I continued on to Ancon, and the Pan American Hwy parallels the coast line. In one particular area I was being hit by 35 to 45 Mph / 56 to 72 Kph side winds off the ocean, maybe more. This wind in turn was blowing sand like it was snow. It was drifting just like snow. It was blowing across the highway in straight and swirling patterns. When a car or truck drove through this drifting sand, they would kick up in the air and back in your face. The fence line alongside the road was about buried. The fence posts stuck out 6 Inches / 15 Centimeters above the sand. If you all can remember snow fence alongside the road and how the snow would cover the wood lathes to the top and all you could see would be the tops of the steel posts.
That’s the way the sand was built up on the fence line along the road side. In some areas the sand had drifted on to the road where you had to drive around it. They brought out graders and end loaders to push back the sand. It was an endless battle with mother nature. I was riding, give or take, around 50 Mph / 80 Kph, and when that sand hit any bare skin it had a pretty good bite to it. I had to zip up tight to keep the sand out of my riding suit. That all went on for about 1-1/2 hours. I was worried that the visor on my helmet was going to get etched / scratched by the blowing sand. I was sure glad to get out of it. I sure wouldn’t want my car being driven in that sand storm. The wind never totally went away but the blowing sand did. It was pretty much barren brown ground / sand. Endless drifting sand and no water. Pretty much desert. On the bright side of all this negativity is there is miles and miles / kilometers and kilometers of pristine beaches. No overcrowding here.
I stopped once for gas and ate some more. I left the gas station and took the wrong route out and ended up on the wrong road. I went to hook a u-turn and get back on the Pan American Hwy and stepped on the rear brake. I heard this keeersh sound. A metal on metal grinding sound. The last time I heard that sound was in Walnut, California when I installed the new brake pads incorrectly. I parked and jumped off my bike to inspected the rear brake rotor. Sure enough, the brake pads are gone. Steel rubbing on steel. This is not good. Fortunately, the steel on steel rubbing maybe took place in the last 3 yards / 3 meters. Some friction-welded globs, but very little damage to the brake rotor. I pushed the brake caliper apart to give it maximum clearance for the brake pads. I had 40 Miles / 65 Kilometers to ride before arriving at my hotel where I could work on my motorcycle. It will be hard to resist stepping on the rear brake. It runs my stop light and hill brake.
But I can’t fix it here, so off I go to the hotel with just the front brake. I really hope I don’t have to perform any panic stops with only my front brake. Panic stops are not at all that uncommon when driving city traffic in South America.
I used GPS coordinates to find the hotel and came up short again. I was a few blocks away with no hotel in sight. I enlisted the help of this young guy walking by. We walked over to the hotel so I knew where it was, I thanked the young lad for his help and then walked back to my motorcycle. I rode it back to the hotel, got checked in and my motorcycle put into secure parking. I went out for pizza that night and then to bed. Tomorrow I have to check on the full extent of the damage to my brake rotor and caliper.