CARTI, PANAMA TO SAN BLAS

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OUR LAST DAYS IN PANAMA

I know that it has been so long since our last post and most are wondering where the heck we are! (we are still in Colombia). I have had a hard time getting good enough internet to upload this video, finally today with help from our new friends here in Bogota, we have success. The video shows our last day or two in Panama and the ride to Carti, where we met the ship.   We have certainly bonded with some of the people we had met during our 4 days on the Stahlratte and have reunited at certain times since then along the way. This truly has been an incredible adventure so far in many, many ways.

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THE “STAHLRATTE”

Crossing the Darien Gap to get to Colombia required us to either fly or take a boat.  For Bentleys sake, flying was not the first option. We were approved by Captain Ludwig that we could bring our pup on board, under the condition that he was only allowed on deck. (he was not allowed on our bed down below) They built him a dog house and most of you all should know by now that Mr. B has never been in one of those in his life, except on the bike. Of course, he would not step one paw in it. 

After leaving Carti, Panama, we cruised through the San Blas Islands. After two hours we anchored in between about four of them and spent two days swimming, snorkeling and eating amazing meals.  We were truly in paradise.  Bentley made many friends and I think he swam off about two pounds! 

At 5:30am on the third day, we took Bentley for one last potty break on the Island before we set sail for Colombia. We brought a small pile of palms and grass off the island onto the ship in hopes that Bentley would use for relieving himself during the 28 hours at sea.  Unfortunately for him, he did not. All three of us took Dramamine and off to bed I went for pretty much 26 hours.  Scott was well enough to tend to Bentley, (thank God) who for the most part did really well, but could not be left alone. So both of them slept on deck that night. It was a great sight to see the city of Cartagena, Colombia the next morning.  It was an even greater relief to get Bentley on land to go to the bathroom!

Despite the rough seas, this was one of the best experiences of our whole trip so far and one that I will never forget. 

 

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PANAMA

Entering Panama was the most challenging and longest border so far.  In both Honduras and Panama I elected to hire a “helper” and both times I did not regret that decision!We spent 5 grueling hours in the intense heat, many km of walking to and from each place and over $200.00 in fees.  It was intense to say the least.

As we rode into Panama my feelings of frustration started to dissipate, as I began to realized that we successfully made it through every country in Central America, AND, in a couple of days would meet up with our good friends, Ryan and Stacia Loe and my son, Chris.

Yes, this was a desperate moment! And soon after, “regrettable” moment!

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 These are photos of our time spent in Panama City, a day trip to a little place on the Caribbean side of Panama called, Portabella. Some of these magical photos are courtesy of Ryan Loe.

We took a two hour ferry ride from the Trump Hotel to the Pearl Islands. We landed in Isla Contradora and had a beautiful 24 hours of paradise. We took a small boat to the Island where “Survivor” was filmed and snorkeled in beautiful clear blue water.  We finished off the day with an amazing feast of fresh seafood.

We end this country with a video and of course it shows our visit to the famous “Panama Canal”

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COSTA RICA

I am behind again!  We are having so much fun, I find it difficult to take the time to blog.  We are now in Colombia, so I will try to get caught up.

We spend the first couple of days in Playa Grande.  It is a quiet little place on the ocean and a very close distance from the very popular beach, Tamarindo.  I was greeted by a Scorpion in the shower, Crocs on the beach and a large Iguana!

Next stop was a couple of days spend in Santa Ana where we reconnected with our friends, Elle and Grant from Canada.  Our horseback riding tour

 

 

We stayed in a small town called Golfito Bay, 45 minutes from the border to Panama. It was wicked hot. We decided to go for a hike which really did Bentley in.  He was overheated for the first time in his life and we had to put him in the shower for 5 minutes to cool him down. Poor baby!


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NICARAGUA-Part two

We left Granada for the Playa, San Juan del Sur. We stayed at a place just on the outskirts of town, called the HC Liri Hotel. It was budget friendly and lovely. From the fantastic owners who ran it to the guests who were staying there, to being right on the beach with only a 5 minute walk to town. They loved Bentley (of course) and made us feel so welcome. 

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NICARAGUA-Part One

Thanks to Horizon´s Unlimited website for world travelers, we found Salvador! Salvador has motor biked to many countries and as a way of giving back to this community of travelers, he offers his home to us wayward travelers (and his mom,whom is a magnificent host!)  A beautiful place in Managua to regroup, rest and recharge. It was a fantastic stop along the way. Salvador has an incredible fleet of motorcycles to rent if you ever want to go on a little adventure of your own! Nicaragua Motorcycle Adventures . From there, we spent a couple of days in Granada.

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A LITTLE TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE

This is a beautiful video that Scott made of our trip in the summer of 2012 in Mexico. 

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EL SALVADOR

Entering our fourth border successfully, we are feeling more confident about traveling with Bentley through each country.

So far, in EVERY country we have been in, someone has helped us and cared for us.  So many times we have stopped on the side of the road and in minutes, someone is there to help.  There are nice people and nicer people.  This is an experience of a lifetime and one that teaches us to live “outside” of the box that society so conditions us to live in and we are learning to be more giving to others as we experience how others are so giving to us. When we see how others live in third world countries, we quickly judge how “we think” they should live.  Because where we come from, it is all about who has the most “stuff” and who is “right”. Here it is all about how to survive and how to better take care of each other. Along the way, we have experienced these amazing people who laugh, who are together and who, despite their lack of, they just want to help with NO expectations in return. Scott and I are learning to see things from their eyes and that most people here are so happy.

This journey is very tough, I won’t lie! Sometimes “heaven” and sometimes “hell”. (a quote from our friend, Jeffrey Polnaja. A world traveler of 79 countries). This has challenged all three of us at times to question whether or not we can continue. Other times, we can’t imagine doing anything else!

This next video is one of the wonderful “breaks” in our traveling that we can sit back and go, AHHHHH and say, yes!, we CAN continue on this journey. To hear the sound of the ocean at night gives us tranquillity. The calmness of the day at the beach to read and rest is what helped us to get recentered and recharged to continue moving forward.

One more video of the rest of our time in El Salvador.  Our friend Richard from Guatemala put us in touch with a moto shop called Motorider. Thankfully they carried the tires we specifically wanted.  So, Mario (the shop owner) provided Scott with work space and for the three of us, a beautiful place to stay at his Coffee Farm up in the mountain. (up the very steep mountain)

With new shoes, chains and sprockets, we are off to Honduras!

 

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GUATEMALA

Entering Guatemala was like a breath of fresh air the minute we entered the country.  I don’t know if it was because we left behind Belize or because it was so beautiful. Maybe both. We rode from the border to El Remate, just below the road to Tikal archeological site with our friends we met along the way, Grant and Elle from Canada. Great people and fun to ride with. As they headed to a camping spot towards Tikal, we stayed at a place called Mon Ami. You guessed right, it is owned by a French guy. This place was right on a beautiful lake called Petan. One of the things I love about traveling through these countries is that when you book your reservation, you just give your name. (no credit card) When you check in, you fill out this very generic form of your information and they say, just pay when you leave. (and do not ask for your credit card number).  So cool.

We left with Grant and Elle after two days of exploring and ended up in Coban.  We hung out a couple of days with them before parting ways as we stayed to do a few repairs on my bike. Found a fantastic little Moto Mechanic shop owned by Juan Carlos. He helped us more than we could have imagined with the bike, but best of all with our friendship!  He and his wife, Sulari are some of the nicest people we have met along the way. We will remember them always!

Last stop was Antigua.  Fun little town with great restaurants, Great views and perfect location to take a tour for the day. A lot of expats live here which meant a lot of English spoken. We stayed at a wonderful bed and breakfast called Chez Daniel. Our room looked directly toVolcán Agua. Directly to the right were Volcán Acatenango and Volcán Fuego. 

Our friends, Richard and Suzanne (who we met in Belize) and Majo took us on a truly amazing ride. We stopped at a Macadamia Nut Farm for the most delicious breakfast. We rode to Lake Atitlan with a river crossing along the way.  (It was Majo and my first river crossing, so fun and Bentley´s too) The lookout over the lake was breathtaking. We ended our day with a fabulous Indian dinner back in Antigua.

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