Departing the San Jose BMW dealer for the final push through Central America. San Jose, Costa Rica.
After 3 months and over 5,000 miles on (and many times off!) the road, I find myself in the incredible country of Costa Rica. C.R. has virtually no crime or corruption, so I felt relaxed as I rode through the cool northern highlands. The diversity of the nature in this country is unparalled in a country of this size. Just a beautiful place.
On the 27th of January, Julio Salazar from BMW called to let me know my bike was ready for the ride south. I had left my bike at the local BMW shop when I returned to the US for surgery. I had to have a ganglian cyst removed from my right hand. My wrist was still tender but I was chomping at the bit to get going. My bags were packed in anticipation of this phone call. I stopped at a pharmacy and bought gauze to protect my scar, then headed for the BMW shop. It was good to see Julio and Norval again, they really make the shop special. When they pulled the bike in front of the shop I could barely recognize it. They had washed it, put on new tires and fixed everything that had broken along the rough roads in Honduras. It was good as new. I loaded my gear and wondered what it would be like to ride again- and find my way out of the maze that is San Jose. It was then that Julio came out with a helment and said, ¨Now I´m gonna take you out of San Jose.¨ By the time I reached third gear, I was back in the swing of things. It took over half an hour before we were clear of the city. Then, on a quiet two lane road, we stopped and Julio described the route ahead. I offered him some beer money but he refused. He said it was all about friendship and motorcycles. He asked that I keep him posted on my journey, said ¨God bless you,¨ and headed back to San Jose.
I soon found myself climbing steeply into the southern highlands. It quickly became cold enough for my heavy jacket and even the heated grips. The road was another stunner, weaving through the clouds as I had on the Spinazo del Diablo. Then came the descent into tropical rainforest. The upside of rainforest is its lush beauty. The downside is the afternoon rain which is as inevitable as sunset. Before long I was riding through a steady downpour. Thanks to my raised windscreen I remained mostly dry. The rain couldn´t detract from the beauty of the ride, the diverstity of the flora was stellar. After 5 hours on the road I reached my destination for the night, Rio Claro. The next day I started riding before 8am to beat the rains. It worked. I arrived at the Panamanian border before noon- and dry. After 7 time-consuming, frustrating steps, I crossed into my last Central American country: Panama!