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Hello Guanajuato, Mexico
Monday, June 21, 2002 (Sent From Guanajuato, Mexico)

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Dear Family and Friends:

Wow - we finally made it to Guanajuato, Mexico.  We plan on staying here for at least three weeks while I fix up the bikes, clean everything, and attend a much needed Spanish immersion school.

The last time we were able to send out an email to the group was just before our epic train ride through the Barranca del Cobre or Copper Canyon in English (it is commonly known by both names).  The Barranca del Cobre and the train ride that went with it was wonderful.  Many readers of our email and web site had previously been there and were very excited about our being able to go.   A full description can now be found on our web site. 

At the canyon we met Jim from England who has traveled the world and had some very good advice that changed our plans a bit.  He was not impressed with Mexico and told us that we would enjoy Central America and especially South America much more.  He said that Mexico is at least twice as expensive as any country to the south.  This made us think.  We really like Mexico and even though it may cost more than other Latin American countries it is still within our daily budget.  Originally we planned on spending nine months here but could only get a six month visa at the border.  Extending our six month tourist visa would be a hassle and cost around $300 in transportation.  It is a little crazy but to extend our visa we would have to take a 24 hour bus ride in order to leave the country.  We would probably go from some where in south - central Mexico to either the USA or Guatemalan border and re-enter Mexico, like it was our first time in, and get a new six month visa.  We would also have to re-pay the $22 per person fee that they charge Americans to visit the interior of Mexico.  The problem is that there is no way to tour Mexico, at our leisurely pace, from top to bottom in six months.  We knew that at least one bus ride, with bikes and gear, would be necessary to make up the difference.  I hate buses because I get motion sick and I especially hate subjecting our bikes to this kind of torturer but the cost and hassle of extending our tourist visa just out weighed everything else.  So Cindie got me some Dramamine.

We rode the bus for fourteen hours from Cuauhtemoc to Zacatecas approximately 650 miles.  This cut off at least three weeks of desolate desert riding.  There were lonely stretches of road, through the state of Durango, that would have required ten gallons of water to be strapped on.   This is a mountainous region as well.  So, the weight of that water would have been noticed.  If there was ever a logical section to skip this was it.  I hate to think of all the interesting people that we did not get to meet and the thousand kilometers or so of beautiful scenery that we missed as we slept on the bus but it is their country with their rules.  The Mexican government's efforts to squeeze US$44 out of us cost the local people some US2,500 that we would have spent in their restaurants and shops.  I guess it is just our first taste of Latin American bureaucracy.

Another problem is to get to the Guatemalan border before our six month visa expires we will probably have to take some more public transportation.  There is one of the few remaining trains that runs from Puebla to Oaxaca that looks appealing but the rest will have to be worked out as we go.  Man, do I hate buses.

We refused to ride the bus any further than Zacatecas because this part of Mexico should not be missed.  This central part of Mexico is very high with the average base elevation of about 7000 ft (2100 meters) and the temperatures are very comfortable.    There are also mountain peaks that tower several thousand feet about the valley floor.  This is also the part of the country where a lot of history took place - including the war of independence.  Before the war of independence the Spaniards found vast deposits of silver and built great cities on the wealth that it produced.  Guanajuato is just such a city and is very impressive and unlike anything in the USA.  Another difference between here and the northern part of Mexico is that their are now quiet back roads to cycle on.  These roads are the stuff that cycle tourist dream of.  There was more bikes and animal carts than motorized contraptions and we often overtook families in carts trotting to some unknown farm or village.  We could chat for a bit and then move on.  People down here never seem to be in a hurry and we are learning to follow suit.  Changes in latitude for sure bring changes in attitude, not to mention altitude.  One of the better pieces, that I have written, is called One Fine Day Down The Road and is now posted on our web site.   It goes through one whole day and describes every detail. 

Now that we are in Guanajuato I will really have time to work on the web site.  It is hard to keep up with while on the move.  I have to constantly transfer the pictures off our camera or the memory of the camera will fill up.  I also try to write about things that interest me but there is only so much time.  So, things get pretty sloppy in my haste.  It is not the best web site that I have made but the important thing to us is that we are keeping a record for our families and something to look at in our old age.  Maybe I can use it as notes to write a book some day.   It is funny, but I originally thought that keeping the computer batteries charged would be the problem.  As it turns out I always have lots of juice but do not always feel like working on the computer.  Something about Mexico just makes you want to chill out. 

I have heard from several people that they have been having trouble sending us email.    I am not certain what the problem is.  Many times people report that messages sent to us bounce when we actually get them.  Other times we do not receive them at all.  One source of the problem is the amount of filtering on our email.  My brother generously hosts all of our sites and email accounts.  He is on the cutting edge in the anti-SPAM war.  He has all sorts of ways to filter out SPAM.  One example is if a message is sent with "free" or "Viagra" in the subject line we will not get it and it will bounce back to the sender.  Another problem is that some web based email operations are just covers for SPAMing operations.  My brother's email server bounces back the worst of the lot.   While we can accept Yahoo, Hotmail, and some others we can not receive email from and accounts.  These operations go through your address books and SPAM your friends and families on your address list.  They ALL SPAM but some are so widely used that it is not particle to block them.  The rest get bounced back.    If everyone's email worked this way  the SPAMers email box would be filled with tens of thousands of bounced email and they would not be able to continue to operate.   Unfortunately, many of your non SPAM email might be getting bounced back to you this way.  Please consider the above information and let me know if you are still having problems.

I am also interested in receiving feedback about the web site.  Don't worry about hurting my feelings, I need constructive criticism to make improvements.  The main way you can help is how it looks on your computer.  I build the site off line and post it occasionally but rarely get to see it while on a different computer.  I would like to know, does it work with your screen resolution, i.e. do you have to scroll left to right to view the entire page.  Please review the updated site because I have made many changes in this area.  What do you like best about the site? What do you think I should change?  Thanks for your input.

On a sad note, it seems as though I (Tim) have already wore out my bottom bracket.   It is making the tell tale clicking sound every time my left foot comes down.   Darn thing only has about 1500 miles on it.  I guess that cranking a 100 - 150 pound bike over several thousand feet mountains is hard on things.  I will have to figure out how to buy one down here.  I have the tools to put it in.  I hate to do this to Ed of Southwest Sounds and Cyclery again but could one of you who knows him please ask him what the size and threading are so I can buy a new bottom bracket.   It would also be helpful to know if he used Lock Tight when he put it in.  Oh Yeah tell Ed to get an email account so he does not get several phone calls every time I have a bike question.  I will buy the part from him if it is possible and affordable to get it down here.  PS the wheels that he built are still holding up perfect and if you are looking for a wheel builder go to Ed.  A good wheel builder is a rare find now a days.



From Cindie:

Tim and I will be attending Spanish School for the next three weeks.  I have decided to limit my use of English and plan on putting a summary together of our experience at school when we have completed our mini semester.  Tim on the other hand welcomes your English or Spanish email.

Tim and Cindie Travis

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Newest to Oldest

Suddenly, In The Blink of An Eye - How the gap year tour was interrupted
Aug 2013 (Kalispell, Montana, USA)

Greetings from America's Great Pacific Northwest
June, 2013 (Sent From Prospect, Oregon USA)

11 Years Down The Road: Looking for my second wind
2013 (Sent From , Death Valley California, USA)

A Decade Down the Road: My ten year anniversary reflections
March, 2012 (Sent From Rajasthan, India)

Notes from Bangladesh
January 2012 (Bundi, India)

Earthquake, Robbed, and All Day 18% Grades - Sikkim, India-A place to remember October, 2011 (Sent From Calcutta, India)

Darjeeling, India was Great for Monsoon Season
September 2011 (Sent From Darjeeling, India)

Up The Road to Darjeeling, India With My New Travel Partner
June 2011 (Sent From Darjeeling, India)

The Divorce of Tim and Cindie Travis: Troubling times on the road
April 2011 (Sent From Katmandu, Nepal)

Tangled Up in Blue: How I found myself on the road alone
November 2010 (Sent From Rishikesh, India)

Goodbye Mcleod Ganj, India and The 4–5 year “India and Neighbors” Bicycle Touring Plan
September 2010 (Sent From Mcleod Ganj, India)

Greetings From India
July 2010 (Sent From McLeod Ganj, India)

Our Touring Bike Sponsorship
April 2010  (Sent From Batesville, Indiana, USA)

Two one-way tickets to India and our books are now in Amazon's KINDLE!
January 2010 (Sent From Batesville, Indiana, USA)

Digging Through The Past
November 2009 (Sent From Batesville, Indiana, USA)

Greeting from the East Coat of the USA
August 2009 (Sent From Binghamton, New York, USA)

Cindie's Daily Journal Now on Twitter and Email Interview
June 2009 (Sent From Pueblo, Colorado USA)

NPR Mp3 radio interview, Newspaper coverage, and one dead computer
May 2009 (Sent From Delores, Colorado, USA)

Seven Years DownTheRoad: What has changed and what we have learned.
March 2009 (Sent From Phoenix, AZ, USA )

Back on the road and you are invited to our public appearances.
March 2009 (Sent From Ajo, AZ, USA)

A quickie before I go
Feb 2009 (Sent From Yuma, AZ, USA)

Mp3 interview download, itchy feet, and continued 50% off book sale
 February 2009 (Sent From Yuma, Arizona, USA)

Winter Break in the Arizona Desert
January 2009 (sent from Yuma, Arizona, USA)

Return to America and 50% Off Autographed Books
December 2008

Computer Crash and Selling Books at El Tour De Tucson
November 2008
(sent from Tucson, Arizona, USA)

Hear our latest radio interview (mp3) on KGNU Metro with Roger Wendell
October 2008
(sent from San Jose, California, USA)

Wind, Rain, Cold, Cindie’s Illness, and Forum Trolls
September 2008
(Sent From Victoria, British Colombia, Canada)

The Book is Done and We are Back on the Road in Alaska
July 2008
(Sent from Eastern Alaska/Wester Yukon)

Six Years Down The Road: breaking even and meeting friends.
April 2008

(Sent From Twizel, South Island, New Zealand)

New Zealand: One of the Most Beautiful Places on Earth
February 2007
(Sent From Wanaka, New Zealand)

Let's get started in New Zealand and 50% off our first book
November  2007

(Sent From New Plymouth, New Zealand)

Hello to friends and family of  Crisis in Cindie's Family

Going to New Zealand!!
August 2007
(Sent From Katherine, The Northern Territory, Australia)

Back in the Outback
July 2006

(Sent From Normanton (home of the big crocodile), Australia)

Five Years DownTheRoad:  a Different kind of endurance
April 2007
(Sent From Port Macquarie, NSW, Australia)

5 min Video Postcard from Tasmania
February 2007

(Sent From Canberra, Australia)

How do we stay married while traveling together 24/7? and Australia Video #1:  Bike Touring Down Under
January 2007

(Sent From Bairnsdale, Victoria, Australia: On the way to the Snowy River National Park)

Downloadable Malaysian Video Postcard From the Road
November 2006
(Sent From Strahn, Tasmania, Australia)

Culture Shock in Australia and Keep Your Ears on the Road
October 2006

(Sent From Mt. Gambier, Australia)

Two 1-Way Tickets to Australia Please and 5 minute Thailand Video Download (37 mb) 2 Thailand Bike Tour Video
 July 2006

(Sent From Parit Buntar, Malaysia)

Laos: Eyes of the World
May 2006
(Sent from the Cameron Highlands, Malaysia)

Four Years DownTheRoad
March 2006
(Sent From Bangkok, Thailand)

Out of China: Slipping Past the Watchful Eye of Censorship.
January 2006

(Sent from Luang Phrabang, Laos)

Into Occupied Territory: Tibet
November 2005
(Sent from Dali, China)

The Many Faces of China: Inner Mongolia and Shanxi, Provinces.
September 2005
(Sent From Kangding, China)

Made in China: Free Birds in a Caged World
 July 2005
(Sent From Beijing, China)

Three Years and Still Going
May 2004
(Sent From Long Sheng, China)

Cambodia: Poverty Does Not Equal Crime.
February 2005
(Sent From Dalat, Vietnam)

Thailand: Landing in a Whole New World.
December 2004
(Sent From Siem Reap, Cambodia)

Crossing Over to the Other Side: Relocating to Asia
November 2004
(Sent From Bangkok, Thailand)

The New Global Bicycle Touring Plan.
 August 2004
(Sent From Mooresville, Indiana, USA)

Northwest Argentina: The Wrong Way In the Right Country
April 2004
(Sent From Bariloche, Argentina)

Bolivia: The Calm After the Storm
January 2004
(Sent From Mendoza, Argentina)

Peru #2:  Been Doing Some Hard Traveling
November 2003
(Sent From Copacabana, Bolivia)

Peru #1 Riding Between The Extremes
September 2003
(Sent From Huanuco, Peru)

Ecuador #2: The Magic of the Andes
August 2003
(Sent From Chiclayo, Peru)

Ecuador #1: Riding on top of the Southern Hemisphere
July 2003
(Sent From Riobamba, Ecuador)

June 2003
(Sent From Quito, Ecuador)

Costa Rica #1:  Green Grass and High Tides

Nicaragua: Travels Through a Troubled Land
March 2003
(Sent From Santa Elena - Monteverde, Costa Rica)

Honduras: From the Guatemalan Border to the Nicaraguan Border
February 2003
(Sent From Esteli, Nicaragua)

Antigua, Guatemala to the Sea
January 2003
(Sent From Omoa, Honduras)

Guatemala: From Paradise to Despair
December 2002
(Sent From Antigua Guatemala)

Guatemala:   Riding Through the Highlands
November 2002
Thanksgiving day in the USA
(Sent From Quetzaltenango, Guatemala)

Our Final Weeks in Mexico
November 2002
(Sent From Comitan, Mexico)

Six Months Down the Road
October 2002
(Sent From Amecameca, Mexico)

So Close to Mexico City Yet So Far From Anything
September 2002
(Sent From Amecameca, Mexico)

August 2002
(Sent From Toluca, State of Mexico, Mexico)

The Great Secret of Michoacan
August 2002
(Sent From Morelia, Michoacan, Mexico)

Adios Guanajuato
July 2002
(Sent From Guanajuato, Mexico)

Hello Guanajuato
June 2002

(Sent From Guanajuato, Mexico)

Greetings from Mexico
May 2002
(Sent From Cuauhtemoc, Mexico)

Heading into Mexico
May 2002
(Sent from Douglas Arizona)

Enjoying Arizona
April 2002
(Sent from Sierra Vista Arizona.)

Our first week Down the Road
April 2002
(Sent from Tucson Arizona)

Good bye Letter
February 2002
Written while living in our RV

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WB00771_.gif (436 bytes)  See the complete story on how I made the decision, saved up, and finally left on my life long bicycle tour


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