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The story of how I saved money, quit my job, sold my possessions, and set off to endlessly travel by bike around the world. My Plan

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(see all 3 book)

Peru #2
Been Doing Some Hard Traveling

(borrowed from a Woody Guthrie song)
Adventure Story, Novel, Book, Writings

November 4, 2003
(Sent From Copacabana, Bolivia)


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This has been a very hard stretch.  Especially the first half before we reached Cusco.  I do not want to sound like a complainer, as a rule I am not one to complain.  It would be crazy to set off on a trip like this if you were prone to dwell on the negative but Peru has been very difficult.  In order to tell our story I am going to have to talk about several bad things that have been happening to us or around us.  We have endured unfriendly locals who threw rocks at us, our camp stove started a slow but inevitable death, we encountered a two day blizzard, rats, bad roads, worse food, a high speed crash, and people persistently asking for money at every turn.  These things are really wearing us down.

I often fear describing the negative aspects of a country because this seems out of fashion in the traveling world.  It is not politically correct to tell of the ugly side of any poor country.  While it seems safe to describe bad weather and roads the local people are off limits.  I have done this in the past and received a lot of criticism.  There will be those people that read this letter and write me emotional emails defending Peru.  I can hear it now.  "Tim, I spent two weeks in Peru and had a great time.  All the people were just wonderful, honest, and cheerful.  You must not be doing something correctly"  I will have to repeatedly explain to them that riding a bus through Peru or taking a guided tour is nowhere near the same as riding a bike through Peru.  On a bike you see it all even when it is bad or ugly.  The guide books avoid mention of the dark places and steer the herd away from them.  The group tours completely deny the negative aspects exist and tell their customers a different story.  I got news for you.  No place is perfect and completely full of the shinny happy people that you see in the tourist brochure.  Peru was mostly full of great people and good experiences but it has areas that are currently experiencing deep political problems and great tension.  These problems often surfaced in the way that we were treated on the road.  I have always been proud of the fact that I report what happens in our travels truthfully.  I do not sugar coat things even though I probably should to be more accepted.  It is just not my way.  How do you sugar coat countless kids throwing rocks at us.

Conditions got so bad that a couple times I thought Cindie was going to quit on me.  She still is having a very hard time with the hardships and worries me a lot.  She is a very strong woman but everyone has their breaking point.  When she brings up the idea of flying home all I have to say is "Well, it would be sad to have to go on with out you".  This always brings her back to looking at the maps and dreaming of what is next down the road.  I have been trying to make things as easy on her as possible.  We stay in cheap hotels as much as can and have not camped much in this stretch.  We have also pushed the budget so she can get some pizza and salad when it is available.  This breaks up the monotony of the typical Peruvian food of chicken and white rice.  Once we made it to the modern city of Cusco her spirits lifted a little but she is still a bit blue.  I am not sure how I am going to get her through Bolivia.  I try to keep her motivated with the promise that Argentina and Chile will be much more comfortable.  I am told that these two countries, like Mexico, have a much higher standard of living and better food.  Please help me out by sending her some encouraging email.

I try to look on the positive side.  Without the hardships mentioned above we would be unable to know our limits and the very "stuff" inside us that makes us who we are.  What an opportunity this is.  How many people in this world really get to reveal these hidden secrets about themselves?  How lucky I think we are.  In the end I believe that it will make us stronger people if we can just get through it together.

This part of Peru has not been all bad.  We have seen endless towering mountains whose beauty will forever be burned into my mind and witnessed ways of life that I never thought existed.  It has taught me more about the struggle that some people must endure than any other place that we have been so far.  To experience this human struggle is to do no less than change your life forever.  There were complete strangers who helped a couple of lost traveling fools along.  There are always those people in even the most difficult living situations that will always retain their heart of gold.  Cindie and I could have never made it through without their help.  On a bicycle you depend on the goodness of the human race.  The Peruvian Police have also been great.  We usually avoid the police in Latin America but learned to skip this rule while in Peru.  Without their help we would have had a completely different experience.  I do wish that they were as warm and gentile with there own countrymen but as you will read later they can act differently if you are not a tourist.  We also had a good friend from Prescott AZ (the last place we lived) fly in and visit us.  This visit was short because she had travel plans of her own but it went a long way to cheer Cindie up.  It was wonderful to see a familiar face.  We are usually strangers to everyone but each other in these foreign lands.  She also brought us some much needed equipment including a new stove.  Another great thing was the big sack of real paper mail from most of you, the readers of this newsletter, waiting for us in Cusco.  We received post cards and letters from five continents with warm messages and invitation to stay when we reach their corner of the world.  It was amazing to me how well people seem to know every detail of our lives now.  People are reading more of the web site than I ever anticipated.  Some parts of our web site are purposely hard to find but many people seem to be finding everything.  I never expected that.  Finally, we visited the most incredible Inca ruins of Machu Picchu.  They were spectacular in every way.  If there was ever a place where magic exists this must be that place.  Everyone on this planet must see Macchu Picchu at least once in their lives.  It is that good!

WAKE UP CALL

There is a intricate "grapevine" of information being exchanged between international touring cyclists drifting through South America (and the world). This information is passed through email and word of mouth by cyclist passing each other on the road.  We know who is in front of us and who is behind us.  We hear of new people starting their trips all the time and know when people ran out of time and went home.  Cindie and I are known as "The American Couple" on the trail of information.  This describes us well.  There are very few Americans traveling down here and even fewer on bicycles.

Through this grapevine of cyclist information we heard some very depressing news.  We have been exchanging emails with a couple from Thailand, Wan and Mou, who are also traveling around the world by bike.  They are known on the trail as the "Thai Couple".  We occasionally email each other asking questions about the places and bicycle touring conditions each of us has ridden through.  Cindie and I have never had the pleasure of meeting Wan and Mou face to face but hope to some day.  They are heading to North America and we are heading to Africa.  Hopefully when we reach Thailand we can call on them if they are done with their travels by then.  Wan and Mou had some very bad luck.

When we received the first email in Spanish about the disaster we had to sit down and think hard.  It was from a Peruvian cyclist Lucho and told the story about Wan and Mou getting robbed while on their bikes in Ecuador.  It sent shivers down our backs.  This was a big wake up call to us as to just how dangerous these countries can be.  After Lucho's email and several others in Spanish about the Thai couple getting robbed the news broke out in the English speaking side of the trail of information.  Soon our email box was buzzing in two languages about the bad news from cyclists traveling on five continents.  Everyone seemed to know that we were in the same area.  Because we have a history of contact with Wan and Mou I wrote them myself and asked what happened.  Below is their reply with the description of the robbery in their own words.  Please remember that English is not their first language.  Not everyone's is!

Dear Tim & Cindie,

 We both are greatly appreciate for your message.  Thank you very much. We are very sorry that we did not get to meet as our schedule is not match.  We always think of you.  We have been following your journey in your web and enjoying very much.  So you did have a good time staying with Lucho & family in Trujillo.  We did send a postcard to Lucho so he could pass our news to all our cyclist friends.  We were robbed at 8KM out of Riobamba and on the way to Ambato at 9.10am.  There were 5 men and each of them have a gun.  They are well-prepared to rob us on the road, must have been seeing us on the main road riding from Riobamba.  Our computer notebook, 3 cameras, 2 Palm pilot, 2 bicycle key locks,  radio, tape recorder, ATM, Credit Card and other things totally 25 items. Just 5 minutes after they left, 2 policemen rode a motorbike and found us in the jungle.  It was quite a big surprise why they found us at 200M uphill far from the main road.

We are ok now.  It takes us long time and many things to do to get everything organize and continue.  We are now in Cali, Colombia.  We are having a good time with Colombians.  The weather is nice and warm here, just like my country Thailand. We are going to ride in Central America countries soon.  Many people has warn us of visiting Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala.  Do you have any advice for us about cycling in Central America?  Appreciate for your advice.

 Take care and good luck.
Cheers,
Wan and Mou
www.thaibikeworld.com

I am happy to report that Wan and Mou have regrouped in Columbia and are now heading towards the USA via Central America.  Check their web site for current information.

Our new guest book and discussion board is going well.  We look at it every time that we are online.  If you have not checked it out or left a comment please do.  The address is :

http://www.downtheroad.org/Discussion/


2002 - 2012 DownTheRoad.org (TM) All Rights Reserved

 

  


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INDEX #2: South America
6-3-03 to 6-17-04

1North and
Central America
3-30-02 to 4-17-03

2 South America
6-3-03 to 6-17-04

3 SE Asia / China
11-22-04 to
9-15-06

4 Australia
9-15-06 to 9-15-07

5 New Zealand
9-16-07 to 5-2-08
6 Alaska, Canada, and the USA
5-3-08 to 4-30-10
7 India. Nepal, and the Subcontinent
5-1-10 to present


(see all 3 book)

June 4 -  July 8, 2003
Ecuador #1
Quito to Riobamba, Ecuador

Cindie's Daily Journals
Ecuador #1

Tim's Emailed Newsletters (Join  List)
Ecuador: Riding on top of the Southern Hemisphere

Best Place to see Pictures
Thumbnail Page of Pictures in Ecuador #1

Full size Picture Pages

- Quito The Old City
- The Equator "Mitad del Mundo"
- Volcano Tugurahua, Backpacking
- Banos, Ecuador Natural Hot Springs
- Quito to Latacunga, Ecuador
- The City of Latacunga, Ecuador
- Latacunga to Riobamba, Ecuador
- The Village of Mocha, Ecuador
- The City of Riobamba, Ecuador
- Other

 

July 9 - Aug 4, 2003
Ecuador #2
Riobamba to Macara, Ecuador
( Peruvian border)

Cindie's Daily Journals
Ecuador #2

Tim's Emailed Newsletters (Join  List)
Ecuador #2: The Magic of the Andes

The Fastest Place to see Pictures
Thumbnail Page of  Pictures in Ecuador #2

Full size Picture Pages

- Riobamba to Alausi, Ecuador
- The City of Alausi, Ecuador
- Nariz Del Diablo - Train Ride
- Alausi to Cuenca, Ecuador
- The City of Cuenca, Ecuador
- Cuenca to Loja, Ecuador
- Loja to Macara, Ecuador

 

Aug 5 - Sept. 14, 2003
Peru #1
The Ecuador border to Huallanca, Peru

Cindie's Daily Journals
Peru #1 JOURNAL

Tim's Emailed Newsletters (Join  List)
Peru #1 Riding Between The Extremes

Best Place to see Pictures
Peru #1 THUMBS

Full size Picture Pages

- The Ecuador Border to Chiclayo, Peru
- Chiclayo to Trujillo, Peru
- Casa De Ciclista, Peru Cyclist House
- The Ruins of Chan Chan
- Ruins - Temple of the Moon and Sun
- Trujillo to Huallanca, Peru
- Huallanca to Huaraz, Peru
- Huarez to Pachapaque
- Pachapaqui to Huallanca

 

Sept. 15 - Oct. 31, 2003
Peru #2
Huallanca, Peru to
Copacabana, Bolivia

Cindie's Daily Journals
Peru #2 JOURNAL

Tim's Emailed Newsletters (Join  List)
Peru #2: Been Doing Some Hard Traveling

Best Place to see Pictures
Peru #2 THUMBS

Full size Picture Pages

- Huallanca to Huanuco
- Huanuco to La Oroya, Peru
- Arequipa, Peru
- Cusco, Peru
- Tambo Machay, Pucapucara, Qenqo
- Sacsayhuaman, Inca Ruin
- Machu Picchu #1
- Machu Picchu #2
- Machu Picchu #3
- Cusco to Santa Rosa, Peru
- Santa Rosa, Peru to Copacabana Bolivia
- Uros, Peru Lake Titicaca

 

November 1 - December 8, 2003
Bolivia
Copacabana to Villazon, Bolivia

Cindie's Daily Journals
Bolivia JOURNAL

Tim's Emailed Newsletters (Join  List)
Bolivia: The Calm After the Storm.

Best Place to see Pictures
Bolivia THUMBS

Full size Picture Pages

- Copacabana, Bolivia on Lake Titicaca
- Todos Santos - Day of the Dead
- Copacabana to La Paz
- La Paz to Oruro
- Oruro to Quillacas
- Quillacas to Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
- Salar de Uyuni Salt Lake to The City of Uyuni

 
(December 9, 2003 - January 22, 2004)
NW Argentina
La Quiaca, to La Cueva, (border with Chile) Argentina

Cindie's Daily Journals
Cindie's North West Argentina Daily Journal

Tim's Emailed Newsletters (Join  List)
Northwest Argentina: The Wrong Way In the Right Country 

Best Place to see Pictures
Pictures of  North West Argentina

Full size Picture Pages

- Quiaca to Tilcara
- Tilcara to Salta
- Salta to Cafayate
- Cafayate to Belen
- Belen to Mendoza
- Parque National Talampaya
- Valle De Luna Provincial Park
- Mendoza to La Cueva
- Aconcagua National Park

 
January 23 - February 29, 2004
Chile
Portillo, Chile to Bariloche, Argentina

Cindie's Daily Journals
Cindie's Chile Daily Journal

Tim's Emailed Newsletters (Join  List)
coming!

Best Place to see Pictures
Thumbnails of Chile

Full size Picture Pages

- Portillo to Los Andes
- Temuco to Parqua National Conguillio
- Conguillio National Park to Villarrica
- Villarrica to Playa Pucara
- Playa Pucura to Puerto Pirihueico
- Bariloche, Argentina Velodrome

 
March 3, to 23, 2004
  Patagonia, South America
 Argentina and Chile

Cindie's Daily Journals
Patagonia

Tim's Emailed Newsletters (Join  List)
coming!

Best Place to see Pictures
Patagonia THUMBS

Full size Picture Pages

- Southern Patagonia Birds
- Perito Moreno Glacier, (Before rupture)
- Perito Moreno Glacier (After rupture)
- Torres Del Paine National Park #1
- Torres Del Paine National Park #2
- Torres Del Paine National Park #3
- Torres Del Paine National Park #4
- El Chalten  - Fritz Roy
- Cuevas los Manos, Rock Art


- My First Jewish Passover
- Ski Argentina Cerro Cathedral
- Fall in Bariloche
- Cerro Campanerio
- Cerro Lopez
- Nordic Cross Country Skiing Bariloche, Argentina

1North and
Central America
3-30-02 to 4-17-03

2 South America
6-3-03 to 6-17-04

3 SE Asia / China
11-22-04 to
9-15-06

4 Australia
9-15-06 to 9-15-07

5 New Zealand
9-16-07 to 5-2-08
6 Alaska, Canada, and the USA
5-3-08 to 4-30-10
7 India. Nepal, and the Subcontinent
5-1-10 to present
Where am I  now

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