Voyage to South America travel blog

The village of El Valle

A huge bell shaped orchid

A huge bell shaped orchid

Square tree (Arbol Cuadrado)

Atree with 'veins'.

The airstrip looking west.

The airstrip looking east.

January 7, 2010

I left Penonome around 11:00 am on January 4, 2010. I was headed for El Valle. I was headed for El Valle. The richest of the rich have houses. Typically former Government officials and Generals.

Before I left for El Valle I had to check the tyre pressure on the rear to see if Electra is still holding air. She was low. I got some water from the restaurant and discovered that both holes are good. Must be another leak. There was a tyre shop two doors down. I went there to find the new hole. They have a hose and I should be able to find it with water. Yep. It is very small. Confident, I decided to pug the bitach. Two times I failed and then fuck it. I am gonna put in the tube. Once I got the wheel off the bike and then the tyre off the rim the shop guys took over. OK OK!!! Maybe I’ll learn something.

They didn’t like the fact that I was going to but a 18” tube on a 17” rim. They told me that they would patch it from the inside. /shrugs shoulders. He used a dremell to smooth out the spot where he was going to put on the patch. They patch the inside of the tire just fine but what about the 2mm holes on the outside where the pugs used to be? They told me that they would patch in with Crazy Glue. He didn’t have any so he went to buy some. It’s just not Crazy Glue that they put in there they mix it with saw dust. I was skeptical but they told me that this is the way they do it with big trucks and it’s not problem. The guy wanted $USD3.00. I gave him $USD5.00. OK. It worked great and has yet to leak.

Before I forget. I saw what I described to locals looking like was a Fer-De-Lance. I thought these were in Africa. Their venom consists mostly of Hemotoxin. Presently, treatment is usually possible if the victim receives medical attention soon enough. Venom yield averages 124 mg, although it may be as much as 342 mg. The fatal dose in humans is about 62 mg.

I arrived in El Valle about 3pm. It was hot in the valley but cool in El Valle. I really wanted to get off the bike so I quickly found a place and went for a ride around the Valle. The road system is not the typical grid pattern but more like a cottage area in the Shushwap. There are some HUGE houses here with great yards. I saw lots of BMW X5’s, the shitty version, a couple of Porsche Cheyenne’s, the shitty version and some RR Sports, the shitty version.

I met a guy from New Brunswick. He had a Panamanian girl friend. He used to work for the UN in New York. And now he is director of a huge aide organization in Panama City. He clearly makes a lot of money. He was driving a Land Rover Defender. He told me that they will be available in Canada next year. Awesome – if I was there I don’t think I would get a Defender. I would however like to have a fleet of bikes and just a beater car to drive in the winter. I would like a Ducati an old Indian or Harley an old BMW and a Triumph plus, my next bike, a BMW F800GS. I have made up my mind.

He was a Hindu and was amazed that I spoke Hindi. He told me that his home town was in Shimla - a small village where I had spent about four days. He was stunned to hear that too.

I tried to drive up to a mirador with the bike. From the mirador you and see both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. I wiped out on a steep slick section and bruised my ribs something fierce. Road tyres at 45lbs + steep + slick = Kevin with bruised ribs. Obviously I didn’t go. Something tells me I will regret this as much as not picking up a leaf off the ground under the Bode Tree where Buddha found enlightenment.

It was really expensive in El Valle. It was like driving around Rose Hill - when there were trees.

While in the village I went for a little hike to see some ‘square trees’. Along the way I saw some huge orchids that reminded me of a place where Susan and I stayed at in Thailand. It was a village called Pai. We stayed in a bungalow/palapa type place that was surrounded by these huge orchids.

I left El Valle today for Panama City and saw a welder on the side of the road. I have to get the turning signal bracket welded on. Here’s my chance to fix the left tail light. I would be great going it to Panama City with all the lights working. The welder is just learning. I took off the piece – he welded it –it broke – he welded it again – it worked. I have a small can of black spray paint and covered the wound to eliminate rust. I put everything back together. I wanted $USD1.00. I gave him two.

On the way to the City I stopped and took pictures of an abandoned airstrip. It was once a key airstrip for Noriega’s forces. On December 20, 1989 two F-117A bombers dropped two 2000lbs bombs near the barracks located near the airstrip. This was the first time the F-117A Stealth Fighters were used in ‘combat’. Just after the bombs hit 850 US Rangers parachuted on to the runway – this was a fiasco as they jumped at an altitude of 150m and more than two dozen sustained serious injuries. And thus was the start of yet another US invasion on another much weaker nation. Why? Well obviously to avoid a preemptive strike by the Panamanians on US soil.

I arrived in Panama City around 2pm and found a great place. I got a little misty eyes crossing the bridge and looking down at the canal.

I have to take Electra in – again. There is a squeak in the paraleaver and the speedo is not working; they will set the valves and change the oil. I asked him what they would give me for her. He said 4-5k. What?? I was hoping 7k. I have Olhlins front and rear that have just been service, a new clutch, pipe, tons of tons of tour a tech stuff, off-road pegs, Jesse bags (they are a little beat up but still work great, air horn , 76,000km. All this for a measly 4-5k. This bike is decked out for overland travel; if you are going via pavement. I need the F800. I am going to sell her in Colombia. He guy said I may get 7k for her there. Higher demand. I will put a down payment of the F800 next week and fly to Canada for the summer to help Jeff and break her in and outfit her. When she is complete I will fly her to Bogota and go from there. Maybe.

The F800 is 100lbs lighter, she has better off-road angles. I will order and extra tank will defiantly have to come from Germany. It is rare to see bikes with extra tanks. I saw a F650 at a rally that had them. THAT bike was decked out. The dude bought it off of a guy who spent the bank on her. He picked it up for $0.50 on the dollar. Seriously, this bike was pimped and ready for Dakar. The extra tank should give me a range on asphalt of about 600km’s. The F800 has 85bhp and with the new pipe and air filter I may get her to 90bhp. Electra, new only had 95. 100lbs lighter, better off-road angles and same HP. Gotta love it.

Maybe Cara and I can go visit Susan in the summer. I called her today and told her to expect us. She was thrilled to hear that. I will always remember to look on her face as she was holding Lukas when I looked back rounding the corner when I left last year.

This is what I would like to get done to the bike:



Jesse Bags

Large Tank

DID Chain

DID Sprockes

15T front sprocket for more tourqe and slower first gear. When Electra’s clutch is out she going 30kkpm in 1st

Chain Breaker

Chain Lube

Rechargeable Airfilter

In-Line fuel filter

Extra oil filter, spark plugs, lights, brakes, fuses, throttle cable, fuel filter

Engine protection

Skid plate for under the center stand

Skid plate to replace the stock piece of shit

Pivot pegs

Bar risers

Make rims to fit tubeless tires

Chain lube

Touratec stuff

Spare parts

Stronger bar

Add more electronc ports


Remove side stand kill switch

Better windscreen

TKC’s for the front and back

Copy of keys

The only problem with this bike is that it’s chain driven.

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