Bike Tour To Panama City: Photos, Pig Chasing, Crashing With Strangers Again

October 12, 2013 | By | 2 Replies More
Cattle crossing

Cattle crossing

After going too far off route and getting caught in a rain storm, I backtracked from Tole to head towards Sona on the newly paved road that I learned about.

This post summarizes my adventure for the day. Enjoy the photos and rebroadcast of the live stream!

Landscapes on the road

Landscapes on the road

Killer hills on the way to Quebrada de Piedra

Killer hills on the way to Quebrada de Piedra

Watch rebroadcast of LIVE stream

After cycling for a few hours and climbing a horrific hill, I took a lunch break. It was just in time for a live broadcast. Click video to watch.

Ocean view

Ocean view in Quebrada de Piedra

See video of ocean view in Quebrada de Piedra

I biked not to far and came across this view of the ocean, so I turned the camera on again. Click video to see a panoramic view.

Puerto Vidal, Panama

Puerto Vidal, Panama

I make it to Puerto Vidal around 3 p.m. I heard thunder and was deciding whether I should stop. A lady on the street told me that there was a room for rent in town. It was a few hours until sunset. I looked back to see if I should stay. I decided to continue on.

The adventure for this day gets better…

As I pulled into the next town Jorones, it started to drizzle. I asked a few guys on the street how far the next town is and if there were any accommodations there. They said it was about 10 km away, no place to stay though.

It looked like it was about to rain harder. These guys said that I could stay at their place. No hesitation. They opened up their door to me, a total stranger.

Again, I was amazed at how friendly and open Panamanians are.

I was ready to crash on the porch, but they invited me to stay at their office/home. So, I called it quits for the day.

These guys were Ricardo and Luis. They work at one of the biggest farms in town that employs many of the residents. Ricardo, an engineer who runs the operation, didn’t stay the evening since he was on his way to Tole to see his family. Luis, the mechanic, asks if I want to see the area. We jump in his truck and pick up seven other guys down the street who ride in the back. Then, he tells me that we’re headed to a farm to catch a pig.

Pig chasing

Pig chasing

Getting to the pigs was a journey. We had to drive through several acres of farm, pass two gates that block off cattle, drive through a little river, another gate, cross a river on a paddle boat, then walk to a ranch were the pigs were.

The guys got the pig, put it on the paddle boat, and loaded the sucker on the truck. They were going to sell it. Afterwards, they spent the next hour trying to catch a crocodile with no luck.

The rain came down harder. I was still in my biking gear, it it was getting cold and I was shivering.

We got back on the truck to leave the farm, but we encountered a problem. The river we drove over to get there increased in water level and the current intensified. This was a risk because the truck could have been swept by the current.

By this time it was already getting dark. They guys laid stones on the ground to measure the water level, but it wasn’t going down. So we drove to a cowboy’s house on the farm to have some coffee and wait. We waited a long time.

It took over three hours for the water to subside. We went back to the river to check the level. Luis was concerned that the engine would get water in it and that the truck might get swept away. Then we’d have a bigger problem.

He sent a couple guys in the river to measure how deep it was. It was less than waste deep, so it was worth a shot.

We all got back in the truck and hoped for the best. Luis floored the gas to plow through the river and we made it to the other side. A little water got in the engine which evaporated from the hood. We were all relieved.

Afterwards we dropped all the guys off back in town, Luis and I had dinner, cleaned up and went to a bar to watch the World Cup qualifying match of Panama vs Mexico.

It was quite an adventure for the day on top of the biking.

Luis, mechanic in Jorones

Luis, mechanic from Jorones

This pic was taken the following day before heading to Sona. Luis gave me tips on the road ahead between Sona and Santiago. He shared food he had and provided a roof over my head for the night. I was thankful.

I was amazed with his hospitality and generosity. Again, crashing with strangers has been an unforgettable experience.

Bicycle touring has allowed for these random experiences and interactions that would never have happened if I was with a tour group or traveling in a car or bus. It’s really a way to connect with the people and culture.

Tole to Jorones 43 km

Tole to Jorones 43 km

Over these past few days I thought that the bicycle tour has gotten more interesting when I pushed myself beyond my comfort zone. Like getting caught in rain with no place to stay. The ride is a challenge in itself, but trying to find somewhere to sleep at the end of the day is another thing. It’s kept me on my toes to think fast to figure out solutions.

The ride this day took about 5 hours with a lunch break. Lots of huge hills where I had to walk my bike up.

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Comments (2)

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  1. Sarah says:

    What a day, that is incredible! You are fortunate to be male as a woman could not get in truck like that. Women would have a much harder time traveling alone. Keep on riding and writing.

    • Mig says:

      Thank you! One should always go with their gut instinct. I’ve met a few girls who are cycling solo. I’ve also met a Russian girl who hitchhiked across the U.S. It all depends on personal comfort level.

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