Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Day 94: Rio Claro, Costa Rica to Santiago, Panama

Greetings fellow cerebral travellers.
We're in Panama. Phew. Our worries about meeting the Steilraht have diminished but it's been a blast - six countries in as many days?

Because of the wet gear in our panniers, Shirl and I were up super early to get things sorted, wrapped an plastic and packed. We're trying hard to have things in our panniers that we hardly ever use so we can go into accommodations with just the tank bag and the two Ortleib bags. So far, so good.

We got away from out hotel at about 630. It was such a contrast from the Hilton we stayed in yesterday - I really enjoyed it. We shared the hotel with truck drivers and others travelling for work. It was a bit noisy at times but ok.

We got on the road and it wasn't far to the border. On the way we went past this amazing graveyard.

As usual the border was marked by queues of trucks.

We got on with it as best we could. A helper attached himself to us but we made it clear there were no deals. He was actually quite helpful. Leaving costa rica was quite easy and then across the border. Insurance first and then bizarrely upstairs to have our insurance stamped. Huh?

Then on to several counters to get ourselves in to Panama. Slow slow slow.

Once cleared (it only took and hour and a half so I'm giving you the condensed version here) we headed off down a multilane freeway to David.

Complete with banana trucks. :-)

Then we hit a thunderstorm and pulled over to huddle in a bus shelter.

There was a shop across the road so I went over under the umbrella for some emergency supplies.

I have lost so much weight that on the way back my Draggin jeans, heavy with water just slipped off - I had my hands full with brolly and drinks. Not a pretty sight.

We were joined by two schoolgirls on their way home who were quite bemused.

Soon however we were back on the road again. And then it began to bucket down even more. This time we stopped in a bar. It was great, we just drove the bikes straight in!

We made a strategic decision at this point to stop off at Santiago and not go on to Penonome. We found this extraordinary hotel called La Hacienda.

Here are some pics.

It has been great. An excellent meal and a few beers and my friends and family, quite frankly, I'm stuffed.

Good night.

Today's run: 282kms
Cumulative: 25,722kms
Tipovers: 4

Location:Santiago, Panama

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