A Road to Ourselves
Panama City

June 27, 2016

After climbing for four hours, we decide to take the “easy way” into Panama City, on a collectivo bus.

What happened…

Andrew writes: Once again we enjoyed our own private highway as the construction continues. We heard from some other cyclists that it extends as far as Santiago, which was our destination for the day. As it turns out though, Amanda hit the wall at about the 50km mark, just as we were reaching the highpoint of the day…except that there was still about 10km of climbing left to do. As luck would have it, we reached the top of a hill and there was an empty collectivo bus there. I asked the driver about getting a ride into Santiago and he quoted $5US for the two of us, so away we went! I think it was a good decision because the road into Santiago was definitely in more of a state of construction than the highway previous, so we would have ended up sharing single-lane either way with cars and trucks.

As we neared Santiago, the driver asked me if I wanted to continue on to Panama, for only another $10. Amanda and I were definitely on the same page and we immediately agreed. The rest of the day went by in a blur as we just napped in the back of the bus. Entering Panama City, I was extra-glad that we decided to enter by bus because the Bridge of the Americas, this huge bridge into the city had no shoulder and was a 6-lane super highway.

We ended up at the bus terminal in Panama City right about the time the sun was going down and by the time we got all of our kit loaded onto the bikes, we were riding in the dark. I mapped out the location of the nearest hostel and we ended up in a pretty seedy part of town, but our hotel was decent enough and the price was right. Tomorrow we’ll move over to a different hotel anyways.

Amanda writes: We’ve been pretty lucky so far with maintaining our energy and managing the heat. We’re careful to fuel ourselves with water, electrolytes and food and to find shade when we can. I can’t recall the last time I bonked this bad. The heat really took its toll on me. I knew we had a climb and some mileage to cover today but the first 50 kilometres seemed to go on forever. We had been cycling for over four hours and weren’t even half way there! As we approached the first store we had seen in some time I declared to Andrew I needed something to drink other than water. He’s pretty good at recognizing the signs of fatigue with me so he heads off to the store, buys me a drink and puts me in the shade to drink it. He walks over to a bus that was on the side of the road with no one in it and chats with the guy. It turns out that they had a flat tire which explains why they have no passengers. When Andrew told me the price I instantly agreed; I was spent!

As the men loaded our bags and bikes I tried to discreetly change out of my soaking wet clothes. The men were likely wondering why I went for a swim while riding my bike, but it was just sweat. Sweat and humidity had me soaked right down to my underwear. Changing in to dry clothes was such a relief and off we went. When the driver offered a continued trip to Panama City I only hesitated for a moment knowing we had just booked our fancy hotel in the City for 3 days from now, but was easily convinced to continue. We’ve never heard any cycle tourists rave about the beauty and roads from Santiago to Panama City, so figured we wouldn’t be missing much.

So this day ended incredibly different than what we had planned but as I curl up in an air-conditioned room with Andrew knowing that I don’t have to ride in the heat again tomorrow; I’m so incredibly content. We did it! North America by bicycle (mostly – LOL).

Today’s Photographs

A Road to Ourselves
Panama City