The Deadhorse to Ushuaia 2011 trip started to form about three years ago and the planning has been an adventure. I've been Beemer rider and enjoyed close to 200K on a number of LTs. Figured a GS was the bike for this trip so bought a R1200GS in April 2010 and took the Rawhyde Class to get a better feel for the bike and gravel. Finished the Reno to Deadhorse to Reno portion of the trip in August 2011 and on 30 September will head south. If all goes as planned Dave Rankine, my riding buddy, and I will be in Ushuaia by mid December.
Sara, my spouse, will meet me in Bogota on 10 November and we'll ride together to Bariloche. She'll jump off there and do some hiking in Patagonia with her sister while Dave and I finish the ride. We'll then take a trip to Antarctica before flying home in January.
Today was 67 miles, in heavy rain, from Ciudad Neily, Costa Rica to Boquete, Panama. We departed at 09:00 and arrived in Boquete at 12:30.
The border crossing from Costa Rica in to Panama took 2:10. We were just ahead of the swarm or it would have been maybe 3:30. Dumb luck.
They required a $2 fee to fumigate the bikes, in the pouring rain, so they could be brought in to Panama. Go figure.
We staying at the Valle Del Rio. Nice place and good Wi-Fi but only in the lobby.
Rest day here tomorrow, 1 November, then on to Panama City on Wednesday, a 283 mile day. Dan Porter, a friend that lives here, warns of "radar' traps between here and Panama City. Basically all they want is $$$. The crooked cops are getting to be pretty old. Then of course there are the crooked bureaucrats at the border crossings. Makes one appreciate the good old U.S.A. and for that matter Western Europe and the U.K.
Today is a rest day in Boquete. We tried to make it to the volcano but when we got to the view point, about 8 miles, it was clouded in. To get to the base of the volcano was another 7 miles on a very poorly maintained, twisty mountain road and we figured it just wasn't worth the risk. And it was no fun to ride.
Had a great Italian dinner with Dan Porter at his favorite restaurant.
We stayed at the Valle del Ria Inn. Nice place but the Wi-Fi only worked in the lobby. No fun.
We left at 07:00 today to beat the afternoon thunder storms. Its about 25 miles from Boquete to highway 1 and the road is being made from a two lane to a four lane. Slow going but it'll be great when its done.
Heading to Panama City we saw National Police Moto Cops every three to five miles. They have handheld radar guns. Doesn't much matter as they decide to pull you over and come up with a reason. We were five miles under the speed limit and most everyone was passing us and they'd pull us over for 'speeding'.
The first two we got off by playing dumb. The last guy, just outside Panama City got us for $15 each. He had Dave hide the cash in his pannier. The cop then had us stand back and searched the pannier. Guess what, the money disappeared. It's getting pretty old actually. They're all friendly but why shouldn't they be, we're giving them money.
Welcome to Central America. Wonder what South America will bring.
Got to Panama City at 14:00. Hired a cab to lead us to Panama Passage. He got lost too. Finally found it at 14:30. I'd explain it to you but they're moving on 15NOV11 and haven't yet found a place.
It was a 292 mile day. Oh, just as we started across the Bridge of the Americas the afternoon thunderstorm hit. Wow, does it ever come down. Buckets!
We'll be here November 2-8.
Tired to go to the airport (PTY)_on 3 November but its their Independence Day and so many of the roads were blocked for parades that we couldn't make it. Hard to believe but the road to the airport was closed. We tried again on the 4th and made it. I spoke with the Girag Air Cargo folks. We'll bring the bikes out to the airport on Monday, the 7th, pay the $902, (cash only) they'll put them on pallets, do the paperwork, etc. and the bikes will 'fly' to Bogota (BOG) on the 8th at 06:00.
We'll fly PTY/BOG on the 9th. Sara will fly in to BOG from Reno on the 10th. The wild card at this point is how long will it take us to get the bikes through customs in Colombia. As soon as we get the bikes we'll continue south.
In the mean time we're in a holding pattern at Panama Passage. Did some sightseeing today on the bike. Tomorrow, Sunday, I've hired a gal to take us on a tour of the city and to see the canal and the canal museum.
Took the bikes out to Girag Air Cargo today for shipment to Bogota on Tuesday. The process took from 10:00 to noon. Not bad as some border crossing have taken over four hours.
Total cost $902 (cash). Required two copies of: title, registration, passport and aduana.
The fee is set so they don't weight the bike. Put it on a pallet so the windshield, mirrors and panniers can stay on.
Easy process. No help needed. The hard part is finding the air cargo area of the airport.
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