South America and back on a 250 Super Sherpa Minimalist Adventure

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

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  1. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hi Cal,

    It's my job to let you know what it looks like so you can remember your last trip and dream up your next one this winter.

    And yes I shot that pic of the rickety bridge through the locked gate. It is the way across to the vegetable fields across the river.

    Best,
    Juan Panama
  2. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hola Esteverino,

    I see you sent a paypal donation so your name goes on the tank. Thanks so much!

    Glad to have you along for the ride. I have been enjoying the company of many of your fellow Ontarians down here in Panama. Hopefully you'll head this way in the future. Canadians are a fun bunch.

    Kindest regards,
    Juanerino
  3. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hi Noisymilk,

    Glad to have you along for the ride. I look forward to your future ride report, Royal Enfield to South America. Should be fun.

    Kindest regards,
    John Downs
  4. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hi CC,

    Yes, the new camera is a plus.

    I went to the waterfalls. Access is through private property. If you stay at Rancho Diandrew, you can go down to the river and hike upstream to the waterfalls. No need for a tour. It's a bit of technical climbing and swimming, so nice to have someone show you the way the first time though.

    Enjoyed my stay at your place. Give my best to Chiriquiwife.

    Saludos,
    Juanito
  5. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hi tripleB,

    If you ride down here you will get your chance to meet corrupt cops I imagine. If you let them know right off the bat that you're on to them and you aren't paying a bribe and put them on the defensive it can shorten your time with them I have found.

    Now if you have broken the law and it is a legitimate stop, that is another story.

    Best,
    Juan
  6. Haven't Ben There

    Haven't Ben There restless soul

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    Hello JDowns, just wanted to say thanks for the rr, it truly is inspirational. I do a lot of reading here but very little posting. People thought I was crazy for riding a KE100 over a 100 miles a day. Maybe they where right it burnt the piston :rofl but it was still fun. Now I show them your rr and they think we are both nuts :D One day I will get another small ds. Anyway enjoy the ride and if you are ever in eastern NC let me know and I will buy lunch it is the least I can do.
  7. Dooga

    Dooga Adventure Tourer

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    You're my hero.
  8. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    hi Haven't Ben There,

    Glad to have you along. I was in eastern NC last year for the first time. Friendly people and great riding. Small DS is perfect for that area of the country on the back roads.

    And yes, we are both nuts.

    Kindest regards,
    John Downs
  9. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    I'm having a hard time leaving the Azuero peninsula here in Panama. So many fun back roads, beach riding and things to see.

    I am typing this on cmnthead's iPad on a sketchy cellular connection so pictures will come later. Rode around with artistic Canadian Phil today. Rode on the beach looking for good looking driftwood for carving, but mostly looking for his good looking Colombiana friends. Visited some of his friends around the area and generally goofed off.

    Didn't spend anything today. Might head to Panama City tomorrow. Of course that's what I said yesterday.

    Hasta Luego,
    Juan de Azuero
  10. RayAlazzurra

    RayAlazzurra Stuck in the Eighties

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    Hi John:

    If there is one thing I have learned from your trip reports it is that a huge pocketbook and a fancy bike are not necessary to have fun. The one thing that does seem necessary is an ability to understand some Spanish.

    So here is a link to one the free US foreign service language programs.

    http://www.fsi-language-courses.org/Content.php?page=Spanish Headstart for Latin America

    This works good on an Apple since you can open the workbook in preview while following the lessons on Itunes simultaneously. The class is a bit tedious, but the price is right. There are a few other free classes too.

    Learning Spanish is now my designated snowy day activity. Thanks for the inspiration.
  11. Bike Holiday

    Bike Holiday Adventurer

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    JD I was itching to get something around 250cc to practice and then
    take off on longer journey's you made that possible many times over
    an epic tale not just the trip but your witty, down to earth personality
    going to start my own little adventures as soon as I get a bike :clap
  12. kwakbiker

    kwakbiker Been here awhile

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    Good to see the KLR(as we know it) getting used well, keep it going:freaky
  13. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Went to do some shopping. They sell every part of the vaca at the local supermercado. Even the hooves:

    [​IMG]

    You can ride for miles on the beaches down here. Basically until you run into a river too deep to cross or a boulder field at high tide:

    [​IMG]

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    Visiting artist Phil's Colombiana friend Patty, we were sitting on the back terrace sipping jugo de piña and the metal roof was flapping in the breeze slamming down on the end where the rails had rusted through. Here is artist Phil flipping concrete blocks up and over on the tin to quiet it down:

    [​IMG]

    As part of the Muttt and Jefe home improvement team I was standing down on the ground handing cement blocks up while Phil balanced on a decorative concrete screen and heaved them on the roof. Meanwhile Patty's attack goose Pepe was having at my riding boots. Here he is winding up and coming in for another attack:

    [​IMG]

    It was pretty funny. Geese are better than guard dogs I hear.

    After riding around on the beaches and backroads we went back to check out more carvings Phil was working on. He has a thing for mermaids. Here is one Voodoodaddy would like that is carved into part of a hull of a native panga boat that washed up on shore:

    [​IMG]

    more later….
  14. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    I've always wondered how they thatched roofs with palm fronds. Looking up at cmnthead's palapa you can see how they split the dried coconut fronds down the center rib and attach them to the rafters with really close spacing. Because the frond leaves are angled, they criss-cross them alternating with leaves slanting left then right as they go up the rafters to the peak of the roof:

    [​IMG]

    I left cmnthead and cmnthead junior (Cam) hanging out enjoying another warm clear day at the beach:

    [​IMG]

    Unbelievable hospitality. And as a parting gift he found time to stuff a fifty in my right pannier before I headed out. I owe these guys big time. Hope they drop by the northern plains on their way riding down to Panama next year.

    The Azuero peninsula is mentioned in guide books as someplace with not much going on of touristic interest. My kind of place.

    But now it's to the big city and down across the Darien. I am running out of pages in my passport, so may look into getting some added at the US embassy in Panama City.

    more later…..
  15. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hit the PanAm highway this morning. It's the only way to get from the Azuero peninsula to Panama City. A lot of this:

    [​IMG]

    If all you saw on your way through Panama was this freeway, you'd probably have about the same impression of the country that people who drive through Nebraska on I-80 have of my home state.

    If you get off the main drag and wander around the western highlands through Volcan and Bouquete, visit Bocas del Toro and the Azuero peninsula, Panama has a lot to offer.

    After a few hours I saw the twin towers of the bridge of the Americas sticking up out of the trees. You round a bend and there it is:

    [​IMG]

    I had to stop on the narrow shoulder and take a shot straight up at the suspension cables:

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    and out to the ships heading for the locks on the Panama canal:

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    Crossing this bridge brought a feeling of jubilation not much different than when I crossed it almost three years ago on the Sherpa. I don't know what it is, but when you reach these milestones on a trip this long it makes you pause and think, WOW! I actually rode this little dirt bike over 11,000 miles all over the place from Nebraska through 5 states, Mexico, every country in Centroamerica except Belize and now across the Panama Canal again. HOLY COW!!!!! I think it would bring a smile to anyones face. You'll see when you ride down here.

    And then it was over the hills and down into the big city. I followed artistic Canadian Phil's directions down Avenida Balboa to the water and derecha to Casco Viejo. I had to stop and take a picture of the F and F building. You'll understand why it's in all the ride reports on Panama when you ride by it. Not so impressive from the front:

    [​IMG]

    but from a block away it cuts a distinctive line in the sky. The sunset is catching the glass on the opposite side but there was no good angle to capture it:

    [​IMG]

    The distinctive building going up next door pales in comparison:

    [​IMG]

    a lot of curved steel and glass downtown:

    [​IMG]

    and then it was down into old town where the architecture is eclectic Catholic fading Spanish Empire:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    with some nicely restored buildings mixed in:

    [​IMG]

    I'm staying at the Hospedaje Casco Viejo where a bed in the dorm is 11.00 with breakfast in the morning included. It used to be half that but the lady at the desk said that Casco Viejo is much more upscale and touristic these days. Whatever.

    Probably go out into the countryside tomorrow and find something in a small town outside the hustle and bustle. But it's getting dark and this will work. They don't have secure parking so I am sleeping on the balcony and keeping an eye on the Sherpa on the sidewalk below. This would definitely not be a place to stay if you had an expensive bike.

    I spent 34.70 on gas, food and lodging today.

    Buenos noches mi amigos,
    Juanito
  16. BcDano

    BcDano One Lucky Dude

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    Hey great report. We are in Guatemala still, but will head south about Jan 17. Maybe we will see you on the road?

    Sara & Daniel

    worldwideride.ca
  17. beerguy

    beerguy adrenaline junky

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    your experiences have inspired my riding buddy and me to think about bringing his 14 yr.old son and my 12 yr. old grandson on a ride to Mexico and Central America (and maybe some day to S. America.) The biggest impediment may be driving licenses for them. would they need them if we trailered to the border?
  18. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hi Beerguy,

    You need to have a license, passport and bike registration at every border you cross. I know people trailer bikes down to Baja and let their young kids rip around so I imagine where there's a will there's a way. In Nebraska you can get a license when you're 14 if you live on a ranch, so maybe move into my place out in the country to establish residency and we'll get your kids fixed up.

    But realistically, two up with the kids would be the only way to get to Panama across borders until the kids have licenses. I like your thinking though. I wish my Dad would have been like you.

    Best,
    Juan Panama
  19. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hi Sara & Dano,

    I expect you'll catch up to me. Most people traveling south have. Look forward to meeting you two.

    Safe travels,
    John
  20. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hi Bike Holiday,

    Nice! It starts with the idea, and before you know it you have a solid bike and a vague plan. There's no better feeling than taking off on a trip on a little thumper. Well okay, maybe peeling out of the driveway on a decked out KTM 990 would be kinda fun too.

    Glad to have you along for the ride amigo.

    Kindest regards,
    John Downs
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