Vino is put to the test. And passed. Mostly.

This past week was another week of firsts. First week in the new house, first family friend visitors from Colorado, first emergency trip to the dentist, the list goes on. Many stories to tell, laugh about and share. Theme? Colorado meets Tamarindo.

I’ve been sitting here for 30 minutes trying to find a specific topic to write about from our last week and have been at a loss (which is very unusual for me..) because there are too many deserving moments.. I’ve decided to write about Vino the Van.

Vino also had a first, his first trip to Avellanas with 13 people, 4 surfboards and all of our stuff. We were packed to the brim. With no air conditioning, Vino is not the most luxury vehicle you’ve ever seen, though Vino provides a much smoother ride over the washboard roads of Costa Rica when he’s got 13 people loaded up.

I thought the kids were going to have heat stroke before we even left the house as they loaded up Vino and found their favorite seats before all of us parents were even finished getting our swimsuits and bags packed. Clearly the kids were excited for a trip to Avellanas.

Our crew included the 5 of us, and two families from Colorado, the Reinke’s and Carey’s. This was only my second trip to Avellanas as the driver (first was with Yaya and Grandpa Buzz) and it was amazingly easy the second time around. We were hot, excited, hungry and ready to arrive at one of our favorite beaches and restaurants in Guanacaste.

Unloading at Avellanas

When we finally arrived at Avellanas and Lola’s, I commented, “Wow! It’s like we have the place to ourselves today!” as there were only about 4 cars in the lot. I quickly realized though WHY there were only 4 cars. Lola’s is closed on Mondays…

We quickly debated about what to do. It was noon, the kids were hungry and thirsty. Do we leave and find another spot? Suck up and deal? Stay for a short while and move on? Everyone dug through their backpacks and took stock of the limited snacks we brought along. We decided that it was adequate for the time being and unpacked the van and headed to the beach.

Jill, Jason, Matt, Erin, Kristine and Brent

We had a really fun time. There was a beer and water guy in the parking lot, so we purchased some additional provisions from him, that was helpful. We all proceeded to build sand castles, surf, eat snacks, play in the tide pools, and walk along the beach. Brent wanted to try out surfing, so we headed out into the POUNDING waves to give it a go. It was not the ideal day to learn, that’s for sure. I’ve only seen sets coming in that frequently and big one other time, it took 20 minutes to paddle out to the break. After working at surfing for a long time (and having some success!) Brent took a break to nurse his dislocated thumb (damn surfboard leashes) and Jason took the board out for a spin. He actually caught some waves on his own, we were all proud.

It was a great afternoon on the deserted beach, even without the magnificence of Lola’s.

After 3 hours or so, we all piled back into Vino for the trip home. On the way home, we decided we needed to stop at the grocery store to stock up again on food, drinks and snacks. With 13 people in the house (plus 6 more at times) we were running out quickly.

At the grocery store, Erin and I like to park in the parking garage as it’s not quite as hot in Vino when we come back out. I was a little worried about our height as Vino had 4 boards strapped to the roof, so Erin hopped out at the entrance and guided me through, checking to make sure we had clearance. No problem, we had at least a foot to go. Sweet. Into the garage we went.

I have now learned that this garage does not have the typical bar on a chain telling you the LOWEST point of the garage. As we rounded the corner to park we heard the lovely sound of surfboards getting ripped off of the roof. Thankfully we were going very slow (as I was still worried), but it was still quite a scene. Leashes snapped, fins were ripped off a board and one board in particular is at the “ding repair” shop right now getting some attention. Woops.

Another car was behind us waiting while we jumped out, unstrapped the boards and one crew carried the boards into the garage while the rest of us drove in the van. A parking attendant came up during all of this and told me (in spanish) “You need more height in the garage” – Yeah, no sh*t sherlock. We parked the van, put the surfboards inside and headed to the store.

Reloading the surfboards at the supermarket

4 full grocery carts later, we emerged back to the garage and had to pull all the boards back out to get everyone back in the car. At that point we realized that our completely full car was going to be absurdly packed to the brim with 4 carts of additional groceries. It was ridiculous. The kids all had bags of groceries on the laps, 6 packs of beer at their feet and even more bags in the aisles between seats. It felt like one of those clown cars from the circus. 4 of them hiked back out of the parking garage with the boards, the rest of us drove out to the entrance, we stopped right in the middle, strapped boards back on, loaded up again in Vino and we were off back to Casa Colorado. Thankfully it was a short drive home.

Lessons learned today? Vino rocks. Vino is tall. Surfboards are fragile. 🙂

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