(Our monthly email) Trip Update

Sloth and baby
Sloth and baby (View on flickr)
We're about halfway on our trip now! We've cycled almost 10,000 miles (16,000 kilometers) now since we started out June 9, 2006 at Inuvik, Northwest territories, Canada.

We arrived in Panama City about 10 days ago and are taking a break now before going on to South America. Nancy flew to California for three weeks to help out her dad, who has been ill. He's much better now, but her help at home is much appreciated. She'll be back in early April and we're planning to take a boat to Cartagena, Colombia to begin the South American chapter of our trip.  (What, you say? "I thought you weren't going to Colombia?" Well, what we hear from everybody we've met and even from the US State Department is that Colombia has improved markedly in the last few years and is an absolutely wonderful place to visit. So we'll keep our eyes and ears open and go that way.)

We have pictures for you: Costa Rica and Panama pictures and Nicaragua Pictures

And the map of our Central America route is complete so you can see exactly where we went.

And of course, there are lots of stories of our travels on the website: www.hobobiker.com. And we added lots of articles about the amazing organization we visited in Nicaragua, Agua Para La Vida. You can read about the incredible job they're doing providing sfe, clean drinking water to very rural villages in Nicaragua at www.hobobiker.com/aplv.

Leaving Rio Blanco, Nicaragua, we rode toward the famous and historical tourist center, Granada, and then took the ferry to the volcanic island of Ometepe, a wonderful place to spend a few days. Then we took the ferry from there to the bottom of Lake Nicaragua and went across the border to Costa Rica, where we started riding in earnest. We rode to Cahuita, a delightful hamlet on the Caribbean side of the country, before taking any tourist time, and then we proceeded right into Panama along a little-used route on the Caribbean side. We had a little more good tourist time in Bocas del Toro where we snorkeled and saw the most beautiful coral we've seen anywhere, and then rode over the Continental Divide in our biggest one-day climb of the entire trip. Finally, we rode several days down the Pan-American highway, emerging from rural Central America into significant cities with big-box stores and finally riding (with a police escort) over the Bridge of the Americas into the amazingly cosmopolitan Panama City, where skyscraper condos are everywhere and there seems to be money beyond anything we've seen since we crossed into Mexico. (Panama City looks more like Miami than anyplace we've been in Central America. It looks set to replace Miami as a hub for all of Latin America.)

Anyway, we have lots of hopes and fears for the next part of the trip. We hope to cross all the way down the Andes in the next year to arrive at Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world, about this time next year, March of 2009. Our fears are not of bandits and terrorists, but of the big mountains and high elevations that we'll have to work with in the Andes. But shoot, we've made it this far...

One final thing: We were so inspired with our visit to Agua para la Vida that we're going to start mentioning this worthy organization in our notes and on the website. We encourage you to consider sending them a donation of any size from $10 to enough to fund an entire water project for a remote rural village (only $30,000 or so!). Learn more, including how to give, at aplv.org.

Anyway, thanks so much for riding along with us! We sure do appreciate you coming along "virtually". Drop us a note when you think of us!

-Randy and Nancy