Finding Freedom...World Wide Ride

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by BcDano, Jul 19, 2012.

  1. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,583
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    The ride from El Valle to the Pan-Americana is amazing, but the Careterra itself is a bore. There are radar police at regular intervals, especially when the limit is 80 or below.


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    Screen Shot 2013-04-11 at 3.42.33 PM by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr


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    Nearing the canal we crossed the bridge of the Americas


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    The Panama Canal has two locks on the Pacific side and you pass one on the way to the viewing platform at Miraflores.


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    We were very “locky” today at the canal, because we saw a number of boats going thru at the same time.


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    The museum has some interesting displays and even a simulator for the ships bridge.


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    Later we also saw a huge cargo ship come thru the locks.


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    Driving into the city from the locks you arrive on Avenida Balboa, which offers a panoramic view of the city.


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  2. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,583
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    We are here to get the bike storage and shipping organized at Girag, but we had the weekend to sightsee. The first stop was the historic district of Panama or Casco Viejo, where there is a mixture of run down and restored buildings.


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    panama city 1 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr



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    There are a number of squares each with a church, some of which are in ruins.


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    These Kuna women were having a heated argument over whose sales stall was in the wrong spot.


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    panama city 7 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr


    We next headed over to Panama Viejo or the old site of Panama, which is in ruins. From the 1600’s pirates, indigenous from the Darien, an earthquake, and a great fire, tried to destroy the city on this site. The last straw was when it was sacked by a Welsh privateer (think Captain Morgan) in 1671 and destroyed.


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    panama city 31 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr


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    panama city 26 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr
  3. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,583
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    Today we started with a trip to the Tocumen airport and a visit to Girag Shipping. We arranged to bring the bikes back on May 1 for storage until the end of September when we will come back to arrange the shipping to Bogotá. Details to follow! That done we decided to go Coast to Coast and rode over to the Locks at Gatun lake and then on to the ruins of the Spanish Fortress at San Lorenzo.


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    colon and San lorenzo 1 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr


    After a long somewhat rainy drive we arrived at the Gatun locks when a large tanker was in transit.


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    colon and San lorenzo 6 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr


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    We sat along the shore and had a lunch break while the tugs guided several ships to the canal locks.


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    colon and San lorenzo 2 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr


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    What is really cool here is once the doors are closed and the vessel is raised in the lock you can drive across the canal towards the Atlantic.


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    colon and San lorenzo 11 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr


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    Nearby are the coast and the Shelter Bay Marina. There is a USA military presence here and several Black Hawk helicopters. There is what looks like the ruins of a base too.


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    colon and San lorenzo 22 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr


    You get a great view of Colon docks from here.


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    Next we headed towards San Lorenzo and suddenly the road was just completely gone. There was a divisio of course.


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    In 1502, Christopher Columbus discovered the Chagres River. Spain built Fort San Lorenzo at the river's mouth from 1587 to 1599. In 1670, Henry Morgan attacked the fort left it in ruins. He invaded and destroyed Panama City the following year. As we all know he went on to make great spiced rum....


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    colon and San lorenzo 64 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr


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  4. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,583
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    Now for some real adventure we headed south of Panama City towards the Darien.


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    Screen Shot 2013-04-16 at 8.37.56 PM by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr


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    colon and San lorenzo 69 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr



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    to the darien 1 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr


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    This is a place with many of the indigenous Kuna people.



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    to the darien 18 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr


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    This is why there is a beautiful road to “nowhere”. Where the pavement ends is where the deforestation begins.


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    to the darien 9 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr


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    Headed back to “civilization”.


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  5. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,583
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    We were meeting friends in Bocas del Toro in a few days time and decided to drive back instead of flying with them. Getting out of Panama City in the traffic took almost an hour. It was really funny when we were headed north and stopped for a light the taxi beside me asked me "if we were going to Ushuaia?" I said yes we are. His reply was You know it's on the other direction don't you?!"

    The F800 was having some issues with the bike dying at speed on the way back from the Darien ride. We stopped at BMW to get a fuel pump electronic controller., which they gave us a huge discount on too. Daniel installed this in Boquete so the problem was easily solved. The F650GS has the new version of the controller, which is sealed. This late start meant a nearly 490 km day in 39 degree heat that got us back to back to Boquete by 430.


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    road to bocas 1 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr


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    road%20to%20bocas%204 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr


    Leaving Boquete we headed up over the mountains to the North Atlantic Coast of Panama at Almirante. This is another dodgy port town like port town almost everywhere. The ride up is stunning and despite the wet road we had very little rain. Daniel was lucky and saw a large black panther. :eek1 We were stuck behind a herd of cattle and we were unsure of cow etiquette eventually we honked and drove and made our way thru. The few bulls in the crowd were a bit scary.


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    road to bocas 7 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr


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  6. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,583
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    The view from the hotel is of the Chiquita banana loading area. There are huge plantations to the north and south. This hotel has a 24 hour casino, which may be the only entertainment in town for the men from the cargo ships besides the prostitutes. The garbage on the ground here may be some of the worst we have seen.


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    road to bocas 20 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr


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    The ferry to the islands leaves the mainland at 8 everyday except Mondays and returns to Almirante at 6 p after the delivery trucks have finished their rounds. This means we will have to stay in this sketch town another night on the way back. There is a really interesting character Benny Woods who owns the restaurant at the docks. He has seen a lot in his 70 plus years.


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    Screen Shot 2013-04-18 at 9.44.11 AM by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr


    People checking out of the hotel at 4 am and yelling in the hallway woke us up at 4 am. We eventually got up at 6 to get the bikes in line for the ferry. We were sitting talking to Benny at 7 when we heard trucks going by. We ran out and the ferry was already loading, so we had to scramble to get on. The trip is 10$ per bike and takes 2 hours.


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    road to bocas 38 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr


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  7. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2011
    Oddometer:
    6,468
    Location:
    Tulsa, Oklahoma
    what a good job on pics!
  8. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,583
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    CY

    Thanks so much. We both take a lot of pics and actually Daniel has some amazing shots. There is one from Bocas coming up that I think is WOW. Now if he would just edit the video! :ddog


    Sara
  9. JaxObsessed

    JaxObsessed Near Earth Object

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2009
    Oddometer:
    16,235
    Location:
    From Alabama to Newfoundland, it's all Appalachian
    Wonderful~~~ Enjoying your thread!! :thumb
  10. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,583
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    JaxObsessed

    Thanks for the props and for the PM advice!

    Sara
  11. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,583
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    On the Isla colon itself there is only 1 road to Bocas del Drago beach 15.5 km away so we headed out there and back before we could go to the hotel to check in. The town itself is very touristy and there is a garbage collection dispute going on in town so it is strewn everywhere. The mayor announced this week that instead of 7$ per month the collection fee was 1.50 per bag.


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    Screen Shot 2013-04-21 at 4.53.26 PM by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr


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    There are some funky spots here in town.


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  12. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,583
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    The first day here we decided to get a water taxi for 1$ each to the nearby isla Carenero and then walk the 2 hours around the island. We had only gone about 20 minutes when it started to torrentially rain. We took cover for an hour, but it only got worse so we headed back towards the docks, got totally soaked, and even had to wring out our underwear.



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    Bocas with the Chackos 9 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr



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    After 2 days of rain the sun finally came out and within a few hours we were already too hot and humid. We spent the day out on the water.



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    Bocas with the Chackos 33 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr



    We saw dolphins frolicking in Dolphin bay.


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    We then did some snorkeling in Crawl cay. There was a lot of plant life and some coral, but few fish.



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  13. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,583
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    We also headed over to the famous red frog beach on Bastimentos Island. A huge mangrove forest surrounds the island. There were a few sloths hanging out by the docks.


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    We did finally get back over to walk around Carenero. There are lots of urchin shells on the beach. The village is on one side of the island and it is covered with trash piled up everywhere. There is a private reserve on the other side and the beach is pristine.


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  14. GuateRider

    GuateRider Long timer

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    Jan 2, 2008
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    1,425
    Location:
    Antigua , Guatemala
  15. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,583
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    Thanks so much Dan did a great job with that one.

    Sara
  16. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,583
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    Finally heading back to Panama City to store the bikes at Girag on May 1.


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    Screen Shot 2013-04-30 at 5.35.16 PM by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr



    We needed to get back to the mainland so we had to wait for the ferry until 4 pm. They load it like a jig saw puzzle and we ended up sealed in.


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    The nice thing about the delivery guys is they off sell their wares so there are lots of snacks for the 2-hour ride.



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    almirante to vista lago 16 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr


    This huge diesel delivery truck got stuck half way up the ramp to the ferry, as there was no traction. They needed to rig up a ramp system with pieces of wood in order to get him on.


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    almirante to vista lago 5 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr

    This boat travels so slowly there is not even a wake. The US coastguard was in town too.


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    We were really dreading the hotel that we stayed at in town near the ferry, but luckily there is another somewhat better option (the preferred hotel) at the other side of town and there is a not bad Comida China there too. The ride back to Santiago over the mountains was amazing this time in the sunshine. We always meet the most interesting people at the gas station.


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    almirante to vista lago 24 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr


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  17. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,583
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    We headed back to the Vista Lago eco-resort where we had met Gino and Fiona. The “hiking” trails are well marked by colored signs or painted rocks and trees. There are some dangerous looking plants, but we did not see any of the other local poisonous creatures.


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    almirante to vista lago 33 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr


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    Now for the last time back down the Pan-Americana to Panama City and again the police radar is amazingly every 5 km or so. Be warned do the speed limit. After 600 km in two days in 35 plus heat we are hot and tired. Luckily for us we arrived into the city on a holiday again so there was NO traffic.

    We cannot say enough about the great service we had at Panama City BMW. This dealership is brand new and spotless. Roberto the Service Manager speaks perfect English and is a super nice guy. The fit us in without any hassle at all.


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  18. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,583
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    It was another very sunny and hot day in Panama when we headed to Tocumen. The traffic in the city is insane.


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    The toll on the Corridor Sur was well worth the 30 min verses 75 min it takes to go the 18 km on the libre, but the into town side of the highway was packed.


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    Once you get to the Airport you take a left at the Roundabout to the Cargo terminal. There is a fair amount of road construction on the road that circles back around the far side of the airport. You will go thru a second round about and take the first exit. Ahead you will see the security check point.


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    girag 6 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr


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    girag 8 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr


    Drive up and stop to talk to the official who is there 8-4.


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    FILE2383 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr


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    FILE2320 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr






    Here the official basically just wants to know what your business is at the cargo terminal, which is cancelling your temporary permit and shipping the bike.




    [​IMG]
    FILE2406 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr


    [​IMG]
    girag 12 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr



    You can see the blue sign that points to Girag going to the right.


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    FILE2395 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr


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    FILE2457 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr


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    FILE2478 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr
  19. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,583
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    Driving down this road a few minutes you will see the first building with the cover over the road.



    [​IMG]
    FILE2512 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr


    [​IMG]
    FILE2514 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr



    Drive just past here and park in the shade of the tree. Ahead you will see the rest of the cargo area.


    [​IMG]
    FILE2521 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr


    [​IMG]
    girag 22 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr



    Now go to the building just behind you and check in with the aduana. They will tell you to go to Girag and return with the paperwork for the bike.


    [​IMG]
    girag 24 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr


    Proceed past the second covered area towards the main cargo area.


    [​IMG]
    girag 27 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr


    [​IMG]
    FILE2559 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr


    [​IMG]
    FILE2571 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr


    Follow the signs to Girag, which is ahead and to the right hidden behind the trees and trucks.


    [​IMG]
    FILE2576 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr



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    FILE2588 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr


    [​IMG]
    FILE2595 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr


    [​IMG]
    FILE2597 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr


    Park in the shade out front. When you are facing the office with the Girag sign behind me, the door to the right is where you will go to pay CASH for storage and/or shipping. The door to your left on the other side of the loading bay is the export office so go there first.


    [​IMG]
    girag 35 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr


    [​IMG]
    girag 37 by Worldwide Ride.ca, on Flickr
  20. Two Moto Kiwis

    Two Moto Kiwis Homeless Somewhere

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2007
    Oddometer:
    4,089
    Location:
    Wanaka, New Zealand, Currently RTWing
    Heya Sara and Dan

    You guys are ripping some great photos, look forward to more :clap