Day 66 Big Border…Big Mac…Big River

Day 66 October 28 San Juan del Sur Nicaragua to Nosara Costa Rica

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One of the great things about this trip is that every day brings something unexpected. Today did not disappoint. I studied hard last night trying to memorize the steps of another complicated border crossing. I wrote out the process on a cheat sheet and drew a little map of what I thought the building layout would be. I was prepared and under no circumstance was I going to be taken for a fool again.

I reached the Nicaragua/Costa Rica border at 8:00am in intermittent rain showers. I figured the rain and the early hour might keep the con artists at bay and I was right. I followed the process step by step just as I had learned it. 90 minutes later I was done and cruising into Costa Rica. I even had time to do a little shopping at the duty free store.

Immediately I noticed a marked difference from the countries I had left behind me. Speed limits are clearly posted here both with signs and pavement markings.

Nice Costa Rican pavement

The raised economic state is also apparent with fewer rundown buildings and more professional looking businesses. In the cities there are more familiar North American companies present like McDonalds (I admit it, I had a Big Mac). And yes, I know McDonalds is in other CA countries too.

There were a number of roads on the map leading to Nosara so I just picked the twisty looking one that followed the coastline. I had heard that during rainy times this road could have high water. I rode along the hard packed dirt road expecting a river crossing at any moment.

The track changed from high speed gravel to rougher potholed backroad and eventually I came to the first deep water.

Looks easy enough

I watched a Toyota 4runner pass through the river before I made the attempt and it looked easy enough. But the river bottom was unexpectedly soft and slippery. That, combined with my worn out rear tire created a problem. I made it through the water but was way, way out of shape on the exit. I could not overcome the fishtailing rear end and spinning wheel. I dropped her at a slow pace but fast enough to do some damage to the right side pannier. A local man watched my spill and came to my aid by helping me lift the bike. The poor luggage did not rise with the bike. It stayed on the ground with the mounting points buckled in by the impact. In addition the tool tube under the engine guard smashed open and spilled its contents. The rider had nary a scratch. We moved the bike out of the road and I carried the bits and pieces to a safe spot to assess the damage. It was then that my new friend pointed out that I should have taken the bridge like that motorcycle just did….Doh!!!

VIDEO Note: there are one or two bad words in this video

“Mi amigo, hay rios mas abajo de esta carretera?” “
“Si dos mas”
“Hay Puentes para motos sobre ellos?!
“Si no hay problema”

Ok, there are two more rivers but they have bridges too. But first some repairs. I used a large rock to bash the mounting holes as straight as possible. It was enough to get the pannier mounted but not securely. I used two tie down straps to snug it up to the luggage frame which by the way sustained no damage at all.

After struggling to restart the engine I finally got moving again. But before I left another man approached. He asked if I was going to see the turtles come up on the beach tonight. He said the beach is just around the corner and the turtles start coming out of the ocean to lay their eggs at 4 o’clock. This was something I wanted to see so I decided I would come back after finding a place to stay in Nosara which was 15 minutes from here.

But I had two rivers to cross yet. The fist structure was a narrow suspension bridge with cables running along its sides. I promptly hooked the spare tire on a cable and briefly thought I had lost it but only managed to snap a Rok Strap holding it on. The second bridge was a flat metal deck with no sides, a little hairy with wet muddy tires.

I made it to Nosara and located Troy who enthusiastically agreed to go back with me to see the turtles later. After checking into a hostal I removed all my luggage so the bridges would not be so scary next time.

We arrived at the special beach to see a hundred people busily working on a turtle egg harvest. Olive Ridley sea turtle

Tens of thousands of eggs had been collected and were being bagged and crated for shipment. There is only a 36 hour window that this harvest is permitted.

It was a little disturbing at first but we learned that the turtles are so great in number that they lay on top of other nests which destroys many eggs. The harvest they said had very little impact. Apparently late at night there are so many turtles on the beach they are climbing over one another.


A lot of interest in the event

Washing the eggs in the ocean as the sun sets

Naked Skelly. Note the dangling tool tube.

Troy’s surfboard rack

We returned to Nosara before dark and planned to find dinner and meet Martin. After multiple cervezas we said farewell for the last time. From here on there will be no chance that I’ll meet them again until we all return to North America. Guys, it was great to meet you both, I sure hope we can ride together again someday.

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7 Responses to Day 66 Big Border…Big Mac…Big River

  1. Amazing shots of the turtle run! That would have been so cool to see 😀

  2. stalbert334 says:

    Hi again from St. Albert:
    Being as you were telling us about seeing the turtles and their eggs on the beach, this B.C. news item today reminded me of you:
    Exotic Mexican turtle washes ashore near Prince Rupert

  3. Sharon says:

    Whew – I was glad to see the end of that video. What a ride you had!

  4. Paddy says:

    What intriguing stories you’ve shared Dave. I felt your pain at the last border crossing and was inspired by your resolve to not be “caught” again. I was very happy with the way you sailed through this border…..ya!……..but shocked by the series of events at the wash-out. How quickly the situation changes eh?
    My congratulations for seemiing giving the “path of least resistance” zero consideration in your decision making process (i.e. Where you ride and when). i think that’s a hard thing to do.
    Thanks for all the interesting pictuires and stories Dave, I look forward to your continuing adventure.

  5. Linda & Roger says:

    OMG – I could not have even WALKED over that narrow muddy wet bridge, let alone ridden a motorcycle across. You are into more muck now than when you were in the hurricanes in Mexico! I guess it is all fun in hindsight, but maybe not at the moment it is happening! Love reading and watching the videos. Feel like we are right there with you!

  6. eeeeeeep! I love it !!

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