Wedding Vows in Action: Riding South from Seattle

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by ADVegan, Nov 14, 2018.

  1. ADVegan

    ADVegan Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2009
    Oddometer:
    184
    Location:
    Pac NW
    Jungle Panama.jpeg
    The two of us in the jungle in Norther Panama- island of Bocas del Toro, on the northern undeveloped end.

    I keep finding myself falling behind and having too much to catch up on.. that just makes me procrastinate more.

    We started planning our race through Panama and Rachel reminded us there was really no rush. Since she rejoined me in San Jose Costa Rica we have felt like we are moving a little faster than we'd like. Probably just lingering attitude from when I cruised through a few countries quickly. It was a good reminder so we decided to check out Boquete Panama. It was a nice town in a green valley- a wonderful respite from the 100° temps we rode through to get there.

    We stayed two nights and when packing up Rachel plugged her phone into a receptacle bank at the front desk. An older guy came in selling knives and some other stuff from a tray to support his dialysis treatments. He showed me his diabetic foot and bandages and his diagnosis paperwork from the hospital. I told him I didn't want any knives but I handed him $5. Then he stole Rachel's iPhone X. Fuuuuck that pissed me off.

    It was our only navigation tool since I dropped and subsequently lost my Pixel phone in Costa Rica. The hostel said they'd never had any issues in 5 years, and the cops said the guy was from out of town (they knew him) but a police report would take 3 days. We went to buy a burner phone and the Chinese couple running the cellphone store said a younger guy had come in earlier trying to sell them Rachel's iPhone. Im not a phone snob, my pixel I bought used and it's a couple generations old- but this new phone is a pain to type on! (Give me some credit for typing this post on it, Rachel hogs the laptop. Ok, hogs HER laptop)

    We rode through central Panama towards Panama City. It was a couple days of trials. I've been posting about Rachel's digestion issues, but its really not food poisoning. In fact its the opposite of traditional food poisoning symptoms. I won't get into details, but her symptoms are too close to the ovarian cancer that runs in her family to not take things seriously. We've scheduled testing in Medellin. Bottom line, that plus the heat, plus the lack of interesting towns made for some of our toughest days yet.

    But we did get rained on for the first time on our ride! It's rained plenty of times where we've been, but somehow without really trying to avoid it, we haven't ridden in the rain one single time! We got caught in a downpour and I pulled over under a pedestrian overpass to wait it out. It stopped, but we caught back up with it and got soaked. The following hour was back up to 100 and dry so we quickly dried out.
    Rain Ride.jpg
    roadcapDen, engineman and Aces 6 like this.
  2. ADVegan

    ADVegan Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2009
    Oddometer:
    184
    Location:
    Pac NW
    When we made it to Panama City, we were stunned at its modernity. Well, let me back up- before we laid eyes on the city we crossed the Bridge of the Americas over the Panama Canal. And I started crying in my helmet! Very unexpected! I hadn't really been building up Panama in my mind but when we crossed the bridge I felt like I had achieved what I set out to do- ride a motorcycle to South America. It was an awesome feeling to know that I had actually taken action on my dream trip and we had made it happen. Emotions abound!

    Then we pulled into the Casco Viejo neighborhood of Panama City which is quickly gentrifying and quite beautiful. Our modern Airbnb (just opened, we were the second guests) had a view across the water to the downtown skyline and it felt like the hot, dry section of central Panama was behind us. We enjoyed out time in Panama City and had some wonderful nights chatting about life the trip and everything else.

    Awesome Airbnb in Panama City:
    _MG_3131.jpg

    I was to drop the bike off at the airport a day before we flew, and Veronica with Cargo Riders had her people on the Panama side come pick me up. They were scheduled for 10am, but texted us at 8:20 saying they were outside. We'd had a late night drinking wine and had procrastinated on the packing so we arranged for them to come back at 11. They arrived at noon, and were wonderful people. After we got the bike stuff handled I asked if I needed a cab. We'd driven to the Tocumen Airport on the other side of the city through traffic for about an hour. They said they'd drive me back and I asked their daughter who was with us if they lived near Casco Viejo. No, she said- they lived by Tocumen airport. So I protested and told them not to wait in two hours of traffic on my behalf. Instead they took me to their house and gave me some water and we chatted and I met their children. Fun experience.

    Rachel in Casco Viejo Panama City:
    _MG_3261.jpg

    The bike flight got delayed one day, but Veronica was very communicative. I was happy to have her help and I can be added to the list of many happy Cargoriders customers here on ADVrider.

    We landed in Bogota and Rachel and I both felt reinvigorated. We'd visited Colombia in 2015 and absolutely loved it, but I wasn't sure if it had been a fluke. It was not, we love it here! The weather here is much more similar to Seattle, the people are incredibly friendly and overall it just has a great vibe. Getting the bike out of the airport took longer than I expected, and by the time the bike and I were being lowered off a loading dock by a forklift it was dark. Hopefully the Argentinian couple I was with got some photos I can share, it was a unique experience! I was a little nervous for my first ride in Colombia, in a giant city and also at night but I didn't have any issues.

    We hiked an hour and a half up to Monserrate and tried to recreate a photo we took in 2015:
    _JKH0014.jpg

    We booked a flight out of Quito on May 24th, so we have about 6 weeks to make our way there. Instead of hurrying there we might stop in Medellin for a bit and check out a lot of the small towns north of Bogota. Then Rachel might get on a bus while I make some long days. Who knows, right now we are just very happy to be in Colombia and enjoying every minute!

    I finally had to get a couple new clothes to keep up with Rachel's burgeoning wardrobe..
    _JKH0024.jpg
  3. 1stgenfarmboy

    1stgenfarmboy The Sherpa Man

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2013
    Oddometer:
    5,211
    Location:
    southern tip of ILL
    Good thoughts for the little woman's upcoming test.

    Oh and great RR.
    ADVegan and roadcapDen like this.