Lobsters to Llamas, Maritimes to Argentina

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Kedgi, Oct 7, 2012.

  1. Kedgi

    Kedgi Banned

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    Boris and I did it. We accomplished a lot today! We dropped the bikes at the Panama Airport, they fly to Bogata on Sunday and we follow on Monday. We found a stunning hostel in the old historic part of Panama City for $15/night. It is a very classy luxury place for $15/night!!!!

    I'll post pictures tomorrow. My first impression of Panama City is I like it a lot. It is about the size of Vancouver and Seattle combined with a little Vegas thrown in.

    Our cab driver back from the airport was so polite and helpful I couldn't believe it!

    I promise a lot more detail tomorrow but were dying to go eat
  2. Kedgi

    Kedgi Banned

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    I believe in really telling what I feel at the time stuff's happening. I try and keep it current. It's not always the easiest thing to post from the road but I'm in the habit now. Boris and I just came back from having one of the best pizzas I ever had and he found it in Lonely Planet. Cafe Per Du. Awesome, good food, good service, friendly waiter. Makes up for Orange Juice and Cashews for supper in Guatemala or no supper in Honduras.

    Today was a long day. Not nearly as long as yesterday but long. We arrived in town following my GPS to the airport. It took us right through downtown in heavy traffic and incredibly humid heat. I was melting. But the ride over Panama City's huge bridge and through the gleaming downtown core was amazing. It's like Miami, very tropical and very bright. Lots of cool new buildings.

    We got to the airport and amazingly found Girag Air Transport and they agreed to take our motos right away. It was an all afternoon process but we were so pleased we didn't have to ride back into town and find a place to store the bikes and then ride back to the airport another day we were stoked. $900 for each bike and we had just enough cash for that, a cab to town and a room and supper. Yay! I wish I had though to raise my daily withdrawl limit on my card before leaving home!!!


    Anyway it's done were booked and set for South America. Bogata here we come.:clap
  3. Kedgi

    Kedgi Banned

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    Glad you're along for the ride

    Kedgi
  4. Kedgi

    Kedgi Banned

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    Part of missing the boat is my fault. I could have arranged to be in Panama weeks ago but what I really wanted to do was exactly what I did. Chill in Zipolite after my Fathers passing, ride, my own ride. See the beach at El Tunco, especially after Chris at the Moto Cafe in Antigua recommended it and I'm so grateful he did. and I just never imagined 1500 k in three days would be a problem. As a Canadian who hates snow with a passion and I mean it, with an absolute passion, any day I can spend away from the cold is a good day. It is sweltering here in Panama tonight at 11:30 PM, really hot! At Miday it was an oven. I'm getting so used to being hot it's beginning not to matter. It's just a fact down here. It's hot!

    If you come down next year you need a mesh bike jacket. I'm wearing an Alpinestar Cape Town Drystar and when you're moving it's excellent.

    The Central American borders are behind me now. I have an exit stamp for Panama and it's done. Boris and I both are glad that's behind us.
    Kedgi
  5. Kedgi

    Kedgi Banned

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    Honduras side of El Salvador Honduras border. This is where I lost my cool with the cheating helpers. That worked.

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    Helpers on Honduras side of Nicaraguan border


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    Helpers, always lots of helpers

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    Honduras looking at Nicaragua


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    Volcano, in Northern Nicaragua

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    Trusty and the Volcano

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    Stopped at a gas station just north of Leon Nicaragua and spoke with Frank, who was born in Gainesville Florida, he went to University there and now runs his own business in Nicaragua. Very friendly guy! Nice chat and a nice break in the shade.


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    Stopped for a Coca at this nice tienda on a cratered road on my way to San Juan del Sur

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    Met this nice young man who really tried his best to give me directions, which turned out to be very accurate. ( I'm not always sure what people are saying or If I should believe what they are saying but this guy was spot on. He was riding a small Honda and he sure liked my KLR.


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    Got to San Juan del Sur Nicaragua just in time to see this sunset.


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    The beach at San Juan del Sur


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    Had a private room on the beach in SJDS for $20 bucks a night


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    My room was in this cool little hostel


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    The beach at san Juan del sur looking the other way. There is a huge lighted statue of Christ on the top of the hill at night


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    It's a great beach with a lot of really nice waterfront restaurants

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    Architecture in SJDS

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    A cactus decorated for Christmas


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    It's so hard to believe Christmas is here. I was riding in the cab tonight with the window down in 90 degree heat and saw a pickup truck pass with a Christmas tree in the back and saw many cars going with trees on their roofs.

    Lots of cool little restaurants on the road from Cosat Rica leading into Panma

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    I stopped for a Coke here

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    Meet Boris. Awesome guy!

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    Some of the crowd waiting on paperwork at the Panama border

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    Boris at the Panama Border

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    Welcome to Panama

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    This little girl waited patiently with her Mom

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    It poured while we waited


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    Because we were hours at the border, we rode into the night to try and make Panama City in time for the boat. We stopped at a tiny Tienda (store) somewhere in the jungle and a guy was putting on a fire baton show for the locals entertainment


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    Bike parked outside Girag Air Transport today


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    I shot this picture of Boris unhooking his battery and a couple other ADVbikes from Germany and BC also flying to Bogata

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    Boris waiting on paperwork in the Girag office


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    The German BMW had every farkle imaginable including this scrolling map


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    The posh living room at our hostel where I'm posting tonight.


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    can't wait to take some pictures of Old Panama City tomorrow. What a cool vibe this place has.

    The view tonight of Panama reminds me of Miami

    Good Night

    No Moto Manana
  6. Kedgi

    Kedgi Banned

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    Here are some good photos I missed showing you.

    Check out this huge rock on El Tunco Beach in El Salvador and the awesome beach houses.

    To get an idea of the scale, there is a man sitting on the rock

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    I met this awesome surfer guy on the beach in El Tunco. I'n my broken Spanish we had a little conversation. When I told him I had ridden my moto from Canada, he said I was loco, then I told him Steph had ridden her bicycle from Canada and he said she was muy loco, then he laughed and said she was bien, muy loco. (A good really crazy)

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    I saw this nice little BMW wagon in Antigua. I don't think they sell this car in Canada or the USA. I had never seen one before

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    I may have shown this before but I like it, a church gate in Oaxaca, MX

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    Public transportation at the Honduras/Nicaraguan border

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    Walking on the beach at El Tunco. Those two little girls sure liked Steph. She gave them each a dollar but wouldn't take what they were selling and when on little girl asked about the Lei Steph was wearing (she got it the night before at a dance bar) she gave it to her. I wish i had taken a picture of the little girl's face. Priceless!

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    I saw this shirt in El Tunco and it reminded me that I'd only seen two, maybe three Harleys, since I left Texas. You don't hear them noise polluting these beach towns

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    Two surfers I saw in El Tunco. It is a major surfing destination. Lots of people from all over the world come there to try the waves

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    The beer in El Salvador. Very good! And only $1.20 at the bar



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    Chris at his Moto Cafe in Antigua Guatemala. I cannot say enough good about this young man. I felt like I had an immediate friend when I arrived after a couple of trying days. His advice was excellent on routing and places to visit, restaurants, a hostel, everything. He sure knows his stuff.

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    That's it for now. Boris and I will explore this fine city called Panama a bit today and I'm sure I'll have lots of pictures later.

    Kedgi
  7. damurph

    damurph Cold Adventurer

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    Well done yourself.
    I have been keeping an eye on you since before you left and have thouroughly enjoyed the adventure. I want to thank you for the truthful reporting of events, moods, people and good or not so good emotions . Brings it all to life for us dealing with sub zero temps.
    As a man who refuses to line up at a Tim hortons for coffee the border crossings sound painful but that first sip of a new country should take some of the edge off just like a large coffee would.
    Thanks for taking the time.
  8. Kedgi

    Kedgi Banned

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    I know readers can skim through my entire report in an hour or two. Quite a different experience from being away from home almost two months now. Today is my beautiful wife Angele's birthday. Makes it tough to be away from her. I wish we were together today, well, everyday!!! Her kind, giving, loving self has made this trip possible. She knows my spirit of adventure better than anyone and she encourages it. Happy Birthday, Miss Angele.

    As I was saying though it's one thing to read a report and another to live it. There are going to be good days and bad. Boris and I were laughing yesterday as we got to the airport around 1:30 and never got out of there until 7:00. Another day waiting, but what a day we considered to be very successful.
  9. Nice_Rumble

    Nice_Rumble Long timer

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    That is the 135 sedan which is not sold in the US. We get the coupe and a limited run of 1000 1M's.
  10. Kedgi

    Kedgi Banned

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    Sort of practical but still very sporty

    Kedgi
  11. Kedgi

    Kedgi Banned

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    I took these few pictures just to show where we are.

    The Magnolia, we were wandering around little alleys looking for a place to stay. Boris found this in his guidebook. The word "luxury" almost scared us away, but it is luxurious for $15/day and the sleeping quarters have central air. That is luxury indeed.

    We could not have stayed here if we still had the bikes. No secure parking

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    The front gate

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    Looking up from the street


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    The street were are on. This area is under major renewal

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    From one of the balconies

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    The view down the cross street

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    Looking in the other direction you can see one of the highrises in the new city in the distance


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    A close up of a dwelling down the block

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    We walked around last night and were treated to amazing sights and sounds. There are families living in very basic accomodation in some buildings, some building are derelict and empty, and then right next door there will be a 5 star restaurant or wine bar, complete with men in beautiful tropical suits and women in sparkling party dress and heels, done up to the "nines" I have never seen anything like it before.

    There are beautiful squares you can sit in, beside luxury restored apartments, next to empty buildings, we heard the President of Panama lives in this neighborhood and we think we found out where when an armed guard would not let us walk down one street. There is a mixture of bars from very high end to very basic. We of course chose very basic and were surpised to learn that beers were $2.00 we have become conditioned to much cheaper prices. We only had a couple and then just enjoyed the walk around this vibrant neighborhood.

    Kedgi
  12. Kedgi

    Kedgi Banned

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    Pictures of Old and New Panama City

    Breakfast made by Boris, Nice!

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    We walked to the new part of town, it's a long walk in 34 degree heat!

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    Tons of cool buildings

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    We checked out hard Rock Hotel, Panama

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    It has a pool on the 52nd floor and the hotel is 62 stories high

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    This was one of my favorite buildings

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    We were out of cash cause we had both hit our weekly withdrawl limit because we had to pay cash to ship the bikes to Bogata, so we ate where they take Mastercard....Hooters Panama. A real burger just like home....Yum!

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    Somebody spilled fish by the market...vultures!:eek1


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    We came home to get out of the heat!

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    I walked later around old town and took some pictures to show you.

    One of my neighbors, poor little guy's afraid of me

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    Old Town

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    Apartments are not cheap here. To buy this restored 104sq meter 2bd 2 bth $340,000USD

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    Every once in a while you see one like this, immaculately restored. It had a BMW and an Audi in the garage and a armed guard

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    Hard to think Christmas when it's 100 degrees

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    These buildings are dripping in character

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    Another restored beauty

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    Restored beside unrestored. The unrestored one is for sale, call Century 21


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    This guy reminded me of our cat Bob

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    A beautifully restored commercial space. I would love to see old Panam 5 years from now just to see what happens


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    For rent, very nice!

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    When it got dark, I came back to our little street to post these pictures

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    I really like Old Town Panama
  13. Polaris01

    Polaris01 Adventurer

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    AWESOME Report and pictures!!
    Hope it's the adventure of a lifetime for you, take your time.
    Oh and bag up some of that heat and send it back to the Maritimes, -16 in the shed yesterday and the 'ol KLR had a hard time waking up to go for a spin. Sheesh the fork lock was frozen solid and both the clutch and side stand switch crapped out at the same time. Gotta love those battery tenders and heated gear tho!
    Take care and keep it coming :clap
  14. Kedgi

    Kedgi Banned

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    :huh

    Wow -16

    That seems so strange to me now. When Boris and I walked to the new town yesterday we saw the temperature flashing on a bank sign....... 34 It was HOT

    The A/C in the Hotel and restaurant felt so good!

    Last night I went and had a few beers at a bar around the corner, met two girls travelling from NY and had fun talking to them, they in turn introduced me to the two guys running the bar. Those guys are flying to Houston and driving back to Panama in a Jeep they have up there. I wish I had my camera with me but I didn't, darn it.


    Looking forward to South America, our flight is tonight at around 5:30 and we will be in Bogata just after 7PM. The bikes are supposed to be through customs tomorrow morning. I'm thinking I'm going to ride north, to Cartegena before turning south again. Maybe I can meet the guys on the Steel Rat trip I had originally planned to be on.
  15. MikeS

    MikeS For sure! I'm game for it

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    Hola Kedgi!

    Can you post some details and information about your experience crossing the Darian? Where/how you're shipping your bike (air freight?). Your flight, information for those of us who will be behind you, costs? Did you book in advance? How did the export and import go? What's the insurance details? I see the StahlRat is booked. Were you planning to go that way initially?

    Whatever you have time to explain helps those of us, like me, who will be following.
  16. Hevy Kevy

    Hevy Kevy ADDRider

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    Hey Dwight, Lurking along here. I went to the bike show in Toronto yesterday, checking out my options for a new ride as my '03 VStrom 1000 is starting to rack up serious k's. I've had my eye on the GS800 at $14K, but, then add the farkles..WTF!! Compare that to a 650VStrom with hard bags, engine guard, bash plate etc for $10,900 makes the decision a lot easier. The diff. is a lot of travel $$. I like the Strom a lot, I've beat the crap out of mine and it still keeps tickin'. Here's the thing, I'd like the 650 VStrom ( at 480 lbs. ) for highway miles and crap roads alike, but in your opinion, would something more dirt oriented be a better choice once into Mexico and beyond. I know there are a lot of options, just wondering! Take care.... lovin your ride.:clap:clap:clap:clap
  17. Kedgi

    Kedgi Banned

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    I had originally planned to take the Steel Rat, but I missed the boat by a few hours due to long delays at various borders. When Boris, who I met in my travels and I arrived in Panama City we went straight to the airport and found Girag Air Transport, they are at the Airports Cargo facility Right beside FedEx. For $902 (Cash it must be cash they do not accept any credit cards) they will fly your bike to Bogata Colombia. All you have to do is get an exit stamp from Panama Aduana (Customs) which is a short walk away and unhook your bike's battery. We did not have and fortunately did not need reservations. Girag clears the bike through Columbian Customs.

    Separately, after Girag had our bikes set to go, we booked tickets on an Avianca flight for ourselves at a cost of just over $400. They take credit cards and we booked online.
  18. Kedgi

    Kedgi Banned

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    I haven't done any dirt or gravel roads this trip, at all. Some really bad pavement , rough with lots of potholes was the roughest conditions I encountered. I think the Vstrom would work just fine. I find my KLR, loaded with gear, pretty heavy when I have to turn it around on a steep hill etc. but with my Sargent Seat it's very comfortable and works just fine down here.

    Depends on what you want to do. My plan is just to ride, mostly main roads, because there is so much distance to cover and I can't be gone forever. Hope that helps, if not don't be afaraid to ask more.

    Glad you're reading

    Dwight
  19. Kedgi

    Kedgi Banned

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    Sitting in the Tocumen Airport in Panama City as I type this. Nice airport, there's even a Margaritaville Bar & Restaurant here. Who knew? Jimmy Buffett gets around.

    Flight leaves in an hour and a half, Boris and I are having a beer :1drink and taking advantage of the free internet.

    We'll be in South America by 7:30 tonight!:D

    We have beds booked at the Fatima Hostel in downtown Bogata

    I'll try and update again tomorrow, we went to the Panama Canal today. I took lots of pictures. Really cool Museum and we got to watch a container ship go through the locks. It was neat!

    Kedgi
  20. Rutabaga

    Rutabaga Been here awhile

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    Loving it. You have it absolutely spot on. Me reading this on my couch is a world away, nay a galaxy away from you riding the road and writing the script. Yet, I feel it and know the grind which is travel,and I would not trade the experience of that for anything. You have the accuity of perception and depth of sensitivity which allows us to go "two up" while staying at home. I used to stop at Tocumen for fuel for the leg to Buenos Aires, many moons ago.
    Vaya con Dios, amigo.