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 3 Books
I write, self publish and sell
books about touring
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Places I have been
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India and Neighbors
May 2010 to present
/ Canada / USA
May 2008 to April 2010
Sept 2007 to May 2008
Sept 2006 to Sept 2007
SE Asia / China
Nov 2004 to Sept 2006
June 2003 to June 2004
AZ, Mexico, and
March 2002 to April 2003
How I started
The 5 years before I left
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Equipment Pages Index
How Much to Bring and Weight
Advice About Advice
A Note to Perspective Sponsors and Gear Suppliers
more about Sponsorship)
HERE for Touring Bikes and Commuting Bicycles
Custom Touring Bicycles and Bike Upgrade Buyers Guide
Bicycle Touring Frames
Steel Repair Myth.
and Aluminum Derailleur Hanger Repair.
Bicycle Touring Wheels
Phil Wood: The Best Bicycle Hubs
Panniers / Bike Bags
Cargo Trailers Vs Panniers
Tires for Bike Tours..
Bicycle Touring Saddles.
Women's Specific Bike Touring Saddles
Brooks Leather Touring Bicycle Saddle Care and Conditioning
Touring Handlebars, Bar Ends, Adjustable Stems, and Padded Grips.
Sealed Cartridge Headsets
How to prevent flat tires
Bike Route Trails and Maps
Buying Camping Equipment
Tent and Ground
Pots and Pans
Solar Power for Camp
Bike Touring Shorts
Bicycle touring lights
Pictures of Equipment Failures
all 3 book)
City DF Area: Including the Aztec ruins of Teotihuacan and the floating gardens of Xochimilco
(September 18 - Oct. 11, 2002)
||Amecameca - Mexico City. Took the bus from Amecameca to Mexico City
for 18 pesos ($1.90) one way. We got to the bus station and a taxi cab driver tried
to lead us away from the official taxi booth and over charge us. Then the cab driver
said that there was construction around the Zocalo and he would not drive us up to our
hotel. So he dropped us off at the Zocalo in front of the Cathedral. We had to carry
our luggage two blocks to find a hotel. We went out to eat and then retired for the
night. However, they are jack hammering outside our window until 12:00 at night. I
went to bed wearing ear plugs.
||Mexico City. Went shoe shopping, did not buy anything. Tim looked
into renting climbing equipment, not possible. Took the metro to the race car track
and got caught in the rain. Met a Danish couple from Copenhagen. Had some
delicious draft beer at a pub.
||Mexico City. Searched for a good pair of outdoor shoes. I
ended up buying a pair of Nikes for about $85.00 a little more than I wanted to spend but
my feet were killing me. Sandals do not give the support you need for long term
travel. Tim and I went to the Mexico City velodrome, where the 1968 Olympics
occurred and Eddy Merckx set the hour record. The track is still in use and in
pretty good shape. I am anticipating Patti's arrival tomorrow.
||Mexico City. We picked Patti up at the airport today. We rode the
metro to the airport and while changing stations Tim and I get slammed into a car and our
pockets were searched. We had nothing in our pockets so there was nothing to take.
We moved to the Hotel San Antonio, it was 220 pesos ($22.00) a night for a triple.
The rooms were adjoining with one shared bath. The room was comfortable and
clean. The draw back was the construction going on in the Historic District.
Jack hammers were going 24 hours a day, 6 days a week. The dust was miserable too.
||Mexico City. It is Sunday and we toured the Zocalo today and watched the
Aztec dancers perform. We visited the Templo Mayor archeological site located next
to the Cathedral and Zocalo. Impressive, I did not realize how brutal the Aztecs
were. I got the impression from Neil Young's song, Cortez the Killer, that war was
never know. Guess you can not believe every song you hear.
In 1487, the ritual of
sacrificing captured warriors during the dedication of the Temple after the new
construction reached a frenzied pace. Michael Meyer and William Sherman write in
"The Course of Mexican History": In a ceremony lasting four days
sacrificial victims taken during campaigns were formed in four columns, each stretching
three miles. At least twenty thousand human hearts were torn out to please the god
.... In the frenzy of this ghastly pageant, the priests were finally overcome with
||Mexico City. Teotihuacan. We had to take the metro to the Autobus
del Norte station and then it was a 45 minute ride out to the ruins. It seemed like
Mexico City extended all the way out to Teoteohuican. We could see the ruins from the
bus stop. Tim and I got in the ruins for free with our student cards and Patti paid
35 pesos ($3.50) to get in. Well worth the money. Our guide book said that we
could get an English speaking guide for free but it turns out that it cost 250 pesos
($25.00). We decided to read the signs instead.
We first explored the Temple of
Quetzalcoatl. A pyramid beneath the seventh and final pyramid was excavated to
exposed a smaller pyramid with carved feathered serpents
coming out of flowers and two fanged creatures believed to be the rain god Tlaloc.
The rooms and patios
around the Temple were believed to be used for administrative purposes. We then
walked almost a kilometer (.6 miles) to the Pyramid of the Sun.
The Pyramid of the Sun is the world's third largest pyramid. The pyramid was
built in 100 A.D., from stone and brick without the use of pack animals, metal tools or
the wheel. The pyramid was painted bright red, remnants of the paint can be seen in
a few areas at the base of the pyramid. Even though this pyramid is called the
Pyramid of the Sun there is new evidence that this pyramid may have been built to worship
the rain god, Tlaloc. The new evidence includes the remnants of a moot around the
base of the pyramid and the sacrificial remains of infants found at each corner of the
pyramid. We climbed the 248 steps to the top of the pyramid and enjoyed breath taking
views of the Pyramid
of the Moon and the entire valley surrounding Teoteohuican. We then walked up the
Avenue of the Dead,
named for all the tombs located along the walkway, to the Pyramid of the Moon. The
Pyramid of the Moon is not as high as the Pyramid of the Sun but the steps are larger and steeper. We were
only allowed to walk up to the first tier. To the southwest of the Pyramid of the
Moon is the Palace of
Quetzalpapalotl (quetzal butterfly) was a residence of a high priest. The patio inside
made a great lunch spot out of the sun. We then toured the Palace of the Jaguars and
Temple of the Plumed Conch Shells. We made a quick dash to the museum because the
park was about to close. The museum had an impressive model of the site. We
caught the bus back to Mexico City. On the subway ride from the Autobus del Norte
station we experienced another attempt by the pick pocketing thieves. This occurred at the
Hidalgo stop on line 3.
Tim started to have a sore throat today and was overall tired.
||Mexico City. We decided to hang around the hotel room today. We
were all pretty tired from exploring Teotihuacan and climbing the many steps up to the top
of the pyramids. Went to the Zocalo in the evening and watched the Aztec dancers
perform to the beat of the drums. It looked like a good work out to me.
||Mexico City. Xochimilco is where pre-Hispanic people piled up vegetation
and lake mud in the shallow waters of Lake Xochimilco. This is an area where food
was grow for the Aztec empire. We took the subway to the end of the line at
Taquena and then a street car to Xochimilco. It took about an hour and 15 minutes.
We followed the signs to the embarcaderos and found a boat launch area. We
did not like the price we were quoted (180 pesos/ hour) so we moved on. We wandered
the streets of Xochimilco and came across another boat launch site with the cost of a boat
ride announced on a sign (110 pesos/hour). There were decorated boats everywhere for
While Patti and I were in the bathroom, Tim waited outside. He had some
vendors come over and try to sell him their wares and try out their English. One
vender yelled, "Hey Lady" Tim ignored him until he realized that he was say
"Hey Lady" to him and he had to correct the mans English in front of the other
venders who thought that this was a very funny mistake. Tim said, "Damas is
lady in English and hombre is man in English. Yo soy hombre". Everyone had a
Our boat driver was Nacho and he gave us a tour of the canals. It was hard to
imagine that all of Mexico City once looked like this tiny piece of paradise.
||Mexico City. We went to Mexico City Zoo today, it is located in
Chapultepec Park. It was free to enter the zoo and we thought that we would stay for
just a little while. The zoo was very impressive, spacious, open and very green, a
welcome relief from the smoggy and noisy historic district. We spent some time
around the Giant Pandas and viewed animals from Africa including lions, zebras, giraffes and elephants. We also saw wolves,
lynxes and turtles. My favorite was the Giant Pandas and Polar Bear. Patti gave us a
little summary of each animal, she watches Animal Planet and manages to remember
After the Zoo we went to the National Museum of Anthropology. The
museum is so immense that I think it is difficult to see the entire thing in one
day. We concentrated on areas that we knew like Teotihuacana, Mexica, Tolteca, and
the Origins room. Unfortunately, the Mayan exhibit was closed. At the end of
the day we watched the Voladores
perform their ritual of flying around a pole until they reached the ground. Our
feet were pretty tired by the time we got back to our hotel.
||Mexico City. Patti and I went shopping at the Artisan market today.
The crafts ranged from silver jewelry, Oaxaca wooden animals, blankets, cheap
T-shirts, table cloths, wooden boxes to paper mache fruit and vegetables. We spent
the rest of the day packing and lounging. Patti leaves tomorrow back to Albuquerque,
New Mexico. We plan to head on back to Amecameca on Sunday.
||Mexico City. We took Patti to the airport and I have to say she left with
a bang. It took us an hour to get to the airport via the subway. First we had to
wait until the metro cars did not look like sardine cans. Then we finally get
on and a minute later the train came to a complete stop and the lights turned out.
This was new to me so I looked around to see what everyone else was doing, no one said a
word, but no one was upset either. The temperature rose and so did my anxiety.
Finally we started moving again. Patti got to the airport with plenty of time to
shop in duty free. We took only 30 minutes to return to the hotel but we were pretty
exhausted. We went shopping for a T-Shirt for Tim because the maid accidentally
threw out one of his shirts this week. Opps. Tim wanted something in Spanish
and large enough to fit him. All we found were T-shirts with Chee and shirts with
sexy sayings with a condom taped to the shirt. I guess it is always best to be
prepared. Anyway, Tim found a T-shirt for the local soccer club America who won this
years championship. It turned out to be a big hit with the guys and opened the door
to lots of conversation.
||Mexico City. Another Sunday in Mexico. We toured the National Palace,
something like going to the House of Representatives in Washington DC. It was
beautiful, it was like a city within a city. The second floor had numerous Diego
Riviera murals depicting the Spanish Conquest and the history of Mexico. Very
enlightening, my favorite mural was of
pre-Hispanic Mexico City in the background. The city seems to be filling up with
more smog, I will be
glad to go back to Amecameca and cleaner air.
Reflecting back on Mexico City I was truly
surprised how friendly and helpful people were. When ever we were wandering around
in the subway wondering which way to go, someone would ask us if we needed help, I guess
it was obvious we were foreigners and lost. They would always directed us in the
right direction, in English. People were patient and seemed to appreciate that we
tried to speak Spanish.
The metro (subway) at times took my breath away, literally. Pickpockets attempted
to acquire some of our belongings on three different occasions and never did succeed.
Once while Tim and I were on the way to the airport to pick up Patti at Pino Suerz
metro station on line 2 and twice with Patti; once at the Pino Suerz metro station and
once at the Hidalgo metro station on line 3. It was a similar maneuver each time.
We would be standing on the platform ready to get into the subway car, when the
doors opened, a group of young men showed up from no where, and then we would be pushed
for behind with great force. We were all pushed off balance and it seemed that
innocent people were used as shields for the would-be robbers to hide behind. While
we were off balance, hands would be in and out of our pockets and trying to open zippers
on our daypacks. We knew better than to carry anything in our pockets. We were
packed into the car like sardines, someone was up against every part of my body.
Patti had her day pack worn backwards on her front, like many people do while on the
Metro. While she was being squeezed by all the other passengers, she saw tiny little
hands reach from behind another person and go for her zippers. She did not have
anything of value in her outer pockets, but it still surprised her. Luckily we had warned
her of this possibility.
Once we figured out that the best way to ride the metro was with as little valuables as
possible it was an easy and cheap way to get around Mexico City.
||Mexico City to Amecameca. We sent a package back to the USA today,
it weighted about 10 lbs. and cost US 40 to send. We decided to venture on to the
metro with all our bags and go to the bus station. A cab to the TAPO bus station
from the historic district cost 80 pesos ($8.00) and the metro cost 4 pesos (40 cents).
When the subway car arrived in front of us at the Zocalo station I heard a little
girl screaming and noticed that her hand was caught in the subway door. It must of
gotten sucked in between the door and the wall of the car. Several people tried to
help, finally someone told the conductor and they quickly closed the door and freed the
girls hand. The girl appeared to be shaken but alright. We waited until the
next car. The ride to the TAPO bus station was uneventful and that was a good thing.
The ride back to Amecameca took approximately an hour. What a difference an
hour on a bus makes. The air was clean, it was raining and I was happy to get back
to my bike and other belongings.
||Amecameca. Gathered our gear together and started working on the
||Amecameca. It seems that we are never going to leave
Amecameca. I woke up with the flu this morning and realized that it may take another
day or two before we leave. We still have a lot of bike work to do. We need
to replace all four tires, change Tim's bottom bracket and crank, and clean the
bikes. I would say about a half day of work. Then we would like to ride
unloaded before we go up to Paseo Cortez. I am beginning to get the travelers itch,
as for Tim I think he could stay here.
||Amecameca. Woke up with the flu again. I had a fever, overall
achy feeling, sore throat and stuffy nose. I should pass in a day.
||Amecameca. Woke up this morning with my throat on fire. I
think it is time to get some antibiotics. Tim has a sore throat and is coughing up
blood. I went to the pharmacy and explained to the pharmacist our symptoms (in
Spanish). He gave me an antibiotic called ampicilina with a brand name of pentrexyl.
||Amecameca. Still sick with the flu/sore throat. Slept a
lot. Tim still has a sore throat.
||Amecameca. Still sick, it feels like a very bad cold, our throats
are feeling better. The infection is starting to move into my chest. Tim's
sore throat is going away and he has stopped coughing up blood.
||Amecameca. We can not seem to shake this cold, we are just going to
have to wait until we feel better. I feel trapped in a room in Amecameca. We
have our Central America books and I am once again dreaming of far away places. It
hailed pretty hard today and the electricity was out for a while.
||Amecameca. We are still on antibiotics, in general we feel better
but we still do not have any energy. My nose will not stop running. The hotel
staff is wondering what I am doing with all the toilet paper I ask for.
||Amecameca. This is our last day of antibiotics, I hope what ever is
infecting us has been wiped out by the antibiotics. I would love to go riding but do
not have any energy.
||Amecameca. No more pills to take, just a slight feeling of a cold
left. The weather is terribly gray today. My sinuses still ache but the runny
nose is gone. We have talked about a number of scenarios on how we are going to
leave Amecameca. Our visa is running out and we need to leave the country by
November 9. We also need to take care of some business with the United States that
requires a signature. We spent the day talking with Federal Express, sure they
deliver anywhere. But I have no way of dropping off my package back to the United States.
Some things are just so much easier in the United States, I will never take for
granted the mail system we have in the USA, fast, and secure. A novelty in Mexico.
||Amecameca. I woke up with a head cold, my sinuses still ache. Tim
appears to be cured. We went out to our favorite restaurants for our last lunch. They
said that they were serving Panacia that day. Neither Tim or I knew what that
was but the cook assured us that it was very flavorful. I really did not care what I
ate, I could not taste anything anyway. I had a good view of the kitchen and watched
the cook make our lunch. They pored a red sauce into a large pot. Then the
cook stuck a fork into the pot and pulled out a large piece of something. At that
point I suspected that it was a cow intestine. I watched him cut this white rubbery
thing and suddenly realized, oh no, that is our lunch. Juan was also eating lunch,
we knew he spoke some English. So I asked him, what do you call Panacia in
he did not know. I asked, "Is it the same as Menudo", he said,
"yes". Menudo is a soup made with cow intestine. My stomach sank, my
appetite left, and I had a sudden urge to beat feet out of the
restaurants. Out of
respect for our wonderful hosts, we stayed and wondered how we were going to get out of
this one politely. Suddenly a bowl of chopped up cow intestine, you could still see
the cilia, was placed before me. Ahh, I sipped on the soup, which was very tasty.
Mean while Tim had to give a detailed explanation of what I was looking at.
Enough, we had to explain to our hosts, that we did not like Panacia. The cook
looked disappointed but gave Tim some beans because he was still hungry. As for me,
my appetite left when I say the white rubbery thing come out of the pot. I guess it
is time to leave Amecameca.
We have decided to take the bus all the way to Villahermosa,
Tabasco. This will get us close enough to the border so we can ride the rest of the
way. One more bus ride is enough. We do not plan on any more bus rides the
rest of the trip through Central America. Packing up our belongings for a bus trip
is a major chore. We decided to put everything in boxes and have a few carry on
items. First we took a second class bus back to Mexico City, from there we took a
bus to Villahermosa. We were charged an extra 100 pesos ($10.00) for our
bikes. The bus left Mexico City at 6:00 PM and was scheduled to arrive in
Villahermosa. at 5:00 AM. We were happy to see that a police officer joined us for
the ride to Villahermosa. I was feeling fine until we started to drop in elevation.
I could not clear my ears. Neither of my ears would clear, I can not hear
anything, when someone talks to me I feel like I am at the other end of a long tunnel.
I finally went to sleep for an hour or two.
The Zocalo at rush hour.
Close up of mural by Diego Riviera.
The metro at rush hour, a friendly gesture is always welcome.
Tier 1 of the Pyramid of the Moon looking southwest.
Looking down the Avenue of the Dead at the Pyramid of the Moon.
Xochimilco, on the river.
Tree of Life.
North and Central America
3-30-02 to 4-17-03
(July 18 - Aug 22, 2002)
The State of
Guanajuato to Toluca, Mexico
Other essays by Tim
Into the Mist State
of Michoacan, Mexico
Best Place to see Pictures
Thumbnail Page of Michoacan,
Full size Picture
- Guanajuato to
Penjamillo to Patzcuaro, Mexico
Patzcuaro to Cuidad Hidalgo, Michoacan,
Into the Mist Mexican highway 15
Cuidad Hidalgo, Michoacan, to Toluca, Mexico
The Velodrome in Toluca, Mexico
(Oct. 12 - Nov. 8, 2002)
The States of Tabasco and Chiapas,
Villahermosa, Tabasco to Cuauhtemoc Chiapas, Mexico
Best Place to see Pictures
Thumbnail Page of Tabasco and
Chiapas, Mexico Pictures
Full size Picture
- Museum La Venta and the
Olmec Heads Villahermosa, Tabasco, Mexico
Villahermosa, Tabasco to Ocosingo,
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,
Ocosingo to Cuauhtemoc Chiapas, Mexico
(March 15 - April 10, 2003)
Costa Rica #2
Manual Antonio to Monteverde
Cloud Forest, Costa Rica
Tim's Emailed Newsletters
Costa Rica #2 (incomplete)
Best Place to see Pictures
Thumbnail Page of Costa Rica #2 Pictures
Full size Picture
Parque National Manuel Antonio, #2
City of Santa Elena
Santa Elena, Monteverde
Frog Pond (Ranario), Santa
Santa Elena, Cloud
Forest, National Park
Sky Walk, Suspension
Bridge, Canopy Tour
Sky Trek Zip Line,
Tips & Advice
Tools and Spares
Pots and Pans
Preventing Flat Tires
Bike Touring Shorts
Have Learned On The Road
Injustice of Poverty
Much MORE Gear Here!
Cycle Touring Racks
Tents and ground