I decided to sleep in today and take it easy as I was expecting good roads
(thanks for the heads up Jdowns) and no border crossings. I took my time getting
ready and spent some time hanging out with Ed Zachtamundo's friend, Orley, the
think my friend Jeff (Mathews) was right, this little devil was a trained thief!
Look at him trying to get my sick Suunto watch! Actually, he was trying to eat
it and he kept biting it. I started to get worried that he might miss and bite
me and give me the outbreak virus (which would probably happen with my luck), so
we parted ways.
I got back on the road and was soon on a four lane
divided highway. The riding was fast, uneventful, and actually quite boring.
After spending the last few months fighting for my life everyday on the road,
getting on something that was very similar to an American Freeway is almost kind
of a let down.
it's kind of nice not having to worry about coming round a corner and crashing
into a herd of cows (possible in Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua), or running
over an open man hole cover (happened in Mexico, barely avoided in Nicaragua),
or finding that an entire lane of the road has collapsed and is only marked out
by painted white rocks (Honduras). This pic from Honduras pretty much sums it
stopped after about 60 miles and found that my oil was a quite low, almost
halfway down the dipstick. Riding hard on the old XRL really takes it's toll
with oil consumption. I just changed it a few days ago, but I've also covered
1,122 miles during that time, which means that my bike has been slowly
re-hydrating itself on my expensive synthetic Motul 10W-40.
added about 200ml. When I did the oil change at Mario's I measured the oil that
came out of the bike against what I had put in when I changed it last. I then
added the amount of oil that I had put in while riding and came up with 700ml.
So, during an 1,800 mile stretch of pretty hard riding, I managed to lose 700 ml
of oil. I'm wondering what I'm going to lose this time around. I guess that's
why I carry a quart and a half extra.
Still, a lot of my oil freak outs
could be due to improper oil checks. I swear, there's a significant amount of
voodoo magic that goes into checking the oil level on this bike. If you haven't
sacrificed a few small animals to the oil gods during your day's ride, you're
liable to get two drastically different oil readings only a few minutes
As I was riding along, I came up on this truck with a few kids and
what I assumed was their mother. One of the kids started making faces at me and
another put on a mask as soon as he saw me so I tried to take his
can definitley see the mask, but the kid making faces (far left) is a little
harder to see. I also saw this tricked out rig:
assuming they are on a round the world trip. It's looked like a heavily modified
F-350. I wish I could have got some better pictures, but my camera was
I saw three adventure riders (two BMW's and one KLR) today as
well, all heading in the opposite direction. I didn't stop to try and catch
them, but I'm kind of wishing I did.
About 2 PM I crossed the Panama
Canal into Panama city. I managed to snap one horrible picture before my camera
a few minutes later I was at Mamallena's Hostel. $13 for a bunk in the dorm, $30
for a private room. I went for the dorm to save money.
I have mixed
feelings about Hostels. The plus side is that they are generally really cheap,
have good wifi, and good advice from english speakers. Unfortunately, the
backpacker mentality and the adventurer rider mentality don't always mix that
well. I talked about this in depth with all of the other ADV riders at San Pedro
and they all agreed. It's not that the backpackers are bad people or really
weird (though some of them are), they're just have a different mindset most of
the time. Of course, the real downside is that you encounter a lot of Panchos,
Spacers, and Wasteoids.
Panchos are people who walk around wearing those
mexican hoodies that are made from the same material as a drug rug. They think
they are really curturally savy and cool and hip and what not, but are generally
just a Spacer or a Wasteoid, or both. (Chris, if you are reading this, we don't
put you in this catagory).
A Spacer is kind of like a pseudo hippie. I
met a bus full of Spacers at a McDonalds in Coban, Guatemala. They told me that
they had just spent a week in the jungle at "Rainbow Fest". I asked them what
"Rainbow Fest" was and they said that they had just sat around in the jungle and
smoked a bunch of weed, done lots of meditating, made animal noises (i'm not
joking, they actually said this), and did a bunch of other things that involved
good vibes, positive thinking, feelings, etc, etc, etc, My brain just kind of
shut down when they started talking and I started getting glassy eyed and going
into cave man mode. I suddenly felt the urge to kill a small woodland creature
and cook it on a fire right in front of them, or maybe just eat it raw. I had to
force myself to snap out of it and be polite.
A Wasteoid is someone who
has no purpose other than to get totally wasted as frequently as possible. They
may look like a hippie, or a hipster, or a college kid, or whatever, but really
they are just in Central America to drink as much booze and do as many drugs as
they can on the cheap. They may try and pass themselves off as a hippie, but
hippies actually have a purpose (or they used too at least). Wasteoids have no
purpose. They just exist to spend their parents money on getting hammered 24/7,
all while trying to look like they are simple, poor backpackers.
Corey, the two Canadians, identified Panchos and Spacers for us. Since then,
I've been noticing how much you run into those kinds of people down here. It's
eerie and a little frusterating too. I'm going to have to get Corey to write
something about Panchos and Wasteoids, I don't think my definition does it
In any event, I'll get off my rant now. The Hostel seems nice
and Panama City looks very modern. Here's some hastily snapped pictures. The
of the dorm rooms:
back yard where they let me park the bike:
going to go explore a little tomorrow and I'll post some more pics up then. I've
been frying my ass off in my riding gear over the past few days; I may try and
find a motorcycle shop tomorrow and buy some armor that I can wear instead of my
jacket. Does anyone that's reading this know of any good shops in Panama City?