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Costa Rica: Central valley to San Vito de Jawa on 1.1.07

Hello Friends,
a small report from Costa Rica of my trip from january first this year:

01am go to bed, let the others have their party.
04am stand up and pick up the neffew from work in Heredia (05:30) (he has only 3 days free in the year.../33 years/115kg/a Vespa-messenger and Jeep-mudd-fan) our bike is Jolly Roger II a 350ccm 2 stroke Jawa with a tiny velorex sidecar.
After break adjustment we head for the south border to Panama where "Fofo " was born when his father was a teacher in the middle of nowhere...
The final destiny is San Vito de Coto Bruce founded by Italians in the 60ies close to Panama. When my brother in law was send there as a teacher for 27 years it was called San Vito de JAWA and he may tell stories where your hair stand straight... His first arrival 1967 took 3 hours by DC8 (“Raisin bomber”) and 8 hours on horse back from the airstrip.

Typically for Peter Pan the way south goes not the pass over “Cerro de la Muerte” but through the mountains to the west Santa Ana, Puriscal (best cigar growing area / try Solera “Blue”), Salitral first coffee break with “biscocho” made by my mother in law > “these are great we have to keep them safe for uncle Bin” so we took only 3 and had “gallo pinto” at the next “Soda”

Until here we enjoyed fairly well paved mountain roads first long bends later hair pins on and on. Now the gravel starts for the next 90km. And you have fabulous mountain and Pacific ocean sights ....
For cars 40-55km/h are ok, for enduro's 60-70km/h is OK. But as farer we wind down through splendid coffee plantations and forests old memorries come up and the gas hand becomes agressive. We fly at 75-85km as much as its possible with out overheating the engine. An Ford Exporer who tried to keep up nearly flipped over us.
No! For such roads you need something light and handy!

In the 50ees and 60ees when they made in Europe the fabulous "6 days mountain rallies" with NSU, BMW, Norton, Ariel, BSA, Guzzi, Triumpf and Jawas with gravel passes like this that must have been real material battles and reliability tests. Imagine 600-1200km gravel per day for 6 days on a row. Those drivers must have had really good condition. And good monkeys in the sidecar...

We laughed like kids ... and all persons, we passed, had their mouth wide open... No wonder if you know that there are only about a dozend side cars in the contry... and nobody as crazy as me...

When the landscape became smoother and pasture starts between the forests, I let Fofo ride for some 3 km: he had his 2 surprises and handed Jolly Roger II back with a great GRIN: “That is the reason why you talked all these years like a fanatic about: only flying must be better - and that you have the third dimention to take in account when you drive a side car - ... - Now I start to understand the saying: “ How do you recognize the happy motorcyclist?” - “When the flies are smiling in between the teeth!””

Comeing into the down lands still on gravel we met the first “Urbanisations” made for big bucks paying strangers,> So, who knows how long these roads will stay unpaved?

At he coast in Parrita near lunch time we just get something to drink, its way too hot ...
and the tires need to get inflated. the height difference between home 1460m above see level and here 5m a.s.l. charges its toll. the next 90km to “Quepos “ the tourist “Mecka” are boreing straight road through oil palm plantations. But I can remenber vividly my akeing back some 15 years earlier when that was a dust eater wash board with horrendeous bridges made out of rail track.

From Quepos south to Dominical it is still that way, but luckily the machinery must have flattened out the wash board only a few days earlier. And only a few trucks block the way. no sight at all when you pass them..... And here you learn why this part of the interamerican highway never was finished. The MOPT (ministry of public works and transportation) only builds the bridges as wide as needed for the rivers flow in summer. In in the rainy season the rivers will grow to a

Here the second and final part of this trip:
January 2.1. bad surprise my back akes like hell and only the indicating and middle finger respond on my right hand. Memories from younger times come up. My last partial paralisation was 16 years ago but they never lasted more than 5 month - so I'll get through it again.

This journey is in deed like a reverse in time as you may see further on.Good costarican breakfast double portion for us starving guys was good.Gallo Pinto = rice and beans with bacon and eggs.San Vito is only 20km away from the Panamanian border right on top off a hill with steep roads triangle shaped plazas and somewhat south European flair because it was founded by Italian immigrants in the 60ees and is shaped around the hill.

2. bad surprise not any grip on the front break, the disc is oily from the front fork. Jawa's importers comment: “Don't worry about the oil, Do worry when no oil comes out of the front fork.”
At the next hardware shop they can't shut their mouth - never saw a sidecar. Thinner, water sand paper and kitchen paper do the job. I take off the break hose's tie and will keep it that way for safety.(much less trouble since then)

Let's go to visit my wife's uncle in Gutierrez Brown. 30km east over dream roads meandering through a nice hilly country shape.The view is fabulous again no clouds hide the Talamanca cordillera. The village's name we find in 3 different writings and still don't know what is the right one. english Brown / German Braun / ? Brawn.

The traffic policeman just wants to watch our rig, while we are watching for his 28 year old shiny Harley.- “Keep the papers in the sidecar.”

A 1,20m long snake is laying on the road, its badly hurt and we sacrify it.Black body on the back, black and white spotted on the stomach, many teeth little similar like a pike. Some yellow near the head, but cann't remember well. Fofo tells me it is a beneficial "Sabanera" without poison that feeds from poisonous "Tertiopelo" and keeps their number down.
Because the people kill all snakes they find, the Terciopelo's population grew in the last years unproportionally.

Asking for the way to Gutierez Braun in a Pulpería (granny's store) the typical story in Costa Rica happens. The owner is a former neighbour of my parents in law in central valley.In this country it happened to me everywhere, you find in the remotest places somebody you know or family.

The paved road stops and shortly behind the gravel turns into something that must be in the rainy season impassable. Deep trails and huge rocks hit the sidecar frame and engine frequently.
Uncle Bin came down here 1967 by plane into virgin forest for farming and became later a pastor of some evangelic church.

He had more then one experience with snakes, but the most astonishing had his wife 3 years ago. She saw a snakes tail hiding and pocked for 15 minutes behind it with the broom's handle, then she reached into the hole and obviously she was bitten by the snake...
everybody asks: how could you ... And she answered it seamed to be a friendly Mica. This old lady has her own strange hobby and sense of humour!. But it turned out to be a Terciopelo one of our most poisoness snakes. The doctors couldn't believe that she survived with very little damage.
According to her because she encomendated her soul to Good and the blood of Jesus Christ.... Possibly because the snake had spitten out already all poison before when she pocked all the time.

Later we got the notice that a young kid I met in hospital a few years earlier lives only 1 1/2km away on the other side of the village. We visited him and as he has a handy caped left leg (because of a snake bite that never healed well / 10 month hospital) I showed him that he has not to renounce to motorcycle driving. The small loop around the village convinced him that the rig is a good option for him.
A young man's dream in this area are a truck, a bike and a ranch... Well he owns already 2 novice cows ... Some day we will have a new sidecar pusher in him too....


Now several years later I notice there is missing a big part of the story:
At the school my neffew Fofo grew up we made a turn. "Fofo sit up on top of the seat, and when I tell you to jump, JUMP!"
Left side a cliff of 200 m, all thre tires blocked and in the mud still the rig slided down a ditch toward the edge.
I still cannot believe that nothing happened.

During the night over the Cerro de la Muerte ( Panamerican road goes over 3300m above see level) a spoon bending thick fog so Fofo had to tell me if he saw the grass. black asphalt, no line no cat's eye.
At 4 am on the 2.january I dropped him home and the newspapers were already waiting for him. All I did was ride home and sleep for a day and half.

The back aches and paralisations got cured by a Russian doc. But that is a story of its own...
Best wishes