After riding in 7 countries in Global Dream Ride, today I am entering my 8th country, Costa Rica. So far, my trusted Givi attire and accessories had been performing very well and I am very happy with what has been given to me.
Anyway, it’s a looongg and hard day today. I left San Juan Del Sur and headed for the border. It was a very windy day. The wind turbines which I could see along the way proved my words.
To exit Nicaragua, I had to pay US$3. To enter Costa Rica cost US$2 and mandatory insurance US$25. The procedure to enter Costa Rica was quite complicated. It took me almost 2.30hrs to clear both borders. Once done, I rolled GD’s wheels on CR’s road. The wind got stronger and stronger. My bike was swayed left and right helplessly. It was scary. Luckily there’s not much traffic on the road.
Since CR is a very pricey country, (it was said that a burger cost US$10 here), and since I was over-budget due to the unexpected high border crossing fees, I planned to camp to save some money. I found a good place to pitch my tent near Lake Arenal. It was already sun down by the time I finished setting up my tent. When it’s time to cook, I tried to open my top box. Unfortunately, my box couldn’t open. Something must have stuck in the lock housing inside the box. Maybe my wet towel was accidentally pulled inside the lock, I’m not sure. All my important stuff was in there including my laptop, money, rations, pot, stove and cooking wares. I tried to open the lid, sprayed WD40 in the key slot, pressed the lid hard and anything that I can think of, but nothing worked. There’s no shop whatsoever here. The nearest town was 20kms away and its already dark. I will not ride at night especially when the road is winding, it’s not lighted and there was jungle on both sides of the road. I was so hungry as my last meal was breakfast this morning. I started to regret my idea of wild camping here. Since there’s nothing much that I could do tonight I tried to go to sleep but it was hard as I was very hungry. I send an email to Givi boss, Mr Joseph Perucca and informed him about my problem.
The next day, I got a reply from Mr Perucca asking me to go to a Givi dealer shop in San Jose, the capital city of Costa Rica which was about 200kms away. I was so worried about this matter but I told myself not to panic. I am very sure there will be a solution. I did feel frustrated when this problem happened because Givi products had never failed me before, and I truly loved the Givi Maxia top box as it was very easy to use and practical for my adventure. On my way to San Jose, I stopped by beautiful Lake Arenal for some pics. I spotted some coatis here too.
Once I arrived in the suburb of San Jose, a biker friend, Julio Salazar met me by the roadside. He then took me to Moto Repuestos Indianapolis, a Givi dealer in CR. Gustavo and his workers tried to break open the box, but it was not easy. The difficulty to open the box showed how secure Givi boxes were. Finally, they managed to break the lock and installed a new lock for the box. I was soooo relieved. Gustavo also offered to do my bike maintenance – oil change, spark plug change, tightened and lubricate the chain, screws, and everything. He even offered to give me a new set of tires and a new top box (if I want) & asked me to choose which one I like. ALL FOR FREE!!! I said thank you, but its enough that my top box issue was settled and my tires were still good. I accepted the bike maintenance offer though. So, good people everywhere.
During my stay in San Jose, Julio Salazar acted not only as my guardian angel, but also my ‘manager’ here. LOL…He arranged exciting programs for me such as visiting Yamaha HQ of Costa Rica, and an interview with Costa Rica TV station at University of Costa Rica. The interview can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5sX-ZlYByLM
Julio also brought me to a charity ride Toy Run event organized by ACRMC (with help from several clubs such as Soldiers for Jesus, Piratas Riders etc). In the morning, we waited at a meeting point for all the bikers around Costa Rica to arrive. Then we rode to the Olympic Village where the orphanage and poor kids had been waiting. The kids were entertained by Biker Santa and later given Christmas presents which the bikers brought along. It was a very nice event and I felt happy to see the excitement and all the smiling faces of the kids.