One thing I've learned, especially amplified into a visual in my motorcycle travels, is that the harder roads and difficult, even terrifying, storms that I've ridden through have led to seeing some of the most incredible, almost supernatural sights and experiences of my life. The difficulty is often a precursor to something very good.
Today, on a less dramatic scale, our little group consisting of Jules St-pierre, Christine Harel, Charlie Qian and myself had a long, tiring, ride south from La Fortuna, Costa Rica along the coast. The distance was only a couple hundred miles but the incessant heat and road conditions drug out the day. The last couple of hours were in heavy rain and we were soaked. It was close to dark when we tried to find the hotel for the night. The road headed off into the jungle a bit, on a path not on the detailed GPS maps, and started up a very, very steep handmade concrete road covered with water and algae. It was very slick and as steep, if not steeper, than the streets of Guanajuato. Once committed there was no stopping or turning back, however a 4x4 coming around a steep switchback stopped us. Having lost momentum, we struggled to get the bikes stopped and on the edge of the road.
We eventually got all the motorcycles up the steepest part, bikes sliding on the slick stuff, to the entrance which then dropped off down a muddy road into the jungle darkness. I scouted ahead on my bike and found the hotel, completely dark. The owner came out with a flashlight and his English was as bad as my Spanish, but he informed me the electricity was out. I was soaked in sweat and water, exhausted and looking forward to getting someplace cool and dry. It was a real downer and I hated to return and tell the guys, but it was dark, we had a terrible road back down to the main highway and the prospect of riding farther and trying to find a place was more than I wanted to face. They were disheartened to say the least when I rode back in the dark to tell them, and to top it off the news of the bad and muddy road to the place was icing on the cake. I saw the last bit of energy drain out of their faces.
Finally there, Christine walked down behind me to the dark patio of the place, while Jules and Charlie grabbed their gear. I introduced Christine to the owner and his daughter and within a moment they all burst out in French.
The owners were from France and were very excited to have French speaking guests. Jules, who only speaks French and has for days only had conversations with his wife Christine, was happy to have others to converse with. In short order we were told they would fix us a little something to eat and we peeled out of our wet gear, then Charlie and I found the infinity pool to cool off.
As we all sat in the darkness, candles were lit and a wonderful dinner was placed on the table, made by hand in a kitchen with no electricity. It was so delicious and we were so happy. Then to our surprise a dessert of crepes filled with passion fruit, bananas, caramelized citrus butter and salt with handmade dark chocolate sauce was placed before us. It was truly one of the better things I've eaten in life, made richer with laughter and recounting memories of the road with friends in the cool evening air and darkness. Our host told us they make their own chocolate from local beans, their own breads and much of the food is grown on their property. Just as we finished our meal and were talking, the electricity came back on.
I don't want to sound trite, but sometimes when you're tired, you just need to walk a little further down that dark road, because the ending may surprise you.