I have made it this far. Last minute preparations were made. I don’t think anything important was overlooked. The bike went into the box with a minimum of trouble. The rest of the stuff went into a big duffle bag. I have a small backpack for a carry on, which might be useful later for delicate things like fruit on the tour (you can pick up all sorts of useful tips from the cycling Facebook groups).
I ended taking the bus to Panama City which is a long day but inexpensive, and I had the bike with me rather than sending it ahead and worrying about arrangements, or paying $100 in extra cargo fees. I arranged for Luis, my friend and man who does all sorts of useful things to meet me at the bus station. How nice to have a friendly face waiting for me and the extra pair of hands to help me with all my stuff! And, all for the same price as a taxi. I would definitely do that again.
I stayed at the cheap hotel near the airport because they have hourly shuttles to the airport, and I actually managed to Sleep fairly well. Usually I’m too wound up. The check in people at the airport must have taken pity on my and my stuff, and sent me directly to a desk where a lovely lady cheerfully took my stuff, charged me $150 for the bike, and thankfully nothing for the duffle bag which, heavy and unwieldy as it is, was well under the weight limit. (It weighed 13+ kilos)
I boarded the plane, looked out the window, and what was making its way up the luggage conveyer belt but my bike!
It’s going to be a long day with 15 hours of travel time on three different flights. I managed to fall asleep on the first flight to wake up and find that almost three hours had passed! I usually don’t sleep well on planes so this was a surprise. The rest of the time yesterday and today was spent reading a very useful book on the route I plan to cycle, complete with maps, detailed descriptions of the terrain, scenery, things to do and see, and places to stay. I think it is going to be a great tour!
Now we are making our way to Atlanta, appropriate for a Delta flight (you know the joke. Delta = diverting everyone’s luggage to Atlanta) I have 1 1/2 hours to clear customs with my pile of unwieldy stuff, and I’m hoping luggage cars will be on hand.
Not long ago, my bike computer turned over 6000 miles. I have definitely biked far longer than I am planning to travel, except I have been doing it over three years, not three months. It looks like there are some challenging hilly parts on my route and according to the book, challenging parts riding along highways and through cities but hopefully all my experience riding in traffic won’t make this too stressful. And, I’m going to be pretty happy with myself if I can pull this off.
More important at the moment though, and the first order of business will be having some time with my daughter and her family, and kissing that cute baby.