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Old 01-06-2013, 06:31 PM   #1171
Bike Holiday
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inspiration

JD I was itching to get something around 250cc to practice and then
take off on longer journey's you made that possible many times over
an epic tale not just the trip but your witty, down to earth personality
going to start my own little adventures as soon as I get a bike
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Old 01-07-2013, 06:11 AM   #1172
kwakbiker
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Good to see the KLR(as we know it) getting used well, keep it going
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Old 01-07-2013, 08:33 AM   #1173
JDowns OP
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Went to do some shopping. They sell every part of the vaca at the local supermercado. Even the hooves:



You can ride for miles on the beaches down here. Basically until you run into a river too deep to cross or a boulder field at high tide:





Visiting artist Phil's Colombiana friend Patty, we were sitting on the back terrace sipping jugo de piña and the metal roof was flapping in the breeze slamming down on the end where the rails had rusted through. Here is artist Phil flipping concrete blocks up and over on the tin to quiet it down:



As part of the Muttt and Jefe home improvement team I was standing down on the ground handing cement blocks up while Phil balanced on a decorative concrete screen and heaved them on the roof. Meanwhile Patty's attack goose Pepe was having at my riding boots. Here he is winding up and coming in for another attack:



It was pretty funny. Geese are better than guard dogs I hear.

After riding around on the beaches and backroads we went back to check out more carvings Phil was working on. He has a thing for mermaids. Here is one Voodoodaddy would like that is carved into part of a hull of a native panga boat that washed up on shore:



more later….
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Old 01-07-2013, 08:56 AM   #1174
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I've always wondered how they thatched roofs with palm fronds. Looking up at cmnthead's palapa you can see how they split the dried coconut fronds down the center rib and attach them to the rafters with really close spacing. Because the frond leaves are angled, they criss-cross them alternating with leaves slanting left then right as they go up the rafters to the peak of the roof:



I left cmnthead and cmnthead junior (Cam) hanging out enjoying another warm clear day at the beach:



Unbelievable hospitality. And as a parting gift he found time to stuff a fifty in my right pannier before I headed out. I owe these guys big time. Hope they drop by the northern plains on their way riding down to Panama next year.

The Azuero peninsula is mentioned in guide books as someplace with not much going on of touristic interest. My kind of place.

But now it's to the big city and down across the Darien. I am running out of pages in my passport, so may look into getting some added at the US embassy in Panama City.

more later…..
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Old 01-07-2013, 03:45 PM   #1175
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Hit the PanAm highway this morning. It's the only way to get from the Azuero peninsula to Panama City. A lot of this:



If all you saw on your way through Panama was this freeway, you'd probably have about the same impression of the country that people who drive through Nebraska on I-80 have of my home state.

If you get off the main drag and wander around the western highlands through Volcan and Bouquete, visit Bocas del Toro and the Azuero peninsula, Panama has a lot to offer.

After a few hours I saw the twin towers of the bridge of the Americas sticking up out of the trees. You round a bend and there it is:



I had to stop on the narrow shoulder and take a shot straight up at the suspension cables:



and out to the ships heading for the locks on the Panama canal:



Crossing this bridge brought a feeling of jubilation not much different than when I crossed it almost three years ago on the Sherpa. I don't know what it is, but when you reach these milestones on a trip this long it makes you pause and think, WOW! I actually rode this little dirt bike over 11,000 miles all over the place from Nebraska through 5 states, Mexico, every country in Centroamerica except Belize and now across the Panama Canal again. HOLY COW!!!!! I think it would bring a smile to anyones face. You'll see when you ride down here.

And then it was over the hills and down into the big city. I followed artistic Canadian Phil's directions down Avenida Balboa to the water and derecha to Casco Viejo. I had to stop and take a picture of the F and F building. You'll understand why it's in all the ride reports on Panama when you ride by it. Not so impressive from the front:



but from a block away it cuts a distinctive line in the sky. The sunset is catching the glass on the opposite side but there was no good angle to capture it:



The distinctive building going up next door pales in comparison:



a lot of curved steel and glass downtown:



and then it was down into old town where the architecture is eclectic Catholic fading Spanish Empire:





with some nicely restored buildings mixed in:



I'm staying at the Hospedaje Casco Viejo where a bed in the dorm is 11.00 with breakfast in the morning included. It used to be half that but the lady at the desk said that Casco Viejo is much more upscale and touristic these days. Whatever.

Probably go out into the countryside tomorrow and find something in a small town outside the hustle and bustle. But it's getting dark and this will work. They don't have secure parking so I am sleeping on the balcony and keeping an eye on the Sherpa on the sidewalk below. This would definitely not be a place to stay if you had an expensive bike.

I spent 34.70 on gas, food and lodging today.

Buenos noches mi amigos,
Juanito
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JDowns screwed with this post 01-07-2013 at 03:51 PM
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Old 01-07-2013, 03:56 PM   #1176
BcDano
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Location: South America Riding
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not far behind now

Hey great report. We are in Guatemala still, but will head south about Jan 17. Maybe we will see you on the road?

Sara & Daniel

worldwideride.ca
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Old 01-07-2013, 04:10 PM   #1177
beerguy
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inspired

your experiences have inspired my riding buddy and me to think about bringing his 14 yr.old son and my 12 yr. old grandson on a ride to Mexico and Central America (and maybe some day to S. America.) The biggest impediment may be driving licenses for them. would they need them if we trailered to the border?
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Old 01-07-2013, 04:18 PM   #1178
JDowns OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beerguy View Post
your experiences have inspired my riding buddy and me to think about bringing his 14 yr.old son and my 12 yr. old grandson on a ride to Mexico and Central America (and maybe some day to S. America.) The biggest impediment may be driving licenses for them. would they need them if we trailered to the border?
Hi Beerguy,

You need to have a license, passport and bike registration at every border you cross. I know people trailer bikes down to Baja and let their young kids rip around so I imagine where there's a will there's a way. In Nebraska you can get a license when you're 14 if you live on a ranch, so maybe move into my place out in the country to establish residency and we'll get your kids fixed up.

But realistically, two up with the kids would be the only way to get to Panama across borders until the kids have licenses. I like your thinking though. I wish my Dad would have been like you.

Best,
Juan Panama
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Old 01-07-2013, 04:21 PM   #1179
JDowns OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BcDano View Post
Hey great report. We are in Guatemala still, but will head south about Jan 17. Maybe we will see you on the road?

Sara & Daniel

worldwideride.ca
Hi Sara & Dano,

I expect you'll catch up to me. Most people traveling south have. Look forward to meeting you two.

Safe travels,
John
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Old 01-07-2013, 04:25 PM   #1180
JDowns OP
Sounds good, let's go!
 
Joined: Mar 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bike Holiday View Post
JD I was itching to get something around 250cc to practice and then
take off on longer journey's you made that possible many times over
an epic tale not just the trip but your witty, down to earth personality
going to start my own little adventures as soon as I get a bike

Hi Bike Holiday,

Nice! It starts with the idea, and before you know it you have a solid bike and a vague plan. There's no better feeling than taking off on a trip on a little thumper. Well okay, maybe peeling out of the driveway on a decked out KTM 990 would be kinda fun too.

Glad to have you along for the ride amigo.

Kindest regards,
John Downs
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Old 01-07-2013, 04:29 PM   #1181
JDowns OP
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Originally Posted by RayAlazzurra View Post
Hi John:

If there is one thing I have learned from your trip reports it is that a huge pocketbook and a fancy bike are not necessary to have fun. The one thing that does seem necessary is an ability to understand some Spanish.

So here is a link to one the free US foreign service language programs.

http://www.fsi-language-courses.org/...atin%20America

This works good on an Apple since you can open the workbook in preview while following the lessons on Itunes simultaneously. The class is a bit tedious, but the price is right. There are a few other free classes too.

Learning Spanish is now my designated snowy day activity. Thanks for the inspiration.
Hi RA,

You're full of good ideas. I checked out that Spanish program and it is really useful.

Thanks so much amigo!

Saludos,
Juanito
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Old 01-07-2013, 08:42 PM   #1182
Cmnthead
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Up and running

Hey John

Glad you made it to the city safe. The roads would have been busy with the holiday.

We got the 500 purrin like a kitten again. Israel was back out and put it back together shortly after you left. Fired up second kick with no more bucking and kicking. It is 11.20 pm and I am in Pennomme waiting for my wife and other son Andrew who just flew in tonight and are on there way to meet me here.

Just thought I would catch up on some rr,s and thank you for coming out. We had a great time & look forward to seeing you again sometime!! Will be following you on your thread!

Thanks again,
Phil
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Old 01-08-2013, 01:18 AM   #1183
JDowns OP
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Originally Posted by Cmnthead View Post
Hey John

Glad you made it to the city safe. The roads would have been busy with the holiday.

We got the 500 purrin like a kitten again. Israel was back out and put it back together shortly after you left. Fired up second kick with no more bucking and kicking. It is 11.20 pm and I am in Pennomme waiting for my wife and other son Andrew who just flew in tonight and are on there way to meet me here.

Just thought I would catch up on some rr,s and thank you for coming out. We had a great time & look forward to seeing you again sometime!! Will be following you on your thread!

Thanks again,
Phil
Hola Felipe,

Great news that the XL is back in business!

That is a great bike for ripping around down here. It was great hanging out with you guys. Tell artist Phil I'll be posting pics of hot Colombiana women in a couple weeks. It's only a matter of time before he heads over there. Mark my words.

You and Cam are going to have a blast next year riding down here from Canada. And anytime you're in Nebraska I expect you to drop by and say hi so I can return your generous hospitality. You always have a free place to stay at mi casa.

Muchas gracias por todo amigo,
Juanito
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Old 01-08-2013, 01:41 PM   #1184
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It sounds easy getting pages added to your passport at the U.S. Embassy here in Panama City. I did a google search and filled out the form DS-4085 online and printed it out at the reception desk here at the hostel. Made an appointment to hand over my passport and printed out form for next day service tomorrow morning at 8AM.

After crossing borders in Central America for the past couple months I am having a hard time believing it can be that easy. I will report back what I find. I will be shocked if it actually happens that smoothly.

In the meantime, the only other thing I did today was eat and buy some Spanish books for studying while I'm stuck in the Kuna Yala waiting for a boat.

Oh and go down and talk the Transito cop into letting me park the Sherpa on the sidewalk for another day. As it turns out there is a beat cop at the end of the block all night so this area isn't as unsafe as it appears when you first pull up. Here is the faithful Sherpa waiting patiently to go catch a boat to South America:



i spent 18.50 on food, books and lodging today.

Might go out for some sunset photos later.

Hasta luego,
Juan Casco Viejo
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Old 01-08-2013, 03:45 PM   #1185
Adv Grifter
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Hey John,
I've had pages added twice to my passport, easy both times, but that was years ago. Now it sounds more high tech and officious. I simply showed up at US Consulate/Embassy, they did it on the spot.

First time was in Quito, Ecuador, next time (in the 90's) in Addis Ababa. Took about a half hour each time ... but NO ONE was around trying to get other services. Experts tell me it's easier to get accordion pages abroad than in US. YMMV.
But since they've spent roughly a trillion USD post 9-11 on "security" and "anti-terror" programs ... I'm guessing they'll need to do an anal probe to verify your identity. Hope it goes well.

Smooth sailing on the crossing!
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