Costa Rica

Remembering how to make grocery store lists again (Drive day 96 minus 14 years)

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1004a zoo

When I was seven, San Jose was a big city delight because of all the activities it offered a camper-bound child. I still remember the zoo and all its caged, exotic Central American animals. This time around, the city’s charms are more practical. Like a chance to go to a real grocery store. With a wish list. And find the things on it that make us feel not quite so far from home.

1004b list

Follow this bonus-material blog and ride along on a one-year road trip that inspired the memoir The Drive: Searching for Lost Memories on the Pan American Highway. On sale now. Get yours through the buy-the-book links at the bottom of the landing page on my teresabrucebooks.com website or here or here. Planning a road trip? Buy the audiobook here. Like The Drive’s Facebook page and tweet back at me @writerteresa.

Saying Yes! (Drive Day 95 minus 14 years)

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Before this road trip, I would’ve balked at the thought of “looking up” someone my best friend’s parents asked me to contact once we arrived Costa Rica. But we’re in San Jose for a week or so while the Ford Dealership orders a new door lock to replace the one damaged in the coastal robbery. So I tell Nancy’s parents yes, I’ll try. And at an Internet cafe in a mall, I email the one-time exchange student who braved a year at Glencoe High School. His name is Arnoldo and I quickly find out he has morphed into a Latin American recording star with a silky voice cooed over by all the women in Costa Rica. And he’s married to the local Kelly Rippa TV star, MariaMalia. They’re humble celebrities and she’s way pregnant with twins. Yet they take the time to show us another Costa Rica — one with upscale malls and coffee shops. And I vow to always say YES to looking up friends of friends, even three times removed.

Follow this bonus-material blog and ride along on a one-year road trip that inspired the memoir The Drive: Searching for Lost Memories on the Pan American Highway. On sale now. Get yours through the buy-the-book links at the bottom of the landing page on my teresabrucebooks.com website or here or here. Planning a road trip? Buy the audiobook here. Like The Drive’s Facebook page and tweet back at me @writerteresa.

Expats going native (Drive Day 94 minus 14 years)

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1002 cr bats

Even in the city limits of its capitol, you can’t escape wildlife in Costa Rica. Especially the human kind. The trailer park’s owner is an American woman who wandered into the Pura Vida in the 70s, a year before my parents drove us into this city. They didn’t know her refuge existed, so we camped on city streets. In Laurie though, they would have found a fellow traveler. They left, but she stayed and thirty years later we’re the oddities passing through. After 9/11, she says, not many Americans venture this far from their color-coded security comfort zones.

Follow this bonus-material blog and ride along on a one-year road trip that inspired the memoir The Drive: Searching for Lost Memories on the Pan American Highway. On sale now. Get yours through the buy-the-book links at the bottom of the landing page on my teresabrucebooks.com website or here or here. Planning a road trip? Buy the audiobook here. Like The Drive’s Facebook page and tweet back at me @writerteresa.

Descent into trailer park (Drive Day 93 minus 14 years)

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I’ve lived in trailers and resent the “trailer trash” stereotype. But I’ve never looked forward to one as much as I do the trailer park in the outskirts neighborhood of San Jose called Belen. After uneven, volcano-top boondocking I yearn for level ground and outbuildings with hot showers. Not to mention warmer temperatures at lower altitudes. Bring on the beer, set up the awning, dust off the plastic chairs and label me whatever you like.

1001b sj temp

Follow this bonus-material blog and ride along on a one-year road trip that inspired the memoir The Drive: Searching for Lost Memories on the Pan American Highway. On sale now. Get yours through the buy-the-book links at the bottom of the landing page on my teresabrucebooks.com website or here or here. Planning a road trip? Buy the audiobook here. Like The Drive’s Facebook page and tweet back at me @writerteresa.

Volcano-hopping to Poas (Drive Day 92 minus 14 years)

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0930a cr poas clouds
Costa Rica: photo by Gary Geboy

There is one more active volcano on the Costa Rica must-see list: Poas sits above the country’s capital of San Jose and we camp above the cloud line. Which means sunset is an infinity pool of spectacular.

Follow this bonus-material blog and ride along on a one-year road trip that inspired the memoir The Drive: Searching for Lost Memories on the Pan American Highway. On sale now. Get yours through the buy-the-book links at the bottom of the landing page on my teresabrucebooks.com website or here or here. Planning a road trip? Buy the audiobook here. Like The Drive’s Facebook page and tweet back at me @writerteresa.

Waiting for eruption (Drive Day 91 minus 14 years)

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0929a cr arenalIt took too long to arrive to turn around and leave this blissfully level camp spot the very next day. Besides, nighttime eruptions are supposed to be peaking and we’re far enough away from Arenal’s summit to be safe. Which is good, since the thought of “escaping” on this road is almost as terrifying as drowning in lava.

0929b cr lake arenal dusk

Follow this bonus-material blog and ride along on a one-year road trip that inspired the memoir The Drive: Searching for Lost Memories on the Pan American Highway. On sale now. Get yours through the buy-the-book links at the bottom of the landing page on my teresabrucebooks.com website or here or here. Planning a road trip? Buy the audiobook here. Like The Drive’s Facebook page and tweet back at me @writerteresa.

An Aria for Arenal (Drive Day 90 minus 14 years)

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getting there is half the fun?

The tourbooks recommend exploring the lake at the base of Volcan Arenal by horseback or mountain bike. Either would be less bone-jarring than by truck. There are potholes that could swallow a smaller vehicle. We are driving so slowly the howler monkeys in the trees above have time to accurately aim their insults at the camper’s roof. Still, fresh caught Guapote fish at a campsite all to ourselves is worth the hassle.

0929c camper, CR

Follow this bonus-material blog and ride along on a one-year road trip that inspired the memoir The Drive: Searching for Lost Memories on the Pan American Highway. On sale now. Get yours through the buy-the-book links at the bottom of the landing page on my teresabrucebooks.com website or here or here. Planning a road trip? Buy the audiobook here. Like The Drive’s Facebook page and tweet back at me @writerteresa.