Two weeks ago, Kevin and I went out for an ATV adventure with our friends Rolando and Maritza. If you remember, their ATV broke down and we had to cut the fun short.
Rolando called last week to let us know that his ATV has been fixed and he was ready to give it another try. Today was the only day we could commit to since we have two sets of B&B guests staying with us starting next weekend for the week. Then my daughter, Phoenix, and her boyfriend will be visiting for a week... by mid June, the rivers may be too high to cross. Today had to be the day if we wanted to do it before November.
We set out at 7 am to meet Rolando in Santa Maria at 7:30 am (Maritza couldn't join us this time). The sun was out... a great start to the day. Rolando lead us up roads between Santa Maria and San Marcos we hadn't been on. These roads by-passed having to drive through the town of San Marcos and brought us directly to the other side of town... it shaved several minutes off our journey, for sure. It's always nice to discover new ways of getting around the area.
As usual, Kevin drove. And I was happily perched behind him. There's something very liberating about being a passenger: I can take it all in or zone out.... kind of. Although I don't have to focus on the road and concentrate on the next move, I do have a certain amount of responsibility still. And for those who are under the impression riding an ATV is an 'passive' sport, think again. My whole body is engaged! First, my core has to be strong and tight... THE WHOLE TIME... to help me balance, but also to alleviate the strain on my neck from my helmet (approx 1.8 kg/4 lb). I suffered a neck injury many years ago and it doesn't take much to feel the stress, so by making sure my neck isn't swinging from side to side, my core has to compensate. It's not a bad thing, just something I'm acutely aware of when I'm riding on the back. Also, when we descend, the angle of the bike causes gravity to push me forward. I have to engage my leg muscles and dig my feet into the steel foot rest to avoid crashing the front of my helmet into the back of Kevin's. Not only is it unpleasant for Kevin to be whacked in the head suddenly, but it's such an amateur things to do. (If you've ridden any kind of motor vehicle that requires a helmet and you've been a passenger, you know this is so uncool... it does happen now and then, you can't anticipate every move the driver makes, but you should be on the ball most of the time and not slam into him.) Then there's the simple act of holding on. I usually grab onto the metal frame, but the vibration of the ATV rattling around can be hard on the nerves so I tend to wrap my fingers very loosely – barely touching – the metal bar. There's also a technique to riding... you have to lean into the turns, follow the driver, never lean the opposite direction... this could be very dangerous. So, yes, being a passenger has its perks, but it's not all 'la la' and daydreaming of daisies.
We reached our first river crossing.The sun was still shining and it was getting warmer as we drove down in elevation. Boy, was it ever hot and muggy! The temperature must have hit at least 30°C/86°F (at the very least). As long as we were moving, the breeze kept us cool, but we weren't moving all that fast. Kevin mentioned to Rolando that he can go faster if he wanted... we were happy to pick up the pace. Rolando looked at us and said "Really?" and we together answered, "Really!". Rolando threw us a mischievous smile and took off at full throttle across the river.
We pursued Rolando and caught up to him. Now the fun had begun. They don't call it a 'joy ride' for nothing. I think our top speed was 88 km/55 mph, but it felt like we were flying at 200 km/124 mph. We were chasing the blue skies while the heavy grey clouds were chasing us. We knew it was only a matter of time before they'd catch us, but we were having too much fun... besides the views were spectacular! And what a thrill!
We stumbled across an amazing waterfall... we parked our ATVs and found a path that led to it. I captured it on video... this is my first time filming a video on my camera, so there's no sound. I forgot to narrate what was going on... but it's pretty self-explanatory... the waterfall was so tall!!
It was time to head back and when we did, the inevitable happened... the rain storm was waiting for us. We put on our rain gear and hoped for the best. It didn't take long for the drops to fall... even with my rain gear, I could feel the trickle of water running down the inside of my pants then into my boots. Within two minutes I was drenched. At one point, Kevin took a corner sharply and I felt the water in my boots slosh from side to side. Eventually the rain stopped, but the damage was done. As we climbed back up the mountain, the temperature dropped by at least ten degrees... not a great combination... wet and cold. I just kept my head down, leaned into the turns with Kevin and told myself how lovely a hot shower and a cup of tea would be when we get home.
When we got home, I peeled off my wet clothes... expecting Kevin to do the same. He looked at me and said "I'm dry. If anything, I'm a little sweaty, but that's it." Apparently, his rain gear is much more waterproof than mine. I think I may have to invest in better gear! Oh, but how much fun would that be, really!
Hot shower, lovely cup of tea... and a bit of writing. Can life get any better!
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Dave and Krista are a couple from the Pacific Northwest that led overwhelmingly busy lives.
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