Wednesday, April 20, 2011
4/16/11: Panama City - Boquete, PA. 320 miles, 8 hours.
I spend the day after the ride to Yaviza basically chilling out and seeing a few little sights about town. In the morning, I say goodbye to Shaun and thank him for everything, promising to let other riders know about Panama Passage. I'm eventually headed to Bocas del Toro, an archipelago in the Caribbean just before the Costa Rican border in the northeast of Panama. Today though, I plan on making it to Boquete, a nice town in the Panama highlands and pretty close to the town where I will take a ferry to the islands. If I push, I should be able to make it by nightfall. I leave late of course and cross the Bridge of the Americas out of town, and head back up the Pan Am. The feeling of heading back home is palpable to me and feels good. Still another 6 weeks, I should have enough time to do what I want to do down here and be back in time. I accidentally take a detour through some congestion, but soon I am spit back out onto the Pan Am, enjoying the smooth asphalt again and relaxing my mind a bit while travelling miles and miles in a straight line. The road strts to curve and dip up and over small mountains as I head through the middle of Panama. I reach David, the major city in the east of Panama, and the junction for the mountain road to Boquete as the sun is going down. The temperature has been amazing the whole ride, and it even starts to get a bit chilly as it gets dark and I wind my way up a mountain. I know this ride is supposed to be spectacular in the daytime, but I will be able to see it clearly in the daylight tomorrow when I head to Bocas. I am not sure I am on the right path, but I look down into a valley and see lights sparkling and I coast down to the bottom, arriving in Boquete. There is some kind of festival going on, and the first two places I stop at are full, but I see a small guesthouse and its perfect, a private room in a nice house for $10. The owner is super sweet and pretty as well which doesn't hurt. She is constantly laughing, talking and smiling, reminding me of "K" in Leon. I take a walk around town at night and get some food. The crisp mountain air and raging river that cuts through the town are picturesque even at night, and the town seems lively. A lot of Americans retiring here as well, because of some article in Vanity Fair or some shit like that. I debate whether or not to stay a day here, but I decide to leave in the morning. Its a nice town, but basically a jumping-off point for activities elsewhere, like canopy tours, coffee farm tours and a lot of outdoor activities. Since I plan on doing these things in Costa Rica anyway, I will get to Bocas and the Caribbean as quickly as I can.