Making new friends in Costa Rica, Lost Lambs, and Lauren’s kin arrival

Everybody settle in for a little BACK-STORY TIME. AKA Blah, blah, blah… Where are stinkin pictures?

The 4Runner has been acting up since around Lago Ometepe back in Nicaragua. For some reason she seems to have no gusto any more. I can’t seem to rev her past 3000 RPM while driving down the highway. While cruising along I could pin the pedal and the motor would bog out and run like crap. If I geared down and slowly creeped the pedal up above 3000K it seemed fine. To me and my research this sounded like a TPS (Throttle Position Sensor). We decided to go on a parts hunt in San Jose. This turned out to be a waste of time. We jump from used auto parts, to the dealer, to a new auto parts house. I found a generic O2 sensor but they had no specific 22RE parts that I could find. Oh well, She still runs, Don’t she? I’ll worry about it later.

With Laurens Mom and sister arriving to Costa Rica soon our plan was to hunker down and stay a few nights near the San Jose Airport.

We found a cheap motel in Heredia and went inside to pay for the room.

We came back outside and see some old man walking towards us with our fridge in his hands. I am runnin over yelling at him wondering how I can justify punching a Grandpa in the face when all of the sudden the owner of the motel comes out yelling that this old guy is actually his friend.

It turns out some young punk tried to run off with our fridge while we were inside paying for the room. Luckily these two old
timers saw it all go down and karate-kicked the kid who then dropped our fridge and ran off. +1 for Old Man Strength and +2 for
not having to fight a senior citizen. He probably would have kicked my ass anyway…

All that said and done we moved everything of value inside the motel room just in case. We got on facebook and sent out some feelers to see who was in the area.

Turns out one of our blog followers and a fellow member, Erick, lived right there in Heredia about 10 minutes from our motel. We met up later that night for some beers. We got to practice our spanish (which gets better and better with each drink) and listen to some awesomely horrible spanish karaoke. I considering singing those Tico’s a rendition of “The Gambler” they would never forget. Even if they wanted to…

Erick and his sweet Nissan pickup.

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Volcan Rincon Vieja, Costa Rica. You bored of Volcanos yet?

Getting to far behind on our blog! It’s amazing how fast you can get behind on these things. I go back and look at the photos on our Facebook (PS: You have “LIKED” us on facebook, haven’t you!?) and it seems like years ago when we first arrived in Costa Rica. Then I look at the date and realize it has only been 1 damn month. Crazy! We are now actually in Colombia, so much has happened since then. Time to get writing and get you guys caught up!

We said goodbye to Nicaragua and crossed the border at Penas Blancas. Quite an unorganized and chaotic border. Not as many touts and pushers bothering you but no real rhyme or reason to the whole process. Lots of running around chasing down random officials in blue shirts trying their damn best to hide from these gringos who need an exit stamp! It was a literal game of “Where’s Waldo?” as we went from blue-shirted man to blue-shirted man crazily waving our paperwork in their faces. We finally found Waldo hiding out under a palm tree WAYYYYY off in the far corner of the parking lot. Clearly hiding.

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Budget #5




What a great month. As our time in Central America slowly slips away I cannot believe that in a matter of hours we will be arriving in a new continent.  I am excited to see what South America has to offer and the new adventures that lie before us. We will miss you, Central America and all of the truly amazing people that we have met along the way.  Here is the last budget for Central America complete with the first set of fees for shipping the car around the Darien Gap.


This fee is for a 40ft container that we are sharing with our friends from  We were lucky enough to have Kevin help out with the paperwork and did not have to hire a “guide” to help us through the process. This saved us around $300.


Includes plane tickets to Columbia (around $350/person), train ride from the port when we dropped off our car ($25/person), tolls, taxis, parking fees, etc

GROCERIES- $304.95

EATING OUT- $266.34



We needed a new fuel pump among other things… It was expensive, but the mechanic was great and had it done in a day.


Fixing the a/c, new o2 sensor, new internals for the starter



We have been camped out in a hotel for the past week and a half while sorting out the oh so fun process of shipping the car and exploring Panama City.


We went to a trout farm (which was a bit pricey) but not only did James finally catch some fish, Jarod, from also chefed up a delicious Thai Curry with freshly caught trout for dinner. Totally worth it.

GAS- $241.06


Yoga in Atenas with Sheena, from and Jill, from, tickets to the Panama Canal and a trip to the movies to see the Avengers with the boys from .  Good times had by all!

Misc- $61.52

Laundry, a new pair of $3 shoes, and supplies for a ghettofied rain tarp for the car!  We will post pictures when we get a chance to rig it up

Aaaaand the GRAND TOTAL IS….



Month #4 Expenses



COUNTRIES VISITED – Nicaragua, Honduras, Costa Rica

This month was a bit of a rough patch for the budget. During our race against time to meet up with our family in Costa Rica, we moved much faster than we normally would and as a result spent more in the process.  We did not have as many opportunities to camp as we would have hoped and spent a lot on accommodations. This also marks the beginning of the whirlwind of family visits (in the most expensive country in Central America), where we partied it up Tico style and indulged in a few more costly activities than we normally would have. It was a hell of a month, and we had a blast :)


I shed a tear for our budget every time we have to fill up the tank… lol

BORDER FEES- $170.79

This includes our super sketchy border crossing into Nicaragua




New brake-line for the truck, carwash, oil, and other various car stuff


This cost is pretty high for the month because it includes our ferry crossings to and from Isla Ometepe
GROCERIES- $435.53
DINING OUT-  $295.36



Entry fee and a night tour at Volcan Masaya, butterfly garden and a night tour in Monte Verde (we really like the night tours!), and park entrance fee in Puerto Viejo

MISC – $33.70

Mainly toiletries and stocking up on some essential items for the car

GRAND TOTAL- $2250.23