Lake Arenal, Costa Rica and Breaking The Transmission

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Lake Arenal, Costa Rica and Breaking The Transmission

Leaving the Oso Peninsula and another 40km of off roading lead us to the Pan American Highway, along the way we saw an offroad vehicle on the side of the road heading into the peninsula with a flat tire.  We stopped and helped them fix it for good karma and were on our way.  Our original plan was to b-line it to Lake Arenal, Costa Rica and the gorgeous crater lake surrounded by volcanoes by nightfall.  The whole of Costa Rica is only about the size of West Virginia in the United States and we figured we had some time to explore a little before reaching the north.  The highways in Costa Rica are easy to traverse and the day was beautiful.  We stopped and got some coffee and while sitting at the cafe we looked up and saw two scarlet macaws flying overhead.  It's the little things like this that make you appreciate the fauna in Costa Rica.  

Looking at Scarlet McCaws on our coffee break

Lake Arenal, Costa Rica
Lake Arenal, Costa Rica
Lake Arenal, Costa Rica

 

 

Domincal, Beach Costa Rica

Lake Arenal, Costa Rica

Dominical and Uvita

We chugged along the Pan American up to Dominical, and Uvita and even had a little while to go off roading through more rivers.  The plan was to make it to the peninsula called Uvita that resembles a whale tail.  It's a place that you can also see whales out in the ocean in certain times of the year.  Dominical was a small surfing town popular with expats, surfers and hippies selling their wares.  We stopped off for a few minutes and watched the waves while making a sandwich for lunch.  We didn't want to hangout too long as we wanted to reach Arenal before sunset to find a good place to camp and get set up.

 

 

Lake Arenal

Lake Arenal, Costa Rica
Lake Arenal, Costa Rica
Lake Arenal, Costa Rica
Lake Arenal, Costa Rica
Lake Arenal, Costa Rica
Lake Arenal, Costa Rica
Lake Arenal, Costa Rica

Lake Arenal, Costa Rica and Breaking The Transmission

We made it to Arenal around 3pm and began driving around the lake.  Once I noticed  that the route was longer to the right side of the lake, we pulled backwards to a road that was on an incline and started to back up.  I heard a clunk in the lower half of the Jeep and knew that something wasn't right.  The Jeep still drove however and seemed ok.  We decided to follow another road and it took us to the top of a hill overlooking the lake with windmills.  It was spectacular!  The views from this height were amazing and we soon realized that this route was also not the best way around the lake as the road became smaller and smaller and eventually dead ended where the GPS said there was a road.  We tried to back up and turn around and the reverse gear wasn't working.  At this moment I realized what the clunk was... our reverse gear.  We got out and pushed the Jeep backwards until we could turn around and headed to left side of the Lake where the National Park for the Volcano was located.  It was a beautiful drive down winding roads that took us through little towns.  We made it to the entrance to the Volcano National Park and found that the camping area was under a foot of water and in other places mud.  We weren't going to camp here.

Heading Back To the Main Road

At this time the sun was setting with incredible sunset views of the lake.  There were no camping spots and only a few hotels around the lake and we pushed until we made it to the main road where we started and the Jeep was beginning to slip in forward gears too.  We pulled over and checked the transmission oil which didn't register on the dipstick.  Oh no!  At this point, who knew how long it was dry and we only had a quart of oil to add.  It still didn't register oil on the stick.  By this time it was pitch dark, we were on the side of the road where with little traffic on the road.  We thought that this might be where we pitch our tent for fear of driving any further without oil.   We flagged down a few cars and asked them where we could get oil.  We were told it would be back the way we came about 40 minutes toward the Volcano National Park entrance.  

Hitching a Ride

We saw some cars going by and some appeared to have some shady characters who stopped and asked if we needed help.  We declined their services and continued looking for a suitable vehicle to take Brady into town.  Shelly would stay with the jeep and keep an eye since Brady was the only one who spoke well enough spanish to get what was needed and we weren't both going to go and leave our jeep on the side of the road with everything we owned in it.  Finally, a BMW pulled over and asked if we needed help.  A BMW!!  Not a common car in Costa Rica and we figured that if it was someone who had a 40-50 thousand dollar car, they were less than likely to rob me.  I hopped in and got to know my drive.  He is an agent who lives in the area yet works in San Jose as a DEA agent for the Costa Rican government.  What a lucky break.  Maybe this is the karma we received for helping the people in Oso on the side of the road.  Now we were being helped by the best guy possible.  He drove me to a shop where I bought 5 quarts of ATF fluid for the Jeep and back again.  He refused to take any money for the effort and wished us good luck. 

Two Hours Later

We got back to the car and put the remaining quarts of oil into the Jeep and decided to make it to a hotel we saw just outside of the lake district.  We knew we weren't going to stay in the hilly, windy roads of Lake Arenal with a damaged transmission and realized we needed to head to the nearest mechanic to get it fixed.   I checked the bottom of the Jeep once we stopped at the hotel to see if it was leaking which it wasn't.  The following morning before leaving, we checked the bottom of the Jeep and found it had leaked some oil, however insignificantly.  The truck seemed to run fine (except in reverse)  Shelly became really good at pushing the Jeep out of parking spots, and Brady got pretty good at finding parking spots and places where backing up wasn't necessary.   We even got good at parking where there is a cement block in front of the space and rocking ourselves backwards so Shelly didn't have to push.  

 

 

Change In Perspective

San Josecito, Costa Rica in the Oso Peninsula

Change In Perspective

Karma is a strange concept.  You figure that when you put some great love and power into the world, it will come back to you.  Sometimes you expect the return in Karma.  We remember thinking what a terrible thing the transmission broke and we had passed good karma into the world by helping the family on the side of road earlier in the day.   We also wondered why we had such bad luck with sand flies in the Oso Peninsula after we had made the trek there.  It all was for the best.  Had we stayed in the remote Oso Peninsula when this transmission broke, we would still be there, and possibly never get the jeep out.  We did get out and made it to a safe place for it to break down, found the right person to help me get it back running and we got to see some awesome sites in the process.   

This is the perspective we try to understand.  Even when we really don't know why something is happening, at times its for the best.  Karma reveals itself in good and bad when Karma decides it best.  We aren't necessarily believers in Karma as a theology, however we do believe that doing good things produces good results in your life and doing bad things produces bad results eventually.  We live our life to the fullest when we travel and have the basic belief that "things will just turn out", and they do. 

The jeep is broken, however not unusable.  It's a minor annoyance having to find the right place to park thinking ahead about backing up, or getting out in the rain to push the jeep out of its parking spot.  However, we are grateful we have a Jeep that runs and has brought us this far.  This is the perspective we need to continually remind ourselves.  Look to the positive of any situation and the situation won't be so bad.

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