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  #16  
Old 11 Jun 2012
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Originally Posted by Neil View Post
Hey guys, I've not been around to reply lately to get back to this discussion, so sorry about that.

Interesting discussion and I'm amused at how many people who haven't tried it are so keen to discourage others. I am not saying that I'm going to succeed, or even try it myself, but was keen to know what the consensus was.

Back to the digressing sub-discussion:
Maybe it's a Spanish thing, being able to note people's origins. I was brought up in Spain in a tourist town serving lots of foreigners, I would say I have a good eye for nationalities. I am often utilizing this ability as a conversation starter, even in sub-Saharan Africa it was remarkable how different looking each nationality were, Ethiopians are a striking contrast to their neighbours in Kenya.
Neil,

People are not saying "don't go", but just raising awareness of the difficulties you could face, especially if the first wrong or right 1st impression was that you hadn't collected too much info.

Some have said "go for it". I personally have said "probably all said that to Helge and he made it". We all here have heard others around saying "you won't do this or that" and know it is a pain. But this is a different case.

Bastards would say: "go & try it" (to force you ego and laugh at you later) or "I said it, you lacked the guts to do it". That would be more amusing, but not the case here. That's why I dislike your sentence: "I'm amused at how many people who haven't tried it are so keen to discourage others". I have never tried dog stools, but that doesn't disqualify me to say "I guess it will be disgusting and unhealthy" if I'm asked.

Ah, it's not taking it personal, it's that I just disliked it, no matter to whom it was intended.

Good luck with your final decision.

Esteban
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  #17  
Old 12 Jun 2012
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You are good in explaining things Estebangc,
you wrote what i was thinking.
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  #18  
Old 12 Jun 2012
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Giant Steps: Amazon.co.uk: Karl Bushby: Books

The Darrien crossing section in Karl Bushby's book 'Giant Steps' is well worth a read and should give you a flavour at least. I opted for the sailboat option and assume there are still plenty boats kicking around if you change your plan.
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  #19  
Old 13 Jun 2012
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Hey guys, estebangc I wasn't directing it at you personally I was remarking on how things are so often directed to the negative... (even my statement seemed to go that way)... I recall in Sudan, I was faced with a similar situation of going 2 ways:

1) 1000km down the Nile on sealed roads to Khartoum scattered with towns.

2) cross the Nubian desert across sand with no roads, no water, no towns no nothing... first town is ~300km away at an estimated 2-3 days ride....

I regret doing the pussy thing and riding the roads. I met my friends a week later in Khartoum, and I felt rather sappy about it, missing out on the Sudanese pyramids etc.

Of course the story is a slightly more complicated than that, there was an injury amongst the people I was travelling with and we split ways, I went with the injured and stayed "safe". More about that here

You can see my similar dilemma with this coming trip, is the Darién Gap another ~Nubian Desert~ or is it a a pointless mission of ego.
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  #20  
Old 13 Jun 2012
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When asked if he would do it again Helge Pedersen, author of 10 years on 2 wheels said "no way". He had no way to know what he was getting into back in those days. Just a stubborn Norwegian who once commited wouldn't give up.

While he technically got his R80 through the Darien, he didn't actually ride it much. Most of the way involved dragging it with the help of villagers and loading it into dugouts to take waterways.

He was sick and exhausted by the time he reached Yaviza.

If that sounds like something you'd like to try have at it.

I have been down in the Darien to the end of the road in Panama. I think an adventurous compromise would be to take the cuttoff at Meteti out the dirt road to Puerto Quimba and catch a launcha to La Palma where you can catch a local boat down to Jurado and get stamped out before taking the cargo boat down to Buenaventura Colombia on the Pacific side. Not many people venture down this route. Off the beaten track. Instead of a month or more this way only takes a couple weeks.

Just a thought.

Kindest regards,
John Downs
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  #21  
Old 13 Jun 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neil View Post
You can see my similar dilemma with this coming trip, is the Darién Gap another ~Nubian Desert~ or is it a a pointless mission of ego.
The desert is rideable. The Darien is not. If you haven't yet gathered the distinction, we've got a serious failure to communicate.

I didn't find this thread unduly negative at all. You asked a question which is often asked, and you were answered rather patiently. If you figure you're still facing a "dilemma," I can't imagine what further information you require to resolve it.

I'd add only that a mildly critical reader of the long distance runner's blog will note that he did not run through the Darien. He merely set off with his armed escort, complaining a bit when he tripped on a root. He then re-materialized somewhat later in Colombia, allowing the more credulous among his audience to conclude what they wished.

Mark
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  #22  
Old 13 Jun 2012
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Originally Posted by estebangc View Post
Ah, it's not taking it personal, it's that I just disliked it, no matter to whom it was intended.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Neil View Post
Hey guys, estebangc I wasn't directing it at you personally I was remarking on how things are so often directed to the negative...
I'm failing to communicate ideas.

Neil, honestly, I wish you the best with any decision you take. Honestly is that, honestly. If you decide not to try Darien (which is 90% of chances to say the least), you will just join the 100% of us here, nothing to blame, no comments, no criticism. Considering it, if seriously, makes you already 1% closer to any attempt, which may be the case for the rest of us who have never considered it, but it's still what it is: an idea (I guess I am failing even more to communicate; by contrast, English is definitely not my mother tongue).

We all have some sort of regrets in life which usually followed hard dilemmas, Nubian Desert for you, Pakistan right after the summer 2010 floods for me. I'm not going to blame the floods or my wife concerns at the time. I won't look for any guilt, nor was I going to force her against her will. I just didn't go. Just me (who knows if I actually I felt relieved, I only tend/want to think that NO, I really wanted it). However, my recipe against any regrets (as Franks Sinatra in My Way, "I had a few") is just to postpone the idea, the day to cross Pakistan will come, sooner or later, of that I'm sure. So I'd do the same with the Nubian desert: "it's in the agenda, yet to come", which is even better than overcoming it doing something different/harder. It will still be there and one day you'll have to come back to try it.

For a pretty balanced advice, maybe follow JDowns', it will sure give a good taste of Darien and a chance to keep on until Colombia if you still feel like or just plan B to "get me outta here". Even turning back after a few days, will still be more than most (all?) of us have tried.

In any case, now I say it, please do not take it personal, behind all these comments there is only good will/faith, in order to support you to take the right decision for you. You asked, people tried to help. Whatever it happens, enjoy your trip and, if you allow me to give an opinion, I would focus on enjoying Central America which is an absolutely gorgeous region, rather than on that piece of impenetrable jungle.

Happy travels,

Esteban
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  #23  
Old 14 Jun 2012
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Originally Posted by markharf View Post
The desert is rideable. The Darien is not. If you haven't yet gathered the distinction, we've got a serious failure to communicate.
Quote:
Originally Posted by estebangc View Post
I'm failing to communicate ideas.
Oh dear ....hehe... I must have read what you guys put wrongly or simply I'm a little dim.

Yeah, OK.

I think what I was struggling to comprehend when I started this thread was whether or not it was feasible, or whether it was a threshold of misery most people choose (rightfully?) to give a wide birth.

I was guessing (when i started this thread) it was analogous with traversing the D.R.C./Angola and how many will ship their vehicles around from Namibia to Gabon (or vice-versa).

I see now it would be similar to trying to build a raft and trying to sail the Bering Strait and not knowing how to swim, or how to navigate a boat... it's not impossible, but certainly wouldn't be as rewarding as the misery you'd endure.
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  #24  
Old 14 Jun 2012
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Though I would not go, I can understand why someone wants to cross it. But taking a vehicle to drag along and wrestle through the jungle (if that's the plan) really makes no sense to me.
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  #25  
Old 16 Jun 2012
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Many say "I drove from Alaska to Ushuaia" and nobody did because of the Darien Gap.
But is it worth it to bring the bike through unknown territory?
Could you drive it or would you have to push it.

To be honest, I was more than once in troubles in known territory.
The rivers were too deep, the mud too slippery, the way blocked by mudslides or fallen trees or it was so freezing cold where the bike had to break down.
But I always was on a "way", were people would come (at least after a while) or were people were reachable within a walk.
I would guess: The Gap is a gap, right?

My biggest problem would be to be so isolated.

I have no clue how many kilometers one has to suffer, but the question is: How many kilometers can one make in an hour?
I remember myself in the Agentinian Chaco and the rain came. The sand became an unbelievable slippery mud in two minutes. I lost the bike, could not get ist up, because I was slipping as well. I took two packs and walked somehow to a house 1km away. Under my boots was more and more mud (I grew taller).
I was totally wet and worn out within 15 minutes. Guys came to rescue my bike by pushing it onto old railroad tracks and from there to the house.
Compared to the Gap I surely was on a picknick...

I hate picknicks!
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  #26  
Old 14 Aug 2012
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I left 2011 with the gap in my sights however plans get changed and I have to now wait for the dry season because I have been spending almost a year just riding around the Central Americas the gap can be done again like it has in the past,I have been in the research mode for two years and there are some important things to think of like Fuel , Tires (lots) there are plants with needle sharp thorns that pierce rubber with absolutely no effort, Money (well hidden) you will need it for purchasing permission to go through tribal areas, Boat ride/s.
I have even spoken to some Heli loggers that have worked "ahem" alongside the Darien and thier information is bleak but do able.The logging has reduced the distance to almost 85 miles but the logged areas are a veritable maze of paths and old camps that can have you running in circles.There is so much negativity towards crossing the Darien I was asked if I am getting discouraged My answer," I'll let you know next time I see ya."
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  #27  
Old 14 Aug 2012
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Bike.

The present issue of Bike magazine in the UK includes a short piece with photos of two German riders who recently crossed the Darien Gap. Lindsay.
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  #28  
Old 10 Sep 2012
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This is a good read on the subject
"Obsessions Die Hard" by the late Ed Culberson.
Personally, I do not see a parallel between the Nubian Desert and the Gap, unless you equate pushing a motorcycle 80+ miles through the unknown with riding an established route from A to B.
Negative I know but some realism has to enter your planning.

What ever you choose have fun and be safe.
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  #29  
Old 21 Sep 2012
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To bring attention to my blog I have posted this....

Many Americans are unsure if it is possible to drive from the United States to South America. Find out here: twowheelsthreeamericas

It's real funny man. Lots of smart*ss remarks but no one confirms nor denies that it is possible.

Besides, what is there to see except jungle and half-naked natives.
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  #30  
Old 12 Oct 2012
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How much did it cost to get you and your bike across?? Thanks!
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