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Old 01-09-2013, 01:19 PM   #1201
crashmaster
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dracula View Post
I heard that airline pilots who travel so often do get a passport with much more pages from the start. Not sure how true this statement is or if such passport can be generally available for others or the cost.
Yes, that is correct but its only a few more pages, not many. At least it was for me when the company renewed my passport. Most times immigration never stamps our passports, we carry a copy of the Gen Dec instead. Of course the Chinese are another story. The Chinese love the hell out of stamps. They stamp the shit out of everything. Into Shanghai, 3 stamps, out of Shanghai, 2 stamps, then directly into Bejing, 2 more stamps, then 2 more out on the way to Chengdu, then more stamps again. Most likely they are related to the Central American immigration people.

Also Juanito, you might want to check out this thread: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=854270

Seems they now charge a reciprocity fee in Argentina when you enter via overland crossings. Took effect 7 Jan 2013. You must pay online in advance of using a land crossing.
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Old 01-09-2013, 03:03 PM   #1202
TUCKERS
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Quote:
Originally Posted by riderddonald View Post
Was there any reason you didn't ride into Belize? When we were in CR I met a guy in our hotel lobby from Belize and he said the big cities are pretty dangerous but the outlying areas are ok. I have an employee heading there this spring for his honeymoon so I want him to bring back so info for me. Anyone from the area want to add their opinions on safety please feel free.
What ADV grifter said +

Any big city in the World can be dangerous. Baltimore has tons more killings than Belize City. I wouldn't want to spend my honeymoon in Baltimore or Los Angeles, but it would be nice on Roatan by the Isles Tres Maria's..I was there in 1976 before it was popular and Man was it NICE!
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Old 01-09-2013, 08:41 PM   #1203
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When I left this morning this guy was still working on the wiring harness of his VW van. He and his wife and 2 kids were heading down from the Yucatan. I used to have a white van exactly like this one back in the 80's. He pulled up last night next to the Sherpa and was kind of a night watchman. He worked through the night. Had wild hair and a wild look in his eyes. I suppose I would too if I had two screaming kids and a wife in a camper van going on a vacation from hell to South America.



They are redoing all the streets in Casco Viejo with brick. Many of the buildings are getting major facelifts. This place is really going through a renaissance. Jackhammers echoing through the day. A lot of hustle and bustle:



The police all dress like I do. All black all the time. With my Throttlemeister provided BMW jackboots I fit right in:



A final look at the Panama City skyline as I head out in search of a boat south:



Eventually you see signs to the Darien. The road isn't dirt any more:



A little bit before El Llano is the turnoff to Carti:



I can only imagine what it must have been like to ride out here when the road was red clay. Now it is a fun roller coaster of a road for the 30 miles out over the mountains to the Carribean:



There are some parts missing so it keeps you on your toes:



and really steep downhill runs with hairpins at the bottom. This is what happens when your brakes fade:



And finally you reach the Kuna Yala where the boys want 6 dollars for you and 3 for the bike. Total toll is 9 bucks. Here are the gatekeepers. They signed the tank and took the round rubber Kuna stamp and stamped the gas tank. Can't hurt to have some good Kuna vibes on the bike:



more later....
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Old 01-09-2013, 09:02 PM   #1204
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Eventually you reach the river that you used to have to ford:



Now there is a bridge:



and then you get down through an army checkpoint to an airstrip that has the main dock:



the Kuna boys told me 4 bikes had come through and gone down this road:



so I headed over to the river and saw if I could hitch a ride on their boat. The Kuna who was helping them called the sailboat. It was the Independence. They were full. The fee was 900 bucks anyway. Too rich for my budget. Anyway they were going to Cartagena. I only need to go to Turbo.

Then I went over to the small dock and talked to the locals. They were putting up a thatched palapa. I helped them put up the rafters:



they have small fan palm leaves. They tie them individually to sticks:





different approach than the coconut frond thatching over on the Azuero peninsula. They didn't know of any boats heading out so I headed over to the main dock at the end of the airstrip. You can see the island of Carti off in the distance:



the large boat way out there with the white mast sticking up is the Independence. The people at the large dock told me that there was a supply boat coming in a few days called the Lia Del Mar. The dueño (owner) is Sierra and he is in Colon. So I figured why not track this guy down. He is going all the way to Puerto Obaldia at the Colombian border.

I also met two nice French guys that were heading to Martinique. But South America it is. I'm trying to stay one pointed.

Really nice out here in the Kuña Yala. Very peaceful and the Kuña are friendly folks. I stopped back at the toll gate and the one guy was friends with Sierra. He told me I can find him on Piera doce (Pier 12) in Miramar near the plaza centrale.

So I took off in the late afternoon back over the misty mountains:





and headed into Panama City. It was dark and rush hour traffic so pretty fun splitting lanes. At one point I thought I was going through water. Turned out to be an oil spill. I wasn't going too fast so not too squirrely. I had to hit the gravel shoulder to clean off the tires. I can't believe you have to ride all the way back to Panama City to hit the road north to Colon. Finally saw a sign for Colon autopiste. $3.50 to go 40 miles. But it was worth it. Smooth sailing right into downtown Colon.

I stopped at the Sheraton just to see what a room would cost. 123 bucks. I don't think so. Headed down Avenida Centrale and there were hundreds of people hanging out on the park benches. Kind of a seedy town. And I was the only white guy. It is all black Panamanians around here for some reason. So I stopped and asked a black cab driver where to find a hotel and he pointed me to the Washington Hotel. Kind of a faded glory kind of place. Expensive for me at 59.00 but this town is kinda iffy and it's dark out, so I sprang for it.

Tomorrow I'll see if I can track down the Lia Del Mar and work something out.

I spent a pile today with passport, hotel, food, Kuña toll and gas it came to
$161.00.

Hasta mañana,
Juan Colon (it's pronounced cologne)
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Old 01-09-2013, 09:14 PM   #1205
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Throttlemeister View Post
I'd email the Steelrat and ask for Aaron's mobile number to get ahold of him, he's kinda of the ship's agent if you will for San Blas and he was the one that helped me take a dug out down to Coco Bandero. Be a good contact that speaks English to help out finding a ride South. Shouldn't be a big problem just a lot of time.

Goodluck amigo.
I still have Aaron's name written down from when I was staying with you. If this Colon thing doesn't work out, I'll figure out how to get ahold of Aaron. Thanks for reminding me.

Muchas gracias amigo,
The other John
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Old 01-09-2013, 09:20 PM   #1206
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crashmaster View Post
Also Juanito, you might want to check out this thread: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=854270

Seems they now charge a reciprocity fee in Argentina when you enter via overland crossings. Took effect 7 Jan 2013. You must pay online in advance of using a land crossing.
Check chief. First things first. I have to get out of Panama somehow.

I think the flying solution is the best if you have the money and are pressed for time. And that is always an option if I get tired of chasing down boats.

If UPS has a spare cargo plane you could borrow, I could use a lift bro.

Siempre,
Juanito
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Old 01-09-2013, 09:33 PM   #1207
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Well Juanito, just so happens that I am going to work tomorrow. I'm supposed to take the jet to Hong Kong. I will have more than enough fuel to go to Panama and Colombia instead, but they kind of frown on a last minute change of plan. Although I think a 747-400 would be big enough to load up you and your bike. You will have to cook and make coffee though, we dont have a dedicated kitchen bitch.
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Old 01-09-2013, 09:58 PM   #1208
Misery Goat
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JDowns View Post
Another day hanging out at Rancho Diandrew helping out. Love this diesel Landcruiser pickup. Adds a kind of an Indiana Jones feel to the place:

I'm glad to see Drew's business is doing well. Those tents with the outdoor showers are the bomb.

Was this guy still there?



He was working on some interesting projects when I was there.

Good luck in Colon.

All caught up.
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Old 01-09-2013, 11:56 PM   #1209
jjmalone
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Question Question

JD,
Tried to make a donation on your blog spot. Don’t have pay pal. Tried to enter a visa card and got message stating could not use that type of card. Does this work for pay pal only or are visa donations normally processed.

Thanks for the great RR, been enjoying it a lot.

JJ
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Old 01-10-2013, 04:54 AM   #1210
griffo1962
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JD

Thanks for the entertainment. Small donation made.

cheers

g
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Old 01-10-2013, 05:04 AM   #1211
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Sounds good, let's go!
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Misery Goat View Post
I'm glad to see Drew's business is doing well. Those tents with the outdoor showers are the bomb.

Was this guy still there?



He was working on some interesting projects when I was there.

Good luck in Colon.

All caught up.
Hi MG,

I asked about the mad scientist as well. He was making biodiesel and leading ecotours to the Osa Peninsula last time I was here but is back in Colorado now.

Saludos,
Juanito
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Old 01-10-2013, 05:08 AM   #1212
JDowns OP
Sounds good, let's go!
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjmalone View Post
JD,
Tried to make a donation on your blog spot. Don’t have pay pal. Tried to enter a visa card and got message stating could not use that type of card. Does this work for pay pal only or are visa donations normally processed.

Thanks for the great RR, been enjoying it a lot.

JJ
Hi JJMalone,

I am a paypal idiot. Only set up this account in the middle of this ride. There could be a wizard behind a curtain deciding who can donate to this ride and who can't for all I know.

I see that griffo1962 made a donation that came through from Surfer's Paradise in OZ so it must still be working.

Kindest regards,
John Downs
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Old 01-10-2013, 08:15 AM   #1213
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I did some google searching since I have decent internet while I'm staying in the lap of luxury at the Hotel Washington here in Colon. It turns out that Jordy and Michelle took the Vya del Mar down to Porto Obaldia a couple years ago. Here is the mythical boat I'm trying to track down:



In the light of a new morning this place I'm staying is pretty nice:



with marble hallways and air conditioning:



I'm staying here until checkout at 2. It is right on the point of the peninsula with ships anchored beyond the seawall. The seaspray is blasting over the seawall off the back terrace:



It's overcast and windy today. I noticed on the ride report with the picture of the Vya del Mar that they contacted him by phone in Colon and met him in Miramar past Portobelo to load the bike. So I think I'll head over to Miramar and see if I can find someone who knows his phone number. It's not far down the coast and Colon is not my kind of town.

Away from the hotel, Colon looks like post-apocalyptic Eastern European architecture with a dash of rotting inner city rustbelt thrown in. I think I'd rather hang out on a beach somewhere down the way.

more later……
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Old 01-10-2013, 09:12 AM   #1214
JDowns OP
Sounds good, let's go!
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GRinCR View Post
I am looking forward to not hearing from you! At least for a few days.

Hope the next report does not include too much .
Hola Greg,

If I catch a boat there will be plenty of going on I imagine after checking out the pounding the seawall was taking this morning in Colon.

I will post long and picturesque ride reports from a loran satphone at sea just to make sure you don't get too much done at work.
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Old 01-10-2013, 10:06 AM   #1215
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That's a good looking boat.

Suerte!
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