Friday, September 24, 2010

In San Jose, Costa Rica (again)

It has been a while since I blogged, so much was going on and we did a lot of travelling in the last couple of weeks trying to show Nicole and Danny as much of north and central Costa Rica as possible. We first took them to Monteverde where we explored the rain and cloud forest reserves and did a zip line and canopy tour. I was terrified, Tom and the kids loved it but the views were magnificent. We then went on to Volcan Arenal and to the hot springs. Then it was the one and only glitch to the plan. Danny behaving stupidly, cut his arm which required us to return to San Jose for stitches. After a days delay, we set off for Tamarindo. The kids had the opportunity to experience, first-hand the trials of driving in Central America. Just north of San Ramon, the panamerican highway was, again, washed out due to the rains. We pulled our maps to try to find an alternate route and turned around. 5 hours later in the dark, we finally made it as far as Puntarenas. We managed to find a small hotel for the kids and we were able to park the RV right outside. So, it wasn't until Monday that we arrieved in Tamarindo. Everyone loved the beach. Nicole got to try her hand at surfing for the first time. Johan was a patient teacher and she was able to get up a couple of times. We met a neat couple from Japan and everyone had fun socializing with them. Wednesday, September 15th was Independence Day and Tom and I had said that we would cook for everyone at the Tsunami. Clam Chowder and french bread was the menu with appetizers of chips and dip, cheese and crackers. About a dozen of us sat to eat and a lot of fun was had by all. We left Tamarindo, reluctantly but we wanted to head south on the coast to Manuel Antonio National Park. The park was interesting. We saw monkeys, sloths and coatis (members of the raccoon family). The beach was beautiful, propably one of the nicest to date and we were able to get a room at the Manuel Antonio Hotel with a huge grassy area in the back for the RV. After a day, we started north a little way, to Playa Esterillos Oeste where I had been told 13 pairs of macaws nested. Danny and Nicole spotted 2 pairs of scarlet macaws and were ecstatic. This is also a great beach to gather shells and we combed the area so the kids had a fine collection to tote home with them. Our last night was at Playa Hermosa, south of Jaco. We spent the day in Jaco having lunch and shopping for souvenirs for home. Tom barbequed on our last night together and after packing for the kids, we are sending a bunch of stuff back with them that we have either purchased for ourselves as souvenirs or that we simply brought from home and do not need, we had an early night. Monday, we were all up early for the drive back to San Jose. The flight is at 12:20pm but we want no surprises driving. As luck had it, we had plenty of time. We parked the RV, Danny and Nicole said their goodbyes to Winston and we caught a cab to the airport. With much hugs and kisses (and a few not so well hidden tears) we said our farewells. We probably will not see them again until March or so next year, depending on where we are. Christmas will be difficult for us. Tom and I intend to spend the next few days attending to the motorhome. We have developed a leak which requires Tom to reseal the roof and we want to shop for some supplies that are easier to obtain in San Jose. However those plans were put on hold as Monday night, I took a fall. Tom had gone to get pizza for dinner and as I was checking on Winston I noticed that the main gate had been closed for the night. I went over to make sure the side gate was unlocked so Tom could get back in. There is a path that covers only half of this gate and then there is about a 2 foot ditch that you have to step around. In the pouring rain, I stepped over the ditch to be sure the gate was open and somehow slipped on the slick moss and landed up in the ditch, on my back. After I extracted myself and hobbled back to the RV, I was bleeding from my leg, foot and arm and my right arm felt as though it had been yanked out of the socket. Bt the time Tom returned, I was washing the blood and he was greeted to my tears and the words "I fell". After he checked me out "That's going to be one helluva bruise on your arm", he said, I ate some pizza, took a Motrin and went to bed. The next day I felt like I had been kicked and stomped and it took me another day to feel better. In addition Tom was right, I do have a huge bruise running down my arm but at least I didn't break anything! As a side note for all those reading this and thinking of travelling, we put the kids in a variety of hotels, B&B's and cabinas with prices ranging from $28.00 to $60.00 per night for a 2 bed room with A/C, internet and private bath. In all places there are a wide range of rooms available with some being very inexpensive for the budget consious. We are now, once again ready to head south. Our goal is to be in Panama the beginning of October. I also have one request. I am happy and surprised at the number of people who are reading our blog and checking on us but for the most part I don't know who is following us. So, next time you read about us, could you please take a minute to sign up as a follower. That way Tom and I know. Thanks.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Playa Hermosa to San Jose. 93 mile.

San Jose has a true American style RV park complete with all hookups. This is great, especially the sewer, our tanks need a thorough flushing and cleaning. Water is easy to obtain from gas stations and restaurants and we can get power at many overnight locations plus we have the generator if we really need electricity but dumping our tanks is difficult to say the least. We try to be conservative by emptying our dish water outside and using alternate shower facilities whenever possible but the black water (toilet) tank is a problem so it is with relief that we can hook up and clean them out. Also, we need an oil change and the RV checked out. All those rough roads have us concerned that something might have come loose. The park is quiet but right in the center of a suburb of San Jose. There are three other dogs here belonging to the park owners so Winston settles in quickly and now has new friends to run and play with. There is also internet, which is great since we have a bit of last minute coordination with the kids before they come. We have ordered a ton of stuff online for us, Winston and the RV and they will bring it all to us, in addition to some last minute items that I have thought of. It also gives is the opportunity to Skype with friends and family and catch up on the news. We are so looking forward to seeing Danny and Nicole. We have been on the road for almost 6 months and I do miss the kids. Hopefully the next two weeks we can catch up on their activities back home and enjoy their company.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Puntarenas to Jaco/Playa Hermosa. 50 miles. August 29th & 30th, 2010

Our intent had been to go from Puntarenas to the RV park in San Jose but since we still have time before Danny and Nicole arrive, we will stay at one more beach before going to the city. Jaco is the closest beach to the capital and as such is the busiest but Playa Hermosa, which is just south of there, is supposed to be a little quieter and have better surf breaks. We are again winging it as far as overnight stays but we live in hope. On our first couple of tries, at hotel parking lots we struck out and were turned down to our suggestions of overnight parking, even with the offer of paying. We were instead directed to a public beach access with some parking. As we pulled in, we saw another RV, a little smaller than ours but with Nevada license plates. The RV belonged to a young (20's) English lady and her boyfriend. They had come from England and had purchased the motorhome in Las Vegas. Their plan was just to drive and hang out until either the vehicle disintegrated or their money ran out, whichever came first (oh to be that young and carefree again!). We talked about the expense of Costa Rica and like us, they had both enjoyed Nicaragua. We parked the RV with our door facing the ocean, so close that I was a little concerned about high tide but it turned out we were just fine. I do enjoy it when we have an unobstructed view of the beach. Winston also loves the freedom of the beach without worries from traffic, although because this is a public access there was some activity with surfers coming to check out the wave action. We also had a visit from the local police and after they knew we were staying for a couple of days, said that they would come by and check on us during the night to be sure all was well. Since there was another couple camping close by, we fely comfortable enough to sleep with just the screen door closed to let in the sea air and sounds. I spent my time under the shade of the palm trees, while Tom alternated between boogie boarding and reading. Winston played on the beach and with any other dog that happened to drop by. There are a few small cabina style hotels and we will probably bring the kids here to hang out whilst they visit.