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A Toyota Story From Panama.

Discussion in 'Chit-Chat' started by lomusass, Aug 7, 2005.

  1. lomusass

    lomusass

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    Apr 16, 2005
    Location:
    San Jose.Costa Rica.
    IT all began 30 years ago...One of the most dangerous and daring events in the history of modern Panama..On july 12 1975 a group of 34 determined men and one vehicle set out from the small town of Calders in Chiriqui province to make the first motorised crossing of the central mountains..By the crossing of the Talmanca mountains from Chiriqui to Bocas del Toro , a private group of dediated( you gotta be reeeeeaaaaalllll dedicated) men astabilishedonce and for all that it was indeed possible to build a road connecting the two provinces..
    Nearly 100 years had passed sine the first foot trail had been estabilished across the mountains by a german immigrant named juan landau. he needed a way to move cattle from his ranch in Caldera to Baoca del Toro.With much effort..a foot trail was made across the mountains.
    Now in 1919 the same Juan Landae died from a poisonous snake bite while attempting to establish a more direct route across the mountains..
    The need for transport between these two districts continued to grow, but the ggoverment responded that a road would be impossable to build ans basically turned it´s back on thr citizens of western Panama.
    In 1971 a group of crazy bastards (sanat).Sociedad Amigos de la Naturaleza.
    ..friends of nature..decided that they had to improve access into the central mountains by way of monitoring forestry and wild life issues, so they decided that they where going to prove a thing or to to the government that a raod was possible ..(still with me)....So in 1974a commision was made for a 3 day crossing to scout on foot the potential for a route for a vehicle.
    (this took about a year)..By July 1975 preperations had been made and using a 1971 landcruiser prepared by some company that would like to reamain annonomous, and now they were ready for the assault on the central mountains..
    By 6.45 am..34 men left the town to begin their epic journey. Dr Franklin Anguizola (medical speialist and responsible for winch operation..!!!!!!!!!)
    Prof Ebert Anguizola (radio mechanic)m engineer Carlos Landau( grandson of the late pioneer) driver and guide..and other seriously dedicated crazy people responsible for the construction of bridges. food supplies,wood cutting and mech maint and other services that one might need in a 100 degree jungle/mountain where no man has been before..A team of 10 men from Caldera had been appointed by there Major(?) to do much of the road work at the rate of $3 per day,with a guarantee being made to their family should they not return.
    The first day was dry and sunny and spirits were good as a group of ten (trail breakers proceeded the Toyota with machetes, axes and 1 chainsaw.(yes 1 chainsaw),making slow progress cutting a usable path through a wide variety and often(!) dangerous terrain..Many rivers and creeks would need to be forded, road beds built from cut logs over marshy ground and when rocks to large to be moved aside , these were not blown to pieces but a crude wooden bridge would be constructed over the top.
    A typical day saw all the men working from dawn to dusk.It was the rainy season , and in true fashion the rain soon started to piss down, the men working daily in wet conditions and increasingly colder..
    By july 20 both of the new electric winches had failed and men were succombing to ravages of assorted haelth problems,lack of food, depression,and in some cases buggery(just put that in to see if your still with me)..A temporay shelter was built and more food was packed up on the backs of porters from Caldera, but weather conditions continued to worsen.
    By the 22, the condition of the taem had deteriorated..no dry firewood could be found to cook , so the men worked without food while induring the stings of large bees that could penetrate their constantly wet clothing,caucing no end of misery..
    On july 24..the rain continued, but at 4pm the sun shone for the first time in days,and the team lifted and pushed on towards the summit, reaching it after dark at 8.25pm. A radio message was sent out and the local towns erupted in celebration....
    To be continued in a few days..(gotta get back to work)