New challenges lay ahead as South America becomes a distant memory and Central American tarmac becomes my new companion. Heading out of the super modern Panama city, I once again joined up with the Pan-American highway heading west through a new chunk of land. The initial 300 km’s coming out of the capital were rather disappointing with bad roads, heavy traffic and dismal scenery making for long hot days in the saddle without much to distract the mind from the testing conditions.
Reaching the western half of the country was a relief as the countryside started to take shape and the distance created from the capital leant itself to slightly less busy roads. The Pan-Americana just far away enough from the Pacific coastline not to be able to see her unfortunately nor benefit from her sea breeze
The three day boat crossing coming over from Colombia to navigate the Darien Gap meant I had now fallen behind schedule somewhat and I’d have to try and claw back lost time over the coming weeks. Rolling hills and exceedingly hot days in the saddle making it tough to clock up more than the already serious average of 400 km’s a week.
Reaching the town of Chiriquí before tacking north across the interior of the country in search of the Caribbean coastline of Almirante a good 600 km North East of Panama City. Leaving the Pan-Americana and tacking across the Chiriquí Mountains would take me back up and over 2000m above sea level before dropping down into a coastal rainforest that hugs the Caribbean.
Panama crossed in a flash as I rolled through the Sixiola border crossing into an extremely expensive Costa Rica. Not keen to hang around in a country where a cold beer would set you back anywhere from 3-5 dollars. Refilling the fuel tank becoming a bit tricky, I put the hammer down and have now crossed into Nicaragua country number ten where beer is once again affordable and sleepless nights are a thing of the past.
Humidity and frequent border crossings on the agenda as I make my way through these tiny little countries. Honduras next on the list, sporting a stretch of land no longer than 100 km’s that needs to be traversed before entering El Salvador. Little Ms. Sunshine is hanging in there with various roadside tweaks and mechanical sessions a frequent occurrence. Keeping the rig in good running order is a constant battle as the rigours of Central American roads take their toll on my gear.
After 33 weeks cycling solo through the Americas I have managed to accumulate 12761 carbon free km’s and crossed ten countries. The amount of carbon emissions that would have been emitted had this journey ben done in an average sized American sedan is now fast approaching two tons and sits on a scary 1914 kg’s.
Stay tuned for the final 3rd of the Americas leg of the Global Wheeling Eco Charity Bicycle Ride!