January 29, 2019
From Gualaca-Chiriqui Grande to Boca Chica, Panama
Kept the ride short today, and I’m glad I did.
Since I stayed up late last night, I woke up late this morning. Unfortunately the start of the day was slow again. I packed the Motorcycle in the heat and got it out of the secure gravel yard next to the hotel. It was hard maneuvering it out of it’s spot, and the heat showed on me, as my t-shirt was already soaked.
Off I went! Rerouting the last five minutes of the ride I did in darkness to get to the hotel. It was a nice road. I then went on highway 10, into the area I would have kept going last night had I not asked for directions to a hotel. The road went uphill into the jungle and there was no big city. Had I continued on the road, I’d be knocking at one of the hillside sheds and asking if I could camp on their property.
I continued upwards into the mountains, I believe I was at 1200 metres above sea level in the Fortuna Forrest Reserve. It was a sharp contrast to the sea level hotel I stayed at last night. The roads were a comfortable curvy, with some potholes and a few construction zones where all traffic had to stop for an average of five minutes.
While at a scenic stop on top of one of the mountains, I met Rick and Yvette from Calgary, Alberta. The were coming from the Pacific side and expressed how they enjoyed a guided hike in the jungle in one of the cities. They were planning to spend the rest of their vacation time driving around Panama in their rented vehicle. Rick said that he had driven Costa Rica and found their roads to be terrible and full of gigantic potholes. We likely took different roads, because I thought those roads were excellent.
During the rest of the ride climbing the mountains I again was amazed at the thickness of the jungle near the roadway. It devoured some street signs that were barely visible. I wasn’t able to see any monkeys on today’s ride, however I’m sure they were not far. They could be a few feet from the roadside and no one would be able to see them.
I’m enjoying seeing the jungle. Especially those long dangling “Tarzan” rope-like vines hanging down tall trees. Something about them… maybe it’s the kid in me that wants to give it a try. But then, I’d have to get deep in that wild jungle. Oh well, I’ll enjoy them from afar.
At the end of Highway 10, I merged back onto the Pan American Highway. It was a big four lane highway at this stage. A very rare kind of road during the journey. Most vehicles were travelling between 110 and 130 km/hour, yet the posted sign was for an 80 km/hour maximum speed. I rode at a speed slower than most vehicles. I don’t care for speed, and I don’t want to get a ticket on the rides.
I rode into Boca Chica, a small coastal town. I would later find out that the population here is only 200. I found a nice hostel, La Resiidencia de La & Ma. I soon found out the owners were originally from Milan Italy. One of the guests there Michèle, was also an Italian from Torino. He was an older man, likely around 80 years old.
About the same time I was checking in, I met with Don, an 80 year old man that looks at most 65 years old. We chatted a bit and he told me that he too enjoyed motorcycle touring and he had actually ridden on all the seven continents, and sailed around them too. He invited me for beer at his place that night. However, at that time, I was having a conversation with Michèle and the hostel owners and felt it would be rude to leave. I hope we can grab a beer some time in the future. Maybe on my way back.
As suggested, I spent some time to take a boat to get to an island about 200 meters away from the Boca Chica dock. Once on the island, I saw monkeys in the trees at a few places then took a 20 minute walk through the jungle until I reached a secluded beach. During my walk on the beach, I found several coconuts that seemed to have just fallen off one of the many coconut trees. Wished I had a machete. Maybe I’ll buy one soon. In the jungle areas, all the cool guys seem to have one.
I also saw a hawk of sorts feeding on a kill. At first, I couldn’t tell what it was, but later I saw the tail end of another bird. I got about 15 feet away from it and then decided to leave it some space. I felt a little like Tom Hanks on the deserted island. Exploring and assessing all that was around me.
Tomorrow, I’ll head to Pedasi. A must see location suggested by the Hostel owners. The city falls about half way between my current location and Panama City, where I’ll be heading the next day.
I wonder what the must see is all about.