Still Getting Ready

Things are moving forward a bit each day, though sometimes it feels like a slow pace. It would be faster if I spent less time with the baby, but who can resist a baby who smiles and coos every time you look at her. 

Getting connected became a priority, especially if I’m going out by myself on my bike so my first destination was Verizon. They got me a chip and a plan, and now I have Internet wherever I go. The next stop was Gregs Bike Shop. They had a LOT of bikes! 

This is only the second floor. There were even more bikes down below. My objective there was to ask about a front rack. In order to do that though, I would have to replace the front fork and I don’t think it’s important enough to go through all that. But, I did have a good coversation with the very experienced and knowledgable repair guy, Randy, and decided on fenders and a new stem. I always wanted my handlebars a bit higher but wasn’t able to get a longer stem in Panama. But, here in the land of taller people, they did have a good option and now my bike is more comfortable for me. 

I hung out and looked around the store while Randy worked on my bike.


So, here we are, now with my shiny new fenders, good to have in this rainy climate, and my longer stem.

So, that was Friday and I’m glad to report, with frequent stops to check my google map, I didn’t get lost anywhere. It’s new to me though to be biking in US traffic. There were some parts with a bike path, quite a few parts with good shoulders, but a few areas where I had to ride with traffic. The drivers were all very considerate though so it wasn’t a problem. 

Yesterday, Saturday, we went to REI to work on my list and return a couple things. One pair of shorts I bought in December didn’t fit comfortably but no problem, even without tags or receipt. They took them back, and I also returned the jacket I had ordered because it was too small. In couldn’t find a replacement in this land of fit and slim people but I did get a number of other small things I needed, $147 worth. But with the $100 gift certificate from getting their credit card, and the dividend from previous shopping, I only paid $27. Pretty nice, huh! 

One item on this trip was silver foil emergency blankets for keeping warm. I had the idea to put one under my sleeping bag, and the other bag style one would go in my sleeping bag. It sounded good in theory but my first night in the tent was not a success. It rained and I discovered the sides of the tent can sort of sweat so there was a bit of water inside the tent around the edges, mostly at the end of the doorway. The foil blanket also didn’t work. It may keep in heat but it also keeps in moisture and after a while I was more damp than warm. It was better when I just used the sleeping bag and put the foil above me as a cover. I had trouble with my hands and face being cold so covering my head with the foil helped. But eventually, around 2am my feet also got too cold so I gave up and came in to the welcoming warmth of the house and my inside bed. 

I set the tent on the deck. I couldn’t find the bit of fabric that is supposed to cover the “roof” hole so I had to improvise. 

I think though if I can work out the keeping warm part I will like the tent. I like having my own little “cocoon” and the ability to be on my own. It’s great to have hosting possibilities, but it’s also nice to just do your own thing without worrying if someone is waiting for you to arrive at a particular place, or expecting you to be sociable if you just want to rest. Today is Easter but the Sports Authority website says they are open. I saw an option for a reasonable sleeping bag rated for 30 degrees, a tarp for rainy nights, and many more possibilities for a rain jacket that will fit so an outing is planned for this afternoon (in the car, since rain is predicted all day). Maybe tonight we will have a more successful tent experience. 

I got up this morning to find the wind had moved the tent. A couple days ago one of the neighbors reported a rabid raccoon on this street. It could have just been a very old or sick raccoon but in the picture it didn’t look good. I thought about saying the raccoon had tried to drag me away in my tent but I don’t think I will be believed. The tent is fairly light when it is empty so I know it was just the wind.

If I can master this tent business I think I will feel very good about setting out on my tour! 


About Kris Cunningham

We live in David, Chiriqui Provence, Republic of Panama! This blog is about some of our experiences in our new country.
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10 Responses to Still Getting Ready

  1. indacampo says:

    Kris, we have a beautiful two-man tent with a fly that we brought from home. You could have borrowed it. It would have been perfect for you… 😦


  2. ME BE in Panama says:

    I have no biking or camping words of wisdom to share (my idea of camping is motel 6). So I’ll just continue to send you positive energy and safety. May the road be your friend!


  3. Joyce says:

    Your bike looks real good, Kris


  4. Carole says:

    Sounds like you are getting well organized. Once you start out you should know what to do to be comfortable when in your tent. We are planning on a trip to Panama June 15-25, we will stay in David a few days. Do you think you will be back by then, would love to talk to you about your trip and Panama. Have a safe journey, can’t wait to hear about your travels by bike.
    Stay safe.


  5. Your getting there! That a girl! How about trying those instant hard warmers? We used to use them for our gloves and boots when we went skiing in real cold conditions.


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