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My flight leaves in just over twelve hours, and as usual before a trip like this, I'm wondering how on earth I will get everything done. I'm still clearing up office issues, sorting out documentation that I need to take with me, finishing up this web site entry, hoping to finish packing before midnight and wondering how I will ever get any sleep. But, I know from past experience that somehow it all magically comes together about two hours before the plane leaves. I assume this trip will be no different.

Barring unforeseen problems, I will sleep in San Jose, Costa Rica tomorrow night, and the final segment of my dream of twenty years will be underway. After a day to get the bike uncrated, through Costa Rican customs and ready to ride, I'll head south. Two easy days should see me in Panama City where Jan and I will play tourist before I start the long, roughly 6,000 mile, ride back to Seattle. 

This trip will be a bit different than the ride to Alaska. First, it's longer - about 6,000 miles vs. 4,500 on the Alaska ride. Next, there's obviously a real language barrier, as most of the trip will be through Latin America. My grasp of Spanish is limited at best, although I've been studying it for a couple of months. The experience of visiting a country is so much richer if you know the native tongue. I'm going to try hard. 

Obviously the weather will be a big difference. Central America and Mexico in May are guaranteed to be humid and scalding hot. Alaska was cold and wet. In southern Central America heavy rain is probable, at least daily. On the positive side, it should be dry when I reach the middle of Mexico, particularly when I get over to the Pacific Coast, and all the way home. Well, make that fifty miles from home. It's been known to start raining as soon as you crest the Cascade Mountains in Washington. 

Add in seven currencies and nine border crossings, and the differences become significant. But that's the fun of it all. Different cultures, different money, different language, different weather, climate and topography - that's why people travel. And there's another reason - appreciation for what we have now. Just a week in a Third World Country makes me greatly appreciate what I have in the good old USA.

Please join me. I'll post as often as I can.

Tom Hunter

Tom in Idaho at end of the Central America trip