Like a troubled bridge over waters
We had planned well, up early, sit by the pool for an hour or two, eat a little breakfast, say our goodbyes, then on the road to San Jose no later than 11 am. Plans are made to be altered.
Everything was on schedule, and as we were on phase three, heading out to breakfast, we heard a frantic knock at the door. It was Jane bearing news. The road to San Jose was closed, the only road to San Jose was closed. Yesterday two tankers had collided and exploded and blew up the road making it impassible to all traffic. The only other route was an additional 3 hours, for which we had not budgeted. So now we had a vital decision, eat breakfast or start looking for alternate plans, of course we chose breakfast, the most important meal of the day. During breakfast I was able to confirm that indeed the road was likely to be closed all day today. Not good. We ate quickly, not the way I prefer to enjoy my last Costa Rican meal. Then hurried to say goodbye to the Daniels.
As soon as we got back to the Casita , I frantically began skyping and typing to figure out another route or another flight. All avenues lead to a dead end, there were no other options or alternatives. During all this Tra was stuffing our bags full of all loose items strewn about the Casita. I noticed that I was drenched in sweat, even though we were sitting comfy in our AC casita.
Finally, we decided we would take the plunge and just pray it was not the portion of road we needed to cross. We quickly loaded up the gold Vitara, and pounded on the main door hoping to say our goodbyes. Alas, the only one home was Ara, no Josh nor Jane or Mia. But we could not wait, we were already behind schedule and now if there was any delay it could prove to be the fatal blow to our departure. We gave Ara all our love and remorsefully, we departed.Now I won’t say I was speeding or driving recklessly, but let’s just say even the locals were impressed with my ability to find the small openings in traffic and take advantage of them. Tracy, not so much. We figured our only hope was the new toll road that had just opened connecting Caldera to Escazu. After 37 years that road opened the Wed. prior to our depature, and it was reported to be much faster.
The first three hours went better than planned, I was in the zone, finding the passing lanes and becoming one with the road. The weather was perfect, like always, and the whole route was paved. Even the GPS seemed to be working a little more efficiently.
Knowing the wreck was on a bridge, but not which bridge Tracy pulled out the map and started counting possible bridges. One by one we passed bridge after bridge, and with each one our hopes rose. And then it happened, we started seeing a slowing of traffic and a slew of semis, seemingly stopped in the road, and they were.
It was 1:15 pm, our flight left at 6:20,we were told by the airlines that you must check in 2 hrs. prior to international flights. The problem was, we did not know how far ahead the broken bridge was, we did not know if it was open, we did not know how long the new route would take. We tried to remain calm, as we sat watching the minutes tick away. We spoke encouraging words to each other, or perhaps to ourselves , but inside we were panicked.
One very long hour later we sensed movement and slowly began creeping forward. The bridge, it turned out was only about 1 mile from us, and it was a mess. There was one lane open, the skeleton of the two tankers sat on trailers across the bridge. there were ambulances, policia and construction workers all over the place. The right side of the bridge was burned, bent, and mangled, yet semi after semi crossed, as did we.
It was now nearly three and we still did not know how far we had to go. I knew passing was futile , but I passed anyway, it made me feel better. Now if we could only find that new road.
Blindly we drove toward Caldera, expecting signs, perhaps even fireworks marking such a significant event. There were none. Yet we drove on trusting that our GPS. The problem with that, new roads don’t show up on the GPS. Even worse, when you put in a destination and your GPS thinks you are driving over meadows, pastures and mountains it gets really mad at you. By God’s grace we found our brand new toll road. As advertised, it was much faster. One small issue, where do we get off? Tra, using her instincts and an old-fashioned map made an educated guess which we took. After winding our way down a mountain and through several small towns we emerged in the midst of San Jose rush hour. By now we were really sweating the clock, and I still had to find a gas station. Finally, after several near misses on left turns, and the kindness of a couple of fellow Tico drivers, we pulled into the rental station, time; 4:45.
After an amazing ride put on by our shuttle driver, we pulled into the airport at 5:05, no way they would let us on the plane. But they did, shoot we even had time to get a couple pieces of Church’s Chicken, and a minute for the sweat to dry and my heart to calm down. We made it safely to Miami but you’ll have to wait to read about our misadventures there.
Written on my iPhone while driving to San Jose, so forgive the typos. Just kidding it’s from an airport somewhere.