It was approaching dark after checking out of Panama (for the 2nd time) and moved through to Costa Rica but we had the benefit of experience this time round. One thing i had learnt from last time is obviously where to cue and not to pay $1 for an official looking guy to put a sticker in your passport, unless you like the sticker.
More importantly, i had successfully visited Costa Rica without ever checking by bike in!! I had paid my couple of dollars for the wash of the bike on entrance but borked at the insurance counter for the $18 it was going to cost for the next three days and instead I decided to take the risk…. successfully!
What could be different this time?? Its getting dark, the procedure isn’t quick and $18 goes a long way when camping. I know some people would call this idiocy, but personally i like the challenge. Im crossing the country illegally if you like it or not….
15km over the border there was an orchard to the left, in torchlight we set up the tent. After a night of rain we woke to a new day and a new country… a beautiful one to say the least.
The morning produced a good ride, winding along a river before the climb.
3000m plus by mid morning as I flashed back to Peru and Bolivia as the carb gasped at the surrounding freshness.
After stopping for the view, Claudia was a little slow to dismount and i rolled backwards causing her to flop ever so elegantly on her arse. Naturally she blames the driver!
The thing about being on an illegal bike is the anxiety that rises when the law plays its regular role in a day on the road. A big chief traffic cop sat down beside us for lunch, naturally we asked him to take this picture.
An hour later a police checkpoint waves us in, again i nearly swallow my tong. I played my usual trick of pretending not to see them by looking elsewhere, braking late and missing the stop point before checking the mirrors for a reaction. On this occasion, like many others, rather than walk the extra distance, i can see that he finds it easier to just wave us on… Big deep breaths as i work my way up through the gears.
San Jose was a pleasant climatic change which made taking in a few sights on the Sunday a good outing but the priority for us both was to get the rear shock rebuilt ASAP Monday morning!!
Monday we were up and at a rental place in the Colon district who apparently had once rented KLR´s. Following the advice of the German lads we spoke to their mechanic and eventually found ourselves chasing the sniff of new suspension 45min out of town to another backyard mechanic. The type that have been my mentors throughout this trip and of which im very comfortable in the surrounds of…
Almost a day latter fiddling and floating around the shop, the outsourced shock reappears, looking like new!!
Then the rains hit, so its cake and soda with the mechanic gang until it eases for the ride home. Tomorrow on the way out to Nicaragua we mast pass again to pay him ($120) and pick up my much loved tools.