Time to ride. The two business partners that own Mystica are bikers, Francesco more so than Barbara, and we were able to get some tips and directions on where to go. One of the local things to see was a limestone cliff wall with petroglyphs from about 300BC to about 800AD. This wall was about 45 minutes away on jeep roads, by 4x4, so it sounded like a great riding opportunity...
Jean and I had been riding in this area one time before, and a small error in navigation resulted in us stopping at the bottom of a looooooong, steep, rough downhill, only to find a closed and locked gate. Meaning, we simply had to turn around and ride back up. When I say that this was a long, steep, rough trail, multiply your visualization by Pi. Anyway, we got some directions and set off. Initially when we were getting the directions, Barbara (and maybe Francesco too), suggested that we may want to take a shuttle back up from the petroglyphs. When I said that that wouldn't be necessary, they each had that look of "okay, crazy people..." and let us go. We did take a phone number just in case we wanted to hitch a ride. READ MORE...
The ride starts out climbing on the road. Looking back, we had great views of Lake Arenal and the surrounding countryside. We rolled through Sabilita and Tierres Morenas before turning down a dirt road and starting our descent. Fueled by a great breakfast and a strong tail wind, we were flying downhill. Down, and down, and down.
I kept an eye out for the 3-way intersection that would mark the fact that we were getting close to the petroglyphs, but we didn't see it. So we kept going. Down.
The road had some small roller hills and flat sections, but overall, it was down. And that tailwind, would at times be a super strong crosswind, that would literally blow us from one side of the road to the other. Finally after about 10 miles of downhill, I started to wonder if we had missed the intersection. We stopped at a small bridge over a river and Jean decided to call Barbara for some more info (specifically, by virtue of the fact that we were crossing a river, did we still need to go further or had we gone too far?). No cell phone signal. D'oh!
|Hmmmm.... there was no bridge or river on the map....|
After the river, the road started going up, quite steeply, so Jean asked me to "zip" up the hill to see what I could see on the other side. I saw more of the same, beautiful rolling Costa Rican landscapes, but no flashing neon sign advertising the presence of petroglyphs.
As luck would have it, a car was heading down the road and the passenger spoke some English. Neither the driver nor the passenger had any idea of what we were talking about regarding the petroglyphs or the intersection we were looking for, and they even made some phone calls to ask some other people.
At that point, we decided to abort mission and start making our way back to Mystica. Up and up and up. That forceful tailwind that we had was now a headwind of biblical proportions. It was enough at times to bring you to a standstill, even on the occasional downhill.
The gravel on the road was like marbles, small and round, threatening to cause us to lose traction on nearly every pedal stroke. In other words, it was a great climb. Up and up we went. Hot, dusty, wind-burned and weary, we rolled in to Tierres Morenas and enjoyed a couple of ice cold Cokes. We had another steep road climb up before the final downhill back in to Mystica. It was a good ride, but a little disappointing in that we didn't get to our ultimate destination.
|Like riding on marbles...|
Barbara was super apologetic and offered to go out with us the following day, by car, to help us find it.
We chillaxed for the remainder of the day with our great views, the hammock, and more excellent food.
|See Jean's joy and excitement!|