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(Prescott, Arizona) Bicycling Couple Recounts Adventures
Friday, April 17, 2009 by Ken Hedler
PRESCOTT - Cindie and Tim Travis sold most of their worldly possessions - except for their Prescott home - to embark on a worldwide bike tour seven years ago.
The couple estimated that they traveled about 6,000 to 10,000 miles a year on their bicycles. They set up camp while traveling in the United States, Australia and New Zealand, and stayed in hotels in developing countries in Asia and Latin America.
In fact, Tim Travis, 42, said he and Cindie, 47, carry about five pieces of luggage on their bicycles, including water bottles, food, a tent and stove.
They financed their travels by selling two self-published books and advertisements on their website, www.DownTheRoad.org.
"Except for the house, this is everything we own," Tim Travis said.
The Travises, who met while attending Northern Arizona University, recalled their adventures while meeting for lunch at a downtown Prescott coffeehouse. They are painting their home, which they rented out, and are making some public appearances before hitting the road in a few weeks.
They discussed an encounter in the summer of 2003 when several men tried to block a road with a rope in Ecuador while Cindie descended a switchback. Fearing for her life, Cindie said, "I started going as fast as I could." She approached speeds of 30 mph as one man dropped the rope and lunged at her.
Tim said the men scattered as he sped by.
"I would have hit them as hard as I could hit them," he said.
The Travises recalled another potentially dangerous incident in April 2005 after the couple took photos of what they believed were farmers in Gangxi, China. Chinese military officials detained the couple for six hours.
"We had to wait for an interpreter," Tim recalled. "I had the phrase book, and I kept pointing to the word for 'embassy,' and they would smile at us and give us more tea."
Tim said the Chinese officials asked them whether they were journalists or spies.
"They hand-wrote a five-page confession," he said. "They read it to us. They basically said we took pictures of prisoners, which is illegal."
The Travises said the military released them while advising the couple to stay in a nearby hotel.
"They followed us for three days," Cindie said, adding the Chinese officials lost them three days later after the couple blended in a town with a number of foreign visitors.
The Travises said they enjoyed the simple pleasures of their travels: meeting the natives and watching wildlife, including kangaroos, monkeys, crocodiles and exotic birds.
They plan to attend a reception and book signing Sunday at 4 p.m. at the Prescott Alternative Transportation office, 309 E. Gurley St. The organization is marking National Bike Month with a variety of events.
The couple also plans to conduct a slide presentation at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 23, at the Assembly of God church at 1455 Willow Creek Road.
The Travises plan an eight-month bike ride that will mark Tim's first visit to Washington, D.C.
He noted he has visited 20 capitals of other countries "but never my own."
Tim said he and his wife will visit Prescott again, but will not settle here permanently for another 20 years or more - "pretty much when we get too old for this."
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