I got up today with the goal of going to the towns of Alta Cima and possibly San Jose. These towns were up the mountain in the biosphere reserve of El Cielo. The road was wicked good... for dual sport riding that is. Some gravel, some rocks, curvy, sheer drop offs, some steep grades, beautiful views and lots of butterflies.
However, one of the things I've learned about dual sport riding is to ride within my limits and the limits of my bike. Emi is a great girl and will go just about anywhere. However the load of gear that I was asking her to carry was weighing her down. This trail was challenging her and me. I'd say the trail was probably a 3 out of 4 in terms of difficulty. I realized that I was pushing my limits. After some time and considering that I was miles from help or a good bike shop I decided to turn around.
I made my way back to the town and safety of Gomez Faria and treated myself to some ceveche and a beer. I camped at La Poza Azul. It was a great day of dual sport riding. Great day overall. Best part... I lived to tell about it.
In August 2011, I purchased a new 2011 Suzuki DR650 motorcycle for a trip through South America. The engine, exhaust, chassis and suspension have been maintained in the original (stock) configuration. This approach was chosen to increase reliability and facilitate repair or replacement of items with original parts while traveling. The modifications were only made to the motorcycle to add durability, safety, comfort and protection. The prices listed below were the original costs of the items. The prices are listed to serve as a reference point for the cost of the build.
Many of you that follow this blog know that I really enjoy hiking, camping and backpacking. Whether it is camping in the front country or back country... it is all good.
I recently came across a resource that has really made it easier for me to research and plan my trips. The website, app and community are called TheDyrt. "The Dirt" is an idiom which means the gossip or real story. So getting TheDyrt is a play on words which translates to finding out the real story about campgrounds.
TheDyrt.com website allows users to search for campgrounds in the U.S. (currently only available within the U.S.) and read user generated reviews of the campgrounds. Sometimes the reviews are very general and sometimes very specific - down to the campsite number or cleanliness of the facilities. The website markets itself and its service as the Yelp.com of camping.
UPDATE as of April 2015. The roll-on roll-off ferry service Ferry Xpress to cross from Panama to Colombia has suspended their service.
The Darien Gap is a 30 mile stretch of land that lies between Panama and Colombia. It is thick jungle that is pretty inhospitable to most human beings. There are some indigenous people, guerrillas and drug runners that do inhabit the area.
There was one group of adventure motorcyclists that crossed through the Darien Gap in 1995 on specially modified motorcycles. Their journey is documented at Outback of Beyond.
For most adventure motorcyclists there are a few options for crossing the Darien Gap.
1. Ship your bike from Colon to Cartagena on a cargo ship and buy a ticket on a separate ship or airplane for yourself.
2. Ship your bike from Colon to Cartagena on a passenger sailboat that will carry both you and your bike.
3. Ship your bike from Panama City to Bogota on a cargo airplane and buy a separate airplane ticket for yourself.