South America by Geezer

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by RexBuck, Oct 14, 2012.

  1. QCRider

    QCRider Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2012
    Oddometer:
    94
    Location:
    Costa Rica
    Hey RexBuck,

    I've been living in CR for 4 years now, but had never heard about Rancho DiAndrew in Uvita - looks like a cool place. I'll definitely check it out one of those weekends.

    I just came a across your RR - I'll definitely sit down with a cold beverage on the patio and catch up shortly. Always interesting to read good RRs, especially from fellow Canadians.

    Funny description about the ferry adventure!! :roflNothing to compare with BC ships of course! Though sometimes you get some wicked storms over the water while going across. I'm not 100% sure, but I think the Card Guy gives you a card to make sure you get a spot on the boat, even before you buy your ticket.

    There are several other guys riding South as well, you must have met a few I guess. I was hoping to get a chance to meet up with some of you guys while coming this way to hear about your adventures over a few cold ones, but it seems that I keep missing everyone... It seems that everyone blasts thru CR to get to Panama for a boat/flight. Little bit of a shame to skip CR as it has some very nice rides and places to see to offer, but I also understand the timelines/deadlines. I'm hoping to be in your tracks maybe next year for a CA-SA-CA-NA "long way home" trip! :wink:

    Look forward to catching up with your RR and reading more of what's coming ahead. Subscribed! :clap
    Ride Safe!
  2. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,103
    Location:
    Interior BC, Canada
    Thanks for coming along for the ride. It is indeed too bad we many times miss locals like yourself - a lot of times we are shooting blind figuring out where to go and what to see and local knowledge would be a great assist.

    Keep watching for folks coming down (or going up) - you'll hook up.
  3. h35064

    h35064 n00b

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2012
    Oddometer:
    3
    Hi, it's Henry from Coldstream. Just a bit of snow but temps are a lot colder this week in the Okanagan, they're up over a 100 cms of the white stuff up at Silverstar. I bet it's a lot warmer where you are!! Have been following your trip with interest ( now that I've figured out this site). It's am amazing adventure. Ride Safe!!
  4. Ulyses

    Ulyses Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,173
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Rex, I think you might have to take a break from all of that riding and catch up with the RR! You're already in Colombia, but your RR is still in Costa Rica!
  5. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,103
    Location:
    Interior BC, Canada
    Found out I couldn’t get into Diandrew which would have been a cool place to hang around for a few days. I'm not quite ready to leave Costa Rica yet and feel there is more to see. The Costa Rica coast has been beautiful but,



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    I’m feeling a bit put off with the fairly high level of tourist development and the glitzy resorts. So, decided to do a loop through the interior of Costa Rica to the Caribbean coast and back through northern Panama. Found some roads that went east from just south of Jacó that looked like some nice mountains and skirted around San Jose - chalk up another big city missed.



    Well, what a terrific day. Rained quite a bit last night and was still a little drizzly this morning. As soon as I turned off the highway I was presented with an unpaved road. Mostly hard packed gravel which was fairly easy riding. A few places where there was no gravel – just dirt and when mixed with last night’s rain . . . a little mud. That was good practice sliding around on that stuff with my somewhat worn Heidenau rear.

    Climb up past different types of agriculture depending on the altitude. Vegetables lower down and coffee, papaya and bananas higher up. What spectacular scenery. Very steep mountains and I was presented with a steady stream of valleys and spectacular views.


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    Still quite a ways from the next town and was getting hungry. Came around a corner and here is a full blown restaurant and bar.


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    Cooked up some Pinto (What they call rice and beans) and eggs and coffee for me. One thing about the coffee growing countries is that they make and drink really good coffee. Hmmmm.

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    Spectacular view from the restaurant.

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    Higher elevations presented coffee plantations, most of which are grown on pretty steep terrain


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    Coming through one town and I'm supposed to turn onto this road but there is a chain across it. :hmmmmm Road looks ok, seems weird. Maybe the present road will bend around and join it – nope, going the other way. Hmm, there is a car turning off on what looks like a side street towards the road I want. Yessir! It’s heading in the right direction but is going straight down. I’m sliding all over the place and finally make it down. End up behind some buses . . . how'd they get here? There was either an easier detour down or that chain was put up by some kids wanting to make a couple of bucks.


    Pretty slow day today with the gravel road and the twisted paved stuff so, I’m not going to make it to the coast without having to push it which I don’t need to do. Decided to knock off early in Cartago and went all out and spent $80 on a room at the Hotel El Guarco. Pretty nice joint. I had to rewire my GPS power and had some other maintenance to do on the bike so their covered parking would be great with rain clouds building.



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    Didn’t go far but had a great day.
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  6. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,103
    Location:
    Interior BC, Canada
    Thanks for following along Henry and, welcome to the forum. I have to admit I'm not missing the snow. However, it does get chilly at the higher elevations down here.

    Glad you are enjoying it and thanks for the well wishes.
  7. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,103
    Location:
    Interior BC, Canada
    LOL - I stay put for a few days and almost get caught up then the next few days other things seem to take precidence and the RR falls behind. And being 2 countries behind is really weak isn't it? Oh well, maybe tonight . . .
  8. Pedro Navaja

    Pedro Navaja Long timer

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,556
    Location:
    USA
    It's called "Gallo Pinto." They served it to you wrong. You are supposed have an over-easy egg on top of the rice & beans. Then you break the yoke and mix it all up.

    It's gross. We used to eat that stuff 3 times a day, forever. My dad hated our cuisine because we don't have any. Standard Costa Rican cuisine is to throw an egg on top of anything.

    LMAO! Now you are in my old neighborhood. So Cartago has a hotel now? And of all the names to give it they call it El Guarco? This is hilarious. We lived in Cartago in El Tejar del Guarco right up from the El Quijongo restaurant. Not a nice neighborhood. Even worse now as I hear it's full of Nicas.

    You got some great shots of our topography and vegetation. I love that about the place. Cartago, you are in fog city. It has a microclimate there all of it's own. If you get a chance ride up to Irazu. On a clear day you can see both the Pacific and the Atlantic. If it's cloudy and you make the ride anyways, you will freak when you get above the cloud line.
  9. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,103
    Location:
    Interior BC, Canada
    Didn't know they did that - they always gave me a choice of how I wanted my eggs and served them like that. I actually wouldn't mind the egg on top thing - I like doing that sometimes. I guess when you aren't having beans and rice daily you kind of enjoy it. I did. My oldest daughter spent a few weeks in Costa Rica a number of years ago and has commented many times since how sick of rice and beans she was.


    It's in the southern part of town on the highway in an industrial area. There was another hotel I passed coming down the hill into town - it looked like a nice setting and I almost turned around for it. Didn't notice any others on the way through town.
  10. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,103
    Location:
    Interior BC, Canada
    Short, 200km ride to Puerto Viejo, some more scenery shots


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    I have noticed many varieties of coverings over various crops. This is one of many


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    A lot of different agriculture in this pic - on the flats and mostly the really steep hillsides.


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    Puerto Viejo a slightly touristy, laid back town on the Caribean coast. The gene pool here is definitely Caribean as is the culture. You would have a very high probability of hearing Regeae as you walk around town and about 0% chance of hearing Latin American music.



    These locals were waiting at this bus stop the whole time I was there - guess they weren't in a hurry to get anywhere


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    Part of the beach. There are bit sandier beaches here but they aren't used a lot.


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    Found a great little hotel – Cabinas Guarana – about a block off the main street, locked parking, good wifi, hot water, room with 2 beds, large porch with hammock and little table and, quiet.

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    They provide a communal kitchen and free coffee and tea. Big grocery store at the end of the block and another a block and a half away. Nice, comfortable lobby. I could stay here awhile.

    Some random shots at the hotel. Andreas - another Italian desk guy in Latin America


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    Help yourself to a banana anytime


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    The gardens outside the room


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    Sorry for the flower pics - it's my Ride Report and I wanted some flower pics! :lol3


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    Oh yah, this place has a tree house – how cool is that? Hauled my fat ass up this somewhat dodgy looking “ladder” – crawled out in the treehouse to look around. I’m starting to feel a bit woozey which is weird as I’m not too concerned about heights. Then I realize the whole thing is swaying in the wind. Makes sense as there is only a couple of tree trunks a few inches in diameter – not the most ridged structure. The treehouse is that thing sticking up above the fronds in the foreground.


    [​IMG]


    Some of the ladder - looking down


    [​IMG]


    Looking up


    [​IMG]


    Looking over the town


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    See my bike in its little shed?


    [​IMG]


    Decided to have a healthy vegetarian breakfast. They assured me that no cows died in the production of the cream filling . . .


    [​IMG]

    Have I mentioned coffee? As I got away from Mexico I started to notice I was being served really good coffee. These countries in Central America are all coffee growing countries and the people seem to enjoy good coffee. Or, they were just waiting for me to come along to brew up a pot of really strong, black coffee, just for me. Either way, frickin outstanding!



    By the way, nothing against Mexican coffee but the northern part of the country seems to drink mostly instant coffee (except in the Oxxos where they brew coffee) and as you go south, you are served more Café Olla – which is usually luke-warm, pretty sweet and not very strong “coffee.”



    A couple of the meals I've had here. Curried fish


    [​IMG]


    Chicken in a sauce that tasted a lot like a Mole but they called it something else. Oh, and my first Margarita of the trip



    [​IMG]

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  11. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,103
    Location:
    Interior BC, Canada
    <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:RelyOnVML/> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--> Time to move on and cross into Panama. Again, heard lots of horror stories about this crossing with over 4 hours in some cases. So, as I&#8217;ve been doing when I can, left early to hit the border shortly after it opens at 8 am (Costa Rica time &#8211; 9 am Panama time)

    Guy waves me over to a parking spot in front of the Costa Rica Migración and Aduana &#8211; all in the same building. Great, lots of people standing around with guns so not worried about my bike, even though I have my super duper security system in place.


    [​IMG]


    Go the the Migración window and am second in line &#8211; bunch of people fall in behind me. One guy with a window open, tiny office with one other guy shuffling papers and two guys reading newspapers. I smiled.

    Have to fill out a form for the Migración guy before he stamps your passport and then off next door to the Aduana. About 6 or 7 people leaning against the counter and one lady working at a desk processing paperwork. Have to fill out another form (make sure you fill out the top and the bottom which are identical) stating you will or will not return to Costa Rica within 90 days. After about a half hour, finally get my receipt and I&#8217;m checked out. I thought it was funny that the lady left one of her stamps on the counter and the truckers grabbed it and stamped all their documents. She didn&#8217;t seem to mind.

    Then head across the bridge to Panama. Until recently the bridge on the right was the only way to get across and you apparently had to dodge pedestrians (of which there was a steady stream and missing boards. Thankfully, they have installed a new, somewhat swaybacked bridge for vehicles.


    [​IMG]


    Arrive at the Panama end and a guy stops you right at the end of the bridge. Checks your passport and then wants to search your stuff. OK &#8211; I&#8217;ve heard of these guys searching through every nook and cranny which is an incredible pain in the ass because all of my luggage is assembled and then covered with my super duper security system. So I hop off and open one side bag. He glances in. Hmm, maybe this won&#8217;t be too bad. I make a big deal of opening the left side bag and prop my leg against the lid and open it real slow &#8211; stuff does tend to move around because the bike is leaning over to the left. It&#8217;s not that bad but I thought I&#8217;d build it up a bit. He looks at my other stuff all secured and locked down under my super duper security system, shrugs and tells me where I have to go next. :thumbup

    Next stop is the mandatory insurance. At the bottom of the hill from the bridge, on the left is kind of a five and dime store type mercado &#8211; go up the stairs to the second floor and right inside is the girl selling the insurance. $15 and she even gave me the copies of my passport and registration I&#8217;ll need for the Aduana.


    Now climb up the stairs to the entrance of the old bridge where the Migración and Aduana are located. Passport stamp is straight forward. Aduana - hand the lady your documents, she goes away for about 10 or 15 minutes and comes back with some documents. Go next door where a couple of guys are sitting there doing nothing for a final signature , but first pay a $3 &#8220;tax&#8221; (no receipt). Finally the guy that searched me at the bridge shows up and signs the papers for the moto.

    Done. Took just two hours. But the time switches to Eastern time as you cross the border so you lose an hour.

    One of the strange things about this crossing is that I did not get approached by one helper or money changer on either side. Maybe I was just too early for them. I had a whole pocket full of Cordobas from Costa Rica I needed to get rid of so when I was finishing checking my bike in I finally asked one guy who was generally pimping for the cabbies if there were any money changers around. He hollered at some guy below by the shops who ran up. Bugger didn&#8217;t even offer any Vaseline &#8211; wanted about a 20% premium which I ground down a bit. I didn&#8217;t feel like finding a bank so took it and carried on.

    By the way, Panama&#8217;s currency is the Balboa which happens to equal one US dollar. So, they make their own coins but use US bucks for the bills

    Here is some final housekeeping stuff: I was told the border closes at 5 so if you are wanting to do an afternoon crossing, make sure you have lots of time. There is a town about 15 KM from the border, Changuinola that has a number of gas stations and I think I even saw a couple of hotels &#8211; bit of a ratty looking border town though.

    Nice ride across the country. Ride south for quite awhile then turns more westerly - took about 80 KM to ride from the east coast to the west coast (I think it is about 60km as the crow flies) so, I guess I now qualify for the Ironbutt 50CC (That is a medal you can earn if ride a motorcycle coast to coast in under 50 hours) &#8211; no big deal, I did it in a little over an hour. Piece of cake! :bmwrider

    Looking over the jungle



    [​IMG]


    Jungle is getting pretty thick


    [​IMG]


    A pretty little waterfall


    [​IMG]


    Decided to go to David for the night as I couldn&#8217;t figure out if there were any towns within a short distance down the coast. Based on the traffic coming into David, it will be a long day tomorrow.

    Massive black clouds hangining over the city. Starts raining about 2 km before my turn. It is still pretty warm &#8211; 26 deg C (79F) and so I just left my mesh jacket on &#8211; felt nice. Once I got into town, it really opened up. Water was pouring off of the awnings over storefronts with such velocity it was spitting it out in the street in sheets. Finally saw a place called the Alcala and pulled in because: a) It looked like they had parking; b) They had a spiffy little driveway so I could get off the street and c) After driving around the city in this downpour for awhile, I was ready to stop.

    Go into registration and water is literally pouring off of me &#8211; there is a big puddle forming around me. I&#8217;m sure some people just thought I was an old guy having an accident. :gerg Have everything I need (parking, wifi, hot water) for $34


    Bet you didn't know these guys had gone to the street . . .

    [​IMG]

    Yah, I know it's just fried chicken. But notice I'm going a bit high-brow here with a little freshly made Red Wine . . .

    [​IMG]

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  12. Sunday Rider

    Sunday Rider Adventurer Wanabe

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2010
    Oddometer:
    854
    Location:
    North of T.Ho., Ontario
    Great updates Geezer.

    But there was no little water fall in that picture above. Was that a test to make sure we are paying attention?:deal


    What a great adventure you are having. Is your wife going to join you at some point like the last trip?

    Wishing you a continued safe journey.

    Oh by the way, there is freezing rain out here this morning......:lol3
  13. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,103
    Location:
    Interior BC, Canada
    Front of the class there Sunday :clap Yes, there are many hidden challenges in this ride report to test your attentiveness and comprehension or alternatively, to find my screw ups . . .

    I am having a huge amount of fun and the trip has been an amazing experience. Yes my wife will join me in Ecuador right at the first of the year - I'm really looking forward to that.

    Freezing rain? I'm finding down here that I many times have to put a liner in my mesh jacket because the temps may drop down below 20C, so your not the only one that has to deal with the cold. :lol2

    Thanks for your well wishes
  14. Hevy Kevy

    Hevy Kevy ADDRider

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2010
    Oddometer:
    200
    Location:
    S. Ontario
    IN!:clap:clap
  15. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,103
    Location:
    Interior BC, Canada
    Thanks for following along
  16. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,103
    Location:
    Interior BC, Canada
    Got an early start this morning as I wasn’t sure how the traffic would be after the horrible traffic going into David yesterday. Would have a big day of riding if the roads are at all ratty.

    Once I got to the turnoff to go east the traffic became reasonable and was able to make decent time. Pretty countryside, road fairly straight but pretty hills – as usual everything seems to always be green. Makes sense since it is the jungle.

    Lots of cops along the road. See them standing at the side of the road, mostly moto-cops. I think they ride little 250s. Many of them waive as I go by. One guy was waiving pretty vigorously and since I had been stuck in the middle of a pack of cars for awhile I knew I wasn’t speeding for a change so, I waved back.

    Apparently that was the wrong response and he actually wanted me to stop – who knew? :nonoHe catches up with me a few km down the road, pulls me over and gives me crap for waving back at him. Tell him I thought he was just being friendly. Tells me I was speeding in an 80km zone which was crap as I was speeding for most of the day but at that particular moment in that pack of cars I wasn’t. Never did tell me how fast I was going.

    Anyhow, we go around in circles for awhile and he tells me I’ll have to go back to Santiago to pay the fine but I don’t remember coming through a town called Santiago . That didn’t make me happy but I smiled (apparently that is what you are supposed to do to help diffuse the situation). Then he asks me if I want a ticket or do I want to pay. I ask him how far back the police station is again and now he tells me it’s in David (where I started this morning), about 3 hours back. Hmmm, stories are changing so I tell him I don’t want a ticket and I don’t want to pay. He shrugs and says ok, he’ll give me a ticket. Well fine! Be that way!

    As I’m waiting I’m wondering if I can get out of the country before they catch up to me as he did take my passport info. Finally gives me a ticket and I ask again where I pay it and he now says in Santiago and points the other direction. Grrrr. Ok, see ya . . . . . !

    Arrive in Santiago which turned out to be only about 10km down the road but I don’t see the Transito office so ride around town looking for a Transito (cop). Of course there are usually as many Transitos standing around in a town as there are Starbucks in Vancouver but today they are all hiding on me.

    Finally come around a corner and see one of their motorcycles parked at the side of the road. Pull up and it turns out the operator of this fine machine is a Transita and when she turns around I’d swear to God, I thought it was Shania Twain in a uniform. :thumb So I babel to her that I need to pay this stupid ticket and ask where is the Transito office? She laughs at me and tells me to follow her. We roar up and down streets, through parking lots and down alleys and finally pop out at some nondescript building on a side street. I'd have never found it. Was hoping she would escort me inside so I would have time to grab a pic for you guys but no such luck.

    Before I could pay my $20 fine, the ladies inside took forever as they had to basically make a new ticket as officer Barney hadn’t turned in the stub yet. Had to sit with one of them while she put all my passport info into their computer and asked a bunch of other info. At one point I thought she had asked me if I was tired – I kind of gave her a blank look because I couldn’t figure out why she needed to know if I was tired. The other two are killing themselves laughing. I said no, I wasn’t tired. Now they are laughing harder. Finally figured out that she was asking me if I was married – the Spanish word for tired and married are the same except “tired” has a “d” in it. Now the whole office was roaring and I gathered that really wasn't a question on the computer. A good example of how weak language skills can get one in a heap of trouble.

    Get to Panama City and drive over the Centennial Bridge which crosses the Canal. As it turns out that is about as close as I will get to the famous canal.

    Check into the Holiday Inn – pricy but next to the canal. Plan was to sort out my transportation stuff for shipping my bike with Girag and then walk over to the locks and watch the boats.

    I’m thinking that shipping a bike on an airplane is not an insignificant deal and I probably should just touch base with the shipper beforehand to, you know, find out if I need a reservation, find out where they are, you know, stuff like that. Turns out trying to contact Girag wasn’t particularly straight forward. Had started emailing 4 days earlier and calling when I arrived in Panama City. Both emails and phones not answered. Eventually talked to a receptionist. Waiting for them to call back used up the afternoon sun so never made it over to the locks.

    Serious need for beer and food. In that order. Go downstairs for some beer and chow and the restaurant is very nicely done. Two other people in the place that can sit about 150 and I go to sit at a table for 4 to get comfortable and the waiter has a bird and insists I sit at a little table. Hmmm, food is nicely presented . . . but, expensive . . . and, I’m not a fan of big hotel restaurants even when I have a suit on . . . sooooo, see ya . . . . . . .! Hey, I’m not grumpy . . . just that some people are really starting to piss me off. :fyyff

    Wander out the door and notice another fancy schmantzy place next door with an outside restaurant, a low murmur of voices wafting through the night air, the tinkle of glasses and silverware and Barry Manilow playing a bit too loud in the background (Note: Playing Barry Manilow at a volume exceeding 0 is too loud).

    Look around a bit more and notice what looks like some sort of low building down in a hole on the other side of the parking lot. Well low and behold if it isn’t Mick’s Pub – had loud Rock and Roll, beer they let you drink from a bottle and huge hamburgers. It’s amazing how the simple things can greatly improve one’s attitude. :rayof

    [​IMG]


    I could see the boats going by in the distance (just to prove I actually did see the canal) - from my room



    [​IMG]

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  17. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,103
    Location:
    Interior BC, Canada
    The reason I'm going through all these machinations to fly my bike from Panama and Colombia is about a 150 mile gap between the end of the road in Panama and the highway in Colombia. It is extremely inhospitable terrain and few people have crossed with vehicles. So, the three choices are: Boat, container or fly. After finding I didn't have a boat reservation, I decided just to get er done, fly over and be done with it.

    Started the morning and still nothing from Girag. Finally decided to hell with it, packed up and headed out. I'll take my chances

    I had booked a ticket to fly myself to Bogota this afternoon which can be re-booked if Girag doesn&#8217;t take my bike today.

    My friend Pablo will be picking me up in Bogota so I&#8217;ll have to figure out how to get a message to him if I don&#8217;t fly today.

    I know Girag doesn&#8217;t want any gas in the tank so I&#8217;m down pretty low. Last gas station I stopped at I bought ½ gallon &#8211; guy thought I was crazy &#8211; had to give me change for a $20. I think I have enough to get me to the airport and to a gas station once in Bogota but not much more. If I can&#8217;t get the bike delivered to Girag today, I&#8217;ll have to go back to a hotel and hopefully there is a gas station at the airport.

    Still don&#8217;t know where Girag is but I found the general area for cargo so presumably they are there.

    After talking to a couple of people found out that Panama has a nice toll road system that bypasses the congestion of the city. Panama City is quite big with an inordinate number of tall buildings &#8211; some quite unique. Didn&#8217;t immediately dawn on me why so many skyscrapers then realized most were banks with a lot of others relating to shipping companies.

    Arrive at the airport and see a small sign for Carga. Follow the road around the airport. There was a ton of construction with only one lane open and insane traffic backed up most of the way. Ate more gas.

    Finally get to the cargo area and it is a madhouse of trucks and cabs. Ask people where Girag was, some never heard of it (oh, good) but one guy finally told me where to go. He was also kind enough to show me where the Aduana was. Decided to check with Girag first to see if they can take my bike and then come back.

    Arrive at Girag and the receptionist remembers my call from the previous afternoon. Lady I need to talk to is still tied up for awhile &#8211; I&#8217;ll wait. Another girl comes down and tells me the lady will still be awhile and she confirmed they can take my bike today so I decided to go back to the Aduana and get checked out.

    Go to the Aduana and the various truck drivers debate which Aduana I should be at. They ask and the lady says here (first little building). Truckers tell me to step up to the window and give the lady my papers so I step up and shove my stuff through the hole in the window and tell the lady I need to check out and she just stares at me. Shove it in a little further and she finally takes it with a huff and disappears. Stand and sweat for awhile. Finally a little old lady sticks her head out and asks for the color or something and that is my cue to step inside &#8211; ahhhh, AC. :nod

    She finally gets it all done and signed off and I&#8217;m back to Girag. Stand around for another half hour and finally a guy who has been back and forth a couple of times, looks at me and tells me to come upstairs. Apparently the English speaking lady is still busy so he gives me to another lady who is quite put off that she has to deal with me but apparently this guy was some sort of boss, so she did. She speaks no English and didn&#8217;t seem too motivated to be patient as I can eventually figure most stuff out.

    Takes all my info and gives it to another girl (who could speak English) who comes back after awhile and takes me next door to the cargo area. Stand around there for 20 minutes or so, am told I will have to pay $902 (which I knew) in cash when they get everything done. Finally another guy comes and gets me and tells me to move my bike into a compound. Then back to the office to stand around. Comes back to get me and I get what I want off the bike and lock it up. Back to the office to stand around for at least another half hour to 45 minutes. Finally another guy comes back with the relevant documents to take me next door to sign things off and get me to pay up. The cashier has now gone to lunch. :dog I explain to him that I have a plane to catch and he thinks for a few seconds and tells me to pay him, he signs the documents and we are all good.

    All together between Aduanas and Girag tover 3 hours. Total time from hotel to check in at the airport - 4 1/2 hours. Dealt with a total of 6 people at Girag and 3 at the Aduana &#8211; and I haven&#8217;t even got in to the next country yet.

    Of course I&#8217;m still in my riding gear heading for the airplane. After over 2 months of accumulated nasties, both my pants and boots have pretty well taken on a life of their own. So when I got to the airport security, the guy, of course, wants me to take my boots off and put them in the scanner. Well, I try to warn him but he insists so, off they come. I swear to God, I looked at his face and he had tears welling up in his eyes. He kind of quickly pushed them into the machine and walked away.

    Then metal detector guy wants to <s>feel me up</s> pat me down and just about has a bird over all the armor (Closed foam pads) in my hips and knees. I finally open my pant leg up (more olfactory fun and games) to show him and he starts ripping one of my knee pads apart &#8211; I&#8217;m pushing his hands away because these things are kind of important and he finally gives up and lets me carry on.

    Straight forward flight to Bogotá and Pablo is there to pick me up. Unfortunately Girag won&#8217;t have my bike available to pick up until Monday (this is Friday) and Pablo offers to put me up at his house. Very cool! :clap

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  18. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,103
    Location:
    Interior BC, Canada
    Pablo was kind enough to not only put me up over the weekend but he and his family treated me like royalty looking after me.

    On Saturday Pablo gave me the cooks tour of Bogota. It was a Religious holiday so everything was pretty quiet. Walked around the downtown, checked out some of the historic buildings, government buildings (Bogota is the capital of Colombia), a couple of museums and took the funicular up Monserrate.

    Expansion of the east side of Bogota is blocked by steep mountains and Monserrate is the most prominent. It is home to a church on the top and is quite a popular destination for both locals and tourists. You can go to the top in a cable car or funicular &#8211; we went in the funicular.
    Very steep grade as you can see in the distance (upper right corner of the picture)



    [​IMG]


    There is less of a steep grade at the station resulting in the floor being tilted back when it leaves the station then it gets steeper. The lower section of track shown in the second picture is the same grade as in the first picture.


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    Beautiful view of this huge city of about 10 million people.


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    Couple of ladies with traditional hats and sweaters


    [​IMG]

    Lots of food vendors behind the church. Interesting stuff &#8211; chickens, sausages and potatoes.


    [​IMG]


    Chickens having a hot tub


    [​IMG]


    Baked goods


    [​IMG]

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  19. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,103
    Location:
    Interior BC, Canada
    Walking around town, a typical street with some heritage buildings

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    A little old and new


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    A cool door

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    Kind of an interesting looking building of no great importance - it was just neat looking


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    Colombia's White House - where El Presidente lives

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    The main square is very large and bordered by the Church and government buildings. Pretty quiet today. The church

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    Gummit buildings (there are a lot more government buildings throughout the downtown)

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    The inside of one of the many churches downtown - a lot of gold there. Hate to be the one that had to polish all that


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    An unusually fancy church - I notice churches in Central America and Colombia generally tend to be less ornate than many you see in Mexico

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    Stopped by the house of Simon Bolivar - he wasn't there . . . :norton. He was considered the liberator of Colombia from the Spaniards - in fact, liberated everything from Venezuela to Colombia to Ecuador to Peru and Bolivia. Quite the guy. Unfortunately, the house was under renovation so we couldn't go in. Here is the front of the estate


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    Some of the gardens


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    Some of the weapons they would have used fighting the Spaniards - pretty ornate

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    I noticed people wearing these more traditional jackets/sweaters in rural areas. Bogota is at 8000 feet altitude so can be quite cool and noticed the odd one around the city

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  20. Jick Magger

    Jick Magger Exile on Main Street

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2011
    Oddometer:
    861
    Location:
    Okanagan Valley BC, Canada/Scottsdale, Arizona
    Quote "Wander out the door and notice another fancy schmantzy place next door with an outside restaurant, a low murmur of voices wafting through the night air, the tinkle of glasses and silverware and Barry Manilow playing a bit too loud in the background (Note: Playing Barry Manilow at a volume exceeding 0 is too loud). "

    Hey Rexbuck

    Funny story about paying the ticket. I guess if you didn't pay you may have some issue getting out of the country i would assume. Sounds like you are riding some spectacular routes. Enjoy the great weather. Theres a foot of snow back here. A little something for you. This guy is really...WACKY...really man....:marc

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