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.

Instead we stuck to planning a 4×4 overlanding trip together out on the Osa Peninsula in a few weeks. We had both heard that the roads out there were very bad AKA fun. Erick also gave me a lead on his mechanic who may be able to track down a new TPS and take a look at my issue. He graciously agreed to drive us out there the next morning.

His mechanic checked it out, agreed it may be the TPS but would need more time to be sure. We decided to come back later once we had picked up Laurens Mom and her rental car.

During our facebook blast we learned that fellow overlanders Brad and Sheena from were in the San Jose area as well. Word on the street was they were setup in some giant palace looking out over the mountains. They had bedrooms to spare, beer in the fridge, and meat on the grill. We said Adios to our motel in Heredia and headed for the hills!

We rolled up to the bad and simultaneously said “UPGRADE!!!”

When we came inside we met Brad and Sheena already hard at work whipping up some amazing dinner in their baller ass house. The place was a friend of a friends vacation home. Berry nice… Berry berry nice.

Dinner was delecious and many beers and storys were shared. As with every overlander we meet we became fast friends. We all have similar (Read: slighty insane) mindsets and outlooks on life. The community doesnt exactly discourage grandious ideas, going BIG is kinda our thing. As Brad and Sheena told us of their plans to ship their 1984 Volkswagon Vanagon to Asia to continue the journey once they hit Ushuaia, We started getting ideas of our own….

Brad also mentioned a neighbor who recommended an english-speaking mechanic in town. He had taken his VW Van there a day or two before. I figured it would be easy to just drop the 4Runner off for repair with this guy while we ran around Costa Rica in Lauren’s Moms rental car… More on this later.

View from the Kitchen Window

Next morning I woke up and strolled around the “grounds”. Thats what rich folk call a backyard. The house is set on a beautiful coffee farm with boatloads of beautiful plants and animals.

Aside from Coffee and Mangos, they had a “Cashew Tree” as well. I never realized cashews grew on trees, nor that each Cashew grows out of an individual fruit on said tree. The more you know…

Here you can see the “Cashew apple” just barely starting to form and the nut beneath.

Lauren and Sheena had left for a hike at 7 in morning that day. We had talked the night before about leaving at 10:30AM to pick up her Mom from the airport. When the girls weren’t back by 9:30 I started thinking hmmm…

I started loading the truck, casually glancing over my shoulder from time to time wondering where the hell these ladies were at. Lauren is known to wander off for hours at a time on her morning hikes but she usually pops up eventually. I assumed she did in fact want to pick her Mom up from the airport…

At 10AM Brad and I considered them officially lost. We jumped in the 4Runner and searched the hills surrounding the house searching for our lost sheeps.

They couldn’t have gotten to far… Or could they? There is a lot of land out there…

After 30 minutes of futile search and rescue I had to drop Brad off at the house and hightail it to the airport solo. It was a stressful ride as I racked my brain trying wondering how in the hell I was going to explain that Lauren was hopelessly lost somewhere in the Costa Rican mountainside to her mother.

Racing like a madman I made record time to the airport. I actually beat the plane by 45 minutes.

I found a payphone and called Brad’s house.

“Are they there?”
“Yep, they just showed up”

I could work on the details later, all I needed to know was that she was alive.

I met Laurens Mom and sister, grabbed their bags and started walking them towards the Rental car pickup. I could see the confused looks on their faces wondering where their kin was hiding.

“Wheres Lauren?”
“Its a long story… but shes OK”

We headed back to the house and reunited. Everything worked out in the end as it always seems to do. Everyone was alive, Mom and sister were here.

Brad and Sheena from DriveNachoDrive, Carly, Lauren, Laurens Momma, and yours truly. Safe and sound!

You can read Brad’s much more thorough and well-written account of our ladies MIA report on his blog here.

Time to see some sights!

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