Sunday was a most interesting day San Jose. In an earlier posting I told you about the motorcycle club, M14 that Art Smiley and Gary Pitts ride with. Each Sunday this group meets in San Jose and go for a group ride. There are over 400 members and at least 100 show up each Sunday to participate in the ride.
Sunday was no exception, and I was surprised when we arrived at the meeting place. Over 100 bikes of every type, 125CC Hondas, Harleys of all descriptions, BMWs of all types, scooters--you name it and they were there. The members come from all walks of life. Teachers, judges, doctors, contractors, retired gringos, all sharing a love for riding. There was a group meeting which lasted no more than ten minutes. I was recognized as the Gringo from Texas who was riding to Tierra Del Fuego. Soon we were off, all 100 or more of us. And what a chaotic frenzy. It was worse than riding with my friends in Texas. About forty minutes up a great road and we stopped beside a beautiful church for breakfast. We were obviously expected because they were able to serve all of us in about twenty minutes. Huevos rancho, Gallo Pinto, coffee and fresh bread.
After breakfast with Art, Gary Pitts, Miguel, Chico and Ricardo, Art and I departed because we where expected at a festivity being thrown for the Friendship Force. We went in our riding clothes so we stood out in the midst of this rather sophisticated bunch. A great early dinner, cello music, and then a traditional Costa Rican band made the day complete.
Departing today, I was up early getting packed to depart. Art, Gary and Chico were riding with me part of the way up the Mountain of the Dead, probably to make sure I was really leaving. This mountain is the highest mountain on the PanAmerican Highway, over 11,500 feet above sea level. I believe it is the highest mountain I have every ridden. Fog, rainy clouds, dangerous and numerous curves all conspired to make the ride a challenge.
Art had given me directions to Domenical and by lunch I was on the Pacific coast near Domenical, a small town still affordable and very beautiful--a surfers paradise. After stopping for only about ten minutes, I was on my way down CA2 to the border with Panama. Arriving by 3:00 PM, I had an easy crossing and was on my way within 45 minutes.
Tonight I am checked into a nice hotel here in David and in a few minutes will be calling a Panamanian gentleman whose brother is a pilot and who may be a source to getting my bike and me flown around the Darien Gap. Then, a quiet dinner, to bed early and up by 6:00 AM to hit the road and pursue this adventure.
Two quick items. The BMW R100GSPD is running great, even at 11,500 ft. in altitude, but I do have a slight leak in my drive shaft. Nothing serious yet but I am watching it.
Second, I am surprised at how modern Panama seems. The highway I am on is as good as any I ride on in Texas, the towns are nice, reminding me of central Florida in the early 60s and the people seem as nice as the great people in Costa Rica.