Monday morning Al and I hit the road early still without a confirmed destination. We knew via facebook posts that Charlie and Andy were still in San Jose waiting for Andy’s bike to arrive from Australia, but we still had no idea where to find them in Costa Rica’s biggest city. All the internet cafes were closed in Miramar (the town where we spent the night) so we just kept heading south figuring a solution would present itself. Once the road turned into a freeway and we passed the airport, we decided to pull off at a Denny’s to use their Wi-Fi and finally look at a map of Costa Rica. As luck would have it, Andy was online and we started chatting. It turned out the Aussies were staying in the same suburb that we had pulled off in next to the airport. We were ten minutes away from each other. Things seem to work themselves out pretty well on this trip.
We paid for our $6 Denny’s milkshakes and pulled up to their hotel an hour later. It was great to finally meet Charlie’s mate Andy; he’s tall, loud, and just as Australian. Watching the two of them have a conversation in their own little light speed dialect is good entertainment. Andy has been in Costa Rica for over a month now waiting for his bike to arrive from Australia. It was supposed to arrive the same time he did, but somehow the boat was routed to Germany and now, Tuesday, the bike has finally turned up in San Jose a month late. In the meantime, the boys have rented a car and toured Costa Rica, flown to Cuba, and raised hell in San Jose for the last four weeks. Australians know how to travel.
Charlie was in the middle of a full clean-up of his bike when we arrived. He had removed his rear wheel and rear sprocket and sprayed down both with enough degreaser to have them shining gold again. His chain looked brand new as well after a good soak in a bucket of kerosene. He degreased basically the whole rear end including the entire chain assembly. Alex and I had talked about cleaning our bikes, but I had gotten used to how dirty they were. It didn’t seem that big of a deal until I saw Charlie’s Tenere sparkling in the sun like it was fresh of the showroom floor. Then I saw all the grime that came off his chain. I needed to clean my bike soon.
Andy was cleaning out their hotel room while Charlie put his bike back together. They were moving to the Hampton Inn and Suites near the airport to spend some of Andy’s BBX dollars that he had built up running a business back home in Australia. BBX is too confusing to explain, but basically he has a sum of money that he can only spend at certain businesses that are all part of the same network and these businesses are prevalent in Costa Rica. Having known Alex and me for about ten minutes, Andy booked us a room at the Hampton as well in an amazing offer of good faith.
We all showed up at the Hampton completely soaked from the afternoon rain. I felt out of place. The hotel is five stories tall, clean, and 100% air conditioned. The rooms have HD TV’s, plush beds like I haven’t seen in months, and a full breakfast served every morning. This is five star treatment; we couldn’t thank Andy enough. That is until he decided to take everyone out to a steakhouse to spend some more of his BBX dollars. After a couple beers in the hotel we took off for dinner to one of the best meals I’ve had in years. Only Brad Vallo’s treat at Wolf Lodge Inn in Idaho compares to the amount and quality of meat I consumed last night. We ate multiple racks of ribs, a steak each, corn, guac, beans, and a lot of scotch on the rocks. I’m impressed my stomach kept the meat surge down after the weak meals it’s been fed for the last six weeks.
With full bellies and the scotch setting in I fell asleep instantly when we got back to the Hampton. I woke up a new man. I slept the entire night without rolling or tossing. There were no roosters or children to wake me in the morning. The air conditioning kept the room icy all night. There are things I miss about the United States. This was a good reminder of why I need to go home one day.
Alex and Andy took off early this morning to go get Andy’s bike from the transportation company. Charlie hung around the hotel because his guts were awry. He had a lot of extra cleaning agents lying around and offered them to me to clean out my greaseball. After seeing his bike’s transformation, I decided to seize the opportunity. For three hours I sat on the side of the Hampton with degreaser, kerosene, a sponge, a toothbrush, and car wash soap meticulously cleaning my sprockets, chain, and muddy exterior. I got a lot of help from a maintenance guy who works here; he’s a motorcycle enthusiast and he was eager to share his knowledge with me. The standard of living is definitely higher here; he’s going to a Red Hot Chili Peppers concert in September. That makes me feel a little better about paying these prices. I suppose that’s what it costs for everyone to live the American dream.
Now I’m hanging out with Charlie watching him make trips to the toilet every thirty minutes. Alex and I moved out of our room here in the Hampton and will decide where to stay tonight when he and Andy get back with the fourth bike. It’s good to be back in the company of proper adventurers. The Australians move at our pace and don’t care what we do as long as it’s a fun time. They’re sick of Costa Rica after killing an entire month here and eager to move on to Panama. Fretting about our bank accounts, Alex and I are ready to follow them. Costa Rica is nice, but it is for tourists, not cheapskates on motorcycles. A decade from now I’ll pull a Craig and bring my wife down here once I’ve made my millions and I can justify this place.