(March 20 – written by Dave)
Today’s start was not as fun as yesterday’s start. The monkey surprise of yesterday was replaced today with a flat tire on my bike. I’ve had a slow leak for about a week and I’ve been just pumping the tire up first thing in the morning, making it through the day. Well, at the eco lodge on our day off, I decided to finally just patch the tire and be done with it. This worked good yesterday but this morning, not so good. Since we had a sink to wash up, today I decided to bite the bullet and change out the tube before we departed. I’m still not 100% certain that I found the offending flat causing material in the tire – It’s one of those tricky ones – we’ll see how tomorrow morning plays out.
We are thinking of a noon ferry tomorrow and 70k to get there. So a flat in the morning tomorrow would not be much fun, or at least it won’t be “relaxing”. But that’s tomorrow, back to today…
Once we got the tire fixed and left the hotel it was close to 7AM, just in time for Liberia rush hour to be starting. We had expected a quiet roll out towards the Nicoya peninsula. We got a whole bunch of bumper to bumper traffic, another motorcycle accident and hardly any shoulder on the road. No victim covering blankets at the accident today – thankfully.
Traffic was steady for at least 10k when we reached the Liberia airport. It was billed as an international airport and it probably is given how small Costa Rica is, but it is a small airport. They had 3 jetways, and a 4th under construction. The road seemed to be lined with rental car stores for most of the 10k – weird.
Needing a break, just after the airport we pulled up at Sun Burst Coffee – we’d seen several signs out on the highway. Inside we found a father/son pair from Santa Barbra, California. They’d been roasting and brewing coffee for about 30 years and down here in Costa Rica for 11. We had a nice cold brew – needed as temps were up there already. We had a nice chat about coffee with the son. He confirmed what we’d been thinking that not much coffee is grown is the coastal area where we are travelling.
We asked if they shipped coffee to the US and he said that they did, both green and roasted. He even gave us a card with a special code to get $5 off on the first order. The code is shown below and can be used by us or all of our friends. We won’t use it because they don’t ship to Oz and we won’t be done travelling until the end of the year. So… coffee lovers, go crazy if you want a special shipment of Costa Rica coffee – place your orders!
The scenery today remained surprisingly dry and “un” Costa Rican like. We keep expecting jungle and mostly what we are getting is dry savannah like grass lands. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had about 3 days of rain in almost a year of riding. We like riding on dry roads. Today we didn’t see any monkeys but we saw quite a few iguanas. Iguanas don’t seem overly worried about cars, buses or motorcycles. Us, they don’t like so much. We don’t always see them but we hear them crashing back into the bush as we ride past. They seem to like hanging out on the verge where the grass is mowed – soaking up the sun. We didn’t get any photos because there is no way we can get cameras out and ready before the iguana is long gone.
We arrived in Nicoya (the town) around noon and stopped for ice-cream smoothies. I tried to get a photo but an ice-cream headache caused by me drinking too fast, along with Nancy quickly slurping hers down dashed that plan. We met an interesting America at the ice-cream shop. He’d lived in Costa Rica for 30 years and was from Texas. He had more stories than he probably should have. We were exhausted when he finally left with three cones – one for himself, one for his Costa Rican worker and finally one for his dog who was riding in the back of the pick-up.
We had a couple hotels noted but no firm target. We ended up picking Hotel Nicoya – it’s a bit out of the centre of town but by far the nicest hotel we saw today. Even though I did the search yesterday, I did it again today. The hotel has a lovely (albeit small) pool that has clearly been done up in UNR (University of Nevada Reno) school colours. Our friends Inge and Pete went to UNR (yes, Inge is the person who makes all those great, super positive comments on our blog). UNR Men’s basketball is in the Sweet-16 of the annual national championships this year. So naturally, I had to take a few shots at the UNR Blue Basketball hoop. Nancy captured these moments for everyone’s shock – yes, my skin is that ghostly white. Anyway, I hope all this personal sacrifice pays off and UNR moves on in the tournament – GO PACK! We picked up supplies for dinner in town so we are just going to hang out here at the hotel on the nice patio and cook dinner to help the budget.
We’ve debated a lot on where to go next. Several friends riding in front of us give us positive feedback on the beaches around here. We’ve decided to pass on them and instead have look at the beaches further along Highway 34 in a few days time where getting to them is not so much out and back. So tomorrow we head for the Puntarenas area. We have that 70k morning to the ferry to think about, followed by a ferry ride that is also highly spoken of. Nancy is digging out her seasick wrist bands as I type this… So far, I just checked, the tire is holding air – phew.