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June, 7, 2003 (Sent From Quieto, Ecuador)

WB00771_.gif (436 bytes)  Previous Letter Costa Rica Letter Index (Future Book) Next Letter On to Ecuador WB00772_.gif (451 bytes)

Hello Everyone:

I guess that I have not written or updated the site in some time.  We have had a bit of a vacation during the past couple months.  Well, at least I have not been writing.  I will briefly try to catch you up.  We finally arrived in Panama City, Panama and spent a week there visiting the canal and other sites.  After that we used every last one of our frequent flyer miles to get a round trip ticket to the USA and back.  We had been saving up those frequent flyer miles for several years planning for this exact flight.  We flew to the States and went on a whirlwind tour visiting both of our families.  When we got back to Panama City we bought another ticket to Ecuador.  After an exhausting five airport flight including an interesting layover in Bogota, Colombia, here we are in Quito, Ecuador.


Returning to the USA after being in Latin America for a year took us some time to readjust.  You could even call it culture shock.  It started when I walked outside the Cincinnati Airport to check to see if our ride was there yet.  I asked a man looking for a cab "what time is it" - in Spanish.  He returned a blank expression that let me know that I was speaking the wrong language.  I had to re-ask the question in English.  Everyone was speaking English.  Back in the airport I overheard two high school girls talking about how one of them did not like the color of her cell phone because it did not match the color of her new car.  The other girl complained how her dad was to cheap to buy her a new car and that she had to settle for a used one.  It went on and on.  I understood every word of it without exerting any effort in translating.  I had also forgot how much the wants of kids in this country differed from the wants of the kids in the less developed countries we had been traveling through.  I wish I could bring those girls with us and show them another reality.  A reality where some things are actually worth complaining about.

On the drive to my sister Terrie's house my brother-in-law Jerry asked us "is there anything that you want that you have been missing while you have been out of the country."  We both answered "Salad"  I do not think that this was the answer he expected.  I went on to explain that we can not eat salads because they are washed in unpurified tap water and that would make us sick.  We get plenty of beef, chicken, rice, beans, eggs, and tortillas but not a regular safe bowl of salad with dressing is almost impossible to find on our budget.

Everyone on the road drove calmly and there was an absents of honking, black smoke, and blaring Spanish Rap music.  Public bathrooms were clean and smelled of air freshener and sanitizer.  They even included such clever conveniences as hot water in the sink, soap, toilet seats, paper, and the ability to flush your paper instead of putting it in a smelly trash can on the floor.  It was the first time in a year that I saw Cindie return from the women's room without a troubled look on her face.

It was also bizarre that there was no old American school buses turned into public buses whizzing around.  In fact, it dawned on me that without the ride from Jerry there was no way to get to my sisters house without a private vehicle.  There is no public transportation to speak of in this country.  Wow, not everything in the USA is more modern or even better.  It seems like in the USA a car is just under food, water, shelter, and love in the hierarchy of human needs.

On the way home we stopped by a small home furnishings store.  Once we walked in Jerry took off to pick up a mattress pad for our future bed.  Cindie and I froze and just stared at all the stuff for sale.  The wide selection and recognizable brand names took some time to absorb.  All of the things you need for supplying an American household were starring at two people who live in a tent.  It was really just to much stimulus.  Jerry, seeing our reaction,  asked if we wanted to go to a near by Wal-Mart to look around.  We told him no.  The thought of walking around a super store actually scared us.  At that time it would have overloaded the circuits.

Terri showed us the room we would be staying in.  It had the biggest King size bed we had ever seen.  Well, at least in a long time.  My ankles would not be hanging over the edge during our stay there.  This room had a private bathroom to boot.  That usually doubles the cost of a room and pushes it out of our meager budget.  I asked her out of habit (first in Spanish) if the shower had hot water.  This must have sounded strange to her especially since Jerry is an eye surgeon.  When she told me there was hot water my first reaction was not to believe her and to test it for myself.  The shower ran so hard and hot you could have made coffee with the steaming water.  Terri was starting to realize just how far from home we had traveled.  It was going to take a couple days to get used to everything.

Once we had some time to adjust we were shopping and driving like the best of them.  We are, after all, as American as anybody else in the USA.


Once we got settled into my sisters house we received that unconditional love that only family can give.  I entered the world of being "Uncle Tim".  Terri and Jerry have three great kids and they were eager to play with their traveling uncle Tim and Aunt Cindie.  They all spoke English as well.

We also visited my Brother (Tom) and his family and be Uncle Tim to his three great kids as well.  More unconditional love.  Tom owns an ISP (dialup Internet Service Provider) and host (stores) our web site.  He has very good prices for web hosting and excellent email accounts that ingeniously filters out most spam.  You can check him out at  Without him our web site could not exist.  Where else could I host over 400 Mb of pictures and movies for such a great price - nothing.  THANKS Tom!  Tom took me to his office and showed me where lives on his servers.  I took a couple pictures of it that I will some day find a place on the site to post.

My brother Tom was also generous enough to loan us his van.  So, after well over a year of hardly being in a motor vehicle and never actually driving one, we were living the American dream and driving everywhere.  It was even a mini-van that made us blend in better.  We drove to Louisville, Kentucky for the Kentucky Derby with my Uncle Curt and family, Fifteen hours across the country and back to visit Cindie's whole family in Connecticut, to my brothers house in Mooresville, Indiana a couple times, and to my parents house to just hang out.  As you can see it was a very busy vacation.

Another amazing thing that happened while we were in the States was that we both had Lasik surgery done to correct our vision so that we would no longer need to wear glasses or contacts.  The surgery was performed by my brother-in-law Dr. Jerry Roper. Jerry takes extra care in examining the correction factor needed to achieve 20/20 vision.   After surgery both Cindie and I can see 20/20.  We have since donated our glasses and contacts and thrown away our very heavy saline solution.  This will make life on the road a bit easier.  THANK Jerry.


We are finally in South America.  It seems weird to be here after reading about South America and loosely planning this leg of the trip three years ago.  We landed in Quito, Ecuador a few days ago and are eager to start riding south.  We plan on traveling in South America a total of about 18 months.  This differs from the original plan of being in South America for a year but it is a big continent and do not like rushing through.  Quito, Ecuador is a very interesting place.  It is the second highest capital in Latin America at about 9,300 feet (2850 meters).  The highest being La Paz, Bolivia at some 12,000ft. (4,000 meters)  We will be there in a few months.  We are spending a few days hanging around town, seeing some sites, and getting used to the altitude.  We flew in with our backpack and boots that were stored at my parents house.  We plan on stashing the bikes and going on a week long backpacking trip (trek) in the famous Ecuadorian Andes.  When we are done we will mail our backpacks and boots back to my parents and be cyclist again.


I am still working on the Costa Rica and Panama newsletters.  I got behind in the hot lowlands of Costa Rica and never felt like catching up.  I am now working on getting the website together so I have a place to put our pictures and Cindie's Journal.  Anytime left over will be spent writing the new Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and the rest of South America newsletters.  In a couple of weeks I will have our South American web site up with Cindie's Journal and the pictures of Quito and our backpack trip posted.  I will send out a brief note to everyone when I have got everything posted and tested.

I will catch up on the Costa Rica and Panama newsletters in time but they will probably be sent out of sequence.  I even hope to start from the beginning and write the newsletters that describe how we came upon the idea for such a trip, what it took to actually leave, and the Arizona and Northern Mexico sections of our trip.  Those parts will be sent out months from now as I find time to write them.

The reason that I am so determined in writing all of the newsletters, even after the fact, is that there has been some serious talk about taking my newsletters and turning them into a book.  We recruited my father, Pete, to figure out all of the ins and outs of book publishing.  If you have any suggestions of what kinds of information, about our story, would be interesting to readers please let me know.  We are still trying to think of a title for our book.  If you know anything about the book publishing business or have useful contacts please let me know.

I am sure that South America will be a big crazy fun adventure and we will share every bit of it with you in my newsletters, pictures, and Cindie's Journals.

Please stay tuned

Tim Travis
Quito, Ecuador



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2002 - 2012 (TM) All Rights Reserved

WB00771_.gif (436 bytes)  Previous Letter Costa Rica Letter Index Next Letter On to Ecuador WB00772_.gif (451 bytes)'s RoadNews Newsletter Past Newsletters Index

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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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