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Prescott couple to ride off on worldwide trip
March 27, 2002 Mirsada Buric-adam The Daily Courier
Prescott - Tour the world on two wheels for seven years sounds almost like a fairy tale.
But for a Prescott couple, Cindie and Tim Travis, this fairy tale will become real on March 30 when they begin the tour of their life - one that they have been planning intensely for several years.
"We started saving money four years ago," said Tim, who has had a dream of venturing the world on his bike since his high school days.
"Pedaling to the Ends of the Earth" and "Miles from Nowhere," were the two books that sparked the fire in him to achieve his dream.
"I like to bike and I like to travel," he said. "It (the bike tour) has always been interesting to me. And I have read the books. It was really popular in the '70s to bike tour".
For Tim, that appeal has remained constant. And his wife, who shares the same devotion, was very receptive to the idea.
"Traveling is a passion of mine," Cindie said. "I love to ride. And when financial things started to get together I just said why not. I wan to do this while I'm young."
"Our first date was on a bike and we got married on bikes in a drive-through in Las Vegas," she added.
About 49 months ago, Tim created a calendar relating to their trip deadline. And in order to save the needed money, Cindie noted, they have lived on a minimum allowance, saving every penny.
"We didn't get fancy cars," she said. "We are not using any money from our retirement." "We hung on to everything forever because we knew we were going to go," Tim added.
Their advanced planning has helped them to save enough money to last the seven years on the road without working.
"We can go as long as we have money," Tim said. "Our maximum budget is $15,000 a year."
Their daily allowance is about $41, Cindie added.
"Our plan is to work along the way," she said, while adding that they are not counting on that money. "We intend to camp a lot to save money", she explained.
For the past three months they have been knee-deep in chores trying to finalize may details before they ride off, Cindie said.
"You can't do everything you want to do", she said. "You have to prioritize."
"We have spent so much time getting ready to go on a bike trip, we do not have time to ride," Tim added. "We are going to get in shape as we go."
The Travises recently rented out their home and moved into their recreational vehicle, which they plan to sell along with their two cars and other belongings. While touring they will carry only items that will sustain them along the way such as a tent, sleeping bags, a stove, a portable shower and pots and pans.
"All we need is a creek", Tim said jokingly while pointing at a book cover with a picture of a biker traveling with his load of bags hanging on the sides of the bike. "That is what it looks like. That is another guy's book. We have just finished reading it. It is a real similar trip."
A few modern technology devices - including a laptop, a digital camcorder, solar panel and an acoustic coupler - will be a part of their limited load. Their bikes are custom made with a special wheel design.
"Everything is functional and multi-purpose," Cindie said. "If it is not functional, it is out."
At this point, the Travises have figured out their route for the first two years of their bike tour. Beyond that, their planning is more vague.
"We have a lot of options," Tim said, and "are going to do anything we can afford."
The first four weeks of their trip will be a warm-up, Tim said.
"I've got the Arizona route pretty much down," Tim said, adding that they may cover only 30 to 50 miles a day at first. "We will ride until we get tired," he noted.
In May, they plan to cross the border into the central Mexico highlands, where they will stay for several months. Their goal is to enroll in a Spanish school to enrich their knowledge of that language. Around October they will continue their journey through Central America. Five months later, they plan to cruise through South America and ride along the spine of the Andes Mountains all the way to Chile.
Two years from now, their goal is to reach Africa and ride through more friendly countries while avoiding those areas that are in the midst of a civil war and political turbulence.
"In some countries it is illegal for women to ride a bike", Tim said, adding that they will also avoid countries in central Asia that do not have a friendly relationship with the United States.
After a few months of touring through the Africa nations, the Travises will fly to Europe.
"We are using Europe as a regrouping place", Tim said, adding that some of their friends might meet them there. Cindie plans to teach the English language in Greece or Spain. She taught it in Greece back in 1990, she said.
Their objective is to cruise through Asia - specifically China, Hong Long, Laos, Thailand and Indonesia - before they cross the ocean to Darwin, Australia, and then to New Zealand.
At this point, they do not know how many countries they will visit. Iran is one of the countries that is on their wish list and they hope that by the time they are in the area that it will be safe for them there. For now, though, Iran and India are "on the back burner", Tim said.
Cindie said that getting all of the things in place has not allowed her to think much about the trip.
"We had so much to do," she said. "I will be ready to let go. I'm excited. I do not think it is going to hit me until I start going up White Spar (Road)."
"We actually have simplified our life," she added. Because of that, they are able to enjoy it more, she said.
At this point, they are in a process of building their Web site - www.downtheroad.org - which will allow them to stay in contact with their family and friends.
"It (the Internet) is a big part of this trip," Tim said.
In three weeks, when the time comes to leave, "the hardest part will be getting out the door," Tim said.
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