Tuesday, June 17, 2014

125cc Motorcycle racing

Looking at the GPS map, we knew that today's route was going to be a beauty! Nothing but curves through a mountain range means great riding, great views and lots of fun. To make sure we'd enjoy the most of the good weather, we woke early. This time of year the forecast in Central America is pretty much sunshine in the morning and thunderstorms in the afternoon. Plan your ride from 06.00 to 12.00 and you'll have 6 hrs of great riding!

Little 125cc motorcycles are plentiful in this part of the world. Where the average 'Westerner' doesn't want to be seen on one and considers it an inferior motorcycle, here they take everyone to and from work. Youngsters are pretty much the same all over the world. What we used to do to our mopeds, they do to their 125cc here as well. So, they'll 'tune' them with loud exhausts and all kinds of other 'go fast' stuff. When it's all fitted, tweaked and modified… you'll have to see what-it-will-do of course and what better way to do that than test it against your mates while going to work? Especially when you work at a place with a long straight driveway of several kilometres :-) So guess what we saw this morning? A full 125cc drag race! 

The driveway had been newly paved and has two speedhumps (sleeping policeman, tope, ramp or whatever else you want to call it) and seemed to be purpose built for the event. Good to test top speed, acceleration, brakes and suspension. The noise is… well… extreme for such small machines. I'm glad they don't ride Harley Davidsons as I'm sure the Costa Ricans would be able to get more sound out of them than the Americans do :-)
It's great fun to watch, as they have so much fun doing it! They all arrive happy at work, even the ones that 'lost' the race and I'm sure they'll do the same thing again in the afternoon on their way home and again tomorrow morning.

All this took place at 6 am. What a great way to start the day! The sun was out too, could the day get any better? Well, yes… we could have taken the camera and made a few photos of the race…! As it was we were all three so entertained that we didn't even think about the camera! And there was still the winding road to come! Just like we had expected, it was a beauty! Beautifully winding, great views, narrow bridges and climbing higher and higher into the volcanic mountains of Costa Rica. Costa Rica is all about nature. Where the previous countries we have visited in Central America are all about history and culture, Costa Rica is about Volcanoes and green. 

As we are well into the wet season now, the mountain tops reach deep into the clouds and soon we were literally riding in the clouds. At times like this good tyres are worth their weight in gold and Distanzias are the best wet weather tyres we've ever had. A winding road with switchback corners and falling away turns is great when the sun is out but when visibility is little more than a few metres, you'll have to be able to rely on your tyres big time! Actually we didn't even need corners to create hairy moments… How about trucks coming round them on the wrong side of the road… or people overtaking in thick fog… or no lights on… or all of the above at the same time? You won't believe the speeds they drive here in those conditions. Downhill that is, as uphill they crawl. Again we don't have any photos, this time as we were too busy to survive!

As soon as we descended out of the Volcanos and rode towards the west coast, the sky opened up again. The cold crisp morning turned into a humid and hot afternoon. We suddenly saw signs for surf clubs and surfing lessons. I still don't like all these surf-things after our previous encounters but seeing the Costa Rica coast was magic nonetheless. The only problem was that the next known campground was still 170 km away and we were all pretty tired. Everyone told us there weren't any campgrounds between where we were and Dominicalito. They were all wrong! Esterillos Oeste has two campgrounds. We took the first one as they had put in an effort to signpost it from the main road and we stayed with a family in their garden. Great place with tarpaulins put up all around so that we could pitch the tents in the shade and sheltered from the threatening rains. They even have power and wifi! Five minutes later they filled the water tanks, cleaned the shower and toilets and gave us a table and chairs :-) Lovely people! We've added the coordinates to our 'database'. Instructions on how that works and a link to our skydive can be found in the Mexico camping section, which you can find here. While we put up the tents, Jeanette went to the beach and photographed a Mermaid…!