Yesterday's events were fantastic. Ricardo and I were accompanied by his mother, Dona Delfina. Her role was to provide some elegance and class to our group (Luis Diego Romero, Ricardo and me). We were all dressed in our finest! We certainly do not look like three Moto riders. Check our the pictures in the "Costa Rica, Fall 2015 to see us un full dress.
Back home by midnight, I was exhausted. Today Ricardo has been showing me San Jose, we had brunch at Bay.Denny's and stopped in at Walmart. It is almost like I was in Texas. Later today I have to wash the BMW F650GS and ride it up the mountain to Verania, the mountaintop villa of Chalo and Luis Diego Romero. It is time for this blue caballo to be returned to it's home.
Later, Ricardo and Caryn are coming to visit. Tonight I must pack and prepare for my return to Baffin Bay. Tomorrow morning will find me making my way back to the airport. By midnight Monday I should be back on the Bay.
Once again I urge you to look at the pictures in the two albums, "Costa Rica Fall 2015" and "Bocas Del Toro". This blog may be boring but the pictures are great!
This will be the last posting for "Costa Rica, Fall 2015".............
Today started with a beautiful ride through the mountains, a late afternoon musical recital at the National Teatro and then a fine dinner at the Grand Hotel of Costa Rica. The ride was throughrt. I suggest you take a look at sever some of the most beautiful mountains in Costa Rica. Past numerous coffee farms, all super green and full of coffee beans. Along the way we stopped at a small local restaurant and enjoyed a traditional Costa Rican Lunch.
Late afternoon we took a taxi into the center of San Jose. First to the National Teatro for an hour of great music, performed by nine highly talented musicians. The music was nice and the Teatro is amazing. Constructed in around 1857 the Teatro is a spectacular work of art. I suggest you take a look at several pictures I posted of this architectural treasure.
Later we visited the Grand Hotel for dinner. Elegant surroundings, great company, but the food was only mediocre. By 9:30 pm we were home.
Sarurday will find Ricardo and me dressed in our finest, suits- white shirts and ties. We have animatorceremony, a formal reception and then a dance. We are going to be on our best behavior. This is certainly a change for two simple Moto riders. I may even post a picture or two so you can see us "in costume".
The past three days have been spent enjoying time with Ricardo's family and exploring the roads and towns around San Jose. Yesterday it rained the entire day, a steady rain, something I rarely see in my part of Texas. Ricardo and I knew it would not be a pleasant day to explore on the bikes, so we were off early in his car. A quick stop to pick up his daughter, Marcela who is visiting from NYC and we were off.
Ricardo had a tour all planned. Heading south out of the city, past Cartaga, we were soon climbing up the foothills toward the great mountain, Cerro de la Muerte. A stop along the way for a snack and a Costa Rican coffee, the morning was crisp and nice. This is coffee growing country and the steep mountains were covered with coffee trees. "Coffee trees"', proof that in Costa Rica money does grow on trees.
Soon we were in Empalme, turning west and driving down winding, picturesque roads through busy mountain towns like Santa Maria, San Marcos and San Pablo. Early afternoon found us in a mountainside restaurant enjoying pineapple, pork steaks and plantain, all grilled over a massive good burning grill. The day, the company and the food was perfect.
Today I was honored to be included in the Collado family birthday celebration for Dona Delfina, the mother of Ricardo and the sophisticated and lovely matriarch of this great family. Twenty grandchildren, great grandchildren, sons and one daughter, all so happy to be with Delfina. Such a fine family, all well educated and so loving. I was pleased to be included. The food? Simply delicious. A great time for all.
Motoclub M14 arrived at Siquerres Saturday by noon Saturday. Maybe 25 bikes, and another six from a motoclub in Limon. Thirty five people with common passions--travel, motorcycles and barbeque. And Luis Diego had prepared a feast of meats to be barbequed. Steak, pork and chorizo. I don't think there was any goat or horse but if there was none of the Ticos would tell me. Three hours of fellowship with riders that I have known for a few years. The day was perfect.
We were all staying at the same nice hotel in Sequirres, Hotel Pacuare. A very good restaurant that always fixes me desyuna Americano each morning, eggs sunny side up, five slices of thick bacon, freshly squeezed orange juice, toast and great Costa Rican coffee.
This morning I was up early preparing for thr group ride back to San Jose. Rain, steady rain...Everyone thought the rains would be with the entire trip, but no. But by 9:00 AM the skies cleared and we were on our bikes headed up the winding mountain roads. Three hours later and Ricardo and I are back at his home in San Jose. Dry, safe and happy with a great trip. So much done in only six days. A total of three days at the farm, almost three days at Bocas Del Toro, Panama.
Later today Ricardo's children and grandchildren are coming for snacks. While I know everyone of them, this is the first time that we have all been together at one time. And Wednesday, more festivities, the 88th birthday with the Collado matriarch, Dona Delfina. There are going to be twenty family members, and one gringo, paying their love to this charming lady.
And right now? Ricardo and I are watching a NASCAR race, The AAA Texas 500, from Texas Motor Speedway near Fort Worth, Texas.
My photos are stored in albums. They can be found by tapping on the "Pictures" tab. I posted all Panama photos in tne album "Bocas Del Toro". Those photos are nice, maybe they will entice you to get on your moped and head south to Panama.
Now that we are back in Costa Rica I will post new photos in the album "Costa Rica, Fall 2015".
Yesterday's trip back to Siquerres was beautiful, past beaches, small beachfront towns and through large Banana fields. We left Bocas Del Toro at 10:00 AM, a thirty minute water taxi to the mainland and then a 75 minute van ride back to the border.
By noon we had cleared immigration (Costa Rica and Panama) and were back in Sixaola, Costa Rica, reunited with our bikes. Soon we were off headed to Limon, then 25 miles west to Hacienda Mila Veintecinco, the vast farms owned and farmed by Luis Diego, Ricardo's cousin and my good and generous friend.
Such a breautiful ride, then four kilometers from Luis' farm the skies opened up, totally exploded! Rain, ferocious, scary...I could not see anything past my hands. Two inches of rain in less than five minutes. I could not see the road, oncoming trucks, nothing.....then suddenly it stopped, the skies cleared and the Rain Gods left me there soaked, frightened and thankful I was still alive. A few minutes later Ricardo rode up...."if we had not stopped for a Coke in Limon, we would have beat the rain". Thanks for your thoughts!
An evening in Siquirres, a good dinner with Luis Diego and Ricardo, and all was good. Ricardo and I are now at a hotel here in Siquerres and later this morning will be joined by many bikes from both Limon and San Jose. Luis is hosting an a afternoon barbeque and few members of M14 will miss that.
Ricardo and I spent Thursday exploring the archipelago know as Bocas Del Toro. Me, by foot in the main city and Ricardo by a boat tour visiting many of the nearby islands.
I have setup a special album in the "pictures" tab entitled Bocas Del Toro. I suggest you visit that album and you will see what Ricardo and I saw.
This morning we will visit the docks and beaches here on the main island and just before lunch we will take a water taxi (boat) back to the mainland. By mid afternoon we will be back at the border and quickly cross into Costa Rica.
Wednesday morning, bright, clear and warm, and Ricardo and I were packing for our ride down the Atlantic coast to Panama. And Luis Diego? He was up at 4:00 AM, saddling horses by five. There were over 200 sheep to be brought into the corrals. Why? Luis was giving shots (injected medications). The farms are Luis Diego's life. He would have it no other way.
Ricardo and I were off by 8:00, the bikes eager to move. Riding east to the port city of Limon, past huge banana fields. Then the coast, the beautiful Atlantic, riding south to the Costa Rica border town of Sixaola. The bikes were left in a secure parking lot on the Costa Rican side and we tackled the chaotic process of clearing immigration and customs in Panama. Thirty minutes later and we had our visas and had found a 12 passenger shuttle for the trip down the coast to the docks where we would board a water taxi to the archipelago called Bocas del Toro.
A beautiful thirty minute boat ride (see photos) and we were pulling into the docks of Bocas Del Toro. By two in the afternoon we had checked into Hotel Laguna and were exploring this very Caribbean town. Beautiful and brightly colored wooden houses, stores and restaurants, noise, music. Tourists, some Australian, some Canadian, some from the USA, all here to surf,..have a beer or two...all cares left on the mainland.
In 1957 two young musicians in New Jersey (Bob Gaudio and Tom Austn) saw a girl in "short shorts". Within an hour they had crafted a song "We wear short shorts". I have been humming the tune ever since I arrived. The Panamian people here are friendlyq and helpful, the ladies tall and slender. And yes, most wear short shorts!
Restaurants abound, of every variety. Tonight Ricardo had lobster, actually two, totaling over three pounds. I think I will try one sometime during our visit. But first I have to explore this relaxed but exotic city.
Monday's ride east to Luis Diego's farm was nice, down a long and very curvy road, running through two National Forests. Suddenly into a long and cool tunnel, both the longest and shortest in Costa Rica (it is the only one).
Leaving San Jose at 9:00 AM, we were at the arm by 12:30. Luis Diego took us for a tour of the farm, then we were off to Siquerres to by medicine for cattle and to have an early dinner and back at the farm, in bed, by nine.
Today is a busy day. Luis Diego was up as normal by 4:00 AM. The horses were saddled by 5:00 and Luis and the workers were off rounding up cattle. Shots and other medications were must given. Then the younger cattle will be branded (only by Luis-he is the expert). See photos.
A number of younger cattle are being sold today. The trucks are here ready to loaded (1see photos). Money will change hands and tonight we can eat steak! And tomorrow? On the bikes by 8:00 AM, then off to the Atlantic port city of Limon. Limon, a very Caribean type city, mostly inhabited by people of African descent. Arriving here from Jamaca to work on the banana plantations. unlike any other Costa Rican city, Limon has a vibe all it's on.
A quick stop and the bikes will be pointed south to Panama. By nightfall Wednesday we should be on the Atlantic isle of Boca del Toro, a place where neither Ricardo or I have ever visited. Another Adventure!
An early morning breakfast and Ricardo and I were on the bikes headed into the center of San Jose to meet with the M14 riders. By 8:45 AM 40-50 bikes had arrived and Chizo conducted the short (10 minutes) meeting. Like always he welcomed me back. I always feel so welcome among t his group of Moto enthusiasts.
By 9:15 we we were all mounted up and riding out of the center city headed to the beautiful beach of Herradura, Ricardo on his V-Star Silverado and me on the BMW F650GS. The morning was clear, no rain in sight and miraculously there would be no rain the entire ride.
Over hills, up curvy roads and winding our way down, it was a perfect motorcycle ride. At 11:00AM Chizo led the group into a large restaurant for brunch. Everyone seemed to enjoy this stop and after 45 minutes we were headed to Herradura Beach. Herradura, home of Los Suenos Marriott Ocean Resort and Marina. This marina is the largest in Costa Rica and all of Central America. The Resort, while costly, is beautiful. I highly recommend it, even at $250 per night (for the cheap room ).A couple of hours on the beach and we mounted up and we're off on the two hour ride home. It was a great day, renewing old friendships and exploring this beautiful country.
Monday we are headed east, past Siquerres, Bataan and on to Haciendo Milla Vientycinco, the great farm owned and run by Luis Diego. As you might expect, Luis is a working owner, on horseback and in the fields every day. For some foolish reason, he thinks he can make vaqueros of Ricardo and me. Boy, will he be disappointed.
Thursday morning, just before lunch, my plane landed smoothly at Juan Santamaria International Airport. Eight minutes and I cleared customs, the fastest ever! And there to greet me was my close friend, Ricardo Collado.
Luis Diego is hosting a dinner tonight at his mountain home. Among the quests will be old friends and Luis son, Chalo. I am anxious to see both. They are super people and of course, it is Chalo who graciously makes his BBW GS available to me.
Today Ricardo and I went on a brisk morning mountain ride and I once again found that my riding skills are better on this bike than on the three BMWs that I keep in Texas. Why three? Because Chalo and Luis Diego may soon show up to ride again.
And the weather? Rain each morning and rain each afternoon. Some days there is even a mid day rain. Tomorrow we ride with our club, M-14. Over to a marina near Jaco Beach. How many bikes? Probably 50 or so ranging from 250cc Chinese bikes to Harley Ultra Glides. And the weather forecast? Rain, what else? But as Chizo says "we are not made of sugar, we won't melt.
The next two weeks? Riding up Cerro de la Muerte, the highest point ion the Costa Rican section of the Panamericano, then up to Bataan to the beautiful farms of Luis Diego, a trip to the Atlantic port city, Limon, a city more Caribean than Latin. Down the coast to the laid back beach town of Puerto Viejo, on down to the border town of Sixaola, CR. Once we clear customs, we will head southeast in Panama. Our destination? Bocas del Toro, located on Isla Colon. Bocas del Toro (the Mouth of the Bull) consists of nine islands. How will we cross over to the islands? We are not sure but certainly not by motorcycle.