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Prescott, Ariz. couple traveling the world on their bikes ride through CNY
Tim and Cindie Travis have no jobs, no children, few bills to pay and get around everywhere on their bikes.
For the past 7 ½ years, the Prescott, Ariz., couple has cycled through 24 different countries on four different continents. This week, they were making their way through Central New York and stopped to be interviewed on the Erie Canal Path near Jordan while waiting out a rain storm.
The couple -- he used to be a special education teacher, she worked as a geological consultant -- get by mainly with the proceeds from two, self-published books they've written about their travels and ad sales from their Web site, downtheroad.org¯. The Web site is constantly being updated with new entrees and to date boasts more than 20,000 photos of the couple's travels.
"We always get to see something new every day," said Tim, 43. "It's like
constantly being at a university. Every day is like a science fair or a field
The couple has been married for 11 years. Cindie, 48, joked she should have "seen the writing on the wall" when their first date was on bikes.
They later got married in a drive-through chapel in Las Vegas, arriving on single bikes and leaving on a tandem bike, she said. Their honeymoon was a 2 ½ week, cycling/camping trip on San Juan Island and the Olympic Peninsula in the state of Washington.
From early on, Tim talked about traveling around the world on a bike. Four years into their marriage, (March 30, 2002 to be exact) they took the money they were saving to buy a new four-wheel drive vehicle and headed instead down the driveway of their Arizona home en route to Mexico.
They cycled through Mexico, Central America and eventually through most of the western side of South America. They started on their first book, "The Road That Has No End," in Bariloche, Argentina, staying there for several months. They made their way back to the states and finished the book nearly a half year later.
In November of 2004, they flew to Southeast Asia, landing in Bangkok, Thailand. They spent 18 months cycling through Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam. They then made through their way through China, spending eight months in that country. From there, they headed back through Tibet and into Thailand and Malaysia, where they started writing their second book, "Down the Road in South America."
From there, it was off to Singapore, and then to Australia, where they stayed for a year. During one, two-month period, they got their water each day from crocodile-infested rivers, the husband said.
"You had to use your head and not get close to (deep), murky waters," he said.
They then traveled to New Zealand, staying eight more months.
The two travel relatively light, carrying everything they need on their bikes. Cindie said her load weighs about 25 to 35 pounds and includes her sleeping bag, clothes, some paperwork, toiletries, a mess kit and mini-computer netbook. Tim's load weighs about 70 to 90 pounds, and includes the tent, sleeping bag and pads, his computer and various other items.
Cindie said they often camp, but occasionally they'll stay in motels, particularly if the weather is bad or they need a break. They also stay with friends when they can.
Their typical day on the road kicks off with a breakfast of oatmeal and granola with coffee. For lunch, there's peanut butter sandwiches or "a Subway sandwich or something like that." Dinner is usually something like pasta with vegetables or rice with vegetables. Sometimes the meal comes from a nearby grocery store.
"We're not refrigerated. We can't take cold things," she said.
From New Zealand, the couple flew to Alaska, where they finished their second book in July 2008. Their Alaska travels included a seven-week stay with Cindie's twin sister, Cherie. From there, they traveled through Canada and back home to Arizona, where they spent the winter with friends.
Tim said it was scary at times cycling through the Canadian Yukon, seeing grizzly bears and black bears nearly every day. "The first thing they tell you is to first get in your car .¤.¤. we couldn't do that," he said. "Every night was a challenge."
They went back on the road this spring, traveling eastward across country. They recently arrived in New York and just finished visiting relatives of Cindie's in Endicott.
"You just have to let go," she said. "We miss having a dog, things like that. But we're seeing (and staying) with family (around the country) a lot more than we used to. Most of our friends are on the net."
She explained that she and her husband get by on about $10,000 to $12,000 a year. They have few bills and rent their home in Prescott, which covers their taxes. They have some money set aside for retirement and haven't had to touch that. Finally, they've had few health problems on the road and have money set aside for emergencies, she said.
"I've had things like Montezuma's Revenge and Tim has had parasites (in his stomach)," she said. "He once wrecked his bike and had to mend his knee. I've also had shingles. That was hard to get rid of."
Tim said he and his wife will continue traveling as long as they are able.
"We've been doing this for so long, it'd be kind of hard picturing me working for someone else again," he said. "Too much freedom is dangerous."
More on Tim and Cindie Travis:
- The couple is traveling toward Albany this week. They're scheduled to give talks about their travelsat 7 p.m. Sept. 2.. at the Sanford Library, in Colonie, and at 7 p.m. Sept. 3, at the Saratoga Springs Library in Saratoga Springs
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