PanamaPosted by Malin Tue, May 17, 2011 18:26:33
reason to go to Panama City was to arrange the shipping of the Patrol around the
Darien Gap. Before arriving in the City we got an email from Nordsued and they had got a quote
for a 40 foot high cube container, and we decided to share the container with
them. In Panama we stayed with Panama Passage and it was great to meet up with
overlander’s that we had met before and to meet others for the first time.
were traveling both north and south so we had some good days exchanging
information, tips about good places to go to, and of course shipping info. We
had all got different quotes from the same shipping agents and it turned out
that we all had different experiences because of different vehicles, sizes, and
shipping methods. Here is a video from Adventurouspirits from their and PanAmNotes
loading into a container. Luckily the Patrol and the Land
Rover is smaller and we therefor had more space around our vehicles.
to a normal border crossing shipping a vehicle involves more paper work, but we
were able to handle it all our self. Our vehicle is now in a container in the
harbor waiting for the ship.
arranging shipping we did a little bit of sightseeing in Panama City.
Locks at the Panama Canal is a must see when you are in Panama. It was
interesting to see the big ships being lifted up in the Locks to be able to
pass through from the Pacific to the Caribbean Sea. In the museum at the Locks
we learned that Panama is well suited to host the canal because it get so much
rain that it is no problem to run 14.000 ships through the Locks and the canal every
year. And talking about rain, we had our share of it. During our 9 days stay in
the city we had rain every day and there was some really heavy showers.
from our drive on the Causeway and afterwards some streets were flooded.
Viejo was interesting to walk through with some nicely renovated buildings and
others that were still just ruins.
We were told that when we walked down to the
Casco Viejo we should follow the Pedestrian street and not go to much to the
left or right because then we would end up in the neighborhood of Santa Ana or
Some of our traveling friends ended up walking in Curundu looking for
a hardware store, and they were stopped by a police man that pulled them into a
store. There he called them a police escort that drove them the remaining 300
meters to the store. One police man came with them into the store and two were
standing guard outside. They bought the things they needed and was driven down
to the pedestrian street where they could walk safely back home.
We did not
see much of Panama, our focus was on shipping the car to Colombia and continue
our drive south. The shipping had been talked about so often and been on our
minds for a long time and it will be great to have done. Panama kind of feels
like a half-way point in our trip, especially since we have to ship the car, it
is the end of Central America, and the journey will start again in the north of
South America. Colombia here we come!
PanamaPosted by Malin Sat, May 14, 2011 00:03:31
we had a problem with a leaking brake hose, but every now and then we filled up
with a little brake fluid and it was not too bad. Then the leak stopped and we
just made ourselves a mental note about fixing the brake hose one day along the
While driving on these steep roads, and pushing it a bit
because we wanted to get to Boquete before it got dark, we got a brake warning
light on the dash, and discovered a rather serious leak in the brake hose. Filling
up with brake fluid and driving very slow the last 30 km we got to Boquete
without any accidents, and started looking for a place that could help us with
a new brake hose. The challenge is that this brake hose is longer than the
stock one because of the 5 inch suspension lift. We had to have a new one made
after our spesifications.
Our host at
the Pansión Topas recommended us a garage. We went over to talk to the
mechanic. He did not have the parts that we needed, but he recommended us a
place in town to get a new hose and he would put it on for us. The shop in town
did not have the parts we needed. We went back to the mechanic, and for some
gas money he would drive to David (about 40 km away) and get it for us. He said
he would be back at 2-3 o’clock in the afternoon, and he would then call us at
the Topas. At 3.30 we had still not received a call, and we drove to the garage
where they were all sitting in front of a television watching Barcelona versus
Real Madrid in the Champions League semifinal. Except the mechanic himself. Apparently
he was still in David. We guessed he was also watching the match there before returning
to the garage... So we called it a day,
drove back to the hostel, and returned to the garage the next day. Next day the
mechanic was back with his Barcelona cap on, and he had been able to get a brake
hose for us.
The Patrol has a really tight fit for the left brake hose, and it
took a bit of a struggle to get to the upper part of the hose loose. The new
one went in, and Espen was skeptical as it went in a little too fast. We drove
the car out, and tested the break. The new hose was leaking as h…! Back in the
garage. He finally got it right, and we made a mental note of doing things ourselves
if you want it properly done. We had a short test run in the valley and decided
it was okay.
One of our
reasons for coming to Boquete was that we had read that it was possible to
drive up to Vulcan Barú, the tallest mountain in Panama with 3474 meters. We
had also heard that it was pretty rough, and our host said that only a Unimog with
portal axels could drive up there. We wanted to give it a try. Vulcan Barú is
in a National Park and the information at the ranger station told us it was
13,5 km to the summit.
First the road was a nice gravel road, but then it became
rougher and rougher with big rocks and no room to navigate as the road had dug
into the terrain.
Every now and then we stopped and walked a bit to see if it was
worth driving on. After 4,5 km we stopped to reconsider. Because of the brake hose
we had started quite late in the day, and we realized that we wouldn’t get up
there before dark. The 4,5 kilometers had taken us two hours, and the road kept
getting rougher. On top of that, dark clouds came in and covered the mountain.
Espen was also wondering about the brakes, and he suspected that there was
still air in the system. We decided to turn around.
On our way down the rain
started and we could hear the thunder up around the summit, and we were actually
really happy about not camping up in that dark grey cloud. Another time…
more night in Boquete we were on our way to Panama City where the process of
shipping the car will start.