THAT'S why they call it Adventure Travel

Trip Start Dec 25, 2009
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Trip End Feb 13, 2010


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Where I stayed
Las Olas Resort

Flag of Panama  , Chiriquí,
Monday, January 11, 2010

Jene was a little sore this morning but was moving alright.  We got a leisurely start and caught the water taxi back to the mainland.  Our bikes were still intact but we paid double the price for parking posted on the sign saying $3.00.  We chalk that up to our lack of Spanish.  We made our way out of town and started to climb up the mountain through Delmonte and Chiquita banana and pineapple plantations.  The road was nice and curvy.  It started to drizzle so we donned our rain gear.  It kept us rainproof but we were just as wet from sweat.  We caught up to the rain, going from sprinkle, drizzle to down right down pour.  Twisty roads, then up into the fog and of course lets add in some major construction at every drainage as the road has been washed out knocking out the bridges and culverts.  Mud and slippery drainage crossing made even the slow travel dangerous.  The fog got so thick I could not keep Jene in sight.  Probably about 20 feet at most.  We were happy to start down and crossed a major dam holding back a large lake.  A power plant with high power lines lined the road.  As we crossed the mountain, we hit some high winds.  Now, I mean the highest wind I have ever experienced on a bike.  Jene was in front and I could see him wobble from the wind, leaning into it at a severe angle.  He warned me on the radio so I was a little more prepared than he was for the gusts.  I leaned the bike into the gust so far that I was dragging my left center stand on the pavement.  I couldn't go any further over and still stay upright.  I had to steer into the left lane to compensate.  I was at the limit of the bike and rider when the terrain changed blocking the gust a little, enough for me to regain control.  We had several other times like this but not so severe. 

As we cornered down the mountain there were two corners that took my breath away.  They were decreasing radius curves, sloped away from the corner, and had large bumps in them.  The second one almost threw me as I started to corner, noticed the bumps, braked hard, and leaned into the right hand corner.  When I hit the first of the two bumps, my bike bottomed out scraping on the right side of the center stand.  That straightened me up causing me to stop cornering for about 10 feet.  That made me go into the other lane where I hit the second bump, the process was repeated but now I was running out of lane.  Luckely not oncomming traffic.  I ended up in the 10" shoulder of the lane, leaned into the scraping of the center stand, with 3" to spare!  The terrain off of the road was not forgiving to continuing on with the trip.  Man we were looking forward to getting to my friend Elain's condo on the beach!  Today the center stand comes off!  I think I will look for another shock thinking it might get me a little higher clearance.

We came around a corner where the wind was blowing branches off the tree and into our lane.  Oncoming traffic didn't much care about my lane of travel and took part of it too.  Just as I was through this woodpile, a branch about 1" in diameter came off the tree and hit me in the top of the helmet.  Sorry, we didn't get any photos of this portion of our adventure, just too busy keeping the shiny side up!

We found our way to David, then followed the signs through farm country to the beach were we not stay for a few days.  Jene is trying to get his box repaired, reattaching the lid and straightening the box itself.

We were so happy to end this day of about 6 hours in the saddle, Jene had stiffened up into the riders position and took awhile to starighten out.  We met Chuck our roommate for the next few days at elain's condo.  She owns a beach house too where se lives.  A hot shower, and off to dinner.  "Oh hey you guys, bring a flashlite as we often see Fer de Lance snakes on the sidewalk at night.  They are very agressive and have a very toxic bite resulting in death in two hours!"  I'm ready to get back on the bikes!
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Comments

twinotterdriver on

Sorry to hear about the suspension problems you're having. "Arrowhead Motorsports" is located here in Moab. He has a full line of KLR accessories including three different rear 'socks', some with as much as 600+ in/pound springs. He's on line at www.arrowheadmotorsports.com. I can pickup and ship FedEx if that would help you out.

Ross

glockrow
glockrow on

Just a word of caution. If you decide to do the Fed-Ex thing. Make sure that you check with Fed-Ex in Panama to find out about customs, duty etc. before you have anything shipped. I don't know how it works in Panama but it can be a nightmare in Mexico. I had a part for my boat shipped by DSL several years ago to San Carlos, it ended up in a customs warehouse in Mexico city where it sat for weeks waiting for clearance and it ended up almost double in price by the time I paid duty on it. Probably a quick check with your friend Elaine will tell you about any difficulties in obtaining things from home....Gar

Bill Horvath on

JD, I'm sore from just reading about some of the conditions you have experienced on this great adventure. At my age and all the aches and pains I have, I find the way to go is to fly, of course I don't get to see to country like you.
Keep your powder dry.

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