Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Exciting Drive Numero Dos

***WARNING: Parents, Grandparents, In-Laws, and generally anyone who values my life may not want to read this. But if you do, keep in mind that I'm alive to tell the story.***

When we were still at the hotel I decided that I wanted to take a different route home so that I could hopefully make it there in less than four hours. So I bought a Costa Rica map, and pointed out the route I wanted to take to A and we set out.

The route we were taking was WAY more direct and I hoped it would be a lot faster. HA!

We had a great time starting out - the drive was quick and, despite the rain, we really were happy to have chosen a different route.

After a while we passed a sign that said road closed and came up to a bridge that looked a little sketchy. For those who don't know, bridges terrify me. Especially thin, long, and high bridges. On the other side of the bridge the road went steeply uphill and looked like it led nowhere. Someone crossed the bridge going the opposite direction as us so we asked them where we were. We were still on the map at least...and on the right road too they said. Be careful though because there are a lot of rocks on the road they said. We thanked them, crossed the frightening bridge and went up the hill.

Little did I know that this was the beginning of the most frightening two hours of my life.

Because of heavy rains, there had been many mud and rock slides. Also, construction was being done and they had been tearing out the road. So the "roads" were rocky and sandy with a lot of wide and deep pot holes. Sometimes we'd be lucky enough to have pavement on one side where at least one side of my car could be up on it.

All of this would be fine, except it's mountain driving. Very, very steep mountain driving. Somehow the most sharp and steep curves seemed to be still paved. There was a time when I got a bit tingly all over my body and I think it was because I kept holding my breath.

A was my rock during this drive. Her and her boyfriend off road with a little off road car thingy and she was a great "coach" telling me where to put my wheels, what side of the road to choose, warning me of potholes, or when I was losing road on the side of me (that only happened once actually).

I think the most scary part for me is when I was coming down a hill and looked ahead to the curve to see water flowing very quickly over it. We all assessed it quickly and decided it was passable - it was only a very thin amount of it, but to see the rushing, and see that it went over a hill where some red tape cautioned us it was dangerous - scary. But I went straight (as straight as you can go through a curve) through it and made it around the curve with the red tape just fine.

A couple of times the road would get better and we'd get our hopes up, just to have them dashed again, and again. But eventually (a looooooong time after the crappiness started) we got to solid ground - permanently.

And then the fog set in. It was pretty difficult to drive through. I was so thankful that I didn't have to battle the fog and the scary road conditions. Sometimes the fog was actually kind of cool. We saw a lot of cows on the way down the mountain. We even had to wait for a group of three cows to get out of our way. Their owner was on the left side of the road talking to a friend and they of course wanted to be by him. I definitely live in Central America!

All of the fear and stress made me have to potty really, really bad. So I ended up stopping at a restaurant. They guy there told us where we were and it turned out we were really close to a city not too far from my house. We got into the city and couldn't find any signs pointing to the Pan American Highway. So we stopped at a corner and asked a guy standing there. He said that the street we stopped at went straight to it. So we're driving along this street in this city during rush hour traffic. And all of a sudden we're on the Pan American Highway!!! I start singing the Hallelujah Chorus, and A chimes in and we finish with a nice harmony.

We went straight home from there. I found out yesterday in my office that the road I was on is called Calle de la Muerte (Street of the Dead for the non-Spanish speaking readers).

This was definitely a learning experience! I'm asking about the route I'm going to take before I take it from now on!!


Sarah said...

Wow! That is terrifying! I'm glad you had a good support system! And I'm really glad you made it! Cows in the road is definitely a CA thing! We've seen them every drive out of the city! If you check out our Nicaragua pics on FB, there are cow crossing signs - we probably saw 20 of them!

Z. Marie said...

At least it all turned out OK!

Bron and Jenda said...

Holy Smokes!!! My favorite part is the zing at the end: by the way, you were driving on the road of the DEAD!!! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! You should get a shirt that says, "I survived the Calle de la Muerte!"

Heather Dray said...

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Nomads By Nature said...

Glad you didn't get the fog while on the steepest parts - what an adventure! You definitely earned some bragging rights!