When a Road Becomes a River

I drove down to Playa Guiones on Saturday, making record time in just under 2 hours (I took the long route through Nicoya, not the river-crossing, shorter, coastal route).  Even though we’re at the tail end of the rainy season, the road was actually better this time than when I was there in June.  And I was so bored that I started making mental lists of what I noticed in the road (and what I had to try to avoid) to keep myself entertained:

  • 26 dogs lying in the street
  • 3 men with machetes
  • 1 sabanero
  • 2 groups of cattle
  • 2 motor scooters with dad, mom and baby, no helmets
  • 1 chicken crossing the road

But the drive home today was not so much fun.  At some point last night, it started to rain.  I woke up around 2:30 to the sound of loud thunder overhead.  The rain came and went over the next few hours but there was about a 2 hour lull between the rain and the time I left which I thought would be enough time to dry out the roads and make them somewhat safe to drive on.

15 minutes into the drive on the dirt road out of Guiones, I came up to a small, one-lane bridge in which the opposite direction had the right-of-way.  There were several cars pulled over to the side and I quickly realized they were all parked, not crossing because the river had overflowed into the road on the other side.

I’ve driven through a lot of rivers here – but I was never the one driving.  A few minutes went by and a few cars drove through from the other side – all large SUV’s.  Still none of the cars on my side were attempting it.

One of the cars from the other side parked his vehicle near mine and got out to talk with friends.  I asked them if I would be able to get through in the Rav4 and they said, “sure, no problem!”.  But the Rav4 is a lot smaller than the Montero they were driving which was not only bigger but had a higher clearance.  One of them could sense the fear in me and told me he’d take me across but I felt kind of bad since he’d then probably have to walk through the muddy waters to the other side again.

So I shook my head and said I could do it.  I waited for a larger SUV to go in front of me so I could follow them through.  Being a dirt road and not being able to see the potholes (or where the river ended) made it that much more of an excruciating experience. There were times when the car felt like it was leaning to one side or the other but I couldn’t stop nor could I figure out how to get it to level out.  It took just over a minute to get through and it was probably 1/2 kilometer.

At the other side was a very long line of people, cars and motorbikes, including a few police officers, waiting for the river to subside.

The rest of the drive was also a nightmare considering the torrential downpour that (thankfully) started after I got through the river.  But it wasn’t just the rain and overflowing river that I had to deal with – I also had to swerve around 2 different sets of goats that were running right towards my car.  But 3 hours later, I arrived safely home and have settled back into reality.

To watch a video of the experience, visit my Facebook page here.

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Pura vida…Chrissy