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Published: June 29th 2015
Distance driven today: 91 miles / 146 km
Cumulative distance driven: 7,474 miles / 12,028 km
Today’s trip: San Jose to Manuel Antonio, Cosa Rica
Times I dropped the bike: once on an extremely steep driveway up to the hotel parking – no serious damage other than to Christer’s pride…
Today we rode the shortest distance so far, just 146km/91miles. However, there was no lack of adventure for sure. Our goal was to ride from San Jose to the Pacific coast, and the beautiful backpacker friendly Manual Antonio. Instead of taking the straight-forward highway to the coast, I decided (in my infinite wisdom!) to take the scenic route over the mountains. The GPS route showed it to be shorter by a whole 50km/30 miles compared to the coastal highway. Half way into the scenic route it turned a bit too scenic, as the paved road turned quickly into an increasingly rough gravel road.
I had made the cardinal mistake of not following up in detail, through the satellite view of Google maps, to double check that the scenic road as displayed on my netbook GPS software was indeed paved. We rode for over
an hour at a pace of about 10km/h (6mph) and I was really excited the very few times I got to shift from 1st
gear. The gravel road had seen its fair account of tropical rains, having washed out most of the gravel and leaving behind deep grooves and rocks covering the road instead. Despite the rough surface, and the heavy loaded bike, we had no incidents, and I did not drop the bike once. That would however change later, as it turns out.
As exciting and adventurous as the scenic mountain road was, both Zoe and I where happy when we reached the Pacific coast and hit the tarmac again. Once in Manuel Antonio, we drove to our hotel, which turned out to be at the top of an extremely steep hill. I told Zoe to get off before I tackled what looked to be more of an uphill ski run, rather than a road. I figured that I had sufficient riding experience under by belt, and enough power in the engine to drive safely up and park the motorcycle by the hotel entrance. That turned out to be a miscalculation. I drove the steep hill
up, only to discover too late that, at the end of the hill I needed to make a sharp left turn into the gravel parking lot. In between the hill road and the start of the gavel parking lot, at a bizarre inclination between the two surfaces, there was a big gravel groove.
In a slit second, I misjudged the clutch setting needed; and let’s face it, the paperclip I temporarily put in place in Guatemala to fix the clutch handle issue was still in place… As I adjusted the clutch to get me the tiny bit of extra power I needed to ride across the gravel groove, the clutch did not respond accordingly. I suddenly lost control and had no option but to lay the bike down. We are talking about a total weight of over 275kg/600 pounds. As I was already practically standing at a standstill at the very top of the hill, I could easily jump off the bike and let it fall on its side. The bike leaned heavily facing downwards on the slope, and luckily I did not get physically hurt at all, though the same cannot be said about my ego!! Let’s face
it; this was not my proudest riding moment. After an entire month of riding on pretty extreme roads with no incident whatsoever, I dropped the bike on a parking lot while almost at a standstill, albeit on a very step and extreme access road to a parking lot.
In total, it took 4 very helpful hotel employees to lift up the heavy bike and push it to the parking lot. Apart from a somewhat scratched and indented left pannier (aluminum box), it turns out that the clutch handle somehow got a blow in the fall (unclear how, since it is protected by a strong plastic plate) resulting in the tip of the handle breaking off. The handle is now operational (after the application of some duct tape at the point of failure as not to cut my glove when I use it), but a new clutch handle is now definitely overdue (as if it hadn’t been needed ever since Guatemala and the paperclip that’s make it functional). Our new and updated plan calls for spending a couple of days in Manuel Antonio to relax and celebrate Zoe’s birthday tomorrow, and then to take the highway back to San Jose
on Tuesday morning and head straight for the BMW authorized dealership to fix the clutch handle once and for all.
After the whole “dropping-the-bike” debacle, we decided to head out for lunch. We walked down the extremely steep hill from our hotel, and got less than 100m/300ft before the afternoon tropical rain started. Lucky for us we were next to a restaurant and we grabbed the first available table in their patio. I have experienced tropical rainstorms before, but this one bordered on the ridiculous. For 1,5 hours it poured down so heavily, that even the restaurant employees had to admit that they had rarely seen anything like it in Manuel Antonio, which after all is a place that gets very regular heavy tropical rain due to its location and climate zone. It was as if somebody was standing above the city and had opened a giant fire hose at full throttle. We ended up taking a long one and a half hours lunch, having no option than to wait until the cataclysmic down pouring had ended.
Tot: 0.055s; Tpl: 0.021s; cc: 8; qc: 23; dbt: 0.0106s; 1; m:saturn w:www (22.214.171.124); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.2mb