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Cape Town, South Africa
August 7, 2022, 9:31 pm
Partly cloudy
Partly cloudy
humidity: 82%
wind speed: 9 mph N
sunrise: 7:33 am
sunset: 6:10 pm
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August 7, 2022, 9:31 pm
Mostly clear
Mostly clear
humidity: 55%
wind speed: 4 mph S
sunrise: 6:30 am
sunset: 5:37 pm
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August 7, 2022, 10:31 pm
Mostly cloudy
Mostly cloudy
humidity: 59%
wind speed: 7 mph ESE
sunrise: 6:37 am
sunset: 6:41 pm
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Day19 & 20 – Panama City – Sat-Sun. Jan 15-16, 2011

Lisa: Thanks everyone for being so diligent to follow along on our journey. We haven’t had time to post the last few days and several emails have indicated disappointment. When we started all this, Mike said that doing this blog was not a great idea and of course we pooh poohed him. And of course he was correct. Dean and I have made an executive decision that, although we will try to post as often as possible, keeping you guys up to date, posting every day is just too onerous. After all, we won’t be passing through this way again in all likelihood and time at the computer is time NOT spent exploring. I know you’ll all understand!

Day 19 – Jan 15, 2011

Panama City Motorsports Suzuki dealer, airfreight research

Mileage: 35 miles

Lodging: Hotel Centroamericano, Av Ecuador y Justo Arosemena | Zona 3, Panama City 830648, Panama, Phone: +507 227-4555 / Fax: +507 225-2505 
Email: Rate $44

Dean: We are going to be in Panama City a coupe days to reorganize and prep the bikes for air freight to Bogata. Got up early Sat to get service on our VStroms.  Oil change which I can do but since Lisa is having clutch problems, we figured to get them to change our oil too.  Dang, they are open but no service on the weekends.  Perchance we rode over to the Yamaha dealer across the street.  Their service bays were open and they would not work on Suzukis.  We made an appointment for Monday, 8AM and rode out to the Tocumen Air Freight terminals to see if there are any other shipping options to Bogota.  All referred us to Girag.  Girag cost $902 USD to airfreight a motorcycle from Panama to Bogata.  No crating!  Just remove the mirrors, the windshield, and our CB antennas.  Gas should be near empty.

Lisa: This was a super frustrating day during which pretty much nothing got accomplished. Except the requisite: ride through horrid traffic in ridiculous heat, humidity and rain. Yup, I was not a happy camper. But then, neither was Dean so we were a matched set. He’s been struggling to keep his stuff in one sock and the sock was winning. This is so out of keeping with his usual organized style that he just couldn’t process it. Oh well, it’s all good.

Dean: The heat and humidity is oppressive!   With our All-The-Gear-All-The-Time philosophy, we are generally soak in sweat.  The Panama traffic is all bumper to bumper, stop & go with vehicles cutting in and out without notice.  You have to concentrate, be aggressive yet be defensive all at the same time!  In an instant Lisa who is behind me can be 4-5 car behind me and out of sight.  The CB are worth their weight in gold for keeping track of each other.

Lisa: After pretty much wasting the day begging people to either service or overcharge us to ship our bikes, we decided it was time for a decent dinner. We’ve been trying to be good and keep expenses to a minimum but this one meal a day thing is growing old. And the real reason we are doing that is because we just run out of time or forget to eat breakfast or lunch. Stupid, I know. Anyway, I had a recommendation for a great restaurant that ended up being walking distance from our hotel so we set out. No Joy. La Cascada has fallen victim to urban renewal. Out came the guide book and just a little farther down the road was Mariscos Marketplace & Restaurant – a casual restaurant right above the fish market. Are you kidding me? I am sooo there.

Lisa's outstanding fried fish dinner!

It was a minimalist place with wood tables and chairs but if that turns you off, you would have missed an amazing dinner. My whole deep fried sea bass was $6. Yup, and it was AWESOME! And the entertainment was surely interesting as well.

Moises and his “Movie Star” wife.

Moises and his “Movie Star” sat next to us, an interesting couple who clearly enjoyed a lot of barley therapy before we arrived. They were really nice and pretty darn amusing, especially when they drove their car into a corner of the parking lot and couldn’t extricate it. Funny stuff. Sorry we don’t have her name but that’s because Moises only referred to her as a Movie Star. Ooookay. Someday Dean may download the photos but probably not in this life. Great dinner though!

Day 20 – Jan 16, 2011

The end of the PanAm Hwy – Yaviza and the infamous Darien Gap

Mileage: 370 miles

Lodging: Same as last night-Hotel Centroamericano

The Panama military ran a real checkpoint. Passport only. They made sure we were retuning back from Yaviza today. We didn't realize the Yaviza had been flooded and in relief mode.

Lisa: Mike Kneebone told me that the PanAm Hwy ended ~90 miles past Panama City.

Dean: My Garmin RoadTrip (as crude as it is) said ~185 miles! We left the hotel early and our original goal was go for a short LD ride to burn our full tanks down to one bar for tomorrows’ air freight. After we got to the 90 mile distance, the end-of-the-road became the real goal and we filled up and continued on.  Where the heck does this road end??

This is just a 2 lane road with many police checks.  These are real police check points where they look at the passport only.  No scamming attempts.  We must have rode through a total of 6-7 on the 370 mile round-trip.

The PanAm highway is in decent shape all the way 185 miles to the village of Yaviza.  However, there were several stretches of sever potholes, and road repair.  Speeds were between 30 and 65 mph.

Lisa and I at the the Mercado Municipal de Yaviza building. It was empty. Flood line was 5' above first floor.

Yavisa is a small village that sits in a 180-degree bend in the river.  As we entered Yavisa, it was strange that everyone was living in tents.  All over the hillsides.  Then we came up to a series of hospital/first aid tents.  As we turn into Yavisa, there is trash, shrub and debris all over the road.  A one lane street winds its way through the village.  People were about but many of the homes were empty.  We realized there was a huge flood here.  The high water mark was about 5-6’ above the ground level.

Lisa: Ok, after Yavisa I am pretty tired. Of a lot of things: heat, humidity, police checks, potholes, and smelling like I just finished the IBR.  Not kidding.  We simply can’t get our clothes clean washing them in the sink.  That and the fact that all my tshirts (*all my* means three – I have 3 shirts with me) are about 2 sizes larger from being hung up to dry

Red Cross was handing out relief bags for the folks of Yaviza.

instead of thrown in the dryer.  I look like a bag woman and smell worse, I’m sure.  I’m about ready to pull a Paul Pelland here and buy some things at the local second hand shop to be worn once and pitched.

I’m also afraid I made a huge mistake sending home my high viz jacket and bringing down my older BLACK jacket. That also happens to have lost its waterproof capability AND doesn’t have the great venting of my newer one.  And it’s black.  Jeez, dumb mistake that I have to live with for a whole bunch more miles…sigh…oh well.  And by the way, the Oh Well column grows longer each passing day.  I suspect it will be my mantra for the trip.

Dean: I pretty much hit the wall today too.  Like Lisa

At the edge of Yaviza there was one final military checkpoint. On the return back to Panama we went through all the checkpoints in reverse.

mentioned, we are not eating well and we should be hydrating way better.  We keep saying we are not running at LDRider pace but some days we start without breakfast and end up with a mid afternoon lunch.  More later on.  Sorry, we are a day behind now.  Expect our future posts to be shorter!  :)

19 comments to Day19 & 20 – Panama City – Sat-Sun. Jan 15-16, 2011

  • Steve H.

    Lisa, first you’re drinking beer, now you’re eating deep fried food. Ya just gotta love that! :-) Bag the blog. Take lots of photos and go have some fun.

  • Brian R.

    I for one have been absolutely AMAZED at the DETAILED reports you have been providing, names of restaurants, hotels, police precinct numbers etc… This will all be great when you look back but it HAS to be affecting your ride/fun time. Of course, it seems that you are spending most of your time in border checks – hopefully you will finally get to a country bigger than Maryland and then be able to stretch out some riding and carousing without spending all your time getting out your “documents”.

    If it were me, I would prioritize, riding to my schedule, contact with spouse, being a tourist – let SPOT tell us ne’re-do-wells where you guys are and then maybe check in when you have nothing better to do and tell us a good story.

    Of course – this means a big party with an Abracadabra production to hear the details sometime this summer!

  • Tirzah

    Go have fun, but I will definitely miss the longer, more detailed and funny entries. xo

  • Jan M.

    You two are terrific to have posted so may fun narratives of your trip so far. But, you should positively take advantage of your wonderful trip and enjoy.

  • Don Lindfors

    Much more important that you guys explore and see what ever this is to see then to worry about keeping us stateside informed or enertained. But most of the stories do keep us enertained! Dlow it down, take in the sights and enjoy this – it’s a once in a lifetime that most of will never do (or even want to after listening to your stories of corruption LOL)

    Don & Cath

  • John H

    Yep, if I were in your shoes I would bag the blog. Probably because my feet would be hurting so much.
    Spend the time soaking it all in and taking photos, then tell us about it later. Less stress, more exploring!

  • Jeff Gallagher

    Agree. less detail (although we love it) and regular reports are better. Sorry you have to airfreight over no mans land but you are forging the trail for others.also gazingto

  • I hope you get the clutch worked out… adjust at the case (lever is only fine tune)… push-rod 1/4 turn out from touching.

  • chuck hickey

    Sure sure sure — hook us all on the daily posts between Laurel and Hardy – or Lisa and Tanji – and then BOOM – lower the BOOM and cut us off. What….. first one is free and now we have to pay for these updates? Trying to finance an extra meal out of your loyal readership?

    I can dig it though. I’m still trying to write up my 99 IBR story – real bad case of writer’s block that one.

    to quote the great american writer Jerry Garcia…. “Keep Truckin’” – update us when you can and try to have a little fun.

  • John Parker

    I was wonderin’ when you would give up on the daily blog. We watched our friends do their daily blog during their 30 days on the road to Alaska and back (we just rode and did photos with a Tweet or FB post now and again). They were up late every night keeping that d%@!* blog up to date. Good on y’all. Take lots of photos and you can do a ride report someday in the future. Enjoy yourselves, we’ll manage.

  • You owe yourselves the ride and adventure, not those of us who follow along. Remove what detracts and there will be better stories to tell when you get back. I wish you both to enjoy every mile. Big Hugs….ô¿~)

  • “Ride Reports”…”We don’t need no stinking Ride Reports!” (not entirely true, but you get the gist of it)

  • Greg Rice

    This is a great adventure! Keep it coming.

  • I’ve been loving the writing so far. Thanks for keeping everyone up to date and entertained.

    On the topic of keeping everyone informed back home, it does take a lot of time if you’re doing it daily. Most of the time when traveling, it’s just yet another thing to do — find internet — spend money on a coffee or food from the place that has it and see too many emails to answer. I now try to check in with SPOT whenever I’m moving and back on the road, and otherwise try to stay in touch via email or a blog post once or twice a week. I’ve got a cell phone for emergencies, and so far it’s been working out better for me. I know my family would rather hear from me more often, but you have to get into a routine (or a non-routine) that works for yourself.

    Hope to catch up and see you on the road. Mucha suerte, bien viaje!

  • Ray D. KD6FHN

    Dean & Lisa, like someone once said, “You may only pass this way once in your life, make the most of it while you can”. God Bless

  • Bounce

    1. Be safe. 2. Have fun. 3. Explore. 4. Entertain the peanut gallery. As much as I’ll miss riding along with you two, you’re too invested in a trip of a lifetime to miss it because of a blog.

  • KM6UK De Witt

    Ok you guys…. I am enjoying your blog so much, and want it every day, that I am willing to pay BIG bucks to have you post them. I hereby pledge, and guarantee, by my word, the sum of $5.00 for you to continue…… Oh well, Abracadabra here and gone.

    Love ya guys, BE SAFE!!! And good riding. Post when you can.

  • Amy E

    Better for you to be out and about,looking, enjoying and interacting with the population. You might not pass that way again. Enjoy!

  • PuppyChow

    Yay! Now with pictures!
    Glad to hear from ya! :)

    So, through all those checkpoints going to Yavisa none of the military guys even dropped the mention that there had been a flood and what in the world were a beautiful Amazonian and Mr. Miyagi going there for?

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