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  #1  
Old 9 Aug 2004
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Which way? North or south (to/from Panama)

OK... I've gotten preliminary approval to take April 2005 off from work for a month-long trip.

I figure that I have three trip options: US-to-Alaska, the Contential Divide trip or US-Panama (or Panama-US).

I'm considering Panama. It's been a dream to see Central Ameria and I've seen parts of Mexico and Belize having driven down in 1997.

I don't think that 30-days is enough to do a US-Panama-US trip. Actually, it is if all you do is ride but that defeats the purpose 'eh?

SO, given this information, which way would you go? North-to-south or south-to-north?

My concerns are simple:

South-to-north:: I *think* I can ship the bike from the US down to Panama in plenty of time to arrive prior to my arrival. Getting it out of customs shouldn't be a difficulty and I start north without having a do-or-die deadline. In other words, if I get back on the 28th or 30th or even a few days late, I can deal with it. I haven't decided about air versus shipping but there's plenty of advice that points to air so I'm leaning that way.

North-to-south: To me, the biggest risk is dealing with shippers at the end of the trip. I've read about shippers agreeing to a price only to have the traveler leave the country, arrive home and find out that another couple of hundred is required to get the bike shipped out. The other part is that this imposes a pretty hard deadline. If you have to be there to get the bike shipped on the 28th and your flights on the 29th, you have more difficulties if you're late. I rather deal with those on the front end.

SO, any advice?

Best regards,
Gerry
PHX AZ
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  #2  
Old 10 Aug 2004
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My only real concern would be quaranteeing that the bike is actually there if you ship it to Panama. Any potential problems shipping out are minor compared to no bike!

Shipping out of Panama is not generally a problem if you go by air. Of course if you ship in by air, similarly it should be no problem.

If you have some flexibility on the return, why book a flight out? Check to see if the flights really are full - I doubt that you would have a problem even booking a day or two ahead. Booking the flight down with the bike DOES give you the advantage of working out all the really tricky stuff - the shipping - well in advance, and you should get the best price possible that way too.

I'd fly in with the bike to Panama and ride north.

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Old 10 Aug 2004
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Thanks Grant for the advice. Now I guess the challenge is finding a carrier that will..uh...carry it down for me on the same flight(s). I'll poke around a bit.

See you in Creel my friend!
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Old 10 Aug 2004
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Howdy, I would agree with Grant on the ship down, ride up. Easier on the ol' noodle if things foul up and bit along the way. If you have to ride 3 full days to get back to work on time is easier than trying to rearrange flights for you and your bike on different day because you missed your flight out of Panama. Having just come through there, its awesome. Enjoy.
...and if I can throw something else in, USA to AK is a wonderful trip as well, and you can ride up to AK and take the ferry back from Haines, AK to Bellingham, WA for around $650 for you and your bike. I did this a couple of summers ago, and actually the ferry ride back was one of the highlights! Its 3 days, chilling on those white chaise lounge chairs on the top deck, covered by plexiglass roof to keep off the rain, and they turn on heaters at night so with a sleeping bag, its super comfy to sleep...and super chill, watching orcas, whales, eagles all from the comfort of your chair. The ferry option allows you to ride up at leisure, then you can blast back from WA to AZ. I just don't know what the weather is like in AK in April. Not terribly warm, I would imagine.
Either way, you win.
Cheers,
Rene

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Old 14 Aug 2004
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You should do a little climate research, April is rain season in Panama/Costa Rica, and they can get a lot of it.
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