Panama, The Lookout, and Brooks In Town
Wednesday, May 31, 2006

I crossed the border into Panama this morning after taking a 26-day, completely indirect route through Costa Rica. For the most part, Panama feels a lot like Costa Rica but with less jungle and much better roads.

One of the reasons why it took me so long to get through Costa Rica is because I kept meeting people like John and Kate. They own the Lookout Hotel and let me camp in the actual lookout tower that has 360 degree view of the Pacific Ocean and rainforests. They also hooked me up with a free 90-minute massage that was a lifesaver! Needless to say, it was pretty hard to pull myself away from this high-end pad knowing that I would probably be spending the next few nights getting hammered by mosquitoes while hunkering down in my tent in the rain.

Brooks is on his way to meet me in Panama today and we have 9-days of coffee drinking, bird-watching, and beach-bumming planned.

The Road to Cano Island and Bugs!!!!
Saturday, May 27, 2006

Tomorrow, I'm SCUBA diving off Cano Island National Marine Reserve. I'm really glad that I rode my bike here because the dive shop brochure has the following instructions for "EASY" arrival:

1) Fly into Costa Rica's international airport in San Jose
2) Take prop plane from San Jose to Palmar Norte (normally only one departure per day which leaves in the morning)
3) Take Taxi/Bus from Palmar to Sierpe town
4) Sierpe to Drake Bay via the boat on the Rio Grande de Terraba and Pacific Coast. If you plan to arrive without reservations please be aware of the following; There is no established boat service from Sierpe to Drake Bay
5) Hike from beach to Jinetes de Osa
6) Boat 12 miles offshore to Cano Island National Park.


On the way here, I got a lot of bug bites. If you're really bored you can count to confirm that I have well over 70 bites on just two sides of my ankles (see pic. below).

Next up: Corcovado National Park, crowned by National Geographic Magazine as one of "the most biologically intense places on Earth". Then I'll be in Panama!

How I know when it´s been too long since my last shower
Tuesday, May 16, 2006

When the roadside Howler monkeys look at me like this.

Pic. taken on the road to Volcano Arenal, Costa Rica

Yes, bike touring is still REALLY fun!
Friday, May 12, 2006

A lot of people have been askin' me if I still enjoy traveling by bicycle after nearly 10 months of being on the road.

I think that this photo sums it up quite well.

Cheers from Playa Samara (Costa Rica), one of the nice tropical beaches I've ever pedaled across.

Ribbon of Road sponsors the 2006 Napa Valley Tour de Cure
Wednesday, May 10, 2006

We are very proud to announce that Ribbon of Road was a titanium sponsor of the 2006 Napa Valley Tour de Cure, an annual bike ride dedicated to finding a cure for diabetes. This year, the event will bring in one million dollars for the first time in it's history. People in attendance were surprised to see Ribbon of Road shell out the same level of sponsorship as some fairly well-known corporate giants...

At the Ribbon of Road tent, Brooks was joined by Kent and Elayne from Co-Motion Cycles who drove down from Eugene, OR in the official Co-Motion monster truck to display some of their finest bikes.

When NOT to lock yourself out of your hotel room

1) When you´re coming back from the beach and all you´re wearing is a pair of swim trunks.

2) Within the first ten minutes of the start of rainy season in Central America (it dumped for 4 hours straight).

3) When it´s late in the afternoon and the mosquitoes are starting to eat you.

4) When you´re really hungry from cycling all day.

5) When your hotel manager is passed out in his room from drinking too much Canadian Club.

*Pic taken in front of the hotel room where I enjoyed the afternoon downpour.

Costa Rica Belly Flopper Olympiad
Monday, May 08, 2006

Just a few hours after crossing the border from Nicaragua to Costa Rica I met a group of German SCUBA divers who had been granted permission to dive some of the islands in the protected marine area off Santa Rosa National Park. I somehow managed to invite myself onto their boat even though I can't speak German. The diving was great but the Olympiad event that followed was even better.

After numbing my body with a few cold beersks I challenged Peter, AKA "THE BIG ONE" to a belly flop contest. We traded blows with several high scoring floppers until the German mysteriously disappeared behind his Micro-bus that was parked next to the pool. Moments later he burst back onto the scene, leapt high over the pool, and laid out flat in perfect belly flop form-while double fisting two uncapped, ice cold, authentic German pilsners. He managed to score a perfect 10 on the dive while (most importantly) keeping the beersks above water and chlorine free.

I granted him the gold medal as we discussed the finer points of his dive (through hand signals) while enjoying the rare imported beersks.

Half Way There!
Sunday, May 07, 2006

After 9 months of cycling from Alaska I can now officially declare that I´m over half way to my goal of reaching the bottom of the world, Tierra Del Fuego, Argentina.

Last week I celebrated this discovery over a bottle of rum and hand-rolled cigar with the first person that I´ve met since Brooks left who smells as bad as I do. His name is Mark and he´s cycling north to the US from Panama. We spent two days pedaling around Ometepe Island in Nicaragua while exchanging notes about the road north and the road south.

I´m currently taking a few days off the bike to SCUBA dive on the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica.

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