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Catskills - Sullivan County - Ulster County Real Estate -- Catskill Farms Journal

Old School Real estate blog in the Catskills. Journeys, trial, tribulations, observations and projects of Catskill Farms Founder Chuck Petersheim. Since 2002, Catskill Farms has designed, built, and sold over 250 homes in the Hills, investing over $100m and introducing thousands to the areas we serve. Farms, Barns, Moderns, Cottages and Minis - a design portfolio which has something for everyone.

March 18, 2024

Books, Costa Rica Travel

One of the big travel decisions was which book to bring.  I narrowed it down to a book about occupied France in WWII and Look Homeward Angle, a Thomas Wolfe work of fiction from 1929.  Somehow this writer had escaped my radar, though he was writing in area I know well - the Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Baldwin, etc… era.  

This novel, set in a fictionalized Asheville, North Carolina between 1890-1930, is considered one of the top 100 American novels on most lists.  The anthesis of the sparse Hemingway and concise watercolor of Fitzgerald, Wolfe’s fantasia and phantasmagoria spasm of words and ideas are more like a large Pollack with paints and colors splashed wildly about.

Like the book I just finished, The Rings of Saturn, the writing takes an attentive, committed and patient reader, and the successful reader travels with the respective writer on a rewarding journey.  Already Wolfe is coloring vivid characters full of flaws, everyday life and dashed or diminished lives.  The main character for the moment is the patriarch, WO Gant.   If you’ve ever seen There Will Be Blood, think of the oilman there ; tall, skinny, scowling, with a long purposeful gait.

Amazon.com: There Will Be Blood : Daniel Day Lewis, Paul Dano, Paul Thomas  Anderson: Movies & TV

The 2nd part of the Costa Rica week was from the south near Panama to the mid-section, Jaco (pronounced Haco), 2.5 hours mostly west of San Jose, the landlocked capital.  A beach town.  A surfing town.  Party town with a heavy reputation for sex trading.  Not why I was there though that would have at least made that disgusting massage a little more worth it.  I was still feeling oil 2 days later from that coating I received.  I know, gross.  

The ride up from the Golfo Dulce was an adventure, once again, in my trusted Toyota pickup, once again picking up a dirt road within miles of the journey’s commencement, following it to ridges that overlooked the jungle and then the Pacific Ocean in the distance.  Up and down, round sharp bends, through small towns with small schools, baking in the 95 degree temps.   Large farms with cows and bulls, a few horses and one hilltop sheep farm.    

About an hour in I come to a ferry I had seen online, but little information could be found.  So I arrived hoping the crossing was available.  I’ve crossed the Martha’s Vineyard ferry, a few ferry’s connecting the islands around Lake Huron - this wasn’t that.   This was a metal, 3 car floating contraption with a small boat with a small engine strapped to the side of this floating piece of metal.  Although the crossing at Sierpe was only 150’ wide, navigating the current, and spinning the contraption with a boat strapped to the side, and lining it up just right from car loading and unloading -it’s the type of thing the was a massively complex chore of navigation, just because its lack of machine might. This was using the currents, the propulsion of a small engine, and a rudimentary helm.

A successful crossing left me 2+ hrs south of Jaco, which I covered without too much issue, arriving at the Jaco South Beach Hotel, a 3 star joint right on the beach.  It was just right.  

In 6 days in Costa Rica, my average walk or hike was 3 miles and covered a lot of jungle and then beach town terrain.  Saw monkeys, birds, hookers and surfers. The one in southern Costa Rica through the jungle, was straight up, and then straight-down, leaving me thoroughly sweated out each morning.

I wasn’t really keeping track, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t spend a ton of money.  At least there still is a lot left in my wallet.   I guess without drinking much and not partying much and being somewhat remote, commerce just isn’t for the taking around every corner.  Sure, some nice hotels, the boss-move bribe for the private boat, driver and instructor, the nice truck all cost some coin, but the boots on the ground spending was pretty reasonable.  My guess I will spend more in St Petes in 36 hours than I did in a week down there.

All flights pretty much on time, and relaxing, always more fun up front.  I love calling it ‘up front’, like saying you went to school in ‘Boston’ when everyone knows that means you went to Harvard.  I haven’t ridden in the back for a flight over 3 hours since 2005 - as a massive reward point earner with all we purchase, there is just no reason.  I’m not sure if my son has ever sat in the back, poor kid, hard lessons coming!  I literally have 14,000,000 points to spend someday someway, and that doesn’t include the $30k-$40k of annual cash back from my Fidelity card I use to pay my lumber bill.

And this all started with an idea in 2001, that not everyone wants that crappy old shabby chic upstate home and some would prefer something that still inspires, but works better, and the contractors not your realtor's brother.

The best ideas are always the simplest ones. Then water it for 22 years and see what grows.

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