Monday, March 14, 2011

Costa Rica 1: Off the bikes with Mom and Dad (February 9-14, 2011)

the house in San Ramón which we rented for 5 days

Using this house as a base for explorations, it wasn´t long before the incredible natural beauty of Costa Rica began to exert itself upon us.  Below are photos of American river crocodiles that gather beneath the Tárcoles River bridge about an hour south of Puntarenas:

Amazon Kingfisher with croc nearby

Purple Gallinule, spotted along the river edge

Adjacent to the Tárcoles River is Carcara National Park, which preserves a mixture of lowland and transitional tropical forest.  We walked the River Trail, which is a well-known birdwatching area, among other things.  At the site below we also saw two large caimans (not pictured)...

 nature watchers in Carcara... Katie, Jeff, Craig, and Chris

Little Blue Heron

Anhinga, or SnakeBird

Green-Backed Heron

American Pygmy-Kingfisher

Green Kingfisher



Craig, Katie and Jeff beneath a monster tree
Mom and Jeff at Jacó beach on the Pacific coast
roadside raptor

back in San Ramón Doug helped Jeff with a particularly nasty project: removal of a rusted-in-place ruined bottom bracket.  The suspicion is that the crossing of the Urique River in Copper Canyon, Mexico (January, 2010), plus the cumulative time near salt water, mud riding, and heavy rainy season downpours all contributed to this mess:

we had to drill this bastard out, taking care not to destroy the threads on the frame

This was also a good time to replace most of the drive train: above is the wear on Jeff's middle chainring after 23,000km, below is what it should look like:

accompanied my Moon, the house dog, and taking advantage of space to create the newest bike-designed product:
The Turtle, none other than a custom guitar harness for bicycle, adapted to fit Jeff's Senegalese custom rebar back-rack

 Pineapple cake and fresh bread made by Jason and Sonia, for Chris & Doug's 40th wedding anniversary.

Katie testing the soup

While Jason had a high fever, Sonia played nurse, and Craig headed off to San Francisco (USA) with Mike, the rest of us headed up to see Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, one of Costa Rica's most famous destinations, begun by a Quaker community in the early 70's.

orchids are colorful and abundant in the cloud forest

unfortunately, we came on a wet, cold, windy, and slightly rainy morning, thus driving birds and other animals out of sight

Doug and Chris searching for wildlife in the cloud forest
hiking through the wet forest

Doug and Chris clowning around on this suspension bridge above a deep gorge, offering canopy views of the lower trees:

Doug having fun with his new lenses

Katie amidst large trees

Jeff, Mom and Dad

common bush-tanager seen near reserve entrance

coatimundi, also seen near entrance

Adjacent to the reserve is a hummingbird garden, which gave us the opportunity to view some of the hummingbirds we missed in the rainy forest:

Green Violet-Ear

Violet Sabrewing

Green-crowned Brilliant

honey bear, or kinkajou

wily kinkajou come down to steal hummingbird nectar

at the house in San Ramón, feasting on pizza prepared by Jason and Sonia

sunset from the house, looking towards the Nicoya Peninsula

After 5 days here in San Ramón, Katie and Sonia headed off on a Girls Trip to cycle around the Nicoya Peninsula for the next 7 days, while the Volks headed down to Corcovado National Park in far southwest Costa Rica...

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