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We have arrived in Turbo, Colombia.  Somebody offered to buy our kayaks and so we are now busy building our bikes so we can continue our journey. 

I´m working on a video and a few entries to post.  Until then, I got a bunch of new photos posted check them out.

Our excursion has proven quite the adventure.  Starting in the tranquil clear waters of the San Blas Islands we worked our way into the open ocean without the protective islands and have been staying in indigenous communities along the way.

One morning we were ambushed by a Kuna police squad, complete with a guy in a ski mask and a semi-automatic rifle jumping out of the bushes.   Another day, after a long paddle, Goat and Sean somehow got separated from J and I we lost sight of them before reaching Island Mosquito just after it got dark.    We waited most of the next day for them to show, but saw nothing.  Apparently an airplane was even out searching for us.  Eventually we ran into them at a nearby community.ç

Anyways, the paddling has been exceptionally challenging, but the experience traveling through the Kuna Comarca has been unforgettable.

We have been busy rigging up our kayaks to support our bikes. We have permission to enter the Comarca tomorrow and expect to begin our kayak expedition to Colombia. With up to 500 nautical miles to cover, we’re looking at a good month+ of kayaking and are hoping for calm seas and good weather. There more than likely isn’t any internet access along the coast until we reach Cartagena, but you can follow our progress with our

Yes.  Any donations/support you can offer makes us about as happy as this dancing skeleton.  We do our best with our dirtbag budget, but with drivetrain replacements/tires/etc, food costs for hungry cyclists and extraneous adventures like paddling kayaks (with our bikes strapped on) to Colombia, we come up short. Any help will be appreciated as we continue our journey into South America.

We’ve been hanging around the Canal Zone, marveling at what a tremendous industrial miracle it truly is.   The crazy things humans do: like making water flow uphill (which is what the canal effectively does); creating a river that flows from sea to sea across a mountain range, which would be an impossible feat without the “locks” that are setup throughout the canal.  

          Locks are surprisingly simple, though pretty darn impressive to watch; basically they are 2 sets of giant double doors which separate one section of the canal from from another, each section is higher than the last – until the mountain is crossed and the canal starts descending (section by section). To change levels and pass through the canal, a ship first enters through one set of the double doors into the lock chamber (the section of canal between the doors) where the doors close, sealing the ship off in a little section of the canal.  Water rushes in and the level of the water in the lock rises (the ship with it) until it is even with the next section of canal. At this point the second set of doors open and the ship moves along the canal until it reaches the next lock. Going down simply reverses the process: the ship enters the full lock, the doors close, water is let out until the ship reaches the level of the lower canal, the second set of doors open….

 Here a few facts for the trivia buffs:

The most expensive regular toll for canal passage to date was charged on May 16th, 2008 to the 964-foot (295 m) Disney Magic Cruise Liner, which paid just over US$331,200.

The adventurer Richard Halliburton paid the lowest toll, 36 cents to swim the canal in 1928.  (No one else has ever been allowed to swim the entire canal; it’s apparently too dangerous).

The average transit takes 8 to 10 hours. (more…)

 


    While entertaining the notion of getting on a bridge over the Panama Canal to take photos, the police drove by eyeing me suspiciously.  Their expressions encouraged me to look elsewhere.  Further down was a gated entrance to an overgrown patch of land with some abandoned houses. 

     I lifted the heavy chain and guided my bike into the old road, covered with jungle vines and grass, put the bike into a lower gear and pedaled up a steep grade.  As I wound around a bend, I began to feel that eerie sensation that I was not alone. 

     I soon came upon one of the abandoned houses and felt dozens of eyes watching me from the bushes.  I could see movement all around me as if the plants were a bit more terrestrial than I would like.  Something was definitely out there, watching me.

     “Hola� I yelled out, cupping my hands over my mouth to carry the message.

“Buenas Tarrrrddddeeess.� I called out.

      Nothing.

   “Buenos Tardes.�  I called out again, looking around for any sign of el dueno de la casa, y nada. I jumped at the sound of two animals crashing  through the foliage just a stone’s throw away.

      Then out of the house and from the bushes, the eyes that had been following me ran out in front.

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I was recently sent an email asking for me to help find some cyclists pedaling across the Americas starting next May.  Anybody heading south next year should look into this:

======================================================

Going South 
cycling through the Americas
deepeei film productions is looking for adventure cyclist who will cycle in the North or South America’s

Our climate is changing; these indications are measured in all parts of the world. Inconvenient messages are spread by scientists, common and famous people. The television series Going South is about meeting inspiring people and search for the challenge of our generation; to fight climate change. We cross the continents in search of eye opening idea’s and breathtaking initiatives taken by businesses, Non-governmental organizations and individual people in our society.

The goal of Going South: To create participation of global citizens in the invention and implementation of solutions for a more sustainable life. 

In a 13 episode documentary series for international television we discover the world of innovative and inspiring initiatives for a more sustainable life. 

In the series we travel from Alaska to Chile following the Pan- Americana trail. Two separate cycling expeditions are making an 8th months travel on the continents. These teams are filming their adventures on the road, record the amazing environment/scenery  and interview the locals about their climate expectations. They share their trip of a lifetime, the expedition, camping/sleeping, cooking and lot’s of cycling with the rest of the world.

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While in Costa Rica, Al Jazeerah English filmed us riding in the mountains near the Capitol, San Jose and interviewed us about our journey so far.  They plan to do a program about Riding the Spine.  We will keep you posted.

Had to share this video I saw on the Surly blog today. We’ve always dreamed of getting those Alpacka Rafts, backpacker friendly rafts that are super lightweight and packable. These guys are incredible!

Check out more at EPIC and an account of their trip on a forum post HERE


Untitled from Eric Parsons on Vimeo.

The trip is going to resume September 16th. We have been doing our best to earn money to get back on the trip. Though we are all far from any kind of reasonable sum to embark on an adventure spanning all of South America, it is still time get back on our bikes.

Although it was a difficult decision to take a hiatus from the trip, the empty bank accounts helped convince us. Our vision certainly did not include having to travel through time and space via airplanes during the middle of our journey to find employment. However, without commercial sponsorship or parents with deep pockets, we have had to alter our vision to include reality, which sometimes means working. I taught a summer school class and did freelance work on websites, Sean drove a tour bus in San Francisco and Sonoma, and Goat worked as a handyman of sorts.

Overall, It’s been great reconnecting with all the people I had not seen since I started in Alaska. I got to spend time with family and friends, including my niece Aubrey who I got to see for the first time. And now, with a renewed sense of spirit and adventure, I am looking forward to completing this epic journey with the others.

Rumors have it that there might be a total of five beginning this next stretch, more to come on that later.

Saw this on the Xtracycle Blog and thought I’d share.

http://www.dothetest.co.uk/

Unfortunately, we were robbed this morning in the quaint little surfing village: Puerto Viejo.

Two digital cameras, one pocket-knife, and one Gerber Tool now floating around on the black market of Costa Rica.

Pura Vida :(

“Look what the wind’s brought in!� joked one of the oil-stained dockworkers as we approached the ferry to Ometepe. Motor purring idle, ropes disentangled from its moors, our boat seemed to have been anxiously awaiting our arrival to venture out upon a turbulent Lake Nicaragua. Such was the volatile temperament of the lake that I felt that I was facing a storm stirred ocean rather than the land locked body of fresh water.

As the boat began to pull away from land, the few tourists remaining on the observation deck rushed into the passenger saloon. Water gushed in after them threatening to flood the cabin, but the deck hands followed close behind to brace the doors against the stormy waves.

Despite the splashed and misty side windows it was impossible not to be fixated in awe at Volcan la Conception, whose tapering form towered towards the heavens. It was the earth’s mighty bosom that appeared to heave and swell as if undergoing dramatic transformation (an impression most likely caused by the erratic swaying of the boat, but which I romantically attributed to its inner volatility. La Conception, after all, had erupted in both 2005 and 2007). Growing in immensity by the minute, I was convinced that by the time the boat reached its destination the volcano would blot out the whole sky.
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National Geographic Traveler runs a blog called, Intelligent Travel: A Blog about Authentic and Sustainable Travel. Updated daily with unique travel related posts, and often showcase amazing photography.

ngtlogoforit.jpg

Check out a recent writeup about RtS by clicking on their logo.

The world is a little larger than we imagined, and our efforts to explore the non-paved roads and trails has extended the duration of the trip an extra year.  Without the support of major sponsors or deep pockets, we are having to raise money to continue our journey. 

With the help of Coast to Coast Adventures and John Yost, an exciting bike adventure  has been organized to help us earn money.  Come join us for an extraordinary section of our trip across the continental divide alongside Volcano Miravalle, and on to Arenal Volcano and lake.  Click on the Picture for more info:

Costa Rica Fundraiser

Not interested in joining but still want to help?  You can donate to our trip by clicking here.

Or help us spread the word. Print out the trip itinerary and post it on the bulletin boards of your local bike/outdoor stores.

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