A brief note to let you know we arrived safe and sound (sort of) in Chile, albeit a lot late.
The planned departure for the airport in Panama City at 6:30AM on Saturday turned into a bit of a fiasco as we never left until 5:30PM after a day of waiting around for updates on our L1011 that was still in Florida waiting to be repaired.
The departure for the airport finally took place at around 5:45PM with one police car leading the way. To say we screwed up the traffic in the city and on the expressway they routed us along would be an understatement, the honking of horns was not friendly. We even had the pleasure of being stopped by machine gun totting toll road guards who stopped the police along with all the cyclists on the expressway demanding payment. After a few heated words and much gesturing we were on our way. Arrived airport just as the sun was making a mad dash for the horizon.
At the airport we prepared the bikes for shipment by removing pedals, loose equipment, and turning the handle bars. This was all accomplished to the cheering buzz of the friendly dive-bomber sized mosquitoes that were our greeting committee.
The airport wait turned into an 8-hour fiasco as delays were encountered at every turn. Surprise, surprise to find out the L1011 would not accommodate the baggage and bikes, once again we departed leaving behind untold bikes and baggage.
Arrived Santiago at 8:00AM on our day off and again waited for the bus to the terminal, waited for the visas to be placed in our passport, waited for immigration, waited for our luggage, waited for customs clearance, waited for the bikes, waited for the buses to the hotel etc. etc. All in all our waiting resulted in a 2:30 departure for the hotel. Mary has me convinced this trip is a training exercise to improve my patience, she may be right currently I have failed my first month's exam.
Luggage arrived at hotel by 8:30PM, showered and was in bed by 9:00PM for a sound 12 hours of sleep. Awoke to find out our bikes may arrive by early morning 1st February which was he day we were to have been some 100 miles outside of Santiago beginning our second day of riding.
Will close for now as this unscheduled day off the bike will be our chance to catch a few minutes of the many sites to be found in this lovely city of Santiago. The organizers are trying to shift all of the accommodations (fields and parks) by one day as they are with the food vendors; we have been advised they will eliminate one of our rest days in either South Africa or Argentina (bummer)
Dave & Mary 'waiting for our bike' Moulds