About an hour and a half outside of Panama City, a sleepy little village surrounded by some of the largest resorts in Panama, San Carlos is I headed after David where my friend Victoria has a vacation home where I would be staying for the next few days to catch my breath before the cross to the San Blas Islands and Cartagena.
On my way to San Carlos I had an interesting experience with the police. For those who have not traveled to Panama, this country has so much of the US, it is into until you speak to the people you are not in state like Florida. The roads construction, infrastructure, buildings, restaurants, and so forth are all very much like in the US. In the rest of Central America road construction seems to be much more rudimentary and you simply don't see the massive use of concrete in the overpasses, exit ramps, and so on that you see in the US. The police is similar too. They are well equipped, and they actually use radar guns, setup speed traps and ticket you if you speed.
Waze calls out police sightings as you are driving along, reported by other drivers, but here, in Panama, come on?
I was in shock when I herd the British lady inside my iphone perk up and say “Police reported ahead” - “What????” I slowed down, and sure enough, under the shade of a bridge sat a lady on a motorcycle pointing a long back tube in my direction. I cruised by her at 83kms/hr… slightly above the speed limit in that section of the road.
About 20 minutes later, the speed limit had increased to 100kms/hr and as I crested a hill I see ahead a police car pull out. I quickly catch up to him, but had to apply the breaks as he was cruising now at around 70kms/hr. I followed behind for the next few minutes when on a long strait-away with solid double lines he makes the first move, going over the white line on the right and staying there for a few seconds, then eases back to the middle of his lane. He does this a second time, now slowing to about 65kms.
“I think this guy is telling me to pass” I say to myself, so I put on my turn signal, ease out and overtake him and speed up to the posted 100kms/hr. I continue to ride and after about 30 seconds I see the police car pulling up behind me, but I hear no siren nor his lights come on. I keep riding, now going through some cool twisties up a hill, then as I go into a strait-away, he pulls up beside me, beeps his horn and signals me to pull-over, which I promptly do. Turn of my ignition and pull off my helmet.
The copper walks up and says “Did you not see me flashing my lights at you”
“No Officer, I was watching the road ahead of me, I noticed you pull up behind me, but after that I didn't look at my rear-view mirrors, when I heard your horn and you pointing me to pull over, I did”
“You passed me on a double solid line”
“Ahhhh Man,” I said to myself… “baited and reeled in, hook, line, and sinker”
“I know, you were going well below the speed limit and eased over the white line, not once, but twice … "so I assumed you wanted me to pass you… all that was left was for you to put your hand out the window and wave me passed you”
“Well, you still passed me on a double solid line … let me see your driver's license”
As I unzipped my tank back and started and shuffled through my things seemingly looking for my wallet, I followed with… “Look, you were going well below the speed limit, you did ease out not once, over to the shoulder over the white line, what is one to think? I would have to be crazy to want to blatantly pass a police officer on a double solid line… Three guys on Harley's flew by me not five minutes before I caught up with you and if they were going at least 130… I'm traveling your beautiful country and I am in no hurry.”
He gave me a long strong stare… I looked at him steady… he cracked a bit of a smile and said … “Ok, go on”
“Thank you Officer” - put my helmet back on, cranked up the bike, eased out back onto the road and only then did I let myself have a grin from ear to ear. That was the very first ticket I ever tried to get out of, and happy I did.
A few miles later I hit another milestone, so I stopped to take the snapshot.
Then it started to rain.
As the real downpour started, I took cover and got a bite to eat.*You can see my tankbag cover is fully drenched. I always love being the center of attention when walking into a place with my riding gear, you get a completely different look when you walk in, your boots squishing, and leaving a nice long trail of drip as you walk up to the counter to place your order. I was then followed to my table by a lady with a mop.
About an hour later I made my way up to San Carlos.