Eddie and I rode across Panama to the Atlantic side today and saw some of the strangest things as well as having a day of fantastic riding, which included this – us riding the bikes over the water. More in a sec.
It was a fast ride across. About half was major highway, about half a jungle road. When we arrived most of the way up north we got a ferry. As you know by now I love ferries
Pretty modern. I’d better enjoy it while I can
Posing the bikes to look really good is part of it of course. Pretending to have some mysterious prowess, such as the effortlessly and perfectly positioned bike on a boat is an essential part of the overall thing we consciously or unconsciously do to impress women and intimidate our peers. Some might deny it, but they’re BS’ing
Boats in the north locks. Notice how cool the helmets look on the mirrors
Past the locks there was a long row of abandoned US personnel buildings now turned into a big ghetto
With the classic Panamanian building proportions and roofline
Then it was a jungle ride on a small road to Isla Galeta
Past an old military check point with new gates
Complete with pillbox
So time to super-briefly explain. When the Canal was handed over to the Panamanians in 2000, so was everything else as part of a near-total American withdrawal. They abandoned all the military installations, including this, one of the most important spying stations in the world at that time. It listened in on everything.
But first, as I tried to get into the pillbox, a small problem
For miles it was mangrove swamp on either side of the road
Then we arrived at the old spying station. This is one of many buildings
Situated spectacularly on the ocean
Remnants of old structures lined the coast
And boats waited their turn for the Canal
Another view of the abandoned complex
The Smithsonian is doing fisheries research here. There were a couple of police guarding the main buildings and one of them talked to us for a while
In the middle of the wilderness
Then Eddie asked the cop about visiting another part of the abandoned military installation he knew. They said OK, but only with an escort. So the guy armed up, grabbed his partner and off we went
So why does the track at the top show us over the water at this point in the day? Because sometime in the last 130 years this area was sea, and this was filled in with excavations from the Canal construction. Which I guess means, as usual, that Garmin’s maps are sometimes decades out of date.
So more on our adventure in the next post.