Catching Up

6 Feb

So we left Las Olas Friday morning via a short cut cross country and north to Volcan. Our iPad, equiped with a ‘data sim’ works like GPS so we can track ourselves when travelling and make sure we’re not lost. Got to Volcan, and took the branch road to Paso Ancho, a small community a few miles away. That was the location of our next planned stay for 3 weeks. The maps show several local streets, and Google maps has the property we were booked for shown on their map as well.
Well the problem became, we had a rental car, 4 door Toyota sedan, and all the roads to reach the place were on ‘dirt roads’ as the owner called them. He failed to mention they could only be traversed by high clearance vehicles like SUV’s or 4 Wheel drives. The car bottomed out, and scraped along the ‘street’ covered with orange to grapefruit sized rocks, and up to basketball sized boulders semi-buried in the sand. Those ‘humps’ combined with pot holes of similar depth made it unreasonable to travel or risk serious damage to the vehicle.
Needless to say we called and cancelled our stay, forfeiting our deposit. I am not mentioning the name of the property so as not to encourage others to find it. And so we returned to familiar surroundings, Boquete.
A quick note about rental cars….several international rental brands at the David airport, the Thrifty in Boquete, and the independant we were currently renting from….no one has anything other than sedans. Have never seen even a pickup or van anywhere. While a high percentage of locals own trucks, SUV’s, 4 Wheel, etc. because any time you leave paved surfaces you are on rock and often not very level or smooth surfaces. They don’t seem to have ‘crushed rock’ as we see in the US on unpaved roads.
Fortunately when we got there we searched our contact list of rental properties, and the first one we tried was available. We drove out to complete arrangements and unload. Then returned to town (about 4 miles) to get groceries. We made a quick stop before going to the store, and when we tried to move on the car would not start!! Finally able to get ahold of the rental agency owner, and he came to help but no joy! He couldn’t get it to start either. And he had no other car available for us. Three brand new vehicles had arrived that day, but no paperwork, license plates or stickers, so they could not be legal on the street.
Bill, the owner, apologetically drove us to the casita for the night, and brought us a brand new Nissan the next morning. Thus ended that ‘not so little’ adventure. Even tho there are several other details I’ll pass over. We are settled in our 1 BR casita, up in the hills SW of town and are quite comfortable. The owners, Rick and Cheryl MILLER live next door, have an ‘almost 12’ daughter, and younger son.

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