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Dear Family and Friends:
Sunday, May 12, 2002
We are in Douglas, Arizona which Is a border town with Mexicos Agua Prieta. The first leg of our journey is now completed. We considered our six weeks in the USA our Shakedown We call it this because we knew things would need the bugs worked out and it is much easier to do that in our home country. It was a good plan because we had a few equipment failures (see web site for details) and needed some good ole American Mail Order to our current address General Delivery to replace stuff.
Our health is good and our bodies are firming up. We have both lost noticeable amounts of weight and the affects of our previous stressful jobs are fading away. Tim has lost 25 lbs. and Cindie has lost 10 lbs. We feel good and ready for the land and the wonderful peoples of Mexico.
Our equipment has been evolving and getting more streamlined these past few weeks. Even with all the streamlining Tims bike still weighted 150 lbs., most of the extra weight is three weeks of food we are bringing into Mexico. This will be the last time we carry this much stuff. We mailed a lot of unneeded items and our backpacks/boots back to Tims parents. The next time we plan on using our backpacks/boots again will be around October in Central Mexico. There are several volcanoes there, including a nearly 18,000 ft. volcano, that Tim has his heart set on climbing.
Speaking of equipment I was hoping that someone out there could contact (email-less) Ed of Southwest Sounds and Cyclery in Prescott and ask him what size spoke we need to buy in order to have spares. We seem to have to left without any spare spokes. Ed built our wheels and would know without even thinking much. We actually have not had any trouble with our wheels. Our wheels are still perfectly true witch is a testament to Eds skill as a wheel builder but it is always good to have spares. The next bike shop we probably will see is in Durango, Mexico. They can be easily bought there but knowing the size would make this task much easier. So, if one of our Prescott friends could find out and email us back the sizes it would be greatly appreciated.
Although we had bike toured before we still had to relearn even the basics, sometimes the hard way. From Prescott to Douglas we pedaled about 700 miles and went on a five day backpacking trek in the Chiricahua Wilderness Area. We suffered an above average heat wave while riding through Phoenix, Tucson, Green Valley, and all points in between. From Green Valley we left the Sonora Desert and climbed over a low pass and descended into the Chihuahuan (Che-wow-an) Desert. This area, while still a desert, is a few thousand feet higher and enough cooler that we considered it near perfect biking weather.
We took a major zigzag course though southeastern Arizona. This took us through, Sonita, Parker Canyon Lake (just recently a 30,000 acre forest fire), Coronado National Memorial, Sierra Vista, Tombstone, Gleeson, Chiricahua (cheer-i-cow-a) National Monument and then up and over the gnarliest (yet) dirt road climb over Onion Pass at 7,600 ft. and into the beautiful green Cave Creek Canyon to Portal, Arizona. In Portal we hung out for a week to recover from our mountain climb and prepare for our week long backpack trek. Thanks to the Prescott office of Southwest Ground-water Consultants, Inc. (Cindies previous work) we got all four boxes from Prescott including our backpacks. After our backpack trip in the high country we stayed in Portal to regroup and gather our final supplies for Mexico. From Portal we rode to Douglas in two days.
We cross the border in a few days and will be heading south into Mexico. Our route is basically down the center of the country following the Sierra Madre. We plan on riding the famous Copper Canyon Railroad (second class) and get off and trek around the villages containing reclusive Tarahumara Indians. Later, by July, we hope to be near Mexico City in Guanajuato to attend a Spanish immersion language school.
In Arizona our main study was the history in the area. We studied and visited several ghost towns to learn about the hardship and glory of the cowboys, miners, and settlers. Their stories were much wilder than any fiction story. Our most intensive study during our last few weeks was of the Apache struggle to remain free. We studied several books and visited the camps and battle fields where their future was carved. We found both histories interesting and very educational. There are several new pages on our web site describing our experiences and summarizing some of the knowledge that we obtained.
In Mexico we plan on first concentrating on learning Spanish, which is the language that we will be communicating in for the next two years as we travel through Mexico, Central America, and South America. Beside Spanish we plan on studying the various Indian groups of Mexico and Mexican history concentrating on the famous Revolutions.
Our web site is a bit of a mess. It is only possible to work on it for brief periods at a time. I concentrate on the photos and the text because we find it important to complete this while it is fresh in our mind. Aesthetics and navigation are on the back burner to be worked on later. Slowly, in time, our site will be more user friendly and pleasing to the eye. Please be patient.
Now that we are heading into the wilderness parts of Northern Mexico and we are not sure about how we are going to connect to the Internet. We are sure that we will find a way. It will take some time to figure it out so it may be a few weeks before you hear from us again.
We would like to thank all of our new (and old) friends who have signed up for our email update list. Also, we were very pleasantly surprised by the number of readers that shopped from the links of our web site. Thanks for your continued support of our adventure.
Tim and Cindie Travis
I have used several brands of bicycle panniers and
highly recommend Ortlieb.
See Why I switched to Ortlieb waterproof Panniers?
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