Follow the published narration and story of two friends traveling South, through 15 countries and two continents. From Ottawa Canada to Buenos Aires, Argentina, Rob and Nik are set to embark on a journey meant to take a year, to be completed in a mere 2 months.

January - March 2011 : A year in the making..

We promise this blog will not only be awesome to read, but PACKED with info on how to plan your own trip........

the RIGHT way.

With only two months to complete the trip, we'll be cramming in tons of VIDEOS, PICS and useful and hopefully funny info.

Stay tuned for the Extended Video Log on my YouTube Channel after the trip; this blog is only the beginning....

Thursday, January 27, 2011

When the Going Gets Tough..... - Rob

DRAMMMAAAAA....not between me and Nik though, between me and my damn bike. What is with it, not liking this whole trip? You know, its very rare a KLR gets to make it through this many countries, I don't know what it has to complain about (ok, now I'm starting to sound scary) but still it manages, and ..well...sorta accomplishes. Maybe Costa Rica doesn't want me to leave? Maybe I have bad luck...but Nik's "plus mileage" thumper seems to be going the distance and fairing pretty well.

So here we are, in Dominical this evening, we weren't really supposed to be in Dominical this evening, but this is the reason we are here.
This is a normal looking clutch cable, near the plates.

This is now my clutch cable.....for now...
Not that it has impeded us by any means, but here's what happened:

We enjoyed a nice breakfast of bananas (yes I finally found bananas, at 10 cents a pop, and it's all I've been eating to stuff myself up and gain back some weight) and marshmallows and everything fatty and starchy, and prepared to take off today to Panama. My chain was tightened once more, the clutch cable was a tad loose, but nothing I haven't experienced before back in Canada. We decided overnight that we would head to the Volcan Baru park in Panama instead of spending another night in Dominical or elsewhere in Costa Rica. Don't get me wrong, Costa Rica is beauuuutifullllll. It is definitely the scenic and eye-catching, get-along part of the trip so far for me. For a developing country plagued with inflation and a so called lack of investment and infrastructure, they seem to hit certain nails right on the head. The obvious is tourism; billboards and signs beautifully decorated with captivating scenes of oceans, rivers, waterfalls, wildlife, elaborate and breathtaking properties, unlimited real estate potential. It makes it feel a little bit more like home, with that "paradisus" feeling. I could definitely see myself living here for a little while. Anyway, I'm off somewhere in no man's land again, lets get back to the point. I would like to stay in Costa Rica, but we are very unsure of the Panama-Cartegena boat situation. The helpful contact at Wunderbar hostel there has kept me up to date on all the boats coming and going. Well supposedly the only next one is flip flopping on the 6th of February. Thats a longgg ways away, which means lots of time here in Costa Rica to fool around, but we want to make sure its the only one. We have an enormous itinerary in South America, and leaving on the 6th isn't going to give me specifically, the time I need to see and sell the bike at the end.

So we took off this morning in the hopes of making it to at least Panama, and the park, and then travel the rest of the way from there. We got right past Dominical, 50 km into the days trip, when traffic came to a stop. I pulled the clutch to get going, stall....start it, pull it again, snap, stall....

Broken clutch cable, don't even know why, still trying to figure out if it was a fault of mine, or just an old cable. Regardless, trying to figure out what to do at the time? That one goes to Nik. I figured we'd tow me back to Dominical where we could come up with a plan. The man of the hour decided to grab the vice grips. This....will revolutionize the motorcycle industry. Ok forget clutch cables...forget needing to use your left hand to pull clutch....we found a new way to ride. Grip the grips over where the pull for the clutch plates goes inside the assembly. If I confused you with my non-technical words, in the picture, its the black thing the cable is tied to. With the grips fastened tightly, we started the engine (i was able to kick it into neutral) and pulled back on the grips while giving it some gas. Letting the grips go acts just like the clutch handle does, except with your leg. Getting the hang of it was pretty easy, and before you knew it we're cruising back down the road toward Dominical changing gears like no tomorrow. Kick back right leg, change gear with left. Just hope you don't need to pull a quick brake, cause there's no chance in hell.

We got to Dominical, where the speed bumps almost popped the vice grips 20 feet through someones window, and from there I had the honor of pushing it the rest of the way to a hotel. We're staying for 30 bones, the prices here food-wise are on par with Canada which kinda sucks, but we still have the problem with finding a clutch cable.

With some newly purchased Skype credits, I get to work with my horrible Spanish. I called San Jose, one week to get the part. El Salvador and our buddies, no guarantee and then the shipping part....Panama (I might be able to make it to Panama City with my new gadget) 15, shit out of luck. Wait a week here, Nik would have none of it. I'm a dumbass for scratching "clutch cable" off my necessary to pack list.....

So off I went on a mission to find a quick fix, another band-aid that should do the trick. I found a Honda dealer just down the road, and grabbed a cable from them. As you can tell, it's not quite the right specifications, but who's to say it won't do the trick. Time will tell. I'm gonna pick another one up in the event this one bites the dust before I can replace it. But it seems to hold for now, I just gotta be gentle with it again until ....I think the only next places that can get it are Colombia or Ecuador.

So with that problem solved, we were able to once again eat, drink, be merry, crash into some waves (its very violent here, lots of rip tides and plenty good for surfing), and watch movies. Because of the Ultimate High Speed of Manual Antonio, we were able to download 6 or 7 movies, a full season of 2 and a half men and of course the entire episode list of Dragonball GT. Ok, we definitely started grasping at straws, I don't even watch cartoons anymore, but call it a closet hobby (Steph knows it).

All's well, until the computer starts dying....I'm running on borrowed time now. Every time I shut it off I'm not sure if it'll get going again. I'm a computer guy, I know what's going on, the ram is garbage. I know electronics are expensive here, but it has to be fixed. I CANNOT GO without it!!!! Neither can my family go without keeping in touch almost every night. So I have to find me a Walmart and get some new chaps to keep this guy running. Shouldn't be a problem.

Other than that, the antibiotics are working wonders, (unless its the bananas, (I'm calling fruit on this one) I'm alllllllllmost back to normal. I'm not gonna say that I am, just in case my usual luck catches up to me.

So now the crappy day is done with, let's backtrack. The hotel we stayed at the night before, definitely the best thus far. So much positives about it.Quepos is just a cool town. Clubs, crazy mountain road, stunning villas, countless hotels, and plentiful retirees. The nice thing about older folk is they quiet down when the clock hits 6pm. Dinner's done, the booze sets in, peacefulness. Everyone gets a good nights sleep. See kids don't shut up. Case in point, the ten outside my windowless room right now. They'll stay up till the wee hours and that's why I'm starting to get a distaste for surf towns. Same stories, same stoners every time. I'm an old fart at heart. Sit me down with a couple of old ladies playing cribbage and drinking gin and tonic and I'm a happy man. Or a hermit...I haven't decided yet, I like that reality too.

We decided that since we were there, we'd check out the park. It's 10 bucks each to get in, which seemed a bit of an excess, but it must've meant the park was filled with exotic wildlife. Nah, mostly locals and beach bums having out and bbq'ing. Nono, actually it wasn't too bad, you just have to know where to go. The park only had like 4 trails open, I suppose at the end of the last rainy season, a lot of the good trails got wiped out. So after monkey sighting, frog watching, and sloth staring, we hit up a couple of the beaches that were there. Idiots as we are, we brought no fluids with us, and we're parched the entire time. "Enough is enough" we said, and popped ourselves into a restricted trail, the one that led to the only waterfall in the park. If there was any chance at liquid salvation, I was gonna take it. Besides, that's where you find real adventure. The trail was mangled, I have mucho video of it, but the HD makes it impossible to upload. You'll see it one day, in a month or so, but it was an interesting hike. The waterfall was infinitely rewarding. Cool, refreshing, smelly, but a total pay off for a hard days work. We were able to sneak out of the trail unnoticed, which is a next to impossible task when you have tour guides trained to spot any wildlife movement in the dense brush. We barely made it through the gap, but we had a good day. Finished it off with some pizza and air conditioning, I am most certainly going to miss that place.

I think that about covers it for now, if I get this computer running again I'll post again soon.

Bamboo is the only thing alive that tower's over Nik

A little ocean and jungle double header

These guys are adorable and loved by all the tourists

One of the many beaches dotting the park

We may have been the only ones to get here in what seemed like many seasons....and how lucky!

This made the whole day worth every penny

Here's tonights view of the ocean, its a bit dark here under all these trees...and moquitoey (just noticed the half person walking to the right...creepy..I won't sleep now)

I am richer than Rick Ross.....when seriously I have enough to a couple fancy steaks at the Keg.

I had a chance to upload a few videos too!!!

Here we are in Diriamba, Nicaragua, trying to sleep during the San Sebastien Festival that went on for a week. We both became sick this day, and needed to get the hell out of Dodge.

A much calmer video of us checking out some of the local beach wildlife in Manual Antonio, Costa Rica.

1 comment:

  1. Bobby,

    Sorry I logged of fb the other day. I was on someone elses computer and they needed it back. It was good talking to u. Glad to see u found a way to fix ur bike. Is the honda cable holding strong or what? Hopefully u can find a real cable soon.
    Just thought I'd let you know i'm sitting in the office and eating an abundance of spaghetti. Remind you of anyone?
    Stay safe.