Putting On Some Miles (Kilometers?)

I’ve been putting a few miles on the orange arrow in the last week. Sunday I went for a nice ride into the hills and, of course, forgot my camera. But that’s okay, just gives me a reason to go back.

I really wanted to get out Monday for a birthday ride but Mother Nature had other ideas. We’re into the rainy season now, and as I’ve said several times before, the mornings are usually beautiful before clouding up in the early afternoon and then pouring hard for a couple of hours later on. But Monday was one of those rare, odd days. It was gloomy when I got up at a little past six but not raining. It brightened for a couple of hours but I didn’t plan to hit the road before nine so as to let all the commuters clear the road.

Of course as nine o’clock rolled around it started darken up with threatening clouds. So I just played around on line. Then there would be some breaks in the clouds. Patches of blue appeared here and there. But when I’d put on my riding clothes the holes would slam shut in an instant. You could almost hear them closing. Nature kept on toying with me like that all day until it was too late to go anywhere. It didn’t start raining until about eight that night.

I couldn’t get out yesterday. I had to go in to David to hit the bank. I also wanted to check the prices on small washing machines. I’m really getting tired of doing my laundry in a five gallon bucket. It’s especially hard to do sheets and jeans that way. I then took the Cerro Punta bus up to Bugaba to buy my cigars. Once again, by the time I got home it was cloudy and too late to get on the road.

One of the places I’ve wanted to go for a long time was down to the beach. You can’t get there by bus. You can get through the small town of Alanje on public transportation but you’re still a dozen miles from the ocean and would have to take a cab  which, being a gringo, would most likely be expensive. The morning was sunny and things looked good. I got on the road at about 9:30 and headed down the hill. I was a bit apprehensive about having to cross the Inter American highway at “El Cruce” but it was a snap. Traffic in both directions had a gap of about a half a mile between the crossroads and the oncoming vehicles.

The ride down to and through Alanje is fairly scenic. There are twists and turns but with a lot of good straight stretches in between and sugar cane fields on both sides of the road. In the distance at the edges of the big cane fields were thick groves of trees that reminded me a lot of the hammocks one sees scattered among the sawgrass as you cross south Florida on Alligator Alley.

There were a few rough patches on the road but eventually the road ends at La Barqueta Beach and the monied  Las Olas Beach Resort

To the west is the La Barqueta gated rich folks houses. Kind of reminded me of The Hamptons on Long Island where I’d seen houses similar to these but with palm trees here. Cropping the photo screwed it up but take my word for how they looked.

The sand here is volcanic black. Snugged in between the two developments were a couple of restaurants. This one was closed though a sign said they were open Wednesdays through Sundays starting at 1 p.m. though at noon I saw no sign of anyone trying to get the operation started.

The other restaurant, more of the small “fonda” type that serves “comida corriente” may have been open because I saw people working around outside of it but it, too, gave no hint of being open for business. I can understand it, though since there were only three people on the beach itself and one lone surfer dude who wasn’t doing all that well.

But it’s a pretty stretch of beach looking to the east…

And over to the west with Costa Rica just barely visible in the haze…

At our family restaurant, “Philbrick’s Snack Shack,” at Nauset Beach in Orleans, Mass., we used to rent beach umbrellas for people who wanted some shade during the heat of the day. Here they do things a little different…

Heading back home I failed to make the turn that would have taken be back to El Cruce but I did come across this neat old abandoned house…

Having missed the proper turn I eventually found myself entering the edges of David and I sure didn’t want to be there. There was no way I was going to take the Inter American Highway back to Boqueron. I made a U-turn and headed back the way I’d come. I was cruising along at a sedate 35 mph (the speedometer reads in mph and kph) when the Alanje-David bus passed me headed away from David. Problem solved! I swung in behind and followed the bus until I had gotten my bearings.

In all I covered 52.8 miles today (88k X .6 = miles). In all I’ve gone 132.3 miles on the back roads of Chiriquí Province.

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One response to “Putting On Some Miles (Kilometers?)

  1. Morning Richard. I enjoyed the ride myself. Never been to those places. From now on, I’ll be sitting behind you on the Orange Arrow in your future incursions through the muddy and wet back roads of Chiriquí. Your inclusion of pictures adds to the charm of your wonderful writing style.

    Keep them coming, Sir.