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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)

The Apache Indians Historical Wars Places Map in Arizona and New Mexico

Geronimo Cochise Victorio Chiricahua

The Apache wars were the last "Indian Wars" to be waged by the US Army.  Tragic and interesting at the same time they lasted until the late 1800's and took place in New Mexico, Arizona, and the Northern Mexican states of Sonora and Chihuahua.  The stories that we read in our books and the places that we visited where the drama unfolded were better than any fiction tale ever written.

I have been interested in Arizona History since I moved there.  Prescott, where we lived, had historic Fort Whipple and the very large and impressive Sharlot Hall museum.  I knew that we were heading to a part of the state (and Northern Mexico) where a lot of the Apache history played out.  I decided to brush up on the history of the Apache people, the inevitable conflict with the Mexico and the USA so I got several books on the subject.  I read Cochise: The Life and Times of the Great Apache Chief and The Truth About Geronimo plus the others you see on this page but the most complete and readable book I saved to bring with us and be the first book that we read on the road.   We read Once They Moved Like the Wind : Cochise, Geronimo, and the Apache Wars  while we were camping in the same places as the characters of our books did.  That really put a context to the lives that once roamed these lands.  This book covers the whole story starting with Cochise and ending with the full account of Geronimo.  It reads like a novel but was very well researched. 

We spent several days backpacking in the Chiricahua Wilderness Area in southeastern Arizona.  I chose this place for our trek because these mountains were known retreats and hiding places for the Apaches during their long conflict with the American and Mexican armies.  There are springs in these mountains that flow year round, as they have for 100's of years.  We filtered water out of same springs that the nomadic bands of Cochise and Geronimo had drank from.  It was easy to imagine the Apache camps in the alpine meadows and at the same time, tired and scared soldiers marching up the mountain looking for the various bands of Apache warriors and their families.

One important account was the famous story that whites refer to as the "Bascom Affair".  This story passed into the Apache verbal tradition and was known loosely as "cut the tent".  This story has been told around campfires for generations.  By either name it marks one of the first conflicts between the Apache and US troops.  If I may over simplify the story I will summarize it here. 

A white boy was thought to be kidnapped by Cochise's band of Apaches and the father of the boy reported this to the US Army.  A unit lead by Bascom was sent out to investigate.  He camped his troops near what is now called Apache Pass and sent word to Cochise that his company was requested for dinner in the officer's tent.  It was a lie that the purpose was merely hospitality but Cochise was unaware of this and brought several members of his family to Bascom's tent.  This trust by Cochise is understandable because the Apaches had peacefully coexisted with the whites for years and it is even thought that they befriended and even contracted with the employees of the Butterfield Stage Line to provide fire wood. 

Cochise, by all accounts, was a tall handsome man and led his people through his physical presence and wisdom arrived in Bascom's tent with his family to "share his tent."  After fine dining (for the field) the conversation turned confrontational with Bascom accusing Cochise of kidnapping the boy.  It was not known at the time but the boy was kidnapped by a completely different band of Indians than the ones that Cochise led.  Cochise told Bascom that he did not take the boy but if he had a few days he would try to find out who took him.  Bascom assumed that he was lying and told Cochise that he and his family were to be held hostage until the boy was returned.  Cochise immediately drew a hidden knife and cut through the officers tent and fled into the night.   Despite the large numbers of US soldiers under Bascom's command Cochise was able to disappear into the darkness while being shot at.  Cochise's warriors were later able to raid and steal a large herd of army mules and seize a civilian wagon train and take a few hostages of their own.  Cochise's hostages were a handful of white settlers and several Mexicans.  Cochise's warriors held the whites but as for the Mexicans the choice was clear.  Because of the Apaches long hatred of Mexicans, due to the countless cruel acts and wholesale killing of  their people, the Mexicans were immediately tied to the wagon wheels while the wagons where set on fire.  While the Mexican men cried out during their slow death a soon to be famous warrior was said to take pleasure from poking his lance into the burning Mexicans.  This warrior would be unknown to whites for many years but his (Spanish) name was Geronimo and he was about 38 years old at the time. 

Even though in the following days Cochise pleaded for Bascom to treat his family members well and trade for the whites that he now held, Bascom would have nothing of it.  Bascom held out for the boy but Cochise had no idea of his whereabouts.   Cochise eventually gave up and had his hostages killed and mutilated.  The Apache were known to do these terrible things in either order.  In response the US Army had the male members of Cochise's family hanged and the females sent away. 

Cochise, like all Apaches, was very attached to his family and would seek revenge for several decades.  This was the start of the Apache wars.  It is obvious that history would had been very different if Cochise and his family were allowed to leave the young officers tent.  Many people Apache, Mexican, and White would die because of the stupid decision made by the young officer from the East. 

After reading these books and visiting this area it is easy to envision the hardships endured by both soldier and warrior (and his family) alike.  Because the army knew little about finding water in such a dry climate or how to travel in such rugged terrain the soldiers often faced long periods without supplies or water.  The soldiers included both white and black troops and had the terror of facing a race of people that were trained from birth how to wage war and live on the go in this very climate.  

Black soldiers were called "Buffalo Soldiers" because their curly black hair reminded the plains Indians of a buffalo.  The Buffalo Soldier units had a desertion rate of 1% compared to a desertion rate of 43% for the white soldier units.  This was during a time shortly after the Civil War and black men in the army were not very acceptable, even by most of the military's top brass.   We learned from a park ranger in the Chiricahua National Monument, that the black soldiers were stationed nearby in Rhyolite Canyon even though Fort Bowie was less than a days ride (on a horse) away.  Fort Bowie was the main hub during the Apache wars.  It is a place where a lot of history took place, including the Bascom Affair and the battle of Apache Pass.   After it grew from a camp to a fully stocked fort it was probably a welcome retreat for hungry and tired soldiers who had been in the field.  The black soldiers were never allowed to enter the camp and instead lived in tents in Rhyolite Canyon closer to danger because of it's proximity to hostile bands of Apache.

The Apache had the home turf advantage but with the warrior went his wives and children.  I read accounts where children had to be tied to horses as they slept because there was no time to rest.  They would ride the horses until they were exhausted and could no longer go on.  The Apache women would slaughter it, feed it to the band, and keep running for their lives.  Of course they would have to raid White or Mexican settlers, rape, torture, kill, and even mutilate their bodies before they rode off with fresh horses and other supplies.  This is the reason the Army was chasing them.   Other stories I read were when a band of Apache were cornered by the US Army with the cliffs of the Mogollon rim behind them they routinely killed and destroyed everything that they could not carry.  The whole group then would be lowered down the thousands of feet of the rim by ropes and resupply by raiding.  The army often thought they committed suicide by leaping to their death.  They never chased.  

Atrocities happened on both sides.  It is hard to blame one group more than the other.  The politically correct thing to do is to hate the Whites, forgive the Mexicans, and think that the Apache did no wrong.  I like to be more open minded than that.  Long before the migration of peoples from Europe to North America the Apache Indians were destroying other cultures and taking their lands.  We visited  Paquime Ruins archeological site in northern Mexico and learned that this peaceful group who had lived happily in this one place, and traded with other Indian groups, where wiped out by migrating Apaches.  In order to steal their wealth and remove them from their homeland.  The Apache also terrorized the Tarahumara to the south and the peaceful Navajo to the north.  It is safe to say that most, if not all, of the Indians that came in contact with the Apache's were victimized by them.  Many of these Indian groups enthusiastically aided what ever Army in chasing down the Apache Warriors. 

The White settlers along with the American government were no angels either.  They misled and lied to the Apache in order to buy time and get what they wanted.  The Apache Indians have a similar story to many other Indian groups who found themselves within a growing and powerful country.  This history is well known and most modern US citizens are well aware of the mistakes that their forefathers made in the brutal treatment of the Apache and other groups.  As a teacher, like most teachers, I made sure that my students were aware of the brutality inflicted on Indians in our continent.   It is safe to say that Americans are remorseful and have paid cash restitution for over 100 years.

While traveling in Mexico we rode through many places where Apache battles were fought.   These sites included Janos where Geronimo's family was killed by the Mexican Army and set him on the warpath for decades.  There was no historical markers and no one I spoke to even knew of these events   In Galeana Mexico, Greenroom's band lured the Mexican Army into a clever trap and defeated a much bigger and well supplied force.   There was a faded monument in the plaza listing the local towns people who had died in that battle.  There was little mention of Apache's except that they had done the killing.  There is no description in Mexican textbooks or history of how these towns would lure the Apache bands into town, get them drunk on Mescal, and slaughter everyone of them.  Mexicans are even unaware of the fact that their government enacted federal policies of paying for scalps of dead Apaches in a state supported genocide attempt.   The Mexicans prefer to ignore and forget this ugly history and concentrate on the Mexican revolution. 

In the end the Apache's lost this war because of numbers.  When the Apache lost a warrior they had to replace him from members of their group while the US and Mexican Armies just had to send for men from their generals.  I believe that if the Apache had not made so many enemies with neighboring tribes and worked together with these groups they would have prevented the mass migration into their lands and had a better outcome than they did. 

 

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

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)

(Before March 30, 2002)
Life in Prescott Arizona, USA

Cindie's Daily Journals
Life in Prescott Arizona

Tim's Emailed Newsletters (Join  List)
Good bye Letter

Other essays by Tim
About Us
Our Bicycle Wedding
Riding In Prescott
Hiking in Arizona
Favorite Bike Movies
The Great Zorr Dog
Life in a $500 RV
The Plan
Good bye Letter

 

(March 30 - May 12, 2002)
The State of Arizona, USA
Prescott to Douglas, Arizona

Cindie's Daily Journals
Cindie's Journal in Arizona, USA

Tim's Emailed Newsletters (Join  List)
Our first week Down the Road!
Enjoying Arizona
Heading into Mexico

Other essays by Tim
The Day We Left
Lost Dutchman Mine
Ghost Towns
Tombstone
Chiricahua National Monument
Portal Arizona
Backpacking in the Chiricahua Mountains
Apache Wars

Best Place to see Pictures
Thumbnail Page for Arizona Pictures

Full size Picture Pages

- Pictures from the first day
- Arizona Photo Page #1 Prescott AZ - Tucson AZ
- Lost Dutchman State Park
- Arizona Photo Page #2 Tucson AZ - Tombstone AZ
- San Xavier Mission
- Arizona Photo Page #3 Tombstone AZ to Portal AZ 
- Tombstone Arizona
- Ghost Towns in Arizona 
- Chiricahua National Monument
- Portal Arizona
- Chiricahua Wilderness Area Backpack (Trek)

 

(May 13 - 31, 2002)
The States of Sonora and Chihuahua, Mexico
Agua Prieta to Cuauhtemoc, Mexico

Cindie's Daily Journals
The States of Sonora and Chihuahua, Mexico

Tim's Emailed Newsletters (Join  List)
Greetings from Mexico!

Other essays by Tim
The Problems with the Border Area Between Mexico and the USA
Paquime Ruins Casas Grandes, Mexico
Barranca del Cobre or Copper Canyon

Best Place to see Pictures
Thumbnail Page of Sonora and Chihuahua, Mexico Pictures

Full size Picture Pages

- Mexico #1 Photo Page   Agua Prieta to Zaragoza, Mexico
- Paquime Ruins - Casas Grandes, Mexico
- Mexico #2 Photo Page    Zaragoza to Col. Alvaro Obregon, Mexico
- The Mennonites of Chihuahua, Mexico
- Mexico #3 Photo Page 
- Barranca del Cobre or Copper Canyon Photo Page

 

(June 1 - July 17, 2002)
The States of Zacatecas and Guanajuato, Mexico
Zacatecas to Guanajuato, Mexico

Cindie's Daily Journals
The States of Zacatecas and Guanajuato, Mexico

Tim's Emailed Newsletters (Join  List)
Hello Guanajuato
Adios Guanajuato

Other essays by Tim
One Fine Day Down The Road
Learning Spanish at Casa Mexicana in Guanajuato, Mexico
Cindie's Car Crash: a Mexican Experience Guanajuato, Mexico

Best Place to see Pictures
Thumbnail Page of Zacatecas and Guanajuato Pictures

Full size Picture Pages

- Zacatecas, Mexico
- Central Mexico #1  Zacatecas to Ojuelos, Mexico
- One Fine Day Down The Road  State of Zacatecas, Mexico
- Central Mexico #2 Zacatecas to Guanajuato, Mexico
- Dolores Hidalgo, the Home of the Mexican War of Independence
- Guanajuato and the Mexican War of Independence
- Guanajuato, Mexico #1
- Guanajuato, Mexico #2
- Mineral Museum of the University of Guanajuato

 

(July 18 - Aug 22, 2002)
The State of Michoacan, Mexico
Guanajuato to Toluca, Mexico

Cindie's Daily Journals
The State of Michoacan, Mexico

Tim's Emailed Newsletters (Join  List)
The Great Secret of Michoacan!
Toluca

Other essays by Tim
Into the Mist State of Michoacan, Mexico

Best Place to see Pictures
Thumbnail Page of Michoacan, Mexico Pictures

Full size Picture Pages

- Guanajuato to   Penjamillo, Mexico
- Penjamillo to Patzcuaro, Mexico
- Patzcuaro, Mexico
- Patzcuaro to Cuidad Hidalgo, Michoacan, Mexico
- Morelia, Mexico
- Into the Mist Mexican highway 15
- Cuidad Hidalgo, Michoacan, to Toluca, Mexico
- Toluca, Mexico
- The Velodrome in Toluca, Mexico

 

(Aug. 23 - Sept. 17, 2002)
The States of Mexico and Morelos, Mexico
Toluca to Amecameca, Mexico

Cindie's Daily Journals
The States of Mexico and Morelos

Tim's Emailed Newsletters (Join  List)
So Close to Mexico City Yet So Far From Anything

Best Place to see Pictures
Thumbnail Page of The States of Mexico and Morelos, Mexico Pictures

Full size Picture Pages

- Toluca to Chalma, Mexico
- Malinalco, Mexico
- Chalma to Amecameca, Mexico
- Cuernavaca, Mexico
- Amecameca
- September 16 Mexican Independence Day
- Various Extra Pictures

 

(September 18 - 27, 2002)
Mexico City Area
Including the ruins of Teotihuacan

Mexico City, Mexico

Cindie's Daily Journals
Mexico City Area

Tim's Emailed Newsletters (Join  List)
Six Months Down the Road

Other essays by Tim
Looking Deep Into the Eyes of a Thief Mexico City Metro (subway)
The Velodrome in Mexico City

Best Place to see Pictures
Thumbnail Page of Mexico City Area Pictures

Full size Picture Pages

- Mexico City
- National Palace and Zocalo
- The Velodrome (bicycle track) in Mexico City
- The Ruins of Teotihuacan #1
- The Ruins of Teotihuacan #2
- Xochimilco
- Mexico City Zoo
- National Museum of Anthropology

 

(Oct.  12 - Nov. 8, 2002)
The States of Tabasco and Chiapas, Mexico
Villahermosa, Tabasco to Cuauhtemoc Chiapas, Mexico

Cindie's Daily Journals
The States of Tabasco and Chiapas, Mexico

Tim's Emailed Newsletters (Join  List)
Our Final Weeks in Mexico

Best Place to see Pictures
Thumbnail Page of Tabasco and Chiapas, Mexico Pictures

Full size Picture Pages

- Museum La Venta and the Olmec Heads Villahermosa, Tabasco, Mexico
- Villahermosa, Tabasco  to Ocosingo, Chiapas, Mexico
- Palenque #1 Photo Picture Page
- Palenque #2 Photo Picture Page
- Misol-Ha Waterfall Chiapas, Mexico
- Agua Azul Chiapas, Mexico
- Tonina Mayan Ruins Ocosingo, Chiapas, Mexico
- Mexico's Day of the Dead Ocosingo, Chiapas, Mexico
- Ocosingo to Cuauhtemoc Chiapas, Mexico

 

(Dec 2 - 15, 2002)
Guatemala #1: The Highlands
Quetzaltenango to Antigua

Cindie's Daily Journals
Guatemala #1 The Highlands

Tim's Emailed Newsletters (Join  List)
Guatemala: Riding Through the Highlands

Guatemala: From Paradise to Despair

Other Pages Tim Made
Escuela de Idioma Español Utatlan, Spanish Immersion School in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala

Best Place to see Pictures
Thumbnail Page of Guatemala #1 Pictures

Full size Picture Pages

- La Mesilla to Quetzaltenango, Guatemala
- The Indigenous Highland Village of San Andreas Xecul
- Climbing the Volcano Santa Maria.
- Quetzaltenango, Guatemala
- Quetzaltenango to Antigua, Guatemala.
- San Pedro la Laguna Lago (Lake) Atitlan, Guatemala
- Lago (Lake) Atitlan Santa Cruz to San Marcos Hike
- More San Pedro Photos Photo Page

 

(Dec. 16, 2002 - Jan. 6, 2003)
Guatemala #2: Northeast Towards the Caribbean
Antigua to Puerto Barrios, Guatemala

Cindie's Daily Journals
Guatemala #2
: Heading Northeast Towards the Caribbean

Tim's Emailed Newsletters (Join  List)
Antigua, Guatemala to the Sea

Best Place to see Pictures
Thumbnail Page of Guatemala #2 Pictures

Full size Picture Pages

- The Colonial City of Antigua, Guatemala. #1
- The Historical City of Antigua, Guatemala. #2
- The Active Volcano Pacaya, Near Antigua
- Antigua to Puerto Barrios, Guatemala
- The Mayan Ruins of Tikal, Guatemala
- Livingston, Guatemala

 

(January 7 - 31, 2003)
Honduras
From the Guatemalan Border to the Nicaraguan Border

Cindie's Daily Journals
Honduras

Tim's Emailed Newsletters (Join  List)
Honduras: From the Guatemalan Border to the Nicaraguan Border

Best Place to see Pictures
Thumbnail Page of Honduras Pictures

Full size Picture Pages

- Honduras: The Border to Comayagua, Honduras
- Omoa, Honduras and Fortaleza de San Fernando de Omoa
- Parque Nacional Cero Azul Meambar, Honduras Page #1
- Parque Nacional Cero Azul Meambar, Honduras Page #2
- Comayagua to Tegucigalpa, Honduras
- Tegucigalpa, Honduras to the Border with Nicaragua
- Odds and Ends

 

(Feb. 1 - 19, 2003)
Nicaragua
From the Honduras Border to the Costa Rican Border

Cindie's Daily Journals
Nicaragua

Tim's Emailed Newsletters (Join  List)
Nicaragua: Travels Through a Troubled Land

Best Place to see Pictures
Thumbnail Page of Nicaragua Pictures

Full size Picture Pages

- Nicaragua: The Honduras border to Esteli, Nicaragua
- Esteli, Nicaragua:  the Stronghold of the Sandinista
- Esteli to Granada, Nicaragua
- Granada, Nicaragua #1
- Granada, Nicaragua #2
- Volcano Masaya - Near Managua, Nicaragua
- Granada, Nicaragua to the Costa Rican Border
- Isla / Island Ometepe, Lake Nicaragua
- Ernie, The Entertainer from Jamaica

 

(Feb. 21 - March 14, 2003)
Costa Rica #1
La Cruz to Rancho Mastatal, Costa Rica

Cindie's Daily Journals
Costa Rica #1

Tim's Emailed Newsletters (Join  List)
Costa Rica #1 (incomplete)

Best Place to see Pictures
Thumbnail Page of Costa Rica #1 Pictures

Full size Picture Pages

- Nicaraguan Border to Playa Tamarindo
- Liberia, Guancaste, Costa Rica.
- Playa Tamarindo
to Playa Samara
- Playa Samara to Playa Jaco
- Manuel Antonio National Park #1
- Rancho Mastatal, Costa Rica #1
- Rancho Mastatal, Costa Rica #2

 

(March 15 - April 10, 2003)
Costa Rica #2
Manual Antonio to Monteverde Cloud Forest, Costa Rica

Cindie's Daily Journals
Costa Rica #2

Tim's Emailed Newsletters (Join  List)
Costa Rica #2 (incomplete)

Best Place to see Pictures
Thumbnail Page of Costa Rica #2 Pictures

Full size Picture Pages

- Parque National Manuel Antonio, #2
- City of Santa Elena and Monteverde
- Butterfly Garden, Santa Elena, Monteverde
- Finca Ecological, Monteverde
- Frog Pond (Ranario), Santa Elena
- Santa Elena, Cloud Forest, National Park
- Sky Walk, Suspension Bridge, Canopy Tour
- Sky Trek Zip Line, Canopy Tour
- Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

 

(April 12 - 17, 2003)
Panama
Panama City, Panama

Cindie's Daily Journals
Panama

Tim's Emailed Newsletters (Join  List)
Panama (Incomplete)

Best Place to see Pictures
Thumbnail Page of Panama Pictures

Full size Picture Pages

- Panama City #1
- Panama City #2
- Panama Canal

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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