Visiting Neli and a little work on the XP

We first met Victoria and Jason from Neli’s Big Adventure at Overland Expo in 2013. We were all planning to set out on the Pan-American Highway that year and we were so green (looking back). We were all focused on the wrong things (well, at least we were). Worried too much about if we had the right gear and worried about safety on the road. Trying to learn all we could from the classes and speakers. The funny thing is, if you have traveled internationally before and spent some time camping, this trip is easier than it seems. People south of the border are kind, camping is fun and your biggest problem is more than likely bad weather, car maintenance and driving in some challenging conditions (example: small villages on market day!). What we should have done to prepare ourselves for this trip is drive the XP around San Francisco for a few days before we left, attempting to drive through Farmer’s Markets and dodging smug bikers and Priuses (I owned a Prius so I can make fun of my people). Driving off road is easy, it is the busy cities with small streets that break you.

So, it was ironic and awesome that when we met Victoria and Jason again in Costa Rica it was not at a rural camp site on the road, but during a stint they had house sitting at this little dump:

This will do I think =).

Yes, this will do I think =).

Are you kidding me? This view from the house was just amazing and in case you think a few days in luxury would make us soft, we got lost in the jungle on the way to the house for THREE HOURS and then stuck against a mud wall at a steep incline, in the rain, in the dark. Sam got out the shovel and had to dig for about forty five minutes while I ran around in the mud to the top of a mountain with bats flying around me to find a cell signal so Victoria did not think we were dead. We totally earned the following days sipping rum cocktails in the infinity pool and our time cooking and catching up with our friends.

The mud was red clay, super wet and we were in DEEP. It took Sam and hour to dig us out. The worst part was that we slid back into a mud wall and were wedged in. Our shovel is the best vehichle recovery item we have. Almost always when we get stuck we can't find anything to secure our winch to, so it falls back to good old fashion man power.

The mud was red clay, super wet and we were in DEEP. It took Sam and hour to dig us out. The worst part was that we slid back into a mud wall and were wedged in. Our shovel is the best vehicle recovery tool we have. The few times we’ve been stuck we haven’t found anything to secure our winch to, so it falls back to good old fashion man power.

And then it got dark. In the middle of the jungle dark and Sam finally finished digging and Jason came in search of us to help us find our way up the mountain in the dark.

And then it got dark. In the middle of the jungle dark, and Sam finally finished digging us out. Jason came in search of us to help us find our way up the mountain in the dark and they made us a great dinner with good beer. It always works out, even if it feels scary at the time.

But the nest day we were here and we did not even think of the muddy night before!

The next day we were here and we did not even think of the muddy night before!

Neli was OBSESSED with Sam. She had to be on his lap the entire time we were there. She can be very persistent.

Neli was OBSESSED with Sam. She had to be on his lap the entire time we were there. She can be very persistent.

Neli on my lap for a brief moment while Sam was busy. I was the alternate friend.

Neli on my lap for a brief moment while Sam was busy. I was the alternate friend.

Maya, Jason and Victoria's adorable adopted Guatemalan puppy got fixed the day we arrived. Poor little thing did not understand why she could not play.

Maya, Jason and Victoria’s adorable adopted Guatemalan puppy, got fixed the day we arrived. Poor little thing did not understand why she could not play.

There were toucans in the trees outside their house. We loved seeing them fly by, the beaks look crazy during flight.

There were toucans in the trees outside their house. We loved seeing them fly by, the beaks look crazy during flight.

This little bird was always in the pool, not sure what it was, but it was so pretty.

This little bird was always in the pool, not sure what it was, but it was so pretty.

If you have any problems south of the border with mold, look for this, it works really well.

During our time away from boon-docking, we needed to do some cleaning on the XP. We got a little bit of mold on the tent part of the camper from all the humidity and rain at night. We needed to take the tent off and make sure the mold was killed. We did some research with Toni from XP and found a good solution for the mold. We used an anti fungus spray and then laid the tent in the blazing sun for two days. All the mold was gone and the tent looked brand new, it did not even have any discoloring. If you have any problems south of the border with mold (and if you have tent material, you probably will), look for this, it works really well.

The XP with the tent portion removed. I am using the air compressor to get rid of all the sand we picked up on the beach.

The XP with the tent portion removed. I am using the air compressor to get rid of all the sand we picked up on the beach.

First washed the tent to get off all the grime and dirt of eleven months of off roading.

First washed the tent to get off all the grime and dirt of eleven months of off roading.

And then the sun helped do the rest with the help of Mr. Muscolo.

And then the sun helped do the rest with the help of Mr. Muscolo. The plastic things next to the tent are our comfy bed springs that keep our mattress from getting damp and make our bed very comfy, they are made for boats.

This is our mattress, We let the sun do its work to make sure it was totally dry, but it looks almost new.

This is our mattress, We let the sun do its work to make sure it was totally dry, but it looks almost new.

Truchas Selva Madre

We heard about a great place to camp on the way to the Osa peninsula from our friends at Life Remotely up in the cloud forest of the Cerro de la Muerte area, in the Talamanca Mountain Range. It was a little pricey, but you can fish for trout here and then pay for it by the kilo and they have miles of really nice established hiking trails. While we were here, we were the only guests, it was a relaxing place to camp and hike the next day in the cool mountain cloud forest.

There are small enclosures with BBQs where you can grill up your fish.

There are small enclosures with BBQs where you can grill up your fish.

Hiking trails on the property to two different waterfalls.

Hiking trails on the property lead to two different waterfalls.

View from where we parked for the night.

View from where we parked for the night. This pond was FULL of trout.

Calla lilies on trail.

Calla lilies on trail.

The trail wound around the rivers. If you into birding, they have lots of birds here.

The trail wound around the rivers. If you’re into birding, they have lots of birds here.

Decent to the second waterfall.

Decent to the second waterfall.

6 thoughts on “Visiting Neli and a little work on the XP

  1. Marc

    Great info thanks for that detailed post. The removable tent was developed for exactly those reasons.

    1. Sam Christiansen

      Marc, that tent is pretty amazing. We can pull it off and put it back on in minutes — it’s so easy.

      thanks for making our camper/home. You know we’re coming up on 1 year living in the XPCamper — going to have to do something special.

      sam

  2. KarlsBad

    Wow. You guys are troopers extraordinaire! Great photos. So much good info.
    Keep diggin’ (Literally, virtually & journalistically)

  3. Pingback: Time's Up: Costa Rica Pt. V | Neli's Big Adventure

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