Egypt as a
writer for a magazine for several years, and then near a game preserve in Kenya.
When Ted Simon broke his leg in Kenya on his second round the world trip, he
recovered while staying with Lorraine, so there is some moto content here too. If
you don't know who Ted Simon is, go buy a book called Jupiter's Travels, the story of his early 70's trip around the world on a motorcycle. Suffice to say,
she has some stories to tell. Bruiser and Dog, her two dogs, followed her back to
the US from Kenya. Maybe with a little help from an airplane, but they are African dogs, and seem to have adapted just fine to chasing skunks and squirrels, rather than whatever they chased in Africa.

Shameless Promotion: Lorraine has two books out that I know of. One is called
"Shadows in the Sand" and is about a camel drive that she and another white woman participated in, from Sudan to Egypt in 1995. This is not a warm fuzzy animal book, but a look at the realities of the camel trade in desert Africa, through
western eyes. From a traveller's perspective, I thought this was a great look at life in the Africa desert, regardless if you give a flip about camels or not. The
other one is called "Cats of Cairo" and you can guess what that one is about. This one is a warm fuzzy animal book, and of course, focuses on cat culture in Egypt, where they were revered in the times of the Pharohs. Both books are high quality, coffee table type books, with many high quality glossy photos of their subjects, and would make great Christmas presents. Take a look at , or email her at, and she will
be HAPPY to tell you how to get one or both for yourself. Dog and Bruiser will thank you for the extra dog bisquits Lorraine will be able to buy them. End of Shameless Plug.

After 2 weeks of living here, I got to know enough about the beach life to say that I don't see it in my future as a lifestyle. I really enjoyed my time here, and I think the beach is a great place for a break, but the heat just sucks away all my ambition after awhile. I now understand how the expats living down here have so many drug and alcohol problems. It must be really easy to get sucked into the lifestyle where you go and swim or surf for awhile in the morning, and then go to the bar for lunch, and just stay there. Most of this trip I have alternated between mountainous and beach type areas, and I can now say that I would rather live in the mountains and go to the beach for a break, than the reverse. Now I just have to figure out how to afford to do that. I'm working on it.

Most of the time, I pretty much stayed to myself, walked the dogs, and studied my Spanish. I went in to town, of course, to go to the grocery store, restaraunts
and bars a couple times, but the road is SO potholed, I didn't even want to ride my motorcycle on it. My KLR has stiffer springs, both front and rear, than what
it came with, to habndle the extra weight of all the crap I am hauling around, and that makes it ride really harsh when the luggage is off. The effect on me is bad enough, but I have been on a lot rougher roads through Honduras, Nicaragua
and Costa Rica than what I originally planned on, and I need to make this bike
last another 12,000 miles at least. Costa Rica gets my vote for the worst road
conditions, once you get off the main highways. Its like they built all these gravel roads and never maintained them, just let the potholes get bigger and bigger, until there are just a great big checkerboard of potholes and washboard. It's not technically difficult, just tedious going slow enough to avoid the worst ones and not being able to look at the scenery, because you always need to watch where your wheels are going.

After Lorraine got back from England, we took a ride on the motorcycle up the coast to check out a wildlife reserve up there and just see the area. Like idiots, neither one of us took a camera, so we missed probably the hairiest motorcycle pictures of the whole trip, I hope. The road crossed a river several times, and being the rainy season, some of the crossings were pretty deep. Since she had sandals on , and I had running shoes, I made her walk the crocodile infested river to see how deep it really was before crossing. Conveniently, the crossings that were scary deep, had suspension pedestrian bridges that were a little bouncy, but just wide enough for a motorcycle, so we put them to good use. Anyway this all would have made great pictures, but you'll just have to take my word for it now.

I am now in La Fortuna, Costa Rica, known for the Arenal volcano, which has been
erupting more or less continuously since 1968. Unfortunately, it has been cloudy
and rainy, so when I went and hike the trails this afternoon, I didn't see much.
Whose idea was it to make this trip in the rainy season anyway? I am getting
anxious to get over into South America and am resisting the urge to just blast
down the PanAm to get to Panama City. I think I am going to go back over to the
Carribean coast again and down to Panama that way.

Posted by Andy Tiegs at September 28, 2006 03:50 AM GMT

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