Sunday, February 10, 2008

Day 27 - the final push to the Canal!!

We made it!!!!!

Day 27, our last travel day, was a day to remember. We left San Jose and arrived in David, the first large city in Panama, the afternoon before. By perservering, and crossing the border late in the day rather than waiting for morning like we usually do, we were able to cut our travel time to the Canal down to two days from three. We forgot about the time zone change though, so we actually started the day at 7:30, not 6:30 like we planed.

The roads in Panama are great and Panama itself is much like Costa Rica with a few differences. The countryside in the western half is as lush, green and beautiful as Costa Rica. There´s no litter to be seen and a noticible lack of tourists. My kind of place! I have friends that have bought property here and I now see the appeal. I certainly had visions of a large Finca for myself - hey, we can all dream.

Our first stop was a little roadside restaurant that we pulled into for breakfast. Parked out front were a dozen different motorcycles of various types and sizes. It turns out this was the Saturday morning ride for the Black Hawks, a local motorcycle club. Before we could even dismount, they were up and out of the restaurant, all wanting to introduce themselves and welcome us to Panama. And unlike Canada, sport bike riders, cruisers, Chinese Harley wannabe´s and everything in between all rode together. It´s the ride that matters, not the motorcycle. We had a great time, exchanged e-mail addresses and made many new friends.

We hit the road again but as we headed east we dropped into the lowlands. The temperature climbed and the countryside became drier. Our next stop was another little roadside place where we pulled into for a Coke. From a distance we saw bikes parked out front and assumed it was our new friends from breakfast. It wasn´t. It was another motorcycle club out for a ride - but the reception was just as as warm and friendly. This time the bikes were bigger, newer and MUCH better than our Silverwings but instead of looking down their noses at us we were immediatley part of the rider fraternity. Thanks Rudy, we loved talking to you and meeting you and your friends. Cheers!

From there it was time to knuckle down, suck it up and put on miles. The temperature was now in the mid 30´s, and we were hot, sweaty and tired, and at the point where we´d normally stop, but with only a few more klm to go we pushed on.

And then it happened: we followed the signage to Panama City and eventually crossed the Bridge of the America´s! It´s a HUGE bridge that spans the bay leading to the Panama Canal and from it´s highest point we could see the Pacific, the Canal, the locks and Panama City itself! We were there! We´d done it! Horns honking, fists raised, eyes blury with manly tears we managed to give each other high fives at 60 KPH without killing ourselves and rode into Panama City!!

Waiting for us were Sheri and Rosi, very much the worse for wear. The poor girls had ridden an overnight bus from Costa Rica in order to meet us at the end. They planned a huge welcome, but like all things Central American, it didn´t go completley as planned. The Hotel I had booked on the internet was an absolute dive! They arrived at 4:30 in the morning, after 12 hours on the bus, only to find a room that was probably rented by the hour and a hotel you would´t put your dog in. So, guide book in hand, they had to scramble to find a room for all of us, with parking, all with no sleep and in 30 degree temperatures. When we eventually arrived at the original hotel though, they were sitting on the road waiting for us! They grabbed a cab and took lots of pictures while we followed them to a MUCH nicer hotel. All´s well that ends well.

The final day was another 448 klm, bringing the total to 6,968! We traveled through eight different countries, crossed difficult borders, dealt with cold, heat, traffic, smoke, smog and wayward animals on the road, and throughout it all WE LOVED IT!

Team Panama 08 made it! And that includes ALL OF US! There was a little piece of Kevan´s spirit in Steve, Brad and I and he as much made this journey happen as any of us.

Congratulations BUFF - you did it!

Team Panama also includes Dad and Carol, for all their help, especially when we arived with the truck in November, and for seeing us off at the outset. And most importantly, Karen, Joyce, Rosi and Sheri - without their love, support and faith none of this would have been possible.

So now it´s done. It´s almost a little sureal and I´m not sure what the future will hold but for now we´ll savour the memories and play tourist for a few final days in Panama. I also have to make final arangements for Flurry :-(

Adios Mi Amigos Y Familia!!


  1. Way to go guys !!!

    Congratulations !!


  2. Congratulations everyone!! We've been dedicated fans of your blog from the day it started Dale, and have enjoyed your great story telling. It's been emotional for us from our comfy chair in front of the computer, we can't imagine how it's been for all of you. Once again...CONGRATS~!
    Shawna & Gerry

  3. Hey everyone, this has been an unbelieveable joy to read everyday. I am so happy you made it and have a GREAT time the rest of the way. The writing has been fantastic. I can't wait to read the site every time I open up in the morning. Love to Stevo and Sheri and see you in April.

  4. Congratulations Guys!!

    I have enjoyed reading the blog. I miss you already Sheri! Big hugs to you and Steve.


  5. What an amazing journey.

    Thank-you dear friend, for letting us once again live vicariously through you. This time as you wound your way on a "live life" journey through central america.

    All our love
    Kathleen & Richard

  6. Congratulations - sounds like quite a journey.

    I'm going to Panama City soon - what was the name of the dump hotel and the nice hotel you went to?