South America and back on a 250 Super Sherpa Minimalist Adventure

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by JDowns, Oct 2, 2012.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,743
    Location:
    Bassett, NE
    Finally left Costa Rica this morning. One last look out to the Pacific coming down to the highway:

    [​IMG]

    From the gravel road coming down from Rancho Diandrew:

    [​IMG]

    There are indigenous tribal lands in southern Costa Rica. Lots of gravel roads heading up into the hills. You could spend a lot of time exploring down here. No tourists in southern Costa Rica to speak of. The Osa peninsula is what the Nicoya peninsula was like 30 years ago before tourism. Was riding down the road and saw some hand carved masks on the side of the road:

    [​IMG]

    so stopped and talked to the guy who was carving them:

    [​IMG]

    really nice work and such a gentle man. I need another mask like I need a hole in the head, but I like to support starving artists around the world so bought one for 4000 colones to give to Chirique Charlie's wife.

    Turned off the main road across this steel grate bridge. If you want to feel a squirrely bike try riding steel grating on knobbies:

    [​IMG]

    I stopped to take a shot straight down through the grating. Pretty interesting looking down 60 feet to the swirling water below:

    [​IMG]

    There was a cool viewing platform next to the wide muddy river:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    the road to San Vito headed out into the countryside along the spine of a mountain ridge. Really fun narrow winding road with beautiful views out to the valleys on either side. No traffic out here in rural southern Costa Rica:

    [​IMG]

    This road was nothing but potholes two years ago when I rode through. They have been paving like crazy in Costa Rica. The last 30 miles was fresh winding pavement. Really fun. Like a race track:

    [​IMG]

    After San Vito the road comes to the town of Sabalito. After crossing this bridge you veer right. There are no signs to the Panama border:

    [​IMG]

    a little less than a mile past Sabalito you take this left that points to a school:

    [​IMG]

    and at the school you veer left:

    [​IMG]

    down a chunky rough gravel road:

    [​IMG]

    to the border crossing at Rio Sereno Panama. Easy to miss the Costa Rica migracion and aduana up this nondescript driveway:

    [​IMG]

    and then it was over to Panama migration where it took nearly two hours for this short line to be processed through. This is usually so fast with no one here. I guess it was the people coming back from holiday:

    [​IMG]

    and over across the street for getting the bike processed in at Panama aduana. You have to go down the block and around to the left to this building to get mandatory Panama insurance:

    [​IMG]

    It was $15.00 this year. So a couple bucks more than last time. They use american dollars for currency in Panama so that makes figuring easy.

    Chirique Charlie met me at the border and I rode home with him. His German wife used to be a chef. That girl can cook. She just set a bowl of homemade chocolate covered blueberries in front of me as I type this.

    I am in the western highlands of Panama near the town of Volcan. It is cool and peaceful out here in the country with clouds shrouding the mountains as the sun sets. Really beautiful.

    I spent 9600 colones and 15 for insurance, a dollar to spray the bike. So around $35.00.

    Buenos noches mis amigos de aventura,
    Juanito
  2. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2007
    Oddometer:
    5,314
    Location:
    Alaska
    Great seeing the pics of Rancho Diandrew. Wow, they have upgraded the kitchen and camping yurts! Love that place. :freaky
  3. perrogordo

    perrogordo Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 26, 2010
    Oddometer:
    18
    Location:
    Las Vegas Nevada
    What kind of typing do you do,are you proficient or finger type? Really enjoy your info on cost.
  4. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,743
    Location:
    Bassett, NE
    Hola perrogordo,

    I'm a fast touch typist. Which comes in handy when it's dark in my tent. I can whip up these posts in no time. Which is why this ride report will be longer than War and Peace by the time I get done.

    And I will continue to post daily when possible. I am a ride reporting hound dog. I will find wifi even if I have to hike up the beach a mile like in Nicaragua or pair with a bluetooth link to a cell phone like in the mountains of Guatemala.

    It is important for you to have reading material on a daily basis. And know the costs of a minimalist traveler so you can plan and dream up your next ride.

    It's not a job, it's an adventure!

    Kindest regards,
    John Downs
  5. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,743
    Location:
    Bassett, NE
    Hola Vince,

    They still remember you at Rancho Diandrew. You make a lasting impression wherever you travel. The valley hasn't changed up there. Pretty much the same as two years ago when you were there.

    The road is calling you. Can you hear it?

    Veence, Veence, venga!!!

    Saludos,
    Juanito



  6. GRinCR

    GRinCR Oppressed Nomad

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2011
    Oddometer:
    327
    Location:
    Alajuela, Costa Rica via MN.
    You got that right. Without all this great material I might actually get some work done.

    New Year, new territory. I bet you can smell America Sur.:clap
  7. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,743
    Location:
    Bassett, NE
    Chiriqui Charlie on his XT250 took me out in the western highlands of Panama today. Here is the intrepid rider:

    [​IMG]

    and some of the backroads we were on:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    through coffee farms, orange groves, cow pastures with dairy cattle:

    [​IMG]

    until we dropped down to the town of David (dah-veed) to stop at this little hole in the wall moto shop:

    [​IMG]

    where they had a Kenda 270 for 45 bucks. I'll take it.

    [​IMG]

    the center knobs on my rear tire were gone. I had thought of waiting until Colombia to buy a new rear, but when you find a cheap tire in Latin America buy it.

    The taxis around here are all yellow Toyota corollas:

    [​IMG]

    Had a nice meal in town at the Chinese restaurant before heading back up into the hills for an afternoon siesta.

    More later…..
  8. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,743
    Location:
    Bassett, NE
    Hola Greg,

    South America is just down the road. I'm just doing re-con for your future travel adventures. Alajuela is just a stones throw from Bogota. You'll get there one day.

    Saludos,
    Tio Juanito
  9. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,743
    Location:
    Bassett, NE
    Connie has a vegetable garden here in Volcan. Here is the lettuce for tonights salad:

    [​IMG]

    and the auxiliary garden helper Mitzi:

    [​IMG]

    and a busy member of the pest control crew in the greenhouse:

    [​IMG]

    and some of the flowers around the place in the late afternoon light:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    and a honkin' blue green agave looking rather prehistoric in the back yard.

    [​IMG]

    Tomorrow I'm off to Uverito beach to visit Cmnthead. It's down the way a couple hundred miles so should get there in the afternoon I imagine.

    Today I spent 65.70 on a rear tire, tube and food. I also bought a backup camera that took these last shots. The Nikon is great for low bandwidth but the photos are small. I charged the camera since I have a credit on my credit card from Mexico aduana still. 90 dollars is cheap for a camera down here though so I sprang for it.

    Hasta mañana,
    Juanito
  10. TUCKERS

    TUCKERS the famous james

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2005
    Oddometer:
    12,270
    Location:
    Villa Maria Sanitarium, Claremont, CA.
    Wow! How nice to have all these ADV people to meet and contribute, what an awesome community it is.

    I'm sticking with this John, it's a great report. I am also going to make a log of routes/camping/hotels/ and the places you visited, it's a great resource. Thanks for taking the time to do this.

    I can barely wait to see how you circumvent the Darien Gap!
  11. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,743
    Location:
    Bassett, NE
    Hi Tuckers,

    Glad you are still following along.

    You are right about how nice it is to meet ADVriders. I have never taken the time on previous rides. Some of my best memories on this trip are all the great people I have met. I look forward to hosting them in the Northern Plains when they pass through. ADVriders know the best roads so I have gone places I would never have known.

    It will be interesting to see how it is crossing the Darien. Should be fun. Not far now.

    Saludos,
    Juanito
  12. Noisymilk

    Noisymilk Run What Ya Brung

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2011
    Oddometer:
    91
    Location:
    Mesa
    Hello there JDowns!

    Just wanted to chime in with everyone else and say what an awesome ride report this is. I have dreams of Tierra del Fuego as well, and am pleased to see you doing it on a shoe string budget. My plans include my 03 Royal Enfield in the garage, not something as reliable as your little thumper. But I love seeing how you do things and getting good ideas for my future rides.

    Ride on brother. Be safe out there. Thanks for what you do.
  13. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,743
    Location:
    Bassett, NE
    Sunrise on the highest mountain in Panama right behind Chiriqui Charlie's house with clouds spilling over:

    [​IMG]

    After breakfast it was time to take a ride up into the mountains to Cerro Punto where they grow much of the produce in Panama. It is chilly up here at 6500 feet. Here are onion fields terraced up the fertile soil of the volcano:

    [​IMG]

    backroad up into the mountains:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    and a rickety footbridge across the rushing river along the road:

    [​IMG]

    It's a different world up here in the western highlands of Panama:

    [​IMG]


    But soon it was time to head down to the hot coastal plain to catch the PanAm highway down to meet Cmnthead at Uverito Beach out in the middle of nowhere.
    Not many people report much on travel from David to Panama City. The only through road is the PanAm and it is a lot of this:

    [​IMG]

    and this:

    [​IMG]

    I actually got pulled over by a transit cop. The locals flash their lights to let you know they are ahead so I was going the speed limit of 100kph and hadn't passed anyone on the yellow line in his line of sight, so when he motioned for me to pull over I waved and kept riding as I always do.

    It was a slow day and not much traffic and I figured he'd let it slide, but no. Five miles later or so he caught up to me on his motorcycle and pulled me over. Pointed to his transit police emblem on his chest and told me I should have pulled over.

    I laid into him with the fact that a lot of my Gringo friends had warned me about the corrupt cops in Panama, and that it was muy malo por turismo. He asked for my license and passport and I told him no way. I told him about all the photos of corrupt transito cops on the internet, y no es necessario to show your passport to a transit cop. And there was no way I was paying a mordida. And i would be happy to follow him into Santiago and take it up with his superior. Yada yada yada.

    He gave up pretty easy. Looked at the signatures on my tank and I told him they were mis amigos de moto and did he want to sign my tank. And that is how I got the signature of a corrupt transit cop on the side of my gas tank. He shook my hand wished me a vaya con dios before heading off.

    Here the little weasel is walking back to his bike before whipping around to go back and look for easier pickings:

    [​IMG]

    I'm not advocating this approach. It's just what I do. I don't take shit from corrupt cops. The best way to handle a bully is to punch them in the nose (verbally).

    I took the turnoff at Divisa and headed out the peninsula and before long saw Cmnthead and his buddy on Hondas coming the other way. We pulled into Los Tablas for a soda. Here are the two Canadian Phils outside the cantina:

    [​IMG]

    headed down the road to Uverito Beach and pulled into Casa Cmnthead. Really nice place on the beach. I never would have known about this place. Really kicked back.

    Had a nice fish dinner courtesy of Phil and a tour of the area. Tomorrow we'll be heading out riding around the area. Should be fun.

    I spent 21.90 on gas and food today.

    Hasta mañana,
    Juanito
  14. Dracula

    Dracula Deus ex machina

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2011
    Oddometer:
    2,053
    Location:
    American Tobacco Trail
    Hola Senor Juan,

    I am so proud my signature on the tank helped avert the bad charms.
    If I get to ride south, this excerpt of your post will be printed and made part of my emergency procedures manual.
    I am printing the signed tank picture and posting it in my garage.

    Best,
    Vic
  15. SteverinoB

    SteverinoB EstebanarinoB

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2002
    Oddometer:
    581
    Location:
    Orangeville Ontario Canada
    Thanks for the grand RR John, seriously liking it all. Spent a couple of days on a Sherpa several years ago now and though I was/am a pretty big fella, I enjoyed it immensely. My wife has an XT225 sitting in the corner of the garage and since running across your adventure here I can't help but run my eyes over it as I pass by and imagine the possibilities. Seriously inspirational ride you've got going there.

    Oh! The pics are pretty entertaining too!

    Ride on....Steve
  16. Cal

    Cal Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2008
    Oddometer:
    974
    Location:
    Calgary
    Thanks for the photos of some place green! Its pretty white up here. I have that same rickety bridge photo, if I remember correctly there was a chain accross it which made it private.
    Saludos
  17. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,743
    Location:
    Bassett, NE
    Cmnthead relaxing this morning at the breakfast bar:

    [​IMG]

    And here is the pavilion where he does his best thinking:

    [​IMG]

    We hopped on the bikes and went down to collect the other Canadian Phil for a ride around the countryside. Here is a carving that the artistic Canadian Phil does in his spare time:

    [​IMG]

    He is quite talented. But it was time to head to the store:

    [​IMG]

    and up over the mountains to Cambutal beach. Didn't get any shots of the curving winding roads over the mountains. Really fun riding. Ended up at the beach at Anita's place. Here is Cmnthead with Anita:

    [​IMG]

    Drank sodas and went for a walk on the beach:

    [​IMG]

    Cool wrecked boat up the beach:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    With a little buffing out maybe this is my ride to Colombia:

    [​IMG]

    Then went up over the hills to Cuanico Beach:

    [​IMG]

    Nice area or Panama down here:

    [​IMG]

    Seems like this rig should be down watching the Dakar in Peru instead of hanging out at the beach down here:

    [​IMG]

    We rode a couple hundred miles all over the place today. On the way home Cmnthead's 1983 XL500R started acting up and finally sputtered to a halt. Artist Phil headed to the next town to find a pickup taxi to pick up the dead bike. Here I am filling the hour we waited on the side of the road with what comes naturally. The ride report must go on:

    [​IMG]

    Kevin stopped by while we were waiting. He is riding from Idaho to South America on his KLR. His blog is mimotorojo.blogspot.com. I'll have to check it out. It was very nice of him to stop and chat. Really great guy:

    [​IMG]

    Here is the moto taxi on the way home:

    [​IMG]

    I followed artist Phil home and headed out to find some wifi. I am at a German man's house down at the beach and he has kindly let me use his internet connection to download photos and upload this ride report. I have to head back to the BBQ at Cmnthead's place pronto.

    I spent 5 bucks on gas today. Cmnthead has been feeding me or it would have been a lot more than that. Really great folks these Canadians. I am fortunate to have met them.

    I think I'm heading down the road tomorrow.

    Hasta mañana,
    Juanito
  18. Chiriqui Charlie

    Chiriqui Charlie Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2011
    Oddometer:
    406
    Location:
    Panama Highlands
    Looks like you're putting that new camera to good use!
    When you were at DiAndrew, did you get to the waterfalls? Is there a practical way to see them without paying 40 bucks for a tour?
  19. bk brkr baker

    bk brkr baker Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2006
    Oddometer:
    6,067
    Location:
    The Bluegrass
    I've been enjoying your ride since before it got on the road, but , tonight is the first time I've ever laughed out loud and clapped my hands at the same time .
    Your dealings with the transit cop were exceptional !
    Maybe if more people dealt with them in your manor rather than taking the easy way out and lining their wallets they'd give up on fleeceing tourists.
    Maybe by the time I get my chance .

    Thanks, J.D. and keep up the good work !
  20. VooDooDaddy

    VooDooDaddy Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2009
    Oddometer:
    163
    Location:
    SW Iowa
    Wow, that pic gives me WOOD...!!!

    Sorry, I couldn't help it......:D
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.