Tag Archives: illstreet

Day 2 – A day in Puerto Viejo – Caribbean Costa Rica at its best

The next day I actually got some internet and tried to resolve my illstreet issues for an hour and then got lunch at a Caribbean food restaurant.  We went to the internet café in town after lunch to finish up illstreet stuff and the internet was AWFUL.  I spent about 3 hours there!

salsa bravoFor the rest of the day we just walked around hiking in the jungle and on the beach. Puerto Viejo is actually the home of the an awesome surf break called Salsa Bravo (Wild Sause).  We went for a sunset swim in playa cochles, a few km hike away to get all the jungle dirt off of us and then stayed damp the rest of the night because the humidity is so high.

On the walk back, we went to a cabina place with a restaurant and tried a local liquor made from sugar cane.  It’s called cacique and it is a guaro liquor. We walked the rest of the way back to change clothes and went to dinner down the street at Loco natural.  There was two belgian girls playing music and supposedly one of them was famous in Belgum. I got a ginger/pineapple something or other drink and fish in a thai peanut cinnamon sauce to eat.  Lauren had a guaro sour to drink and chicken in a tandoorin curry sauce.  Both were awesome.

johnnys bar and clubAfter dinner we walked through the darkened streets of puerto viejo, past a pretty alright place called johnny’s, then past some dude “slinging.”  We couldn’t find anything that looked better than johnny’s so we went back there. We drank imperial ON the beach . . . literally.  The patio table and chairs were on the sand, so close to the water that the waves were crashing at our feet.  Lauren’s chair sunk in the sand and she fell over which made a little Tico kid laugh at her and then he tried to convince us to photograph his bait he was fishing with.  There was a huge bonfire that was continuously fed by our awesome rasta waiter who clanked beer bottles to the beat of the music playing as he brought them to the patrons. We both had to pee so we ventured into the interior of the bar/dance floor; peed in a trippy bathroom then danced for a song or two. After that we needed a breather so we stepped back outside and sat at a table next to a tree laden with lit candles for ambient lighting – cool.

voodoooooWe made friends with a dude visiting from Mexico and then some other girl and a nicaraguan guy named Miguel.  Miguel tried (being the key word) to chill and converse with the two of us. However, we couldn’t quite bridge the language barrier.  We also did some tarot readings and lauren found out she’s the devil, go figure. We eventually walked back to our room and as lauren was blacked out again she lost the rest of the colones that she had on her. Hope whatever tico or tica found them used them at least.



YouTube some gibberish about costa-ree-ree-ca after playing a trick on lauren

ah, what the heck…. I’ll post a bit about the house

I got an email minutes after posting the last post so I guess I’ll post a little about the new house.
Konrad GorskiI’m living with Konrad (a long time pal who is in Charleston playing with an awesome band called Crowfield)

Allyson

Then there’s Allyson who is just living in Charleston for the summer and working on Seabrooke Island.  Please take note of

me and AustinFinally, there is Austin.  I lived with him at Clemson and we’ve been buddies for a long time too.

So, the house is about 5,000 sq ft.  It is located in a gated country club where we have access to a pretty nice course, training facilities, a pool (5 minute walk from the house ), stables, a polo field, lots of jogging trails, etc.

Downstairs we have a game room, kitchen, huge pantry/catering quarters, a sun room, a giant living room, a bedroom, my office, the master bedroom which has 2 huge walk-in closets and a jacuzzi (which I love).

Upstairs, we have Konrad’s room, Austin’s room and a pretty sweet entertainment setup.  Both the upstairs and downstairs have xbox 360s with surround sound and 47″ tvs.

spanish mossNow for the outside, there is a 3 car detached garage which is going to be perfect for the RX7 and my new carbon fiber experiments :) Also on the side of the garage is a place to park the RV and RV hookups (how perfect right?) The landscaping is just too much for us with all of the palms so we’re paying a company to do it.  The back yard is full of old growth oaks with spanish moss draping to the ground.  The property also butts up against the 14th hole of the golf course. Apparently a pretty major Revolutionary war battle was also fought on the historic property.

At the other end of the back yard the marsh starts and we have a nice covered dock.  This is where we seem to spend all our time.  Catching crab, shrimp and fish is crazy easy out there so if you ever want some blue crab let me know and I’ll have some cooked up in a couple hours.

It really is an amazing house and I’m lucky to have found such awesome people to live with. I’m excited about CR but also really excited to come back for the 4th of July.  We’re going out on the boat to wakeboard and tube and roasting a pig.  So… pictures speak louder than words.  \/ Check it FOOL! \/

n728377101_8229.jpgAllyson

Two days before the big trip!

Only two days left until I’m off to Costa Rica with Lauren to backpack for 2 weeks. Things are starting to shape up a bit better.

ol laurenThere has however been a slight change. Lauren will be going to Costa Rica on the 16th and I won’t be arriving until the 17th. She’s staying about 5 minutes from the airport in San Jose. I’m guessing she’s just going to hang out and stay relatively close to the airport. I really wish I was going but travelocity is AWFUL. This is definitely the first and last time I will use them for ANYTHING. Good luck getting someone who isn’t an Indian named Tom. I spent 4 hours navigating their maze of automated phone lines and worthless customer support. I may have found a way to get a credit back but a lot of good that does us NOW.

Anyhow, some of you might be wondering how illstreet is going to run while I’m trekking around the hillsides and remote beaches of Costa Rica. Well fortunately, most of Costa Rica has relatively decent TDMA cell service. You can’t do a pay as you go plan or get a temporary phone number in Costa Rica because their systems are overloaded. GSM lines won’t have any space for new numbers for three years!

So as a result I’ve had to rent a TDMA phone from cellphonescr.com. So far they’ve been relatively slow with communication and they haven’t been particularly accommodating but you can get unlimited minutes for about $13 a day. Additionally, they deliver the phone to the airport. I’m a little concerned about the delivery process but hopefully it will be smooth. Additionally, I purchased a phone matrix system and 1-800 number for illstreet that will forward to my cell phone for $.23 a minute in CR. This purchase was probably WELL overdue and I’m pretty psyched to see how it works.

So now you’re probably like well yeah, you can talk to people but how are you going to find your away smart guy? Ha! I’ve got that covered too. We have a 4 wheel drive SUV reserved (with rental insurance of course) so we will be driving the long distances between regions and then we will explore on foot for a couple days. Costa Rica is only a few hundred miles long and a couple hundred wide. For offroad, I downloaded an awesome and FREE TOPO map for my Garmin from http://rwsmaps.griffel.se. Thanks to that dude!

For routing and getting out of San Jose, I bought a map from NAVSAT off ebay. They’re the only company authorized by Garmin for mapping CR. I did however find this and there is a torrent seeded on piratebay as well.

Hopefully tomorrow I can post a little something about all the gear I bought. I have tons to write about still so keep up with the blog! We’re going to see volcanoes, sea turtles, monkeys, rain forests, cloud forests, beaches, awesome surf breaks, awesome wind surfing/kiteboarding areas, etc. Also, I haven’t even written about everything that has changed in the states for me! I just moved into an absolutely massive house on the marsh with a three car garage and awesome dock (plenty of room for a nice home office and my cars). I’m right on the 14th hole of the club’s golf course so I’ll be taking up golf I spose. I also bought a ski boat :) Anyhow, stay tuned for details!

Chris has an article in the newspaper… AGAIN :)

http://www.gsabusiness.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=47&Itemid=54v

A souped-up market

Upstate businesses find success in auto parts, modifications

Rebecca Roper, Contributing Writer

Chris Osborne of Spartanburg spent the last week of June driving cross-country, but it wasn’t a joy ride. (hahaha soo she thinks ; <– I added that)

The 24-year-old entrepreneur was headed to California to meet with his vendors, suppliers and competition.

“There’s nobody out there that competes with me locally,” says the owner of Illstreet, a Web-based company that sells more than 3,000 products to dress up a vehicle, with a focus on carbon fiber hoods. And while Osborne admits he and many others in the industry have been spooked about the bad economy, his products are zooming off the shelves faster than he can supply them.

Osborne is on the receiving end of a head-scratching trend. Despite the fact that new car sales in the U.S. have taken a heavy beating in the past few years, the automotive aftermarket – supplies for cars and trucks after the original sale – continues to grow. And the Upstate business community is well aware of that fact.

Sam Konduros, president of Greenville consulting firm SK Strategies LLC, says growth of the automotive aftermarket industry in the GSA area is a “natural development for our region.”

“The fact that the Upstate has become such a significant hub for the automotive industry makes it a fertile region to also attract significant aftermarket companies and investments. We are already home to a major OEM (BMW Manufacturing Co.), several system integrators (such as Magna International Inc.), more than 40 tier one suppliers (like Lear Corp.), and a huge number of tier two suppliers (like Alfmeier Corp., which is also a tier one supplier for some manufacturers),” he says.

Clemson University has been forging a relationship with the Specialty Equipment Marketing Association and is looking to bring a SEMA roundtable event to the ICAR campus in the next year or two, Konduros points out.

More suppliers in the region would be great with Osborne. He’s trying to find someone locally who can manufacture carbon fiber hoods. Right now he imports them from China, and while he says the profit margin is “decent,” if he had a local supplier he could fill a lot more orders. “Carbon fiber is in crazy short supply,” he says. “But there are guys willing to pay as much as it costs for it.”

The hood is basically an appearance enhancer, Osborne says. It gives the car a sleek, shiny look and it’s very lightweight so it doesn’t slow the car down, which is pretty important to guys into autocross racing, which most of his clients are.According to Osborne’s Web site, www.illstreet.net, hoods range from around $350 for a Honda Accord to $1,250 for a Hummer H2.

According to Daniel Majcen of the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association, the industry grew 4 percent last year. That rate was down slightly from the 5-5.4 percent increases it had seen over the past five years, but it was still healthy growth. The industry accounted for $190.5 billion in sales in 2004. The South Atlantic region, which includes South Carolina, accounted for the most growth.

Not all of that money is of the “Pimp My Ride” ilk, Majcen points out. “Because people are keeping their old vehicles longer and driving them more miles, they of course need more repairs,” he says.

While the industry does include accessories and enhancements, the bulk of Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association members provide replacement parts or tools and equipment necessary to make repairs. In fact, replacement parts account for 59.7 percent of the market, according to the most recent AAIA Auto Aftermarket Factbook. Chemicals, such as lubricants and fluids, account for 14.3 percent and tools and equipment 8 percent, leaving only 18 percent for accessories.

But obviously somebody out there is willing to drop big bucks on powerful engines and coolness enhancers. Illstreet recently conducted market research that showed the bulk of its clients were Asian and Hispanic males age 21-28. What surprised Osborne, he says, was the number of female buyers, who turned out to mostly be moms or girlfriends buying items as gifts.

Osborne says business always picks up in the summer – and this summer has been no exception. “I think the economic stimulus checks have helped a lot,” he says. “I’ve had several clients tell me that’s what they were spending their check on.” He says he did spend a great deal this year on advertising because he was worried luxury items such as his wouldn’t sell as well in current economic conditions. “I have the top spot on Google purchased (for several related keywords),” he says.

But so far, he’s been more worried about keeping up with the demand. It’s the same way for Hot Rod Construction of Piedmont, says owner Danny Wickett. His shop does reconstructions and modifications for classic automobiles and has won several awards for its work recently.

Nostalgia may play a role in the success of his business. And perhaps more guys are pouring money into that old flame in their garage rather than dropping dough on a brand new model.

“My clientele isn’t as affected (by the economy) as others,” he says. “They’re mostly wealthy gentlemen in their 50s and 60s who are reaching retirement and redoing the car they maybe had when they were in high school.”

Hot Rod Construction does 100 percent of its work in house, Wickett says, and that kind of custom work gets pretty pricey. Wickett says his clients often redo an entire car, which generally costs $100,000-$200,000, with souping up the engine being the heaviest expense.

If the cost of materials continues to climb, he is worried his business could be affected. “It’s definitely disposable income. This is something you want; not something you have to have,” he says.

San Diego, CA

We got to San Diego around 2:30 on Monday night and have been staying and Chris’s Uncle Kevin’s house since then. His house is awesome and really unique. He has a lot of artwork hanging everywhere and not a white wall to be seen. It is nice to have a bed to sleep in and a shower that you don’t have to wear shoes in. He even had a bunch of candles lit for our arrival (I am sure he does the same for you too Susan) We hung out and had a few beers and before we knew it, the sun was rising.

We woke up on Tuesday around noon because people kept calling for Illstreet. (unfortunately now since we are actually in California, Chris opens at 8 am and closes at 5.) Chris was pretty backed up on his work since we had only a little cell phone and internet connection for the past few days and he was closed for hiking the grand canyon. So Chris worked for the next five hours straight and I watched some tv and playing with Spike (Kevin’s American Bulldog, super relaxed and laid back dog). I watched the news to see the 1000 fires that are in California right now and that might affect our drive north. Everyone has told us to go to Big Sur and right now, we are not sure if we are going to be able to go there or Napa. :(

spikekevins-place

We also found out that San Diego has a new “no drinking alcohol on the beach” law here. (which is total crap) They even have this flashlight wand that they can wave over your drink and it sucks in the vapors to tell if there is liquor or beer in it(in case you try to sneak booze in a cup.) The fine is 100 dollars for your first offense. Uncle Kevin said the beaches have been empty since this law began; it will also have a big affect on the fireworks this year.

So after work and the news, Chris and I rode bikes around trying to get to the beach. One left turn instead of a right turn and no water was to be seen. So we headed back to the house and got on the dirt bike to head off to dinner. Before we got to Old Town Mexican Cafe (the bar/restaurant Kevin manages) we stopped at Pacific Beach and walked the boardwalk for a little while. The waves were so much bigger than anywhere we had seen before and we were shocked at how cool the weather was. Chris and I both had jeans on and we were still chilly.

oldtownmexicancafelogo

 

We hopped back on the dirt bike and went off to get some dinner. The food at the Mexican Cafe was ammmazzingg. They make all their tortillas by hand where you can watch and of course the margaritas rocked since we had an experienced bar tender hooking us up. We literally had about 5 plates of food in front of us and I think we finished almost all of it. Chris and I were still really tired at this point from not sleeping much so we just headed home and ended up falling asleep on the couch shortly after. (not exciting I know, but the rest of our weekend is going to be crazy, we have to save up for it)

We woke up early again today because we definitely wanted to spend the day at the beach. Tomorrow, Uncle Kevin’s girlfriend Susan is coming to town for the fourth of July and we are going to spend all day Friday outside and going to a bunch of Kevin’s friends places to watch the fireworks. Chris and Kevin are off picking up one of his nine cars right now (which means I am back to my blogging duties since Chris nnneeevverr writes anything.)

Overall, San Diego has kicked ass so far and we can’t wait to see more of it. Oh yes, and I forgot to say the most important thing….less than a week until my biirtthhdayy :) We don’t know where we will be spending my big 2-2 yet but hopefully it will be somewhere fabulous. Kevin has some crazy things planned for the weekend so I hope Chris and I can keep up.

Stuff to write about still:

Went down to the boardwalk

Met Kevin at Nicks at the Beach and had a very drinks

Drove the bikes up the cross but it was too foggy so we went back in the morning

Seal Beach

Lambo/Ferrari shopping

Mexican food for lunch at this cool burrito place

Nude Beach

Susan got in and we went to eat at Olde Town Cafe

Trying to get a very prickly cactus into Susan’s Sebring convertible

Chris and Kevin went mountain biking (the wheel fell off of Chris’ mountain bike)

Went to a bar and met up with Kevin’s friends at the beach (20 dollar shots from Billy)

Went and bought Susan her watermelon; and we got burgers beers and liquor

Took showers and got ready in less than an hour (all 4 people with one bathroom)

Went to a really nice house and picked up some of Kevin’s friends; we went right up the street to Dave’s (gorgeous 5-6 million dollar home with amazing views of downtown San Diego.

Walked in with about 10 people and watched a fireworks show over the whole city with 7 coinciding fireworks shows

Then went to a loft downtown to hang out some more; After that Chris and I walked Spike and Roxy for a couple of hours

Susan and I went to get mani/pedi and Chris was a little hungover

Went and watched Ultimate Fighting (super cool)

Sunday- we went and saw Kevin’s condos and a bunch of different beaches. We went and ate at a steakhouse for dinner and then went back to Kevin’s for a little bit before we left San Diego around 9 pm.

san-diego-007_800x600

 

 

Phoenix, AZ

Can anyone here say HOT! Because that is how Chris and I would describe Phoenix. We had only a 2+ hour drive from Sedona, but that short drive feels very long in 115 degree heat and NO air-conditioning. We saw probably at least 20 trucks stopped on the side of the road, broken down from overheating. It was still very hilly and had lots of steep grades so after a while; Chris pulled off the highway to try and find some shade to park in and let the rv “cool down.”

At this point, we couldn’t figure out if it was better to have to windows open or closed. The breeze felt like a blowdryer blowing hot air on your face and with the windows closed, we had to have ice packs on our neck to keep cool. We had to drive through Phoenix anyways to get to San Diego and I wanted to stop and see one of my favorite cousins Kaine and his preggers girlfriend Lacey.

We show up to their new apartment complex (Costco across the street..haha another obsession with my family) and Chris and I drove around until we found 3 spots we could take up in the back. We get ready to walk in when we realize that the back door won’t close and lock. This is a nice area of town, right by downtown Scottsdale but Chris and I have 3 laptops, xbox, flat screen tv ect., way too much to risk leaving it open. Chris proceeds to take apart the door handle (for about the 3rd time) and try to fix it. It took him about 30 minutes and we were all yucky and hot.

Kaine called to make sure we weren’t lost and I explained our little situation. Instead of us walking to their place, they came and picked us up from the back and took us out to dinner. We went to this really cool restaurant and ate outside on couches (they also have these really cool misting things that hang from the ceiling all over around there). For some reason I can’t remember the name of the restaurant (Kaine can comment about it if he is not too busy at work to check out our cool blog..haha) They had at least 75 beers on tap, most of which were ones that Chris and I have never heard of, yummy.

We ate and chatted about our trip, Kaine’s work, family, and the new baby Dillon Robert (of course not born yet, only 7.5 months pregnant). I don’t know how Lacey does it being pregnant in the heat down here, it must be intense. Chris liked looking at all the really cools cars and lifts that you could see everywhere around there (Westlake people, the downtown there is kind of like Crocker Park but bigger).

After dinner we went back to their apartment and hung out for a little while longer. We got the see the baby’s new room and all the decorating they have already done for it. It was great to get to see both of them. I met Lacey at Thanksgiving this past year and that’s the last time I saw Kaine too since they live soooo far away in Arizona. They seem really excited for the new baby and both seem really happy.

Around 9 o’clock, we had to get back on the road so we could get a few hours out of phoenix before morning traffic. We said our goodbyes and packed back up in our very hot rv. You would think that since it was dark it might have cooled down, but no. Hot Hot Hot Hot.

Chris knew we couldn’t make it too far because the rv had started making noises earlier and he wanted to stop for the night and replace the spark plugs wires again and the bushing. We only made it about 45 minutes down the road he said we had to pull over. So he gets out to check the engine and realizes that we have NO oil. (he had just done a full oil change before we left.) Unfortunately we are in the middle of no where (nearest gas station is 6 miles back from where we came from). Chris unloads the dirtbike and of course I am going with him (no way am I sitting in the rv on the side of the road alone for 20 minutes)

Thanks for the dirtbike, we got the oil and luckily no damage was done to the engine. Chris knew at that point that we really needed to stop at the soonest rv park (about 30 miles down the road). I gave him directions and then accidentally fell asleep ( I was tired from unpacking from the Grand Canyon, doing a bunch of loads of laundry, and a counter full of dishes earlier). So we miss that park and instead end up at a different rv resort another 30 miles down the road (truly a blessing in disguise).

Around midnight we pull in and go to sleep, running the air conditioner but it is still soooo warm in the rv. We had to pay to plug in because you couldn’t sleep in a rest stop with no cool air.

In the morning, we wake up at 9 am and Chris goes outside to start working on the bushing before it gets too hot. So he is banging and banging, using a hammer and a crowbar to try and get the old one off. The noise brought out the owner of Oasis Rv Park, Jim, on his golfcart, asking if Chris needed any help. We thought we were going to get yelled at because we still hadn’t paid from pulling in the night before, but instead he offered Chris some really amazing help. The owner called a shop and actually lent Chris a car to go and drive there!! The first shop couldn’t do it so he went to a second one about 30 minutes away. I can’t believe that the owner was so nice and willing to do that for us. I stayed behind and answered all his Illstreet calls and cleaned up again.

While Chris was driving he swears he saw Big Black (from a MTV show he likes called Rob & Big) He said the driver looked exactly like him and he was driving a new, clean, black Jeep Cherokee with big wheels, tinted windows, and had a big silver BB sign in the back (Big Blacks symbol).

He gets back and thanks the owner for being so nice and they chat about how hot this place is in the summer. 117 today. The owner of Oasis is retired from the navy and traveled all over the world. He decided to buy some land and his dream was to live in the Sunbelt and own an rv park, not necessarily for the money but more for the lifestyle. He said in the winter, it is packed full of people here. He told Chris that we can’t leave until later because the rest of the drive is very hilly and hot (he basically said the rv couldn’t make it if we left now.) So basically we have been sitting here, Chris working and me watching a movie, drinking water and still sweating with the ac running. Later on he also gave Chris a tire patch kit and an aircompressor as well. (we had somehow run over a pair of scissors in our journey)

At this point, we can’t wait to get to San Diego where we will be staying with Chris’s Uncle Kevin until the 4th of July. We are only about 3 hours away and should get there tonight, hopefully experiencing some much cooler weather.