For 15 years Shawn Thomas has traveled the world as an official BMW tour guide and off-road riding instructor. His daughter Hailey has always been in love with motorcycles and inspired Thomas to combine his passion for riding with the joys of parenting. Father and daughter have shared several motorcycle adventures throughout the US, Central and South America.

Here’s Part 3 of their latest adventure into the villages, beaches, and rain forests of Costa Rica.

view of the Pacific
This view of the Pacific meets Hailey’s approval.Shawn Thomas

Adventure Log Day 3: Beach Riding!

Location: Santa Teresa to Tamarindo.
Weather: Hot and sunny, then hotter and sunnier.

Today was easily the best day of riding yet. We left the small village via dirt road, then headed to a waterfront trail along the western edge of the country. The views were fantastic! Trees and brush gave way to remote beachfronts of rock and bleach-white sand. The road was a rutted double-track, not challenging but best ridden slow. This allowed us to really take in the views.

Hailey anxious to ride
The sign of a true motorcyclist: Hailey is anxious to ride.Shawn Thomas

Abruptly the tour group took a detour, landing us right on to the beach! This is a rare treat, they explained, as ecological concerns have limited beachfront riding to only a few Costa Rican locations. This was one of them. The sand was densely packed making it easy to ride on. Hailey was excited to take video as we rode, and the smoothness of the terrain made for some epic shots. We got stuck after stopping in what I thought would be some stiff sand, but it was waterlogged and soon my wheels sunk in. I had to tip the bike over and wrest it free by dragging the tires from their shallow graves. Hailey took a break off the bike and hunted hermit crabs, freeing me to really open it up on the sand. I had the R1200GS tipped so far over than the valve covers almost touched as I flat-tracked around the beach. So much fun!

an adventurer
An adventure rider in the making…Shawn Thomas

We rode into a small surf town for lunch, enjoying tacos and a short siesta. There were lizards everywhere, climbing trees and chasing one another throughout. Pretty cool. I pointed out a stack of surfboards and suggested Hailey might want to give it a try, but she shook her head emphatically. I have been nudging her to try surfing while we’re in Costa Rica, but she isn’t budging. I’m hoping she will loosen up before the trip is done.

This day’s trip ended in a fizzle. The views remained beautiful, but the long days have caught up with me and I’m tired. We landed in a huge resort hotel with a lagoon-style pool, very nice. We have a rest day tomorrow, hopefully I’m not too exhausted for a swim.

stuck in the mud
A quick photograph from our guide, moment before realizing we were about as stuck in the sand as we could get.Shawn Thomas

Hailey is holding up well. Our talks over the Sena comm systems have always been the best part of our rides, and they are getting better as she gets older. She is starting to think about what she wants to do with her life and is honing in on following me into motorcycles. I think it has less to do with her passion for bikes and more about not wanting to spend excess amounts of time in college (she wanted to be a veterinarian until she learned about the education requirements!). I remain encouraging; I want what she wants and am fine if she changes her mind.

But I do find myself worrying about her thinking that a dream career will simply fall into her lap. Hailey is being whisked away on these grand adventures without having to put in any major effort. I worked for decades before I found myself in a dream career, and have learned that it not only takes incredible work and sacrifice, but that every step leading to my current profession helped me to get where I am. If I had been handed the role of a BMW brand ambassador even a few years sooner, I never would have been able to handle the responsibility.

Elephant Moto tour guide
Micho—one of our guides and the owner of Elephant Moto—is a huge goofball.Shawn Thomas

I’m putting some thought in to how I can help Hailey see the time and effort that goes into making a career. A solution is out there, I’m sure of it. But it can wait. For now, it’s time to sleep!