Prelude to a Vacation

So, after nearly 5 years and with but a single real vacation during that time, with vacation time at work nearing the maximum before losing it, I decided it was time to think about a ‘real’ vacation. My last vacation was motorcycling through NC, SC, TN, and GA, with my girlfriend (at the time) who also rides, and it was a great trip.

Being December and pretty cold in NC, I thought ‘somewhere warm’ would be nice. Talking with her on the phone one night around the end of November, I asked if she wanted to go somewhere warm, and ride across it on motorcycles. She’s pretty cool about some ‘spontaneity,’ as we both seem to come up with our own odd ideas at random now and then, so we started looking for a destination.

Seeing as a place like Florida is pretty boring, especially on bikes, we started looking at places outside the US...a handful of pages opened in browser tabs, from New Zealand to Scotland, and several others. We quickly found out that prices are all over the place for different destinations, and in some cases, even for the same destination. Neither of us are made of money, so we tried to set a reasonable limit, and decided on Costa Rica as a the best balance of ‘interesting place’ versus budget.

The next month or so saw lots of confusion and busy times. We did an off-road motorcycle course, to see how she felt about doing some off-road riding, and tried to figure out where to go, what to bring,  who to rent motorcycles from, and what seemed like a never-ending quest for ‘more information.’

It can be pretty daunting, deciding, ‘Ok, we’re going to leave the country, ride around it with all our stuff on the back of motorcycles, and 'figure out what we ‘should do’ as we go,’ without (mostly) any sort of preparation. I contacted a handful of places about additional information and renting motorcycles from them, with mixed results. We tried to come up with some form of itinerary for our trip - some places were obvious we wanted to make it to, while others left us wondering if we were missing somewhere else we ‘had to’ go to. I ordered a bunch of ‘emergency gear’ and some other bits for the trip - first aid kit, waterproof backpack (after carefully guessing what ‘should' fit on the back of a dual-sport bike), a few compression sacks, and utterly random odds and ends.  Hint - practice packing your laodouts in advance - never ’needed’ a waterproof pack for a week+ on a bike before, and just like buying backpacks, it’s kind of hard to ‘guess’ at the right size when something isn’t specifically made for a bike..

We’d decided to go during our company’s ‘forced vacation’ during Xmas week, until finding out even if we travelled on Xmas Eve and returned on New years Eve, it was an insane amount of $ for airfare.....yet if we left after Xmas and came back at any point after Jan 7th, the airfare nearly dropped in half. We tried unsuccessfully to ‘shift’ our vacation to the following week, then said screw it, and took both weeks off to have some Xmas time and do the trip. Amusingly, no one at work aside from a very few friends knows we we were together, so now we jsut gave an additional ‘hint’ to anyone that might realize we’re both taking off an additional week, going to the same place, and even returning on the same (non-Monday) day. Ahh well, eventually someone will figure that one out..or not.

Airfare confirmed, packages of ‘stuff we need’ coming in daily, changing the rough itinerary around a bit daily, still looking for more information on Costa Rica near daily, work deadlines looming, and we still didn’t know where we were going to rent bikes from, but we were going! We’d decided on Dec 29th-Jan 8th, giving us 10 full days there, and to rent motorcycles for a week of that time.

We got some responses back from rental places, and I talked to a few on the phone. seemed pretty good(ETA 2020 - looks like they no longer rent bikes), except for the fact I really had no desire to rent a KLR650. We had a deal worked out for me to rent a KTM 640LC4, and an XR250 for her, then just got a ‘better vibe’ from Fred at Motos Costa Rica . They had some a bunch of different bikes, and we’d eventually decided on a Suzuki DR350 for her and and a DR650 for me.  Overall, they were pretty helpful over the phone and in email. It didn’t hurt that they were also competitively priced :-) 


So - looks like Costa Rica it is!