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Route Planning Where to go, when, what are the interesting places to see
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Old 2 Sep 2001
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pan america / trans america

i and 2/3 friends are looking to run from alaska to chilie,but we dont want (particually) to do major roads that everyone runs on... we are after far more "zen" roads, the old roads with the sights but still make the distance. The internet is proving poor/hidden as an info provider. ideally we want to end up at the bottom at about new years eve, (not this year), and leave maybe 4-5 months beforehand. does anyone out there have ANY ideas of times, routes and (unfortunately) costs. any info would be well appreciated!
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Old 8 Sep 2001
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I too tried to find secondary road info on the net before our trip down the Pan Am this year, but was also left dissapointed. It didn't really matter in the end, though, since the best info you'll find will be when your in the area. You'll meet other travellers who can pinpoint good routes, bad routes etc. With your time schedule, you should be able to take things as they come.

Going down in the fall should at least give you good opportunity to take the mountain roads of Peru and Bolivia, since it should be fairly dry. We sadly had to skip large portions of Peru's mountains because of the wet, which was painful since Peru was my favorite country on this trip. I know it's possible to do the whole length of the country without touching the Pan American (runs along the coast), and that should give you plenty of good views and adventure. Also Bolivia is supposedly fantastic in the mountains, and fully possible to travers from north to south in the dry season.

Have a nice trip

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Old 11 Sep 2001
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wicked. thanks for the info. sounds like that style suits us anyway
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Old 17 Sep 2001
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I'm leaving for Mexico/CA and perhaps S. America in early Jan. I'd love to connect - in person or stay in touch with email. I'm riding a y2 KLR650.

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Old 21 Sep 2001
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I will be traveling from south to north in 2003 but I wonder if there is an overland-route from Colombia to Panama. I can't find one yet (although I have a map wich shows one), every one say's it is not possible.

You seem to be the one to ask.

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Old 22 Sep 2001
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Everyone's partially right. The Darien Gap IS possible, there is no "route" and your odds of getting through alive today are slim.

The "route" has been done exactly twice, I read the book by the first guy to do it on a bike, Ed Culberson, (get his book on our books pages - "Obsessions die hard") and know the second, Helge Pedersen, and he wouldn't consider doing it again, even disregarding the main deterrent today - guerilleras, drug smugglers, and bandits in general.

The whole area is a heavy drug area, and is considered very dangerous. The Panama military won't even go in there.

The area itself is your worst nightmare jungle. Helge tells of wading through swamps up to his neck, pushing the bike in a tiny dugout canoe, covered with leeches all over his body, watching snakes slither by, then winching the bike up steep jungle hills and slashing a trail with a machete. Total mileage on the bike's odometer after the whole 50 mile stretch - 2. The rest was carried or dragged. And it took two guys, one bike, two weeks.

Not recommended.

The best is to fly from Bogota, Lima, or Quito, to Panama. Quito can be difficult due to small plane size. Going south, do not fly to Ecuador unless you have a carnet.

Grant Johnson

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