Thursday, November 8, 2012

Panama City Panic

I have managed to find the BMW Motorrad people, get Blondy in for some work, and more or less navigate through the city. I have griped about Garmin before, but I must say that today Mr. Garmin did his job in getting Blondy and I back from the dealership.

Heideneau rear: from Victoria to Panama and still has life, I hope...

Front tire: TCK 80 with usual weird wear.  I could have chanced it until Colombia, but opted for Pirelli M90 as there is lots of water about...

I was not having much luck with Garmin for the past few days, and landed in Panama city by flying on the seat of my pants, which I think is a pilot's term, but I will steal it. Somewhere south of Guatemala, the Mexico chip set ran out, and I have been running on very basic satelitte input into Garmin. I installed the South America chip set last night,and lo and behold, I now have streets for Panama City. Believe me,that is a real advantage, considering the amount of one way streets, new construction, and byways that they have going here.

I have also confirmed that I will be loading Blondy onboard the Steel Rat next Saturday, November 17th, so that we can get to Colombia. For those of you who missed Social Studies class, the Pan American highway does not go all the way through the isthmus of Panama, and there is about 80 to 100 kilometers of bog, swamp, and other stuff to keep the two countries separated. I talked to a Panamaniam the other day who was glad of it, as there does not seem to be much love lost between the Panamanians and the Colombians.

My experience with the BMW Motorrad people is worth noting, as I could not seem to find anything very current on ADV rider, or the HUBB site either. Even getting an accurate location for them was a bit of a challenge, and I had the telephone book in front of me. With some sleuthing, I managed to get what I thought was a location and headed that way with Blondy a day or so ago. I got within spitting distance, and ended up getting a cab to follow right to the place. It is all about high end BMW vehicles, and although they sell BMW bikes there, it is clearly an auto sales center first and foremost, and of course only the wealthy Panamanians frequent the multi-story building.

While I was waiting, I took particular notice of a Beemer 650.  It was tricked out, and I don't know that I have seen one of these in Canada.  Dual Exhaust, 2013 switches and a changed position for the  rear shock adjustment. It was priced at $12,500.00 so it definitely was a BMW....

Once I had established that they did not have any rear tires of any shape for Blondy, I was able to purchase a Pirelli M-90 front tire at another moto shop and bring it to BMW to mount. My rear brake shoes were done, and it was also time for an oil change, and I wanted the brake fluid topped up and the brakes bled, because I wasn't sure when the the last time that I had done this.  I found that the rear brake pads were down to thin air, so luckily they had a set in stock..

 They had a couple of these weird little scooters in the shop....

A New Pirelli M90 for Blondy and me.

Shiny new brake pads..

A brake bleed for good stoppin'

 This guy did his best to please the gringo.  I felt sorry for him when he tried to test ride Blondy: he didn't make it too far.
My son the photographer has mentioned that there are only about two people who are remotely interested in bike shots, so I have also included some random shots of Panama city and its citizens.  I must say that the people have been very kind and open. I had a very interesting conversation with a dude who had been to Montreal. (Why do most Centro Americans think that Quebec is all of Canada?)

I may find that I should have waited until Colombia for both sets of tires, but I have another week here in Panama, and the amount of water on the roads warranted a hard look at the TCK, and I think that the Pirelli will cut the mustard for awhile.  We will see....