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Old 04-23-2012, 11:27 AM   #151
PorLaTierra OP
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Pics

Thanks for the tips guys. I am in Panama now. I think if it gives me more trouble I will fix it while in Panama City waiting for the BRAND NEW FERRY!

Heres some pics of the wiring job.

This is the connector that burnt up.


Here is the wiring job I did to replace it, dont laugh im a beginner. So far it hasnt melted.



I didnt want to go back up over the 10000 foot pass in Costa Rica in the rainy season so I decided not to visit the guy in San Jose. But thanks anyways TicoRider, that is very helpful info. If I can figure out how to get a ticket on this rumored ferry (for about $350 I heard) than I will have 2 weeks to kill in and around panama city waiting for the first sailing.
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Old 04-25-2012, 12:02 PM   #152
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Ferry to Colombia

So the company that will run the new ferry between Panama and Colombia says they will be up and running May 10. Unfortunately they have no website with up to date information, just a bunch of ads in all the newspapers here. My only option was to drive to Panama City and go to the office. A very pretty girl sat down with me and gave me all the details.

They are booked until June 4th.

With a bike it costs around 350 plus taxes for the bike which they are still working out, could be another 200 bucks she said. So I am stuck looking for a sailboat last minute since I didnt arrange anything else.

The Hostel here, Lunas Castle advertises parking on thier website but they have none. My bike is parked on the street but I think it will be fine. The ferry will be running a few times a week though, I think in a few months they will have everything worked out but for now its not the dream come true I had hoped for.

I had a blast crossing Central America and I will post some pics today or tomorrow.

If you are curious about the Ferry, and dont live here in Panama City, try emailing them at victor@panaferry.com
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Old 04-25-2012, 01:03 PM   #153
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It may not speed up your travel plans, but several inmates have used the Stahlratte for the trip from Panama to Colombia.

http://www.stahlratte.org/27.0.html?&L=1

It looks like they will leaving from San Blas on 09-Jun-12 and arriving in Cartagena on 12-Jun-12
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Old 04-25-2012, 01:13 PM   #154
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It may not speed up your travel plans, but several inmates have used the Stahlratte for the trip from Panama to Colombia.

Thanks, yeah I saw that, there are dozens of boats so I will probably find something before then.
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Old 04-25-2012, 03:59 PM   #155
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alright man, bought you a tank o' petrol.

you better not have given up by the time i get to the last page of this RR!



jk, enjoy the ride man! :)

oh, and when i finally get off my lazy fat ass and ride down there maybe you'll put me up for a night.
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Old 04-25-2012, 07:49 PM   #156
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I love the fact that you don't even have a GPS. Bravo! keep up the excellent pics and RR
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Old 04-26-2012, 11:45 AM   #157
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Fitz the Cat

Have you seen this link

Fitz the Cat

A fellow work's son used them last spring from columbia to panama.
They shipped there bikes to Peru rode to the tip of SA and then all the way back to Vancouver BC.

Here is his blog with the report on it.

http://www.southandback.blogspot.ca/...fritz-cat.html

Loving the RR, keep up the great adventure.
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Old 04-26-2012, 02:02 PM   #158
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Subscribed, most definately!
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Old 04-26-2012, 03:12 PM   #159
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If you dont mind a little more adventure, get one of the cargo boats out of Panama City, Casco viejo, that makes a run down to Jaque, then another boat into Colombia that goes into Buenaventura, which would be your port of entry. They usually make a stop in Bahia Solano for a day as well. You could probably do it for around $300-$400 bucks depending on your negotiating skills.

For more information, start at near the bottom of this thread: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showt...=416326&page=7

I've been to Bahia Solano and saw both cargo boats come through, but I've never taken them myself. However when I go down again, this the way I'm going to do it. FWIW, you cant ride from Bahia Solano to anywhere but El Valle. There are no roads connecting it to the rest of Colombia. If you happen to get stuck in Bahia Solano, look up my friend Enrique. He is a sport fishing guide with a house right by the dock, everyone in town knows him. If you need anything, he is a guy that can help you out.

Also, if you would like a better place to stay in Panama with secure parking, check out Casa de Carmen in El Carmen. A big step up from Lunas IMO, but Lunas is right by the port in Casco V.

Salud, Vin
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crashmaster screwed with this post 04-26-2012 at 04:38 PM
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Old 04-28-2012, 08:19 AM   #160
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alright man, bought you a tank o' petrol.

you better not have given up by the time i get to the last page of this RR!

jk, enjoy the ride man! :)

oh, and when i finally get off my lazy fat ass and ride down there maybe you'll put me up for a night.
Hell yeah man! Although when you ride "down here" who knows where I will be, I never said I was going to stay in S. America forever, I just said I wasnt going back home. But yes I look forward to the day when I can host ADVrs and other travelers, wherever and whenever that might be.

Quote:
I've been to Bahia Solano and saw both cargo boats come through, but I've never taken them myself. However when I go down again, this the way I'm going to do it.
Im on it, I will look into it today it would be cool to do something different. I am getting very anxious to get to Colombia so I will look at all my options and make a decision soon.
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Old 04-28-2012, 01:51 PM   #161
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Central America part 1



Riding in Central America is really fun, the biggest hassle is the border crossings but its still worth it. The highways have been the most fun so far.

Guatemala: Crossed at La Mesilla. Very warm and friendly people, lots of exciting mountainous roads, Guatemalan drivers are Macho dickheads compared to Mexico where drivers are actually quite corteus most of the time.

Honduras: Crossed at Copan. Border crossing sucked, took two hours $35 per bike $6 per person, macho dickhead drivers, very unfriendly people, they are cold and I did not like them, very strange feeling. The roads were very fun though and the scenery was great, especially between Gracias and La Esperanza. I speak Spanish and usually get along very well with the locals but Honduras was different.

Nicaragua: Crossed at Las Manos. I loved the people, border crossing was like $6 total plus obligatory insurance (which I never had to show) which cost like $15 I think. The roads were fast and fun.

After a few hours in Nicaragua I realized something was missing. NO TOPES!!! For the first time in my whole trip I could ride without worrying about the damn speed bumps. I only saw two in the whole country and they were in a city.

Costa Rica: Crossed at Penas Blancas Worst border crossing, cost $17 for insurance, free for me and the bike although I think they forgot to charge me because I read that I was supposed to pay for myself to enter. Maybe bureaucracy worked to my advantage this time? Took hours though.

Roads in Costa Rica are fun but of poor quality. I really enjoyed driving them however and there are some stunning routes.

Panama: Crossed at Rio Sereno. I highly recommend this crossing it was beautiful and very chill. $1 for fumigation plus less than $20 for insurance. They gave me a beer (no charge) while I sat in the office and filled out paperwork. Easiest crossing yet.

My route: Guatemala: La Mesilla to Huehuetenango - Antigua - Chiquimula - Copan Honduras.
Honduras: Gracias - La Esperanza - Comayagua - Las Manos, Nicaragua
Nicaragua: Las Manos - Esteli - Masaya - Laguna de Apoyo - Penas Blancas.
Costa Rica, straight to San Jose then over the pass to Uvita then to San Vito then to Rio Sereno, Panama

After crossing into Rio Sereno I went to Volcan then turned left in Cuesta de Piedras to ride the new road to Dolega. This was the most beautiful route of my entire trip. I slept in Boquete then went to Valle Anton then to Panama City.

In antigua I did an oil change and washed the bike. I generally oil the chain every 1-2 days and gas up twice a day. Apart from the gas, I spend $15-25 a day.

Central America is interesting and weird. It is also on the way from Bellingham to Brazil so I gladly passed through it and I cant even begin to remember all the details. Mostly its perfectly safe if you keep your wits about you. Maybe not to live but to travel its fun, sometimes challenging but very rewarding.

Honduras



























Near La Esperanza the road turned to mud. Without panniers I am kind of top heavy and the bike was sliding all over the place. This was easily the most challenging riding so far. The mud was super slick.



Here is a really really old clock that still works. They said its the oldest in the world but I dont buy it.

Its in Comayagua Honduras.









This report is coming in a few parts because I dont want the computer to crash midway
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Old 04-28-2012, 03:47 PM   #162
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Central America Part 2

Where does North America end and South America start? That depends who you talk to. In Latin America, Spain, Italy, Greece and a few other countries they divide the world into 6 continents, The Americas being only one continent. In Northern Europe, China, parts of Asia as well as most English speaking countries, The Americas are divided in two. No matter who you talk to though, Central America is a very distinct region. For me it is a bridge between the North and the South of the Americas. Full of contrasts and colorful cultures and people, Central America is well worth a visit.

In a matter of days you can burn your feet on the dark black sand of the Pacific, explore an Afro-Caribbean village on the Caribbean side and ascend into the central highlands to explore volcanoes and coffee fields.





Guest house Torondon, the cheapest place in Comayagua. Right next to the Funeraria, where they sell all things funeral related. My room was not much bigger than a casket but it was clean.


Line of trucks going to the Nicaraguan border






One of the countless "Auto Hotels" found throughout Mexico and Central America. They are discreet drive in hotels with a curtain that closes behind the car. That way no one can recognize your car when you are cheating on your wife. My favorite one was a huge castle like place called "La Conquista." These "Auto Hotels" are all over the place and they cater specifically to secret romance with your "amante," (mistress).

As the old Spanish phrase goes "Spoil your mistress, Respect your wife, but love only your mother."





Feeling good that morning after the border crossing into Nicaragua, I decided to drive all day. I made it all the way to a lake called Lago de Apoyo near Masaya, Nicaragua. I left my stuff at the hostel and drove into the capitol of Managua the next morning, then to Granada for the afternoon, then back to the lake that night. The nice thing about having a bike is that I can ride wherever I want. Day trips are very easy and I can cover a lot of ground. I spent 2 nights in Nicarauga, both of them at this hostel by the lake, then I drove to Costa Rica the next day.



Managua, Nicaragua

Managua, Nicaragua. Notice the lack of tall buildings. The entire capitol feels like a small town that never ends. Nicaragua is the biggest country in Central America but with the smallest population. In comparison El Salvador, the smallest country, has the largest population.



Granada, Nicaragua











Cigar factory



Yes I bought a cigar and yes I smoked it, while wandering the streets of Granada. I don't really like smoking, but I have to admit it looks cool. All the anti-smoking campaigns in the world can't change that fact.









Two volcanoes on the Isla de Ometepe in Lake Nicaragua. I want to stress that this is a lake, even though it looks like an ocean. It has sandy beaches, tons of islands and the worlds only fresh water sharks. The lake is enourmous.



Bugs on my helmet


Costa Rica






Plane in the middle of nowhere, not at an airport




Mean scary biker gang at the Rio Sereno border with Costa Rica
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Old 04-28-2012, 04:04 PM   #163
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Central America Part 3

Into Panama. I ran into some other riders from Kentucky and we hung out a little bit in Boquete, which looks like
Scotland.

























In most of Central America I refused to stop at military checkpoints, they like to stop tourists for no reason. Whenever they would wave at me to pull over and stop I would just wave back stupidly and smile, then hit the gas and speed off. What were they going to do? Chase me down on a little 125cc? In Panama the cops ride KTM 990s and its a good idea to respect them because they will catch you. Maybe Crashmaster could get away, but not me. So far they have been disciplined and I have had no problems. Panama has a lot of rules and it seems similar to the US in some ways. The Miami Herald is available at the corner stores and there are lots of big American cars.






The Locks




The Bahai Temple


I hope I dont run into any of these


Meeting other travelers is fun, I spent the day with these two


I hope this is easy to see on everyones browsers.
Panama Panorama






The Luna's Castle hostel website says they have parking. This is it, right in front of a bar. I prefer not to park in the street but after three nights nothing has happened to it. It gets pooped on by birds during the day, then at night people from the bar sit on it while they smoke cigarettes. The nice thing is the bird poop is gone the next day thanks to the people sitting on it. The joke is on them I guess.

Getting from Panama to Colombia overland is basically impossible. The only way is to fly or find a boat around the "Darien Gap." Because of high port fees and taxes, boats are expensive. The rainy season has begun and that makes things a little more difficult. There is a brand new ferry that is by far the cheapest option but they have no website for reservations. Upon arriving in Panama City I went straight to their office and found out that they are booked until June. I am searching high and low for the best way to get to Colombia. Most sailboats do not go directly to Colombia, choosing instead to take a 5 day cruise through the San Blas islands. The food is good and the views are supposed to be incredible. I would prefer to just go straight to Colombia and eat rice and beans. I have never eaten lobster in my life but it looks like my options for a cheap crossing are slim. Unfortunately all of the captains want around $450 bucks for me and another $400 for the bike. If I go this route, my bike will be eating lobster too I guess. I am looking for a big sturdy boat that can handle the rough seas of the rainy season.

The cheap options are beginning to sound less and less like an adventure and more like stupid idea. They would involve a bumpy sea sick ride on a small boat that just might drop my bike into the water. It would involve loading my bike into many different small boats and canoes and then going from one small coastal village to the next until I arrive in Colombia. That option costs around $500 but may not be worth the risk. Also I would have to pay fees to pass through the Kuna Yala territory, an autonomous indegenous group that lives on the islands.

Or maybe I will do something crazy:
I found this on an ADVRider forum and if I can figure out which La Palma he is referring to (there are two towns by this name) I will ride there and find this guy.


"If you can get to La Palma...

There's an old guy who flys out of La Palma into Colombia. A gray-haired hippie dude named Mad Dog. His DC-3 fuselage is done in paisley, totally hand-painted, with big peace symbols on each side. The tail-dragger is rightfully named Mary Jane.

Years ago, he tended boat for his dad, Chico, who used to take John Wayne (The Duke) and other Hollyweirds out for giant marlin and sailfish. Quite a history, and he has some great stories. But don't believe everything he tells you.

His young Scandinavian wife, Sunrise, with long, light-gold flaxen locks, who can't be more than 26 or so now, helps run the flight operations. If she's not making beaded jewelry, or breastfeeding one of their three babies, she might be out on the muddy runway setting or pulling chunks of wood (as chocks) after Mad Dog lands or before he takes off. She also handles the CB radio chatter for that area each morning, with weather forecast and on-air flea market/stuff for sale.

He does mostly cargo, and some locals refer to his airline business as Yaw Ways, because one of the two props turns a bit faster than the other.
The hemp and iron wood gangway ramp for the plane is pretty sturdy."

Who knows if he is still there. Next stop, Colombia!

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Old 04-28-2012, 04:05 PM   #164
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Living the dream

Ryan - great job so far.

There's so much going on in this RR that it will capture the attention of many people.

You're 13 years younger than me, but you travel and write with a maturity beyond your years. You've got the eye and the skills of a professional photographer (there's more pics on the blog, people - check them out).

And of course, with your dad seeing you off and sharing the first bit of memories, well......there's just a lot of things here that people can connect with.

I'm in for a tank of gas and hope it brings you many great miles (and faster connection speeds).

Keep on keepin' on.


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Old 04-28-2012, 04:09 PM   #165
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You're 13 years younger than me, but you travel and write with a maturity beyond your years. You've got the eye and the skills of a professional photographer (there's more pics on the blog, people - check them out).

And of course, with your dad seeing you off and sharing the first bit of memories, well......there's just a lot of things here that people can connect with.
Hey thanks, I appreciate it. On my personal website I can better protect my photos, its very difficult to do this day and age. I love ADV though, the information on this site is priceless and its a community as well.

It was very cool that my dad showed up. I have many more surprises down the road so if you liked that, just wait.

Cheers,
Ryan
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