PEI to Panama

This Blog will track our progress from Prince Edward Island, Canada to Panama. Merlin Jay and myself, Walter Wilkins, intend to leave mid February and (hope to) return mid April, 2015. The following pictures and videos are only posted now for test purposes to see if others can access the blog and make comments. Once underway, the intent is to share the good, the bad and the ugly experiences. Hope you can join us!

Short Bios

Walter Wilkins

I’ve been riding for about forty years with over 400 000 kilometers under my belt. While I’m experienced, I’m far from what I would call an expert rider. I’ve ridden from Labrador to Mexico but my destination of choice is The Smoky Mountains; for the last decade or so, I’ve done a perennial ride there – what a wonder. That said, it’s been three years since I’ve ridden Big Bend in Texas and I can’t wait to return.

A few years back, on a lark, I traded in my well used BMW for a new 2009 V-Strom. I liked that bike so much that after two seasons (and 55 000 kms) I bought another. So, for this trip I’ll be riding my 2012 DL 650, Suzuki V-Strom; at this point it also has 55 000 kms on the odo. My motto for the V-Strom is: It’s not a perfect bike, but it’s the perfect bike for me.

I’ll be responsible for this blog, so please join up, follow and feel free to comment – it will encourage me to keep posting. Also, since I know squat about blogs, any advice is welcome. Even more welcome is helpful advice about Mexico, Central America, places to visit or stay or anything related to what this blog offers you.

Under The Tree of Shame @ The Tail of the Dragon
Smokey Mts.

Merlin Jay

Merlin Jay is retired from being an independent long haul trucking operator. As such, he literally has over three million miles of road experience. He’s also a committed biker; although some say he simply should be committed. Presently, he owns and rides Harley’s, a new Ninja 1000 and a Suzuki DR 650 (The Mule) the bike he’s riding on this trip. The Mule has carried Merlin from The Artic Circle in Alaska to The Trans-Lab Highway in Newfoundland/Labrador to Mexico . . . more than once.

What can you say about Merlin? One of his points of pride is that, to this day, you can visit the infamous Coco’s Corner in Baja and see his Teddy Bear hanging amongst the hundreds of pairs of women’s panties. Now, if you’re an experienced adventure rider you’ll likely shake your head and know exactly what I’m talking about. If you’re not? Well, there’s not enough room here to explain the honor. Oh yeah, wanna play? Go back to the Coco’s Corner link in this paragraph and let me know if you can find Merlin’s Teddy!

Past adventures and getting ready . . .
Here’s a guy you won’t meet too often; we met him during our last ride through Baja.
Every time I think we’re nuts, I link to his story here . . .
This short video was taken a few years back on Route 66, Arizona.
The front bike is Da Mule, I’m on the ’09 ‘Strom.
Baja, Mexico 2012.

More to come . . . Adventures, mishaps and much to see. And, even more you’ll not want to see!

Planning and Packing
Bikes are loaded and ready to head out on Tuesday morning.
A big thanks to Centennial Motors on PEI, for helping us load! It’s great to have a dealership you can trust and they have some of the best prices on motorcycles in Atlantic Canada.
On the way to Texas . . .
Opps, a little delay . . .
Here’s the reason for our departure delay, a record breaking snow fall on Prince Edward Island. Below is a picture of Merlin’s driveway. It’s said that a picture is worth a thousand words. So, Nuff’ said.
It that isn’t enough, here’s a picture of some Islanders who had to dig a twenty-five foot tunnel to find their car. See here: They found it by remotely flashing the lights of the car and beeping the horn!


An inauspicious start or

a test of our mettle?

To make up lost time because of PEI’s huge storm, we had to dig deep and make The Great Escape; Steve McQueen would have been proud. We drove all night, through sleet and snow and bitter cold.

We made great time through a record breaking cold snap. They say it’s the coldest it’s been here for more than twenty years. Well, at least that’s what Fox News said, so it’s gotta be the truth, eh?

Then, the truck had issues in Virginia. I’m broke Down in Virginia, if that ain’t a C & W song, it should be.

What happened? It went down sorta like this. “Hey Merlin, what’s that noise? Yeah, I hear it too. Sounds like a bad wheel bearing? Yeah, it does sound like a wheel bearing. Let’s find a dealer to see what they think.”

The first Dodge dealership said sure, they could take a look at it . . . next Tuesday. I guess they were so busy they didn’t even know it’s Friday morning? The next dealership wasn’t much better. That is, until Merlin pulled his best Mafioso Boss Face. “Oh sir, would you like to speak to the manager?”

They came around quite nicely, and took the truck in for a little peek. After a “technical analysis” and a $90 “diagnosis charge” they said, yep . . . needs a wheel bearing. However, it’s a two wheel drive so we don’t stock that Dodge part. The best we can do is try to get the part from Michigan, hopefully by Monday.

So, here we sit, in a rather expensive but typical Motel room. Merlin, keeping a stiff upper lip, is stealing himself to deal with a $900.00 bill + delays and added expenses . . . for a wheel bearing.

The adventure continues . . . above is the slightly wounded but totally immobile Dodge outside our motel room; you really don’t want to see the inside of the motel room. With a bit of luck, next Monday the post will be about us in the truck happily back on the road.





3 comments so far

  1. Elvie Wilson on

    Good luck and safe travels to you both!! Walter, Gordon is going to miss you terribly! Keep in touch😀

    • islandbikers on

      Yeah I’ll miss the ol’fart too. It was probably Gordie that got me to take a second-stab at Central America in the first place. This time I’m determined to get up that mountain where the puma made us both run like little cartoon characters! It was a puma, that’s our story, and we’re sticking to it!

  2. Gordon Mac Millan on

    Hi there we traveled to Panama 12 years ago and drove back 8 years later.
    We entered Canada at White Rock,then traveled to PEI where we have lived since.
    Panamanians are great people,so I’m not too sure you will wish to return back here in April….Watch out for the cops in Honduras,they are everywhere on the Pan-American Highway,and use any excuse to “fine” you.Carry a fire extinguisher as well as a warning triangle and a wee piece of 2×4 for a wheel choc.
    Knowledge of Spanish is more helpful than you can imagine,though throughout Central America,the people are gracious and helpful.
    There are “snakes” everywhere on our fine planet…so don’t get bit!!!

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