Friday, October 14, 2005

Some downtime

Up at 8:30, after five hours' rest. A post to the "Adventure Rider" website about the Darien has led to a series of communications back and forth. That site certainly has a great deal of activity! It kept me busy.

Turned my attention to the "Therma-Rest Pro-Lite 4" air mattress, which developed a serious mildew problem from being blown up so many times over the months, then stuffed back into a little sack. It reeks, seriously. Sent off an e-mail to their customer service department to see if there's anything that can be done to remedy the problem. (It sounds minor, but when it's a key component to your mobile home, it's serious!)

Over a pancake breakfast, I met Carlos Ledo, the Sales Manager (and acting GM) of the Hotel Costa Inn. Learned that his cousins own the hotel and he takes care of much of the daily operations. They're all from Galicia, Spain. They run quite a good establishment that draws travelers from around the world. The restaurant turns out some excellent dishes that keep me from going out to eat! (See their website: Link)

Took the bike over to the "Car Spa" on Ave Brazil to get a high pressure wash. That got most of the Darien mud off. I'm still working on getting it out of the rest of my stuff.

A few blocks away, I found a large BMW dealer. I was surprised to find they have a motorcycle deparment; I don't recall seeing it listed on-line. I met Luis Torrero, the head of the department; a great guy. He took a look at tires and brakes and said everything looks good. He replaced the broken turn signal assembly (at no cost). Then he offered me coffee at their bar. We spent about an hour talking about all the travelers who have passed through Panama, many visiting his shop. Together, we looked at some of the travelers' websites.

I mentioned that I wanted to get tires soon. He called up a fellow biker, Axel Gauster, who keeps an extra set of tires in his home. Axel offered them to me if I need them, but I told him it's a little too soon to replace them. Maybe in Bogota, or Quito.

David George called me at the hotel while I was just finishing dinner. He was in the area and dropped by. He has arranged a boat to Colombia with his Japanese motorcycling friends, leaving tomorrow. Perfect! He was able to spend a day on a tug boat in the canal, arranged by Caesar Viallogos, who we met last week on the Panama City bike ride.

David and I talked until 10:00, mostly about being "out of our element" and how the "animal" (our instinct) tries to compensate for that discomfort, and about our personal missions: why are we out here? That seems to be something we're both still trying to answer.

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