The story of how I saved money, quit my job, sold my possessions,
and set off to endlessly travel by bike around the world.
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books about touring
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Nov 2004 to Sept 2006
June 2003 to June 2004
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March 2002 to April 2003
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Equipment Pages Index
How Much to Bring and Weight
Advice About Advice
A Note to Perspective Sponsors and Gear Suppliers
more about Sponsorship)
HERE for Touring Bikes and Commuting Bicycles
Custom Touring Bicycles and Bike Upgrade Buyers Guide
Bicycle Touring Frames
Steel Repair Myth.
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
Touring Handlebars, Bar Ends, Adjustable Stems, and Padded Grips.
Sealed Cartridge Headsets
How to prevent flat tires
Bike Route Trails and Maps
Buying Camping Equipment
Tent and Ground
Pots and Pans
Solar Power for Camp
Bike Touring Shorts
Bicycle touring lights
Pictures of Equipment Failures
all 3 book)
Travel Journal for
The States of Sonora and Chihuahua, Mexico
Agua Prieta to Cuauhtemoc, Mexico
(May 13 - 31, 2002)
||Douglas to Mexico Km 122 - We started into Mexico today. We had our
last meal in the US at Burger King (a mistake, greasy food did not agree with me) and
headed across the border. We had to go to immigration to get our 6 month visa, then
to the bank to pay our entrance fee (ouch!!), it use to be free to get into Mexico but now
we pay $21 US dollars each. Agua Prieta was the typical border town, disgusting.
We got through as fast as we could and still that wasn't fast enough. The
road was narrow and had a large drop off to the side. I tend to grip my handlebars
to hard when the riding is like this. The smells in this town are different then the
US kind like being to close to the landfill. Although Mexicans don't know what a
landfill is for, their trash is everywhere. The North American Free Trade Agreement
(NAFTA) introduced the plastic bottle to Mexico and it has ruined the country side.
Before NAFTA all glass bottles had a deposit on them and that is all they used. We
had to camp close to the road, in the middle of no where, but at least the area was clean.
||Km 122 - KM 84- The road was winding in and out of the mountains
today. The police and the truckers are a friendly bunch they wave and ask us where
we are going. I much prefer to ride in Mexico then in the US. The truck
drivers give us the whole lane when they are passing rather than getting as close to us as
possible like in the US. As we were riding through our first mountain pass we
noticed that there was a fire in the mountains we were riding to. The road crew told
us not to worry. Well 15 kilometers down the road the fire is up to the right side
of the road and has jumped to the other side. Luckily, there were firefighters and
the local ranchers in the area and they were getting the blaze under control. Even
so, we still had to ride through the smoky area. We camped half way up a very steep
mountain pass. At first the area looked inviting but on closer inspection it was
obvious that the area was used as a bathroom possibly as a staging area for illegals
coming across the border. YUCK!
||KM 84 to Janos - We started out the day climbing over a high mountain
pass, another white knuckle ride. The ride down the other side was a welcome cruise.
The road leveled out and headed to the southeast, the wind was more of a cross wind
then a head wind. The kilometers melted away, I was anxious to get to Janos to get a
room with a shower. Janos is a cross roads town for truckers. We found a hotel
with hot water and spent the night. I noticed that the Mexicans in this area do not
drive the old jalopies they use to, instead they are driving around in Fords and SUVs.
||Janos to Nuevos Casa Grandes - The road was relatively straight
with gentle rises and valleys and we even had a tail wind for most of the day.
Unfortunately, this road is still the main route from Mexico City to Tijuana. If
the truckers go up the coast they pay a toll, this way they don't. Well when the
road is straight the trucks can reach some good speeds. So we are riding along and I
hear a semi truck coming and see a semi truck coming I guess they got their signals
crossed because they both were trying to pass us at the same time. I hear the brakes
lock up behind us and see the semi in front of us lock his brakes up too. The truck
tires were smoking and the truck was fish tailing and I was a wailing, OHH TIMMM!!!
whew around they went. Needles to say, I was a bit rattled and had to get off the road and
take a breather. The rest of the day was like riding through Indiana. Farmland
everywhere and even cute brick houses. The highlight of the day was Tim getting his
hair cut. Wait until you see this. Tim said, " I don't think I have ever
had hair shorter than my father ". We spent the rest of the day relaxing in
Nuevos Casa Grande.
||REST DAY - Nuevo Casa Grande - We went to the Paquime Ruins today. The Paquime Ruins are
located in Casa Grande a short 15 minute bus ride from Nuevo Casa Grande. The first
thing I noticed about Casa Grande was that there were adobe buildings melting into the
country side everywhere. The streets were clean and the plaza was pleasant. We
walked to the ruins about 1/2 mile from the square. It was Friday and school day
too. There were kids everywhere. Tim said that they were much better behaved
then the kids in the states. Then again, Tim was Special Education. The ruins were
very interesting and the museum was excellent. This area was a major trade center
between 900 and 1340 AD. The area was arid then as it is now and they had a
sophisticated system of canals and cisterns. They also raised Macaw in cages and
used their feathers for ceremonial purposes.
||REST DAY - Nuevo Casa Grande - Went grocery shopping and did our laundry
today. Avocados are 25 cents a piece. Bananas are 25 cents a pound and we got
a half pound of goat cheese for $1.50. OK the goat cheese is not as good as what
they have in Greece but it is still good. There are a few Mennonites in town.
The men are tall like Tim and I think some of the locals thought that Tim might be a
Mennonite. Imagine that. The hotel we are staying at had a room of 5 men from
India. They are heading to the border. If you think our borders are secure,
think again. People from all over the world come to Mexico to sneak into the
US. This is a main corridor to the States.
||Nuevo Casa Grande to Buenaventura - The climb out of town was slow
and I thought that we might have to rethink where we would spend the night but conditions
improved and we were in Galeana by lunch time. The weather was changing and the wind
direction was changing too. Took a siesta in the plaza in Galeana. Finally, we
are away from the semi-trucks. The ride to Buenaventura was through farm land and
very pleasant. When we got to town we stopped at the plaza and then started looking
for a hotel. We met our first American here. They were from Sacramento and visiting
their family. Their parents were Mormon and practiced polygamy, so they were all
related. We got a hotel and sample the local cuisine. Other than the Americans
there were no tourists in sight.
||Buenaventura to Zaragoza - We met an Australian couple as we were leaving
and we could have talked all day. They bought a car in Vancouver and were touring
the States and Mexico. Off we went and set out for the climb. It started
immediately and kept going and going. Now I know why they call this the Sierra
Madre. By the top we had climbed over 2600 feet. We limped into Zaragoza and
looked for a hotel. Tim looked for a good twenty minutes. Finally a gentlemen
from the square showed us to a hotel, we would never of found it, there wasn't even a
sign. The room was clean but rustic, it had a wood burning stove in it.
||Zaragoza to Gomez Farias - We were going to have breakfast where we
stayed the night but a women wanted to exchange pesos for dollars. She wanted 9
pesos to the dollar, we can get 9.37 at the bank. I referred her to Tim and he let
her have it. She thought that we were stupid because we didn't speak much Spanish,
think again. Tim hates it when someone attempts to rip him off. We left in a
hurry and went some where else for breakfast. Glad we did. We met a very nice
women who made us an excellent breakfast and showed us her family album. We even
taught each other some Spanish and English. Off we went into the wind. The
scenery was beautiful, rolling farmland. They seem to have a problem with erosion, I
think it is from to much logging. By the time we got to Gomez Farias we were spent.
It is a lot cooler up here and we had to wear our jackets at night.
||REST DAY - Gomez Farias - We were just to tired to ride today. So we
stayed put and slept most of the day. Riding into the wind has made us think about
getting down to Zacatecas. Checked out the town, not many tourists.
||Gomez Farias to Senior Vincente Robles Ranchero - Left Gomez
knowing that we had a long day ahead of us. We climbed through the pines, it
reminded me of Prescott except for the trash everywhere. Then we descended into
another valley. Luckily, we were going downhill because the wind was blowing so hard
it could have pushed us up the hill. We passed ranch after ranch and thought about
camping. We met Armando who was pulling an irrigation pump out of a well, he said he
got his pump pulling rig from Phoenix about 20 years ago and it looked it. Some how
he kept the old thing running. He recommended Vincente Robles Ranchero, off we went
and Vincente let us sleep on the floor in his apple processing factory. The ranch
was a big operation with numerous buildings and at least 25 tractors. We met the
local help and watched our train DVDs with them. They taught us Spanish and provided the
pop and popcorn we provided the movies. It was great fun.
||Robles Ranchero to KM 14 RV Park. We set out early and headed to
the town of Bachiniva for breakfast. We asked where a restaurant was and ended up in
someone's kitchen. Oh! the food and the people were wonderful. We had the best chili
Rellenos I have ever had. Everyone was so friendly I didn't want to leave. We
even got a tour of the 100 year old church including the bell tower. Sadly, we had
to get down the road. Our next stop was in Obregon, and interesting mix of
Mennonites (German farmers), Mexicans and Indians. We pulled into the RV Park and it
was closed we stayed anyway. Some time today we crossed the 1,000 mile mark, not as
bad as I thought it would be. We met the owner Peter Loewen and he let us stay
inside for the night. He spoke fluent English and is a Mennonite.
||RV Park to Cuauhtemoc. A short ride but through a busy city.
As we were heading into town we passed a house with a very large dog (Collie) in front.
He immediately gave chase and I shot to the front, to keep Tim between me and the
dog. This is always our game plan, that we rehearse often. He disappeared
behind an adobe wall and I didn't see him until he reappeared next to me. By this
time I thought we had out run him and I was in a relaxed state. Tim immediately
yelled and chased the dog, something I wouldn't do, and the dog turned towards Tim instead
of me. Tim's many years of bike riding and dog fighting paid off today. Later,
we found a hotel just before the afternoon showers hit. Our first substantial amount
of rain since we left Prescott on March 30. Our room is on the third floor so we had
to take apart our equipment from the bikes and carry everything upstairs. After that
little exercise I slept for about an hour. Still no tourists around. Plenty
of cowboys with alligator boots and big belt buckles. The Tarahumara Indians are
about, the women wear colorful dresses and carry their babies on their back, the men are
in more cowboy style clothes with sandals.
||REST DAY - Cuauhtemoc. - Sunday is always an interesting day in Mexico.
We went to the plaza and watched the locals walk by. Very interesting, everyone from
families, to drunks stumbling around, kids on bikes, teenagers carrying packages, and old
men listening to the soccer game. We went grocery shopping and it is quite a delight
to see what they buy. Everything is cheaper here including power bars that sell for
$1.50 in the states sell for $.60 each here.
||REST DAY - Cuauhtemoc - Got on the internet today. It took about 2
hours to get Tim's computer hooked up to the internet today. Luckily it was a fast
connection so we could post to the web page too. Found a laundry mat that excepted
quarter but didn't think to bring any. The son of the laundry attendant came home
from school. He was 5 years old and he taught Tim some Spanish and Tim taught him
some English. Prepared for the trip to Copper Canyon for the rest of the day.
||Copper Canyon -
Divisidero. Boarded the second class train for Divisidero, we thought that we would
be sitting with the chickens but it turns out that the train was closer to first class
then we thought. The scenery was beautiful and rural. The high we went the
houses changed from adobe homes to pine homes, people here still lead a very rustic life
style. We got off the train in Divisidero and met Jim Frio from Liverpool,
England. More of a man from many places. He had traveled all over the world
and worked in places like Hong Kong and Mongolia. Jim enlightened us about Central
America and gave us a foreign prospective on the United States. Very interesting,
why is it that we as Americans don't know what is going on in the world and at the same
time our country is a dominant power in the world? On top of that Americans just
don't travel as much as the Europeans do. Stayed at a Cabanas that cost to much and
didn't even have hot water or a flushing toilet.
||Divisidero - Cuauhtemoc. In the morning we took a walk along the
rim of the canyon and saw a Tarahumara Indian walk up a latter out of the canyon like he
was walking up a flight of stairs. No wonder they win the Leadville 100 race.
We decided to go back to Cuauhtemoc instead of on to El Fuente. We didn't think that
a 12 hour train ride would be much fun. We boarded the train about 4:00 PM and
arrived at Cuauhtemoc about 9:00 PM. The train was full and armed police were
stationed at the back of the train. In years past the train was know to be robbed, I
think that all the police presence has changed that. The ride back was uneventful
||Woke up this morning feeling like we had the flu. We pretty much
slept all day and into the night. We decided to leave Mexico after our tourist visa
runs out in 6 months. Now there is no way that we can ride the entire length of
Mexico and do all the things we want to do so we decided to take the dreaded bus to
Zacatecas in central Mexico.
||Prepared for the bus ride to Zacatecas. We left Cuauhtemoc at 4:00
PM in the afternoon and arrived in Chihuahua at 5:30 PM. Our bus for Zacatecas left
at 6:00 PM. We stopped here and there and it seemed like the lights in the bus kept
coming on. Once when we stopped the alternate bus driver got out, opened the cargo
door, got in, and shut the door behind him. Wow, where did he go! Tim said
that they make a little bed down there. It appeared that Tim and I were the only
ones that couldn't sleep, even the children and babies were sleeping. Tim is very
attentive about our belongs and bicycles and he is watching every time the cargo door
Cindie riding to the immigration office. Here we go Mexico.
This is the worst part, it is hotter than I thought it would be.
Shooting the breeze in the plaza.
It is time to show movies on the computer with the local family at the apple orchard.
It seems as if the only Bandito in Mexico is time
Tim and Cindie on the edge again: Copper Canyon
North and Central America
3-30-02 to 4-17-03
(July 18 - Aug 22, 2002)
The State of
Guanajuato to Toluca, Mexico
Other essays by Tim
Into the Mist State
of Michoacan, Mexico
Best Place to see Pictures
Thumbnail Page of Michoacan,
Full size Picture
- Guanajuato to
Penjamillo to Patzcuaro, Mexico
Patzcuaro to Cuidad Hidalgo, Michoacan,
Into the Mist Mexican highway 15
Cuidad Hidalgo, Michoacan, to Toluca, Mexico
The Velodrome in Toluca, Mexico
(Oct. 12 - Nov. 8, 2002)
The States of Tabasco and Chiapas,
Villahermosa, Tabasco to Cuauhtemoc Chiapas, Mexico
Best Place to see Pictures
Thumbnail Page of Tabasco and
Chiapas, Mexico Pictures
Full size Picture
- Museum La Venta and the
Olmec Heads Villahermosa, Tabasco, Mexico
Villahermosa, Tabasco to Ocosingo,
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,
Ocosingo to Cuauhtemoc Chiapas, Mexico
(March 15 - April 10, 2003)
Costa Rica #2
Manual Antonio to Monteverde
Cloud Forest, Costa Rica
Tim's Emailed Newsletters
Costa Rica #2 (incomplete)
Best Place to see Pictures
Thumbnail Page of Costa Rica #2 Pictures
Full size Picture
Parque National Manuel Antonio, #2
City of Santa Elena
Santa Elena, Monteverde
Frog Pond (Ranario), Santa
Santa Elena, Cloud
Forest, National Park
Sky Walk, Suspension
Bridge, Canopy Tour
Sky Trek Zip Line,
Tips & Advice
Tools and Spares
Pots and Pans
Preventing Flat Tires
Bike Touring Shorts
Have Learned On The Road
Injustice of Poverty
Much MORE Gear Here!
Cycle Touring Racks
Tents and ground