Mundo Pequeño: Part II — The Long Road Home

One of the wildest places on Earth

Then it was on to Costa Rica. We crossed the border and took a ferry across to the Osa Peninsula, a part of the country notable for the Corcovado National Park, one of the most biodiverse wildlife preserves in the world. While we did not have time to enter the park itself we did get to ride around its edges and see scarlet macaws and toucans flying over our heads.

In Costa Rica, the road turned to dirt, narrowed and the washed out.
In Costa Rica, the road turned to dirt, narrowed and the washed out.

We chose to take a “shortcut” and found ourselves on a dirt road less traveled and steeper than any road we have seen so far. This single lane dirt track was at such a steep angle that at times we all were forced to walk our bikes—something that none of us had done before on the trip. The loose gravel would make wheels spin out and kill momentum. As we sweated and dragged our bikes along step by step, the rain came. We could hear it sweep across the jungle with a rushing sound of downpour on leaves. When the curtain of water reached us it turned the little dirt lane into a full stream of muddy water running inches deep in places. You would take three steps forward pulling the weight of the bike behind you only to slip back two. The 17 kilometers of road took over three and a half hours to complete. It was that three and a half hours that made us thankful: after seven months on the road we were ready to face challenges and conditions that would normally leave someone defeated.

We rode  into the night, surrounded by the strange noises of the jungle and the calls of distant howler monkeys, eager to reach our destination. Noah’s family was meeting us for a week-long visit in the little surf town of Dominical. They greeted us late that night with great excitement and welcomed us to the house they had rented for the week. It was a beautiful place nestled in the jungle right next to a little waterfall and walking distance to the beach.  It felt decadent to have so much space and modern amenities. Air conditioning and internet! The novelty of our very own washer and dryer—what luxury indeed!

This was the longest any of us had spent in one place on the trip so far. It was a welcome change to the constant stress of travel that we had lived with for the past seven months. It was a moment to spend enjoying the place we were in instead of just riding through and a welcome rest for body, mind, and spirit.

We went on a guided nature walk in the jungle and saw whiteface monkeys, two types of sloths, poison dart frogs, and many more strange creepy crawlies. We rented kayaks in the mangroves and snorkeled with the tropical fish. We played in the waves and surfed. We hiked through the rain to a large waterfall and ate fruit that foraging monkeys tossed down to us.

img_20170813_185736_640But with well over 7,000 kilometers left to ride and only so many days and weeks before the snow, it was business time. Cameron had left from Dominical a few  days earlier to ride north to Managua, Nicaragua solo. Crossing the border, he posted a photo and this note on his Instagram: “Feeling sentimental – 11 years ago, during the first semester of my senior year of college, I studied abroad with SIT (School of International Training, based in Brattleboro, VT) in Nicaragua. I lived with Mamita and her two grandsons, Jorge and Luis. I’ve visited mi familia Nicaragüense every couple of years since 2006… during those visits, I often proclaimed that one day I’d arrive to Managua by bike enroute from South America. Tomorrow is that day!

Though we all wanted to spend more time exploring this region, Managua would mark a jumping off point for making tracks towards home, with the goal of crossing the U.S. border by mid to late September.

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