Day 6, Thursday. The day we departed from Pedasi in the Azueros Peninsula. We had planned to take off about 9am, but spent the entire morning at our beautiful resort. We took lots of pictures and some Iphone videos of the property. Ate another lovely breakfast overlooking the sea. We had a terrific conversation with the father of our host. This gentleman lives in Colombia, and is a engineer on large commercial projects, focused on dams and tunnels. He bought the property in Panama about 15 years ago – 2 miles of coastland. Wow, smart guy! He built the buildings as a 2nd home for his family. About 2 years ago, his son, Hans, and his wife, made a decision to open the property to the public as an inn. Lucky us and all of their other visitors! Glad we made the decision to visit them as one never knows when the family could return the property to private status. Our discussion with Hans’ dad was absolutely fascinating, and we hated to say goodbye.
So, we FINALLY made ourselves pack up, and we loaded the car. During the process we noticed that we had lost a hubcap off of our little rental car! Oh, no! It’s pretty amazing because Thrifty had added 2 tie wraps to hold each hubcap on. That must have been a really bad bump to break it loose. We decided to look for the missing hubcap on our way out. (Like THAT was going to work!). As we drove out of the property over the really rough road, we stopped and looked at a house for sale (surprise!), and then focused on trying to find the absent hubcap. Mike was fully focused on missing the huge potholes, and I was trying to find the hubcap, watching both sides of the road. I watched diligently, but we absolutely knew that either it had rolled off into a ditch or ravine, or if it had been lying in the road it was already on someone else’s car! No surprise, NO hubcap. Another unexpected expense.
So, we left Pedasi, drove through Las Tablas, and approached Chitre. Remember my post about driving through Chitre the first time? That’s where we landed in the market. So, we approached town with some anxiety, but armed with directions on how to utilize the bypass. We successfully stayed on the bypass, but went so far that we eventually started worrying that we had shot out of town towards some other little town! Oh, no! And we weren’t about to try any little roads – that didn’t work last time! About the time we were thinking about trying something else, we hit the main road again. Whew! Mike made me take pictures of the signs there so we’d remember next time. Yeah, right. 🙂 We actually turned back into town, filled up with gas, and found a restaurant for lunch (I have attached a picture of the place). The food was terrific, and the Panamanians running it were wonderful and very kind. Everyone makes every effort to help non-Spanish-speaking visitors. That has made this trip so much more pleasant! We headed out to get back on the Pan American Highway – towards David and the western part of the country.
The PA Hwy was a great road for quite a ways – I think that it dropped from 4 lanes to 2 lanes somewhere west of Santiago. Then the state of the road declined to the point where big squares of the road on a side would have dropped a couple of inches, or there were big potholes. Again, we were dodging crummy road conditions – that was okay until we got behind an 18-wheeler (truck). Those guys would just get on the other side of the road to miss the bad spots, whether they were in a no-passing lane or not (we saw it from both directions)! And they did it over and over – clearly they drive the road all of the time. We were envisioning massive collisions and backed off until we could pass our truck. Eventually the road conditions improved again – must have been in a different district or something!
Then we got back into the highlands and had to deal with our little car and its limited ability to climb steep inclines -I kept asking Mike why he was slowing down, and he had to keep reminding me that the car was doing its best. Hmmmm – just like the little train that didn’t know if he could climb the mountain! The coutryside in this area was just simply beautiful. Rolling mountains and hills, and so very green. We really enjoyed the drive. I do want to note that there are no “scenic overviews” – so if you want to stop and take pictures you have to stop on the side of the road. That didn’t happen, so I couldn’t get any good photos. Maybe on the return trip. Because we had figured out that we were pushing against time to reach our next destination by daylight. (We’ve confirmed it’s better to get to the next place in the light!) So as the sun was sinking, I began stressing about the little car getting us there before we lost the light. We finally found the sign that pointed out our road off to the left (the signs are never in advance, they are RIGHT THERE), and we headed down a small 2-lane paved road into the peninsula and the small town of Boca Chica. We were feeling pretty good about the paved road, and followed our hosts’ directions through a little village. It was getting darker and darker, but we had some light. We finally found the tiny turnoff, and aimed our car lights at the sign to confirm we had the right place. And guess what? Another TERRIBLE road! Perhaps worse than the other one, just shorter. So, Mike got to navigate the very rough rocky road, and we slowly climbed the hill to our hotel, Seagull Cove Lodge. By then it was dark, and those lights were VERY welcome. Our hosts were all waiting anxiously for our arrival, and helped us settle in – our casita is on a cliffside overlooking a bay – couldn’t see much in the dark except for lots and lots of steps! Then, they served us most-welcome drinks, and made sure we had a nice dinner in our new place. We vowed we wouldn’t leave the property until it was time to go to the next place!