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Sunday, March 2, 2014

Ciao América Central | Hasta Pronto...

First off, I got some flak for my last post, sorry about that.  I know the 'issues' I described were trivial in the grand scheme, but they were issues to me and piled on all around the same time.  Regardless, the mood has flipped and my frown has certainly turned upside down...  

I enjoyed my last few days in Venao thanks to my buddy Paul who showed up and got me off my lazy ass, introduced me to a ton of people around town, took me on some epic rides, and provided an all around positive and funny vibe.  I love that dude and can't wait to see him again someday soon.  Whether it is in his home country of England, back Stateside, or somewhere on the road, I know we'll travel again together someday soon and will be friends from here on.  Paul, if you are reading this I hope you have a great time in Venao with the old lady.  Catch you on the flip!  PS...  Need to book a show for The Squits in the States someday as well.  :)  

Yesterday I rode from Venao the 225 miles to Panama House B&B where several fellow ADV moto travelers were staying.  Most of them are joining me on the Stahlratte for the five day sailing journey to Cartagena.  There was Sheldon and Ewa who have been traveling for 2 1/2 years and have visited 66 countries thus far.  Sheldon was in Prague and randomly met Uwa there and said "hey, you wanna hop on my bike and travel the world?".  She said "yes" and they've been at it for a year together.  There was also Johnny Alabama, who is on a beautiful Triumph Tiger on his way down to Argentina.  And Jeffrey, who left Indonesia in 2006 and hasn't looked back.  He has traveled over 300k km and visited almost 90 countries to date!  And finally, my new French buddy Julian who has also traveled around 2 1/2 years all over the world.  I met a really great girl last night within minutes of arrival named Kiko from Cali.  She and I hung out last night and then we grabbed the crew to check out the first night of Carnival, which was nuts!

Today we packed up and mounted the bikes for a ride to Kuna country, near Darien.  We had a killer ride and are staying at a place called Hotel Avicar, which is muy tranquilo w/ adequate secure parking for the bikes.  If you make your way down here ask for Andres and he will hook you up.  This is peaceful country living and much, much cooler (from a temperature perspective) than the city, which is blistering.  Tomorrow we wake up super early and make the trek to the dock to board the Stahlratte.  The boat will be sailing for two days through San Blas for some relaxation, beach exploration, spear fishing, etc, etc, etc.  Then we'll sail three days (weather depending) and port in Cartagena on March 7th.  I've been looking forward to this part of the trip since I started planning.  I can't freaking wait...  It is going to be stellar I'm sure.  And it seems the lot of us (so far) all get on really well, so the group on the boat should provide really good energy and fun.  

I really can't believe chapter three of my journey is coming to a close.  I'm filled with excitement and anticipation for the boat trip and the beginning of South America.  I'm also filled with sadness that I'm leaving behind many memories, friends, experiences, new places, and cultures.  There is also the anxiety about the unknown.  I had planned Mexico thoroughly, Central America semi-thoroughly, but South America I intentionally left completely unplanned.  I have a rough outline of where I'd like to go, but no real plans from here on out.  I need to meet a great friend from Denver (Sam - fellow road racer and all around good bloke) on May 12th in Lima, but other than that there are no solid plans, which is nice, but a bit scary.  In addition, I had perfect maps all through Mexico and Central America with BiciMapas on my Garmin Zumo, but have yet to source anything for South America, aside from paper maps and Google Maps on my phone.  I do have Garmin South America, but hear that it blows more than a hooker on crack.  If anyone wants to do me a solid, shoot me an e-mail with your GPS experience through S.A.  

Ok, I think that's all for now.  It's 7:30pm here and I need to grab some dinner and get some rest (by rest I mean several beers w/ Johnny, Sheldon, and Uwa).  Sorry for the short post, but I def wanted to get one in before I'm offline for a week starting tomorrow.  Ciao for now...  

Lovin' life (again) on two wheels...  ~ D

PS...  The road from Cacao to Las Tablas is new, and it is absolutely EPIC on a motorbike.  Views for days, and the curves and fresh tarmac resemble a supermoto race course.  Do it!  Do it now!!! 

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