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Old 06-01-2011, 11:14 AM   #46
Archimedes OP
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La Finca Ė The Farm



We got to our friends farm and settled in. It continued to rain for days as we hung our clothing in the tree house and helplessly watched as nothing really dried for about three days. After that though, under the threat of non ending rain, it became too hot and dry due to some unexpected weather pattern. Itís hard to decide sometimes which the preference is, too hot or too wet, but at least our clothes were now dry. We would spend several more days hanging out before doing much. The farm had a cat, rats and a dog that seemed to show up and hang out. The number and variety of birds around the farm is staggering and the jungle noises vast and constant all through the night.

The neighbourhood is pretty simple here and the people are very nice. One of the neighbours that helped us the first night would come over and drop off fruit, fresh mangos, pineapples and bananas. Costa Rica has some really good fruit particularly the pineapples which are mostly exported to many lucky countries. One day the neighbour came over and asked if we wanted to meet her English teachers, the young couple that had identified us as Canadians and helped us to locate our friendsí farm. We agreed and went to the local school where they were giving an evening class for adults.

This was awesome because we met Kevin and Megon, a young married couple who are both teachers and Peace Corps volunteers; we would end up spending as much time with them as their busy schedule allowed. We had awesome dinners and shared good stories, bike rides and walks. It was a real treat to find these folks making our stay at the farm very enjoyable. Their experience and cultural training in Costa Rica was extensive and it helped us to understand the people and country a little better. The food in Costa Rica is pretty limited, culturally speaking Ticos (Costa Ricans name for themselves) donít like much variety and are pretty sure they have about the best you can get so arenít too interested in what you know or think, generally speaking of course.
Tom & Jerry?

But up front thatís not the case, Ticos are very polite and like to present well, their countryís slogan is Pura Vida or Pure Life and they are often very accommodating. Unfortunately it is a matter of telling you one thing that is very agreeable and doing another which is not. The saying about the Costa Rican culture is, ďLittle by little, here and there and half wayĒ which makes things difficult if you need something done. Certainly though these are just observations and our attempt at learning about the culture, the fact is Costa Rica is a pearl of a country packed in between a bunch of oyster guts. Itís safe, still affordable and has plenty of beautiful places to visit and explore.

The Cat at the farm was skinny and lame when we got here, people donít like to feed the animals or take care of them much, it seemed this way since we hit Mexico. We started to feed the cat and she fattened up pretty quick, slept like the dead and never missed a morsel. After about a week we discovered rats and mice. She got a stern warning about her role and within the next week the rats and mice were dead or had vacated the area. This little killer knew how to get the job done! I think she just needed to get on her feet again, a little bit of energy and a family to contribute too, made the difference.
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We would make regular visits to the local market; one of the least enjoyable things in this trip and in general is having to answer the question of how much the bikes cost. Each time we would go to town we would get the same kind of thing. In fact, we noticed a dramatic change since we exited the United States, people were generally no longer interested in who we were or what kind of adventure we were on, simply they just wanted to know how much the bikes were worth. I canít say that I understand why this seems so important down here, I speculate and like to assume itís simply for them to relate what they are seeing to the life they live but reasonably this is impossible. The people that ask the most are the ones that are least likely to ever buy vehicles like ours, since those that could never ask. So what then is their intent, if not to validate their assumption that we are rich spoiled gringos who get everything handed to them since we donít know how to work or do anything for ourselves?

We met a very nice couple who briefly spoke to us about our journey, a typical statement came from the gentlemen, ďI wish I could take a one year vacationĒ. Innocently he said what many others have said before or at least thought. The response by now comes from Deya and my lips almost instantly, ďItís not a vacation!Ē Weíve been on vacations, vacations are something you do to relax and enjoy, you spend more money than you would during a typical week, you see and do things under limited time and excess of money that can often be found in a brochure. You donít have to give up stable jobs, your home, the comfort of friends and family, stability, the assurance of returning to something familiar and the protection and control of a regular tourist. People donít sell all they own, say goodbye to the people they care about, leave jobs they might even enjoy and go to Disneyland. This is regularly difficult; the money is finite and must be cautiously distributed. Though we end up in some tourist destinations we are not tourist, travelers yes, but tourists no. We do a budget review every 15 days, make tactical decisions on whether we go left or right, typically donít know where or if weíll find a place to sleep each night and make risk assessments on an almost daily basis. No, this is not a vacation. This is living :-)
Some of our activities while at the farm were hanging out, swimming, biking, cooking with friends and doing a little research. We tried to get into Dole, the fruit company youíve all heard of, but they gave us the happy face, sad email routine. This is not new and quite understandable, for me it says things about the company or department regarding their operational effectiveness. Oddly, it is possible to make assumptions of what you donít see and this kind of response is typical when a company or authorized person puts up a good show but has enough chaos and disorder that they are just not comfortable letting someone see it, they will look bad. Sometimes itís because they are swamped, again lack of control, itís okay to have high levels of demand, thatís why we are in business, but not a good excuse when you are talking to professionals. The other reasons for this kind of brush off is often because a company thinks they have created the wheel, that they are the only ones who have figured out how to make money and think everybody is out to steal their tribal knowledge. I just laugh, this too is okay and common, which companies in this situation donít really understand.
The tree house
A company we did interview is a huge employer for this area and exports all their products to Europe adding wealth directly to the country. Privately owned and family run the company produces plants for decoration. They were extremely busy when we visited yet had no problem showing us their operation despite the elevated effort levels. This indicates, unlike the above example, a company that can easily improve and access knowledge and technical improvements.
Assembly line

After a couple of weeks we decided to head back towards La Fortuna near Lake Arenal. On our way in weeks earlier we drove the northern route around the lake and it was fantastic; at that time we passed a shop called, ďTomís Pan German BakeryĒ. We had gone by trying to get to our destination but the bakery kept calling to our taste buds. The decision was made to go find it and have something German. Our intention was to spend a few days around the Volcano and check out the bakery at the same time.




Arenal, it smokes but no lava for 8 months now
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Old 06-01-2011, 07:09 PM   #47
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Great read. Thanks- stay safe out there kids.
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Old 06-02-2011, 09:09 AM   #48
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Great read. Thanks- stay safe out there kids.
Thanks for reading Signal!
I dont know about the other folks posting RR's but it helps to have people comment, keeps us wanting to contribute.
Thanks again.
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Old 06-02-2011, 09:11 AM   #49
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Tomís Pan German Bakery



www.tomspan.com
We headed out towards La Fortuna, a tourist destination for people wanting hot springs, horse tours, zip lines, rafting and resort style stuff. We were going to look for some hot springs, food and the bakery. We got into La Fortuna early and looked around a bit before deciding to go West to search out the German Bakery we had seen on our initial route in. One of the things Deya and I would regularly do at home is ride hundreds of kilometres, even over a thousand, in a day just to try a piece of pie or something from a notable shop.
The German Bakery had called and we were en route, besides it was only about 100 kilometres of backtracking.

The road from the farm to La Fortuna is sketchy with sharp, blind corners and heavy trucks going full speed around corners taking up both lanes. Other than that itís pretty nice. From La Fortuna to Nuevo Arenal, the sight of the bakery, is fantastic and easy riding.

We arrived to the bakery just after noon and ordered a large sandwich to share. It was simply fantastic. While we sat there the owner came by, Tom, approached the tables and greeted all the patrons, he stopped back to talk to us for a bit. He mentioned a free camping sight nearby and that he used to ride bike. Tom was certainly an interesting guy and a delight to have met that first day. We told him weíd come back tomorrow as we had some stuff to do in La Fortuna. We headed back intending to try some pastries the next day and camp.
Tom and I
Mustard on every table!
La Fortuna is pretty much a tourist trap, itís nice but typically out of our budget. We had done well the last couple of weeks so decide to put on the tourist hat for the day we were there. We stayed at a reasonable place that was very nice and right in town. Deya and I got a couple of stickers for the bikes and bought a couple of tickets to a resort to check out there 25 pools of hot springs and buffet dinner. The day was good but honestly I was an old grump and Deya wasnít having any of it. The hot springs and food solved all that, the night spent in a comfortable bed and later several hours in a hammock totally turned things around. We went from hot, tired and grumpy to energetic and positive. Totally worth the price. We checked out early but hung out until the afternoon waiting to head back to Tomís place for some bread and pastries.
New 8 lb tent/bed set from REI..?
When we got back to the bakery we ordered some meats and cheeses, a pastry and coffee. Costa Rican food is just not this good and this was really good food, some of the best since we left Mexico and unique since most ingredients were imported from Germany. Tom came by again and we talked, he sat and ate with us and said that if we didnít want to camp he had just cleared up a room in the back and we were welcome to spend the night. It was a genuine and excellent offer only extended to fellow bikers, helped our budget and also let us hang out at this cool place another day. As we talked another rider showed up, Rossi, from Australia. He was heading North and looking for a place. There was no room in the back so he went down to the lake for the free camping spots. Good luck Rossi; donít hesitate to stop by our place in Mexico on your way through if you take that route!
F*%king idiot!
Deya made those! I got to put the sesame
seeds on.
We spent the night at the Bakery, Deya asked Tom if there was anything we could help him with and he said yes. Six A.M. came early and we were up showered and ready to bake. There was a large order on the book, Tom would direct us in the preparation. It was a blast to work in his kitchen, loud rockĎníroll blaring, the heat of the ovens firing, and the preparation of the breads and pastries in full motion. Tom is a master and moves like lightning, directing us like the captain of a ship but faster and harder. It was hard work, especially when itís totally new and there is not only a craftsmanship involved but also science. Iím sure, though I donít speak German, I got called a Fu@#ing idiot more than once due to my own mistakes, it made me laugh, I loved the pace and intensity of Tomís kitchen.

We ploughed for several hours before Tom called a well planned break. The level of organization and planning is intense, the gas in the oven is burning and scheduling the various different products into and out of the oven was done without waste. The recipes and timings for mixes are done off the top of his head and clearly years of experience allowed things to flow. As we took a break and had some good food I was sure Tom was going to dismiss us, well at least me. I asked if we were slowing him down or not and he said seriously that it was a huge help, that we didnít have to work very hard and we were already half done. I just about fell off the chair since I thought we were busting ass and at the final stage. More hours of work and we finally completed the order.
Deya and I went to clean up, we were going to stay another night at Tomís because it was just awesome and we love to lend a hand, it makes for a really rewarding experience. After a shower we went out for dinner at a local pizza joint, Moyaís Place, that served up some of the best pizza I have ever had at reasonable prices. Some beer, wine and good food finished the day. Hanging out with Tom was great because Tom is a very interesting guy. Change is always good but sadly, Tom has decided to sell the Bakery after 15 years to do something else, maybe he would take a partner in the business. Either way, if youíre going to Costa Rica take the route North of Lake Arenal and stop at the bakery before Tom is gone or you will miss something we think is special about the area.

Moya's Place
Thanks Tom, I hope we get to visit your kitchen again, where ever it is, in the future!











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Old 06-03-2011, 08:31 AM   #50
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Complacency




Itís early afternoon and the road towards Ticari is easy and dry. Itís a little longer and straighter than the previous 100 kilometres so the speed picks up and the mild drone of the road sets in. Deya leads in the number one position and I hang back a little further than usual noting that my attention is waning at the easy pace.

Thereís a lot of truck traffic on this road but again, itís easy and the drivers are not totally insane. Directly ahead of us is a small car, Deya is at a respectable distance. Ahead of the car about 500 metres is a pack of three dogs on the right hand side of the road mingling as dogs often do. One of the dogs, having just crossed the road to greet the other two has a sniff and begins his return. Heís probably made this trip a hundred times before, in defence of his turf or maybe just because of the shear boredom of being a dog in Latin America.

The dog is beige, maybe female, short haired with the appearance of terrier or some well muscled bread, thick neck and jaw and Iíve decided to name her Pat. Pat is not a young dog, maybe five years of age and likely looks at you with the hope of a morsel or at least an affectionate rub on the head or back. She looks like she is probably good with kids and would not chase a cat if one was present.

Pat had finished her routine and was heading back to her home from work or whatever she was doing and noted the car coming that preceded Deya. Deya remarked that she felt she should have beeped her horn to alert Pat to the oncoming chaos. If the car had hit Pat she would have been thrown right into our path, most likely, and we would have had a moment of action to contend with. But Pat, being a veteran of this road, kept an eye on the car and very lazily crossed out in front knowing very well that the car would swerve slightly and that she would cross the centre line with plenty of room to spare.

Of course Pat, having been there before, was right; the car swerved slightly to the side and Pat, never taking her eyes of the car had made it across the centre line just in time, not having to increase her pace at all. Pat was all that and why should she waste the calories in this most tedious of repetitive tasks?

The bottom of the big shinny bumper on the fifteen tonne truck was the first thing to contact Pat, right in the head, knocking her down. She had ended so precisely in the path of an oncoming transport truck, looking the other way, lazily strolling familiar territory it looked almost as if planned. The truck hit his brakes but not enough to jeopardize his load, himself or the other motor vehicles, he did it right.

As Pat got hit in the head, never actually seeing the truck, she fell to the ground right in front of the driver side tire. The tire ran over her upper chest area, she didnít even compare to a tiny speed bump, she was instantly killed. Exiting the front tire she rolled twice before being trampled by the four wheels on two axles of the rear carriage of the truck. The wider tire base ran over the bulk of her body leaving only the head and behind unscathed. The effect was dramatic!

The pressure produced in her chest cavity literally exploded Patís organs out of her stomach and anus. There was a five meter diameter yellowish, crimson mist of bodily fluids permeating the road right in front of us. Patís parts were strewn loosely over the road as she lay there limply, looking towards home. I thought briefly of pulling over and dragging her corpse off the road but realized that the treads of traffic would likely be better than a bloated rotten corpse in a ditch, stinking for a month. The world would slow, just for a second, but nobody would stop. I think we can all expect the same.

Deya and I blasted through the smoke and fire of Patís cloud of life like two fighter pilots zapping a bogie. Deya slightly traumatized was rethinking the scene, questioning herself and her actions. Should she have hit her horn, would Pat have awoken from her slumber to realize the frailty of life or would she have snapped out of her complacent demeanour and doubled back only to be hit by the car? This was Deyaís lesson and her struggle to accept, the guilt of not being guilty and the finality of the judgement handed so easily to us living folks.

I was, however oddly, a little pleased with the incident. We had just witnessed a dramatic kill, simple, straightforward with not pretence or reason other than a complacent dog looking the wrong way on a two way road. Pat was killed fast, she never suffered and it was clear why this happened and it made me smile. Senseless, no, it was just life and the subtle reminder of how finite this life is was there splayed all over the road.

It could have been my guts or Deyaís and the only difference would be some of the traffic stopping. And one day, when my turn comes and life issues its final task to me I can only hope it is not because of complacency.
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Old 06-03-2011, 02:48 PM   #51
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Old 06-04-2011, 01:49 PM   #52
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Yeah though I walk through the valley in the shadow of death I shall fear no Mosquito for I am Brian the Mosquito Destroyer.

Brian MD

ps. currently the mosquitos are winning.
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Old 06-04-2011, 03:22 PM   #53
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Originally Posted by Archimedes View Post
Thanks for reading Signal!
I dont know about the other folks posting RR's but it helps to have people comment, keeps us wanting to contribute.
Thanks again.
BMD
I agree- perhaps more fun if someone's watching

Quote:
Originally Posted by Archimedes View Post
Yeah though I walk through the valley in the shadow of death I shall fear no Mosquito for I am Brian the Mosquito Destroyer.

Brian MD

ps. currently the mosquitos are winning.
"Donate blood--Visit South America"
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Old 06-04-2011, 10:36 PM   #54
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Yeah though I walk through the valley in the shadow of death I shall fear no Mosquito for I am Brian the Mosquito Destroyer.

Brian MD

ps. currently the mosquitos are winning.



Sharon and I got wailed on by black flies at Manic12. Sharon literally had tears in her eyes. I've never experienced anything like that and I've lived and camped in S.Ga near the Ogeechee. Least with skeeters the deet works. 100% Deet didn't even faze those black flies.

Hey man,,,, today was the first time I forded a river/creek crossing so deep it shut off my bike. The XR650L was in up to it's seat. Sharon went around at the last minute and didn't get stuck. I had to push it 3/4s the way out because Sharon wouldn't get in the water much over her knees. Me,,,, I was up to my belt line!

Might have a buyer for the Firebird again so hopefully we will be Alaska bound before too long. Gonna zip up to Alaska first because of the heat, then hit the Rockies, Cali and maybe Baja on the way back as it'll be a bit cooler this fall. Y'all stay safe and have fun!
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Old 06-05-2011, 08:16 AM   #55
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Jud,
lol. I'm covered in bites, it seems like a black cloud of bugs is following us around.
What did you do about the water! I keep having the nightmare that I dump the bike in a river and dont know how to get the water out of the engine? I've been trying to figure out how to drain the gas (just in case)on the F800gs but cant figure it, I think siphon is the only option, any ideas?
That's going to be a great trip, as much as this is awesome the north and the west coast of USA and Canada are amazing. It's funny how easily it is to not appreciate your own back yard. There's so much more riding I want to do just in BC.
I've got to update the blog soon but right now we're in San Vito dealing with that piece of property we have. Doesnít look good, we had a meeting with the Municipal president and a follow up this Monday with him and a lawyer. Really I just want to drop it and head to Panama. Hopefully by Tuesday we can clear out.
Cheers,
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Old 06-15-2011, 07:50 AM   #56
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One Year Anniversary on-the-road


One Year Anniversary




I just noticed that most of the blog Iím writing has to do with stuff we are doing and I realized that I need to pay my respects to the un-sung heroes of the story, the Bikes. The fact is the motorbikes are at the centre of everything we do. They carry us to all these places where we meet good people and enjoy good food. They take us into challenges and then take us out of them again. They connect us with people and places, break the ice and sometimes are the only thing worth talking about. They represent us and our ideas, the journey we are on and the goals we are trying to achieve for ourselves. I often talk briefly with my bike and affectionately lay a hand on him (yes him) to thank him for carrying me safely along and taking the beatings I sometimes dish out. I give Deyaís bike a pat on the back sometimes too because she doesnít seem to do so and I feel bad for her. They are ever present and demand our attention every day, so even though we may not talk about them or take many pictures they are the reason for the stories and Iím grateful for that.

Our goal was to head back to the farm and meet up with the Family and say farewell to our Alaskan buddies. We made it back to the farm for the night and headed out towards Heredia near San Jose along an easy route that Deya found out later was known unofficially as the ďRoute of DeathĒ because so many people get killed there. I laughed because I though it was really nice but I can see why people get killed. The conversation about motorcycles being dangerous came up in this regards, as it often does among non riders, and I had to use someoneís quote, ďGuns donít kill people, people kill people.Ē I donít believe that motorcycles are dangerous, though the statistics are clear about the high rate of injury and fatalities the reality is people drive like animals, they donít exercise due diligence and caution or use safety equipment. The biggest threat we have on this trip or the commute to work is not the other cars on the road, itís the drivers of the other cars on the road. It doesnít seem to matter what part of the world you are in, what race, religion or class you are from, as humans we all share one common bond, we all think weíre good drivers. Oh the Irony!

We made it to Heredia and met more family; I have to say we were treated so well and really appreciate everything they have done for us. Not a new experience for us but it certainly never gets old and we really enjoyed our time there. The stay was short as we were headed to Manual Antonio for a short stay at a beautiful beach then onto San Vito to deal with some business matters.

We ended getting a little lost on our route despite excellent directions, skipped a toll road by taking a rough dirt road past the toll, ha, and circled our way in via loose GPS coordinates. We got to the beach in good time and searched for a place to stay. What is striking and never fails to confound me is how Hostels cost more than hotels. We look for secure camping, in its absence we are forced to hotel, but we always look for the hostels first. Every time it is the same thing, with two people, often there is no place for the bikes, you have to stay in a dorm and your kit is not very secure. At the end of it you can expect to pay about 10-15 bucks per person. Conversely you can find a hotel room with air conditioning and secure parking for 20-30 bucks, odd, I would say so, but this is how it has been.

Manual Antonio is absolutely beautiful, the surfing is good enough, the place is clean and you can find good food and night life. The park is fantastic too though more expensive than the first time we went there. As luck would have it I rolled over 50,000 Kms on my bike here at the same time we would be celebrating our 1 year mark on-the-road. We stayed at a place called Verde Mar for 20 bucks, it was good and they had Chef Omar on staff who prepared a Casado with Mahi-Mahi for us. It was fantastic and Deya and I shared it, there was plenty for two, for about 10 bucks. Note, the time at the farm help our budget out a lot, otherwise we would be struggling in Costa Rica, itís not super expensive but itís not inexpensive either.

After exiting Manual Antonio we headed South East towards San Vito. The road from Palmar Norte to San Vito was pretty broken up. Landslides and caved road was a constant, though the riding was fine and even enjoyable the reality is this road should be avoided if there is much rain. Literally the road could disappear in front of you and the mountain could come down on you all at the same time. Other than that, itís good. San Vito itself has changed a lot since we were last there and other than the town centre many things have changed. A lot of buildings exist where there was just jungle in the past.

Our primary reason for attending San Vito was for a piece of property we bought back in 2005. To cut the story short, we met with the Municipal President (Alcalde) and his lawyer, found out that the property that was sold to us was never ours and could never be sold to us. We determined that the government agency called IDA that was responsible, specifically the guy in charge, had lied to us, to the seller and to our lawyer about the status of the property. At the end of all this we lost our investment but the stupid thing is that the community lost a hell of a lot more than that, talk about near sighted!

The other reasons for San Vito were to visit more Peace Corps folks, Hanna was one of the teachers we had heard about and her story of getting recruited by a local boxing club to fight a boxer from Panama in an upcoming competition, she had no previous experience. She didnít really know what she was agreeing to when she nodded her head, the pressure of the community cheering her onÖlolÖGood job Hanna, She won! We got to meet her after all and she is as dynamic and interesting as her story, the community is lucky to have her.


San Vito sits on the path towards Rio Sereno border crossing. The route from San Vito to Rio Sereno is not exactly easy to find. We took a left at the fork in the road when we got to a high school and traveled on somewhat rough dirt road for about 4 kilometres. This road would likely be messy and slow going if it was raining a lot so keep that in mind if you go there. It is worth going there by the way, itís a nice ride, very little traffic and tranquil. The signage is poor and we drove into Panama without even noticing. The Aduana chased us down and helped us get back to Costa Rica Customs and Immigration. If you get there and enter the little town thinking you are close, youíve already entered Panama. It doesnít matter though this is a really nice border crossing with good people and no helpers there to lead you astray. It didnít take too long to clear the border: immigration, customs, insurance and bug spray and we were on our way to Boquete in Panama.



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Old 06-28-2011, 06:39 PM   #57
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Panamania

Panamania


Sure, why wouldnít we spell it that way? Itís kind of exciting, after
clearing through a very comfortable customs process we entered on to a fantastic road. Far from
the clutches of doom (exaggeration) in Costa Rica, the Panamanian route from Rio Sereno to Volcan
was awesome. The pavement was nearly perfect, little to no
traffic and beautiful vistas and fincas everywhere. Maybe it was the combined package but this
stretch on that day was one of the better rides weíve had, definitely in the top 10. After Volcan
the road becomes average, not much to say really. Prices in Panama are almost half of Costa Rica
and the country seems more advanced, did I say that already?



We had to travel South to David because we thought you could not take the route across the

volcano from Volcan to Boquete, we were wrong. Weíll probably take that pass in the future. In

Boquete we stayed at a place called Topaz for about 16 bucks a night, it was a pretty good spot,

simple room with nice people. We checked out the town a bit and there are lots of tours and hikes

possible. We had different plans so we didnít do much there. We did meet a couple of other

travellers of interest and have attached them to our links column.



Itís always interesting to meet other people and hear a little bit about their adventures. Whether
they are in cars, on bikes, campers, sailboats or bicycles they each have different styles and
stories to tell. Some of the stories are the same as with any travellers but many are different, this
is the beauty of it.
We had planned to get to Panama City to wait until our boat to Colombia was ready to go, to do
that we would take two easy days, stopping first at a beach called Las Lajas then near a place
called Nata but Nata ended up giving us that sketchy feeling so we continued onto Santa Clara for
the night.




The beach cabins at Las Lajas costs 10 bucks a night and were very simple but we had access to
washrooms, showers and a restaurant. The food was well priced and we decided to sample some
Panamanian beer before heading onto the beach for a swim. The food was excellent for the price,
the beer is very light but refreshing and the surf is shallow and only mediocre but the beach is long
and impressive.




After exiting Las Lajas we ended up passing Nata and got to a resort beach area. There was beach
camping for 6 bucks and it looked great but with the temperature and the crowds it just didnít seem
right. We looked around for a better place and nearby we found the Blue Dolphin Hotel, the folks
there let us camp for 10 bucks, it was pretty sweet and we enjoyed cooking, the swimming pool
and watching the Canucks beat Boston. We barely missed a big thunder shower and were able to
set up our tent under a thatch roof, yeah.

The next day was an easy ride to Panama City; it was raining

Panama City
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so crossing the Canal produced no good video or pictures. Fortunately Deya discovered that she
has family in Panama and we were able to find their place easily. The family here is awesome, weíre
really lucky to be surrounded by good people like this. They showed us around the city so we were
able to experience far more than we might have on our own.

Panama is an impressive centre of activity, the Canal sets the pace for this small country and
suggests a feeling that things can get done down here. It is very modern and far more advanced
than the Central American countries we have been in. Itís also very nice as far as large cities go, on
the ocean with the impressive Canal at its centre the city is connected to islands that are a
definite tourist stop and promotes the expansion and development of foreign business. There are so
many banks here Iím sure you will be able to find at least three that you have used before every
few blocks. We checked out the Canal and learned about its impressive history and the work that
has been done to improve the standard of living for residents since the Canal was repatriated from
the US in 1999. The average cost to traverse the Canal is about 300k and about 14000 cargo ships
travel it per year.

So far I would say that Panama is my favourite Central American country. Even though Costa Rica
has Pura Vida, which I have a particular fondness for, I would pick Panama if I had to choose. The
interesting point to note is that Panamanians do not consider themselves a part of Central America,
some of this ideology comes from history and their own independence. It is however a critical area
for trade and commerce and key zone connecting North, Central and South America.

Archimedes screwed with this post 06-28-2011 at 06:47 PM
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Old 06-28-2011, 08:13 PM   #58
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Old 07-09-2011, 09:11 PM   #59
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What to do?

I read your ride report about your problems at the border in Honduras. I am in Antigua, Guatemala and had planned to enter Honduras in 2 days. Now I'm questioning my sanity. I'm riding solo and am 69 years old on a V-Strom. The paper work at the borders doesn't bother me, even though my Spanish is piss poor. But the guys in the truck give me the creeps. I think a single older person may be a prime target for those thugs.

I may just ride around Guatemala for awhile and spend some extra time at Lake Atitlan. I was hoping to ride down to Panama and if there was some way of by passing Honduras I would do it.

Any suggestions?

Thanks,
Gary
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Old 07-11-2011, 08:13 AM   #60
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Bad Border

Quote:
Originally Posted by kapenagary View Post
I read your ride report about your problems at the border in Honduras. I am in Antigua, Guatemala and had planned to enter Honduras in 2 days. Now I'm questioning my sanity. I'm riding solo and am 69 years old on a V-Strom. The paper work at the borders doesn't bother me, even though my Spanish is piss poor. But the guys in the truck give me the creeps. I think a single older person may be a prime target for those thugs.

I may just ride around Guatemala for awhile and spend some extra time at Lake Atitlan. I was hoping to ride down to Panama and if there was some way of by passing Honduras I would do it.

Any suggestions?

Thanks,
Gary
Hi Gary,
All the posts say the same thing about the border crossing at La Amatillo (El Salvador to Honduras), That's the border where you enter Honduras for a day before getting to Nicaragua. I would say you would probably do fine but dont stop if people come out at you. They will still follow you but at least you'll be near the officials by the time they catch up. I dont know about the other crossings but that might be the way to go too. I have to say, once you get to Costa Rica and Panama things are great so dont give up. Central America has a way of defeating people because of this nonesense.
My wife helped our buddy Danny clear the border in about 20 minutes, even though it took us many hours. Let me know how it goes or if we can assist. There's good info in the our previous posts on border crossing. Good luck!
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