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The Calm After the Storm.
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January, 16, 2004
(Sent From Mendoza, Argentina)

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Bolivia was the country that we almost did not get to visit.  As we were riding through Peru our shortwave radio was reporting nightly on the serious political problems there.  Protesters were blocking the roads and nothing was getting in or out of all major cities and the country itself.  International traveling cyclists wandering around the continent were alarmed and passing information up and down the line on the situation in Bolivia.  All of the south bound cyclists in front of us had to change their plans and either fly to Argentina or head to Chile and face the notorious Chilean head winds in the worlds driest desert.  We were lucky enough to not be on a fixed schedule and had some time to wait.  We did not have an endless amount of time because the maximum tourist visa for Peru is 90 days.  Extensions are possible but cost dearly.  Money is the only commodity that we do not have an endless supply of.  For us, either things were going to clear up in Bolivia or we were going to have to head to Chile.

After we left on this bike trip and life style I have always felt like the luckiest guy alive.  There is not a day that goes by that I do not realize how the choices that I made in the past, my wonderful family, and a bit of luck have brought me to this incredible opportunity.  I have a wonderful wife, the bicycle odyssey of my dreams, and now I am fortunate enough to have seen Bolivia.  It seems that peace came overnight.  First there was a drastic change of government with the president resigning and then we started hearing reports of how things were returning to normal.  The opposition leader gave the new president 90 days to turn the country around or promised to close the roads again if he did not.  We thought that we could easily sail through during this 90 day period and be out before anything new happens.  Well we did not quite sail through without getting caught up in some of Bolivia's volatile politics but we made it through, we feel very privileged to have had the opportunity to visit this interesting and exotic country.


Cindie and I have been having a bit of a disagreement over where we should go after we are finished with South America.  Our original plan was to go to Africa.  Sticking to our original plan is not very important to me as long as I get to see each continent at some point in our travels.  Our original plan was bound to be changed at some point.  How could we possibly stick to something I dreamed up years ago while sitting in my house in Arizona, USA?  Flexibility is a luxury that we enjoy because we are not tied to a fixed schedule due to holding advanced airline tickets or being headstrong about sticking to a plan.  I highly recommend a high level of flexibility to anyone traveling on a bicycle.  I like to always say that "the best choice is the one that leads to more choices."

Cindie is very tired of the developing world and would like to go to Europe next.  Our European plan would be to buy the cheapest ticket available to any city in Europe and make it up from there.  We would spend at least a year in Europe riding around and possibly hanging out somewhere for the winter.

I want to head to Africa.  This plan would be to fly to Cape Town, South Africa and spend a year and a half working our way north to Europe.  Every international touring cyclist we have talked to has reported that Africa is the most difficult place on Earth to travel in.  We hear of bad roads, dirty conditions, aggressive locals, and a general lack of everything including food.  I believe that if they did it so can we.  I have always dreamed of going to Africa but this may not be a good time.  I feel that if I took Cindie to such a difficult place now she would want to quit and fly back to the USA.  I have to be very cunning if I am going to coax her around the world including the difficult places.

A big deciding factor in this debate is how the US dollar trades against the European Euro.  Europe is a very expensive place to travel even when the two currencies are trading 1 to 1.  Anything less favorable to us would make prices soar.  We have heard of campgrounds costing between 10 - 35 Euros.  At the time of my writing the US Dollar is worth 0.78 Euros.  That increases prices 22%!  This continent may best be saved for later when the US dollar bounces back.  Cindie reluctantly understands this but still dreams of see Lance Armstrong ripping up the French countryside one more time.

Exchange Rate for European Euro

A third and very logical option is to head to China.  We could travel in China for at least six months and then work our way through Southeast Asia and on to Australia.  I say that this is logical because China currently ties the exchange rate of it's currency to the US dollar.  This exchange rate is set low by the government in order to keep the Chinese currency artificially weak and the US dollar high.  This monetary policy is made in order to boost Chinese exports.  The Chinese governments holding the currency low has one great benefit to the traveler with foreign currency.  It makes China artificially cheaper.

The Chinese government's holding the currency down is actively increasing exports but there is mounting pressure from foreign governments to allow the Chinese currency to float.  This is bound to happen in the near future.  When their currency is allowed to float it will no doubt climb sharply against the US dollar.  This could easily double the prices that Cindie and I would pay for things while traveling there.

From what I hear on my shortwave radio the Chinese economy is expanding very quickly.  Many experts say that China is permanently changing and if you want a glimpse of the "old China" you should travel there in within the next few years.

So, here our choices in short:

-Europe with its first world comfort, Lance in another Tour De France, and inflated prices due to a weak US dollar.

-Africa with cheap prices, interesting cultures, but the harshest conditions on the planet for a touring cyclist.

-China with its temporarily low prices, exotic food and destinations, and rapidly changing way of life.

OK, Now it is your turn to sound off on where we should go next.  I have posted this question on our discussion board and would love to hear what your vote is and the reasoning behind it.  If you have a good argument you could very well send us off in a new (or old) direction.  Please do not email me with you comments.  I already have more email than I can answer.  Instead please post them on our discussion board linked to below.

*Help Support this Web Site and Continue Our Travels Today!!  If a book is bought from by clicking straight from our site we receive 15% of the sale.  If you click through from one of the books (or general links) but decide to buy something else from Amazon we still receive 5% from the sale.  In other words you are not limited to just the books pictured on our site.  see also Our Complete list of Participating Online Store for More Shopping


2002 - 2012 (TM) All Rights Reserved



WB00771_.gif (436 bytes)  Previous Letter Letter Index (Future Book)

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Cindie's Journal for this Letter

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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

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

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

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
Copacabana to Villazon, Bolivia

Cindie's Daily Journals

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
Portillo, Chile to Bariloche, Argentina

Cindie's Daily Journals
Cindie's Chile Daily Journal

Tim's Emailed Newsletters (Join  List)

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

Tim's Emailed Newsletters (Join  List)

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

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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