Friday, April 15, 2011

The end of the road, for me.


When I left Canada on this amazing journey my intention was to travel as far as humanly possible by road south from my home in Nelson, British Columbia.  That location is Yaviza, Panama, just in the Darien Gap that segregates Panama and Columbia (Central America and South America).  I saw a photo from a fellow ADV rider at a walking bridge in Yaviza where you can no longer travel south (unless you ship your motorcycle and yourself around the gap via boat or plane).  My plan was to take the famous photo at the end of the road and then turn around and start heading home.  About 2 weeks ago, I decided not to head to the bridge.  My reason was simple, I really wanted to see the Panama Canal and Panama City, but I only wanted the 'photo' of the bridge at the end-of-the-road and that wasn't reason enough to go there, therefore an easy decision to cut it off my list.  As far as I'm concerned, this is the end of the road for me and I'm jazzed I made it this far and I'm equally jazzed to start heading north and home.  Home.  It is where the heart is.  It is always where my heart is.  I'm so lucky to love where I live.   

I've decided to keep this post short.  Loads of photos and less writing.  My journey from Nicaragua into Costa Rica and then into Panama has been fantastic.  Lots of interesting moments over the past week which include having a bee fly into the sleeve of my riding jacket and sting me good,... thankfully installing an extra carb-vent into my KLR before leaving Canada (same as a snorkel on a 4x4 truck) for 2 deep river crossings in Costa, I'd still be in the middle of those rivers had I overlooked that modification to my bike,... pushing through an indigenous road-blockade in Panama, riding Rojo over logs and brush blocking the road while getting yelled at by protesters and thankfully not stoned,... and this morning, touring the Panama Canal.  All, truly memorable experiences not mentioning the cool folks I've bumped into, the excellent food I've eaten and the rain falling from the skies earlier than normal.  

I'll now let the photos do the rest:

Christian - owner of Calocita where I stayed at Santa Theresa, Costa Rica.

Santa Theresa, Costa Rica.

Dusty, busy roads of Santa Theresa, Costa Rica.

Infamous 'ding-repair' shop in Santa Theresa.

Saturated ferry photo en route to mainland Costa Rica from the Nicoya Peninsula heading east

Heading east to mainland CR.
I took this shot as I was getting off the ferry and gearing back up - it was a tad warm. 

Croc-stop south of Jaco, Costa Rica.
Jaco region, Costa Rica.

An amazing, eccentric guest house in Estrillos Oeste, Costa Rica.
My room for the night at the top left of this photo - 'Thanks Lee! a true pleasure.'

My 5 guard dogs at Rancho Cannatella, Pavones, Costa Rica and yes, the waves at Pavones are worth the trek.
Joseph of Rancho Cannatella took me from Pavones, which is in southern CR, to the Panamanian border... along a fun, greasy dirt-road which hugged the CR/Panama border. 
At the CR/Panama border saying thanks and adios to Joseph after a fun morning spin to the border

From Nicaragua south I bumped into a few other ADV riders at various places along the way and on the road

I'll briefly introduce them:

Paul and Rene from Holland.  They were backpacking in CA and decided to buy a bike and travel on their own.  They did their best at kitting out their new moto out and hitting the road.  Such a great story.  I hope to meet up with these 2 on my travels back north. 

Meeting Frank (Panny) at the Costa Rica/Panama border - he and his girlfriend are traveling the world on Honda Transalps.  Turns out, they were in Nelson, BC last summer.

Frank and his Honda Transalp from Germany
Frank and Simone on their around the world adventure, paperwork complete... well, almost.

Met Tim and Camilla, 2 more ADV riders from Nova Scotia just south of the Panama border.
My plush digs at Eco Venao Lodge in Playa Venao, Panama

Views from my Casita, Playa Venao
Arriving to my final destination - Panama City, Panama.

Mercado de Mariscos (Seafood market), Panama City
Mercado de Mariscos, Panama City

Casco Viejo, Panama City 

Panama City, Panama

Casco Viejo, Panama

Casco Viejo, Panama
Shot from the roof of my hotel, Casco Viejo, Panama (looking south)

A mix of old and new - Panama City

Casco Viejo, Panama

Miraflores Locks at the Panama Canal


Miraflores Locks, Panama Canal

Miraflores Locks, Panama Canal - official web including live cams!

Now, I plan to turn Rojo around and start heading back north, either tomorrow or the next day.  I have also decided to keep my surfboard seeing that I won't get much selling it down here and I also really like the board :)  I am still very surprised how solid and stable it is on the bike so I figure why not bring it back north with me.  I have looked into shipping it back home but I don't think I'll be able to work it all out in the next day or two.  I'm excited to get into the mountains more on my route north and plan to check out a few areas including Boquete - Panama, Turrialba and Monte Verde - Costa Rica, and then...???  

The path will unfold as it has been each and every day.

Perhaps my surfboard will start convincing me to head back to the coast?

All I know is that I'm now going to be slowly working my way north and this is something that is fresh, exciting and new. 


  1. Hey BA, I hope this adventure has been everything you hoped for, thus far! Looking forward to hearing more about your travels upon your return. Weather has been crappy at home so you picked the perfect year for your adventure! Can't wait for a catchup dog walk or beer at Mike's! Kristen

  2. great blog BA! Can't wait to chat when you get back.

    Ryan MARTIN

  3. Safe travels! Great read and motivation to pull the trigger on a KLR, maybe this summer. Have to show the wife the blog.

  4. Awesome trip! Hope the gps maps worked well for you! Makes me want to go back there soon.


  5. BA. As you head back to BC one of my other friends is off to Mexico today and then sailing the South Pacific to French Polynesia and beyond. I love having adventurous friends!!!