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The story of how I saved money, quit my job, sold my possessions, and set off to endlessly travel by bike around the world. My Plan

My 3 Books
I write, self publish and sell books about touring

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May 2010 to present

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May 2008 to April 2010

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Sept 2007 to May 2008

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Sept 2006 to Sept 2007

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Nov 2004 to Sept 2006

South America
June 2003 to June 2004

AZ, Mexico, and Central America
March 2002 to April 2003

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Introduction
How Much to Bring and Weight
Some Advice About Advice
A Note to Perspective Sponsors and Gear Suppliers
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START HERE for Touring Bikes and Commuting Bicycles
Custom Touring Bicycles and Bike Upgrade Buyers Guide
Bicycle Touring Frames 
The Steel Repair Myth.
Steel and Aluminum Derailleur Hanger Repair.
Bicycle Touring Wheels
Phil Wood: The Best Bicycle Hubs

Panniers / Bike Bags
Cargo Trailers Vs Panniers
Tires for Bike Tours..
Bicycle Touring Saddles.
Women's Specific Bike Touring Saddles
Brooks Leather Touring Bicycle Saddle Care and Conditioning
Bike Computer
Touring Handlebars, Bar Ends, Adjustable Stems, and Padded Grips.
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Sealed Cartridge Headsets

How to prevent flat tires
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(see all 3 book)

Portal Arizona
A Birder, Nature Lover, Naturalist, and Bird Watchers Paradise Area Map
 
(Late April - Early May, 2002)

To put it simply Portal Arizona is a Paradise.  It is rare to find a place suitable for living but also undeveloped and untrampled by tourists.  We liked this area so much that we hung around for three weeks.  If our urge to travel was not very strong we would have bought property and stayed.

Portal is the closest thing to a backcountry town that we have seen in Arizona.  We found it so relaxing and enjoyable we stayed for three weeks, including a 6 day backpacking trip in the nearby Chiricahua Mountains.  Portal was originally known as a ranching area but now this little town is known internationally as a bird watching area.

Portal sits at the end of a long lush canyon with a year round creek that draws it's water from the looming 9000 ft and up Chiricahua Mountains to the west.   To the east is New Mexico and the high Chihuahua desert that stretches far south into Mexico.  Deserts do not know international borders.

These mountains were originally a favorite haven for the Apache Indians.  In fact this whole corner of the state was the Apache's reservation for about four years until the US government decided that this land was to nice to give to Indians and took it away from them and moved then to the hot dry San Carlos reservation.  I guess they did not care that the Apache had pushed the original inhabitants out and lived here for a two or so centuries.  This gave us some mixed feelings.  If this was still a reservation we would not be allowed to travel here and this area is certainly to nice to keep anyone out.  

The first birders we met were Frank and Robin from Berkley, California.  They would come to Portal as often as they could.  They had a whole library of books for identifying birds, plants, rocks, and mammals.  We enjoyed camping next to them for a week.  I have never really been around "bird watchers" or Birders as they often call themselves.  Portal is a Mecca for them.  They are a most interesting group of people.  A frugal bunch with the only required equipment being high quality binoculars, field guide for bird identification, and an outrageous floppy hat.  Some have cameras but this does not seem to be a requirement.  They are a highly educated bunch with many people that we met having advanced degrees in ecology or ornithology.  Kind of a liberal scientist.  We met people from all over the world with many of them being famous in the naturalist circles.  Many of them had written well known books in their specific field of expertise.  As you can guess most of them are very environmentally aware and politically active in this arena.  They were some of the most humble and interesting people that you will ever meet.  As a group I would have to say that they had above average income levels to match their advanced university degrees but instead of looking for ways to flaunt their wealth they were on a continuous quest to learn and study.  Who needs a fancy car when you could identify a new species of bird.  We liked everyone of them that we met. 

These Birders had some very interesting habits.  You can guess that they walked around during daylight with their binoculars looking at various birds and identifying then in their little field books.  We saw and even participated in lots of that.  The activity that seemed the most odd was owling.  Owling is the art of walking around at dusk and well after dark to look at owls.  For this you can leave your floppy sun hat behind but you do need some kind of flashlight.  We went several times with locals and with Frank and Robin who really knew what they were doing.  Tromping around in the dark reminded me of "Snipe Hunting" when I was a Boy Scout and it was just as fun.  Once you hear an owl making its "who" or "hoot" noise you close in and figure out what branch it is on.  This is no easy task because it is dark.  Once you find and identified the owl one person holds the light on the owl while everyone else look in their binoculars.  They politely take turns holding the light so everyone can look.  They often would see that we were looking through our miniature travel binoculars, that my dad gave me, and insist that we use their much more powerful binoculars.  One night while we were looking for the little (6 inch) Elf Owl a van load of people parked and silently got out with their lights (off) and binoculars around their neck.  Without saying a word they stood in the darkness listening for a specific owl that they were looking for.  After a few moments they walk on but not one of the ten or so Owlers made even the slightest noise.  I later joked with Cindie that had we been camped nearby and did not know the habits of Owlers I would of assumed it was a nutty cult and they would have scared the hell out of me. 

Besides birds there are several other animals that I had never seen before.  We saw all kinds of wild life including many kinds of hummingbirds, screech owl, great horned owl, elf owl, ring-tailed cat (who ate my fig newtons), skunk (who ate my oatmeal), coati, gray fox, deer, Javalina., and a phantom black bear.

The residents and tourists of Portal Arizona we very kind and generous to us.  Dave let us camp in his yard for a few days after our backpacking trip.  We got to enjoy his yard full of bird feeders and various animals that came to visit.  Dave is an artist and his subjects are the local wildlife.

We had planned on staying in the canyon for a couple weeks before entering Mexico but we stayed much longer.  Initially the appeal had to do with the shortsightedness of the US Forest Service.  We expected to find a free spot along the creek to camp for a week.  This would involve filtering water from the creek and sitting on the ground.  Because of a serious drought campfires were only allowed in Forest Service campgrounds.  This was bad news because we only had a limited amount of fuel in our stove.  The nearest gas station was miles away.  The Forest Service campgrounds were $10 a night PER VEHICLE. We would gladly pay the fee if their was a shower but the National Forest Campgrounds (and National Parks) never have showers so we usually considered it to expensive and camped free on the ground in an undeveloped area.  The lure of a legal fire and tap water that we could drink without filtering made us think.   Most National Forest Service campgrounds have a self pay set up and after depositing your money in the envelope you are supposed to put the receipt on you dashboard.   There was a time that I would argue with motorists that a bike is a vehicle but this was not one of them.  Besides we definitely did not have a dashboard.  We tried camping and not paying.  Sure enough the Ranger came in the morning counted the money then counted the cars.  Once satisfied they were on their way.  We stayed a week and never paid.  We had a fire every night and some mornings which heated water for our solar shower and everything else.  When we needed water we just walked over to the tap and got clean water.  Another perk was a sit down toilet witch is much better than - well,  digging a hole.

The thing that we liked the best about Portal Arizona was the peacefulness and dramatic scenery.  We arrived on the dirt road that climbs over a high pass of the Chiricahua mountains.   This road basically cuts these high mountains in half.  By the time that we reached Portal AZ we had gone nearly a week without even the smallest of stores to buy food.  We ate the last of the canned food that Tim had stuffed into his bike three weeks earlier in Prescott.  Needless to say we were very tired by the time we arrived in town.  So this paradise was a welcome retreat from the long and winding road.

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INDEX #1: North and Central America
3-30-02 to 4-17-03

1North and
Central America
3-30-02 to 4-17-03

2 South America
6-3-03 to 6-17-04

3 SE Asia / China
11-22-04 to
9-15-06

4 Australia
9-15-06 to 9-15-07

5 New Zealand
9-16-07 to 5-2-08
6 Alaska, Canada, and the USA
5-3-08 to 4-30-10
7 India. Nepal, and the Subcontinent
5-1-10 to present
Where am I  now

Subscribe to Email Newsletter

(Before March 30, 2002)
Life in Prescott Arizona, USA

Cindie's Daily Journals
Life in Prescott Arizona

Tim's Emailed Newsletters (Join  List)
Good bye Letter

Other essays by Tim
About Us
Our Bicycle Wedding
Riding In Prescott
Hiking in Arizona
Favorite Bike Movies
The Great Zorr Dog
Life in a $500 RV
The Plan
Good bye Letter

 

(March 30 - May 12, 2002)
The State of Arizona, USA
Prescott to Douglas, Arizona

Cindie's Daily Journals
Cindie's Journal in Arizona, USA

Tim's Emailed Newsletters (Join  List)
Our first week Down the Road!
Enjoying Arizona
Heading into Mexico

Other essays by Tim
The Day We Left
Lost Dutchman Mine
Ghost Towns
Tombstone
Chiricahua National Monument
Portal Arizona
Backpacking in the Chiricahua Mountains
Apache Wars

Best Place to see Pictures
Thumbnail Page for Arizona Pictures

Full size Picture Pages

- Pictures from the first day
- Arizona Photo Page #1 Prescott AZ - Tucson AZ
- Lost Dutchman State Park
- Arizona Photo Page #2 Tucson AZ - Tombstone AZ
- San Xavier Mission
- Arizona Photo Page #3 Tombstone AZ to Portal AZ 
- Tombstone Arizona
- Ghost Towns in Arizona 
- Chiricahua National Monument
- Portal Arizona
- Chiricahua Wilderness Area Backpack (Trek)

 

(May 13 - 31, 2002)
The States of Sonora and Chihuahua, Mexico
Agua Prieta to Cuauhtemoc, Mexico

Cindie's Daily Journals
The States of Sonora and Chihuahua, Mexico

Tim's Emailed Newsletters (Join  List)
Greetings from Mexico!

Other essays by Tim
The Problems with the Border Area Between Mexico and the USA
Paquime Ruins Casas Grandes, Mexico
Barranca del Cobre or Copper Canyon

Best Place to see Pictures
Thumbnail Page of Sonora and Chihuahua, Mexico Pictures

Full size Picture Pages

- Mexico #1 Photo Page   Agua Prieta to Zaragoza, Mexico
- Paquime Ruins - Casas Grandes, Mexico
- Mexico #2 Photo Page    Zaragoza to Col. Alvaro Obregon, Mexico
- The Mennonites of Chihuahua, Mexico
- Mexico #3 Photo Page 
- Barranca del Cobre or Copper Canyon Photo Page

 

(June 1 - July 17, 2002)
The States of Zacatecas and Guanajuato, Mexico
Zacatecas to Guanajuato, Mexico

Cindie's Daily Journals
The States of Zacatecas and Guanajuato, Mexico

Tim's Emailed Newsletters (Join  List)
Hello Guanajuato
Adios Guanajuato

Other essays by Tim
One Fine Day Down The Road
Learning Spanish at Casa Mexicana in Guanajuato, Mexico
Cindie's Car Crash: a Mexican Experience Guanajuato, Mexico

Best Place to see Pictures
Thumbnail Page of Zacatecas and Guanajuato Pictures

Full size Picture Pages

- Zacatecas, Mexico
- Central Mexico #1  Zacatecas to Ojuelos, Mexico
- One Fine Day Down The Road  State of Zacatecas, Mexico
- Central Mexico #2 Zacatecas to Guanajuato, Mexico
- Dolores Hidalgo, the Home of the Mexican War of Independence
- Guanajuato and the Mexican War of Independence
- Guanajuato, Mexico #1
- Guanajuato, Mexico #2
- Mineral Museum of the University of Guanajuato

 

(July 18 - Aug 22, 2002)
The State of Michoacan, Mexico
Guanajuato to Toluca, Mexico

Cindie's Daily Journals
The State of Michoacan, Mexico

Tim's Emailed Newsletters (Join  List)
The Great Secret of Michoacan!
Toluca

Other essays by Tim
Into the Mist State of Michoacan, Mexico

Best Place to see Pictures
Thumbnail Page of Michoacan, Mexico Pictures

Full size Picture Pages

- Guanajuato to   Penjamillo, Mexico
- Penjamillo to Patzcuaro, Mexico
- Patzcuaro, Mexico
- Patzcuaro to Cuidad Hidalgo, Michoacan, Mexico
- Morelia, Mexico
- Into the Mist Mexican highway 15
- Cuidad Hidalgo, Michoacan, to Toluca, Mexico
- Toluca, Mexico
- The Velodrome in Toluca, Mexico

 

(Aug. 23 - Sept. 17, 2002)
The States of Mexico and Morelos, Mexico
Toluca to Amecameca, Mexico

Cindie's Daily Journals
The States of Mexico and Morelos

Tim's Emailed Newsletters (Join  List)
So Close to Mexico City Yet So Far From Anything

Best Place to see Pictures
Thumbnail Page of The States of Mexico and Morelos, Mexico Pictures

Full size Picture Pages

- Toluca to Chalma, Mexico
- Malinalco, Mexico
- Chalma to Amecameca, Mexico
- Cuernavaca, Mexico
- Amecameca
- September 16 Mexican Independence Day
- Various Extra Pictures

 

(September 18 - 27, 2002)
Mexico City Area
Including the ruins of Teotihuacan

Mexico City, Mexico

Cindie's Daily Journals
Mexico City Area

Tim's Emailed Newsletters (Join  List)
Six Months Down the Road

Other essays by Tim
Looking Deep Into the Eyes of a Thief Mexico City Metro (subway)
The Velodrome in Mexico City

Best Place to see Pictures
Thumbnail Page of Mexico City Area Pictures

Full size Picture Pages

- Mexico City
- National Palace and Zocalo
- The Velodrome (bicycle track) in Mexico City
- The Ruins of Teotihuacan #1
- The Ruins of Teotihuacan #2
- Xochimilco
- Mexico City Zoo
- National Museum of Anthropology

 

(Oct.  12 - Nov. 8, 2002)
The States of Tabasco and Chiapas, Mexico
Villahermosa, Tabasco to Cuauhtemoc Chiapas, Mexico

Cindie's Daily Journals
The States of Tabasco and Chiapas, Mexico

Tim's Emailed Newsletters (Join  List)
Our Final Weeks in Mexico

Best Place to see Pictures
Thumbnail Page of Tabasco and Chiapas, Mexico Pictures

Full size Picture Pages

- Museum La Venta and the Olmec Heads Villahermosa, Tabasco, Mexico
- Villahermosa, Tabasco  to Ocosingo, Chiapas, Mexico
- Palenque #1 Photo Picture Page
- Palenque #2 Photo Picture Page
- Misol-Ha Waterfall Chiapas, Mexico
- Agua Azul Chiapas, Mexico
- Tonina Mayan Ruins Ocosingo, Chiapas, Mexico
- Mexico's Day of the Dead Ocosingo, Chiapas, Mexico
- Ocosingo to Cuauhtemoc Chiapas, Mexico

 

(Dec 2 - 15, 2002)
Guatemala #1: The Highlands
Quetzaltenango to Antigua

Cindie's Daily Journals
Guatemala #1 The Highlands

Tim's Emailed Newsletters (Join  List)
Guatemala: Riding Through the Highlands

Guatemala: From Paradise to Despair

Other Pages Tim Made
Escuela de Idioma Español Utatlan, Spanish Immersion School in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala

Best Place to see Pictures
Thumbnail Page of Guatemala #1 Pictures

Full size Picture Pages

- La Mesilla to Quetzaltenango, Guatemala
- The Indigenous Highland Village of San Andreas Xecul
- Climbing the Volcano Santa Maria.
- Quetzaltenango, Guatemala
- Quetzaltenango to Antigua, Guatemala.
- San Pedro la Laguna Lago (Lake) Atitlan, Guatemala
- Lago (Lake) Atitlan Santa Cruz to San Marcos Hike
- More San Pedro Photos Photo Page

 

(Dec. 16, 2002 - Jan. 6, 2003)
Guatemala #2: Northeast Towards the Caribbean
Antigua to Puerto Barrios, Guatemala

Cindie's Daily Journals
Guatemala #2
: Heading Northeast Towards the Caribbean

Tim's Emailed Newsletters (Join  List)
Antigua, Guatemala to the Sea

Best Place to see Pictures
Thumbnail Page of Guatemala #2 Pictures

Full size Picture Pages

- The Colonial City of Antigua, Guatemala. #1
- The Historical City of Antigua, Guatemala. #2
- The Active Volcano Pacaya, Near Antigua
- Antigua to Puerto Barrios, Guatemala
- The Mayan Ruins of Tikal, Guatemala
- Livingston, Guatemala

 

(January 7 - 31, 2003)
Honduras
From the Guatemalan Border to the Nicaraguan Border

Cindie's Daily Journals
Honduras

Tim's Emailed Newsletters (Join  List)
Honduras: From the Guatemalan Border to the Nicaraguan Border

Best Place to see Pictures
Thumbnail Page of Honduras Pictures

Full size Picture Pages

- Honduras: The Border to Comayagua, Honduras
- Omoa, Honduras and Fortaleza de San Fernando de Omoa
- Parque Nacional Cero Azul Meambar, Honduras Page #1
- Parque Nacional Cero Azul Meambar, Honduras Page #2
- Comayagua to Tegucigalpa, Honduras
- Tegucigalpa, Honduras to the Border with Nicaragua
- Odds and Ends

 

(Feb. 1 - 19, 2003)
Nicaragua
From the Honduras Border to the Costa Rican Border

Cindie's Daily Journals
Nicaragua

Tim's Emailed Newsletters (Join  List)
Nicaragua: Travels Through a Troubled Land

Best Place to see Pictures
Thumbnail Page of Nicaragua Pictures

Full size Picture Pages

- Nicaragua: The Honduras border to Esteli, Nicaragua
- Esteli, Nicaragua:  the Stronghold of the Sandinista
- Esteli to Granada, Nicaragua
- Granada, Nicaragua #1
- Granada, Nicaragua #2
- Volcano Masaya - Near Managua, Nicaragua
- Granada, Nicaragua to the Costa Rican Border
- Isla / Island Ometepe, Lake Nicaragua
- Ernie, The Entertainer from Jamaica

 

(Feb. 21 - March 14, 2003)
Costa Rica #1
La Cruz to Rancho Mastatal, Costa Rica

Cindie's Daily Journals
Costa Rica #1

Tim's Emailed Newsletters (Join  List)
Costa Rica #1 (incomplete)

Best Place to see Pictures
Thumbnail Page of Costa Rica #1 Pictures

Full size Picture Pages

- Nicaraguan Border to Playa Tamarindo
- Liberia, Guancaste, Costa Rica.
- Playa Tamarindo
to Playa Samara
- Playa Samara to Playa Jaco
- Manuel Antonio National Park #1
- Rancho Mastatal, Costa Rica #1
- Rancho Mastatal, Costa Rica #2

 

(March 15 - April 10, 2003)
Costa Rica #2
Manual Antonio to Monteverde Cloud Forest, Costa Rica

Cindie's Daily Journals
Costa Rica #2

Tim's Emailed Newsletters (Join  List)
Costa Rica #2 (incomplete)

Best Place to see Pictures
Thumbnail Page of Costa Rica #2 Pictures

Full size Picture Pages

- Parque National Manuel Antonio, #2
- City of Santa Elena and Monteverde
- Butterfly Garden, Santa Elena, Monteverde
- Finca Ecological, Monteverde
- Frog Pond (Ranario), Santa Elena
- Santa Elena, Cloud Forest, National Park
- Sky Walk, Suspension Bridge, Canopy Tour
- Sky Trek Zip Line, Canopy Tour
- Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

 

(April 12 - 17, 2003)
Panama
Panama City, Panama

Cindie's Daily Journals
Panama

Tim's Emailed Newsletters (Join  List)
Panama (Incomplete)

Best Place to see Pictures
Thumbnail Page of Panama Pictures

Full size Picture Pages

- Panama City #1
- Panama City #2
- Panama Canal

1North and
Central America
3-30-02 to 4-17-03

2 South America
6-3-03 to 6-17-04

3 SE Asia / China
11-22-04 to
9-15-06

4 Australia
9-15-06 to 9-15-07

5 New Zealand
9-16-07 to 5-2-08
6 Alaska, Canada, and the USA
5-3-08 to 4-30-10
7 India. Nepal, and the Subcontinent
5-1-10 to present
Where am I  now

Subscribe to Email Newsletter

 

 

 

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