When we left Calgary Oct 17th, the plan was to ride to TDF and back. It was very obvious very quickly there was no way that we'd be able to pull that off in the 6months I had to work with. The plan quickly evolved to be Canada to TDF then back up the east coast of South America where we would fly home and ship the bikes. That plan too wasn't going to work with the time available.
I made the decision to leave the group in Panama. They were headed South and I was headed back North. The original RR is located here: TerraNova
It seems that this isn't really just the return leg of the journey but a completely different adventure, one that deserves it's own RR.
I'm currently relaxing in Luna's Castle Hostel in Panama City. 2 Days ago an Aussie girl and I headed to the Caribbean side to Portobelo. It rained almost the entire way. I had stored my drybag at the hostel before we left so there'd be room for Jan's bag. Unfortunately my jacket was in my bag so I got instantly soaked. Good thing it's been 30C the whole time I've been here.
Jan ready for the ride:
The rainy season this year has lasted almost 3 months longer than average. We came across over 20 slides between Colon and Miramar. This one happen early Dec. It destroyed 12 homes in Portobelo and killed 8 people. Dozens of others have been told they can't go back to their homes yet.
18th Century "Bateria Santiago" had just received funding for a major restoration project before one of the slides filled it with mud. As a make work project, the town officials decided to hire locals to dig the fort out with shovels and wheel barrels instead of using heavy equipment.
Undamaged Fort wall:
It started to rain again so we grabbed beds at the local hostel. The signs leading up to it says Capt. Jack's Hostel but the wall is different so I'm not sure what it is really called.
In the morning we decided to follow the road to Miramar and grab a boat to one of the San Blas Islands for the night. Even though the road doesn't show up on the GPS or Google, it's paved and in great condition.
Once we arrived in Miramar we were told that we could get to San Blas today but there was no way to know what day we could return. The seas in this area are quite rough this time of year and most of the smaller boats simply don't sail because of it.
We decided to pass and continued exploring the small towns and beaches we had driven by
Garbage covered beach next to the restaurant:
Beach on the other side:
We headed down the road a bit farther before taking a fork that lead us just past Puerto Lindo.