Days 0-3, Panamericana - The Mother of All Roads
Flight day. The route includes Frankfurt - Washington - Mexico City – San José/Costa Rica. During the flight between Washington and Mexico the Pantastic Four, their watches still tickin' on german time celebrate a first New Year's Eve. After some decent refreshments, the watches get adjusted to Pacific time, and, the plane just having cleared the Mexico City runway the next New Year's party is on the way. The pilot counts down the seconds, and the stewardesses do what they can with paper streamers and loads of champagne.
Day 1: Monday, january 1, 1996It's one in the morning when the plane heavily hits the sweating runway in sweating San Juan, Costa Rica. The reception by Gerardo's family is heart warming, and when the first sweaty frenzy of "long time no sees" and "¡hola hombre!"s is dying down at about 4:00 am, the Pantastic Four greet the sweaty new morning with another cerveca and their first check ride into the, yes, sweaty, jungle. After a short nap the rest of the day is used for adapting to the local climate and enjoying a Costa Rica style bull fight.
Day 2: Tuesday, january 2, 1996Before the two Panamericana bikes can get moving, they need to be disentagled from Costa Rican customs procedures. The fact that the governing body of the Costa Rican customs operations is an agency called Mañana doesn't really help.
The guys waste a gorgeous day driving back and forth between forwarder #1 at the airport to the customs office to the insurance agency to customs to forwarder #2 to customs to airport to forwarder #3 to customs ad nauseam. Until at last the necessary papers are all there. Forwarder #1 cheers everybody up with the news that there are no motorcycles, as far as he knows. A great palaver follows, until one of the customs guys has the idea:“Mañana!“ „Paso de Lobo“ talks softly to the man from the forwarders', Señor Winifredo and tells him in no uncertain terms that the bikes better be here tomorrow by 10:00, or he'll be repainting all the yellow road markings from here to Boise, Idaho.