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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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START HERE for Touring Bikes and Commuting Bicycles
Custom Touring Bicycles and Bike Upgrade Buyers Guide
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Adios Guanajuato
Monday, July 15, 2002 (Sent From Guanajuato, Mexico)


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First, I know that many of you have been having trouble sending us email.  I sure hate to hear this because email is our only communication now that we are south of the border.  The phone cost about US$1/min to the US and is way out of our budget.   Please keep trying to send us email if you are having trouble.  Try using Contact us if you have not already done so.  Also, I am not sure if anyone received our last email update.  I had very few responses.  Please check the web site in the LETTERS section or   http://www.DownTheRoad.org\Letters\5GaunMex.htm to see if you did.  I am still learning this "drag you computer around the world thing" and need help figuring out what is working and what is not.  Please let me know about any problems you may be experiencing.

After a month in Guanajuato we are ready get back on the road.  It is a funny thing.   When we are on the road, in the country, and camping a lot we really look forward to the next extended stop in the city.  When we get to the city it does not take long before we miss riding among the fields and seeing something new and unexpected every day.  I think that this is the stuff that Rock or Blues songs are often based on.  We stayed in Guanajuato a bit longer than we expected because of unforeseen events.  It is a fun place because it is full of Mexican university students and foreign tourists but I much prefer the ways and customs of the people in the country.  The salt of the earth.   The real Mexico. 

It was either something about Guanajuato or it was just our turn but we spent about half of our time being sick.  You know, the kind of sick that makes you spend a lot of time in the bathroom.  Even with drinking only purified water and following all of the standard rules of selecting and eating food we still got it.  From what I read and understand travelers eventually build up a resistance to the different forms of bacteria and stop getting sick.  It is not that Mexico is particularly unhygienic or dirty.  As a culture I find Mexicans very clean and hygienic.  The problem lies in the fact that there are just different bacteria down here than in the USA.  When Mexicans travel to the USA they have to buy bottled water and still get sick.  The US has different bugs than they are used to.  I also read that when you spend long enough away from your home country that you will get sick when you return until you get used to it again. 

Not only did Cindie and I battle sickness but our laptop caught a virus as well.  The blame is mine.  I had not downloaded the most current virus definitions for my anti-virus software and caught a bug when I opened an email attachment.  The first thing the darn thing did was disable my anti virus software.  I had to run around town looking for a new CD ROM.  It took some doing but I finally found a disk and loaded the new software and killed it. It really took a lot more than that but I do not wish to bore you with the technical details.  The good thing was that I spent several hours in a computer repair shop and now I know most of the Spanish words concerning computers.  I gained some life long friends in that shop and promised that someday I would write to them in Spanish.  I know that the virus I had uses your email program to send fake emails with malicious file attachments.  I hope that I did not send any out but I know that I was online a few minutes before I realized I had it.  I rarely send file attachments with my emails so if you get an email from me with a file attachment do not open it.   Kill it and please let me know about it. 

One of the reasons that we stayed so long in Guanajuato was that We were waiting for mail order packages to arrive from the USA.  My bike had been making this terrible clicking sound every time my left foot came down during my pedal stroke.  I was convinced that it was my bottom bracket and even wrote about it in the last email update.  Besides pulling it apart in a small town plaza (and drawing a crowd of kids) I had not had the time to really look at it.  Once in Guanajuato I could actually pull everything apart.  I started experimenting.  I had to buy a full size adjustable wrench for my bottom bracket tool in order to completely remove the bottom bracket.  I switched bottom brackets with Cindie's bike and we went riding.  To my amazement my bike still made the clicking noise.  This ruled out the bottom bracket.  Next, I switched the left crank arms with Cindie's bike and now Cindie's bike made the noise.  I had a defective crank arm.   How did that happen?  I bought it new and had it installed in a bike shop just a few months ago.   I use 180mm crank arms that are almost never carried in a US bike shop much less in Mexico.  We did the only thing that we knew would work.  We ordered it from Performance Bicycle, Inc  It cost a bunch in international shipping.  WOW!!   Can I warrantee the old one? 

Another piece of broken equipment was our ceramic water filter.  This is totally my fault and falls under the category of STUFF happens.  I was cleaning it and dropped it.  oops!!  The ceramic filter had a large gaping crack.  It was rendered useless.  Where do you find a fancy Swiss made water filter in Mexico?   Actually I bet you could find it in Mexico City.  The largest city in the world of 20 million has a store for everything but we are a good five hour bus ride away.  I hate busses.  This was another thing that had to be ordered.  We got on the famous REI.com web page and got it in a couple days.  This cost a bit more than the crank.   Ouch!!  I promise to be more careful in the future.

Ending on a positive note Guanajuato and the language school was a lot of fun despite our set backs.  Cindie and I feel like we finally have enough base knowledge to pick up more Spanish in conversation while on the road.  I am really understanding people and my vocabulary is finally large enough to get my point across.  Cindie really worked hard at it and easily surpassed me.  I was the guy who got D's in English so I was not surprised that learning Spanish will be slow for me.  Cindie will catch me up.  It is Mexican custom for the man to do most of the talking in restaurants, hotels, and all matters of money.  This is especially true in the small country villages that we frequent.  I am sure that I will learn more as we go.   I hope that when we arrive in Chile, in two more years, that I will be fluent or at least be able to BS with the boys in the cantinas.  Time will tell.

There is a more detailed description of our experience on the web site called "Learning Spanish at Casa Mexicana" if you are interested.

Tim Travis

=====================

From Cindie:

I have mixed feelings about Guanajuato, there are things I really like about it and things I did not like about it.  First of all the city is beautiful, interesting and has a ton of places to explore.  The Spanish class went well but I found myself speaking more English then Spanish outside of class.  Oh well, I met some wonderful people. What I did not like was the buses flying passed me on the narrow streets.

Tim and I went to the city of Leon looking for bike parts, we rode our bikes to the bus station 5 km out of town.  The road out of town did not have any tunnels however, the road back into town did.  The ride through the tunnel was hair raising.   First, I started to walk and then came across a dead puppy, I decided that I better get out of the tunnel before I ended up like the puppy.  I finally get out and settled down and back into another tunnel we go.  In hind sight, I think I will hitch a ride in truck the next time.

I happened to go shopping in San Miguel de Allende one day with four women I met from Spanish class.  On the way back we lost our brakes in the car and bounced around until we stopped.  Luckily no one was hurt, a little shocked but not hurt.   Getting in an automobile accident in Mexico is something of a circus.  You can read about the details on the web in an article called "Cindie's Car Crash: a Mexican Experience"

All is well and I am ready to get on the road again.

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DownTheRoad.org's RoadNews Newsletter Past Newsletters Index

If you would like to be put on my email list just fill out the Email Update Sign Up form.

Newest to Oldest

Suddenly, In The Blink of An Eye - How the gap year tour was interrupted
Aug 2013 (Kalispell, Montana, USA)

Greetings from America's Great Pacific Northwest
June, 2013 (Sent From Prospect, Oregon USA)

11 Years Down The Road: Looking for my second wind
March,
2013 (Sent From , Death Valley California, USA)

A Decade Down the Road: My ten year anniversary reflections
March, 2012 (Sent From Rajasthan, India)

Notes from Bangladesh
January 2012 (Bundi, India)

Earthquake, Robbed, and All Day 18% Grades - Sikkim, India-A place to remember October, 2011 (Sent From Calcutta, India)

Darjeeling, India was Great for Monsoon Season
September 2011 (Sent From Darjeeling, India)

Up The Road to Darjeeling, India With My New Travel Partner
June 2011 (Sent From Darjeeling, India)

The Divorce of Tim and Cindie Travis: Troubling times on the road
April 2011 (Sent From Katmandu, Nepal)

Tangled Up in Blue: How I found myself on the road alone
November 2010 (Sent From Rishikesh, India)

Goodbye Mcleod Ganj, India and The 4–5 year “India and Neighbors” Bicycle Touring Plan
September 2010 (Sent From Mcleod Ganj, India)

Greetings From India
July 2010 (Sent From McLeod Ganj, India)

Our Touring Bike Sponsorship
April 2010  (Sent From Batesville, Indiana, USA)

Two one-way tickets to India and our books are now in Amazon's KINDLE!
January 2010 (Sent From Batesville, Indiana, USA)

Digging Through The Past
November 2009 (Sent From Batesville, Indiana, USA)

Greeting from the East Coat of the USA
August 2009 (Sent From Binghamton, New York, USA)

Cindie's Daily Journal Now on Twitter and Email Interview
June 2009 (Sent From Pueblo, Colorado USA)

NPR Mp3 radio interview, Newspaper coverage, and one dead computer
May 2009 (Sent From Delores, Colorado, USA)

Seven Years DownTheRoad: What has changed and what we have learned.
March 2009 (Sent From Phoenix, AZ, USA )

Back on the road and you are invited to our public appearances.
March 2009 (Sent From Ajo, AZ, USA)

A quickie before I go
Feb 2009 (Sent From Yuma, AZ, USA)

Mp3 interview download, itchy feet, and continued 50% off book sale
 February 2009 (Sent From Yuma, Arizona, USA)

Winter Break in the Arizona Desert
January 2009 (sent from Yuma, Arizona, USA)

Return to America and 50% Off Autographed Books
December 2008

Computer Crash and Selling Books at El Tour De Tucson
November 2008
(sent from Tucson, Arizona, USA)

Hear our latest radio interview (mp3) on KGNU Metro with Roger Wendell
October 2008
(sent from San Jose, California, USA)

Wind, Rain, Cold, Cindie’s Illness, and Forum Trolls
September 2008
(Sent From Victoria, British Colombia, Canada)

The Book is Done and We are Back on the Road in Alaska
July 2008
(Sent from Eastern Alaska/Wester Yukon)

Six Years Down The Road: breaking even and meeting friends.
April 2008

(Sent From Twizel, South Island, New Zealand)

New Zealand: One of the Most Beautiful Places on Earth
February 2007
(Sent From Wanaka, New Zealand)

Let's get started in New Zealand and 50% off our first book
November  2007

(Sent From New Plymouth, New Zealand)

Hello to friends and family of DownTheRoad.org:  Crisis in Cindie's Family

Going to New Zealand!!
August 2007
(Sent From Katherine, The Northern Territory, Australia)

Back in the Outback
July 2006

(Sent From Normanton (home of the big crocodile), Australia)

Five Years DownTheRoad:  a Different kind of endurance
April 2007
(Sent From Port Macquarie, NSW, Australia)

5 min Video Postcard from Tasmania
February 2007

(Sent From Canberra, Australia)

How do we stay married while traveling together 24/7? and Australia Video #1:  Bike Touring Down Under
January 2007

(Sent From Bairnsdale, Victoria, Australia: On the way to the Snowy River National Park)

Downloadable Malaysian Video Postcard From the Road
November 2006
(Sent From Strahn, Tasmania, Australia)

Culture Shock in Australia and Keep Your Ears on the Road
October 2006

(Sent From Mt. Gambier, Australia)

Two 1-Way Tickets to Australia Please and 5 minute Thailand Video Download (37 mb) 2 Thailand Bike Tour Video
 July 2006

(Sent From Parit Buntar, Malaysia)

Laos: Eyes of the World
May 2006
(Sent from the Cameron Highlands, Malaysia)

Four Years DownTheRoad
March 2006
(Sent From Bangkok, Thailand)

Out of China: Slipping Past the Watchful Eye of Censorship.
January 2006

(Sent from Luang Phrabang, Laos)

Into Occupied Territory: Tibet
November 2005
(Sent from Dali, China)

The Many Faces of China: Inner Mongolia and Shanxi, Provinces.
September 2005
(Sent From Kangding, China)

Made in China: Free Birds in a Caged World
 July 2005
(Sent From Beijing, China)

Three Years and Still Going
May 2004
(Sent From Long Sheng, China)

Cambodia: Poverty Does Not Equal Crime.
February 2005
(Sent From Dalat, Vietnam)

Thailand: Landing in a Whole New World.
December 2004
(Sent From Siem Reap, Cambodia)

Crossing Over to the Other Side: Relocating to Asia
November 2004
(Sent From Bangkok, Thailand)

The New Global Bicycle Touring Plan.
 August 2004
(Sent From Mooresville, Indiana, USA)

Northwest Argentina: The Wrong Way In the Right Country
April 2004
(Sent From Bariloche, Argentina)

Bolivia: The Calm After the Storm
January 2004
(Sent From Mendoza, Argentina)

Peru #2:  Been Doing Some Hard Traveling
November 2003
(Sent From Copacabana, Bolivia)

Peru #1 Riding Between The Extremes
September 2003
(Sent From Huanuco, Peru)

Ecuador #2: The Magic of the Andes
August 2003
(Sent From Chiclayo, Peru)

Ecuador #1: Riding on top of the Southern Hemisphere
July 2003
(Sent From Riobamba, Ecuador)

USA: CULTURE SHOCK
June 2003
(Sent From Quito, Ecuador)

Costa Rica #1:  Green Grass and High Tides

Nicaragua: Travels Through a Troubled Land
March 2003
(Sent From Santa Elena - Monteverde, Costa Rica)

Honduras: From the Guatemalan Border to the Nicaraguan Border
February 2003
(Sent From Esteli, Nicaragua)

Antigua, Guatemala to the Sea
January 2003
(Sent From Omoa, Honduras)

Guatemala: From Paradise to Despair
December 2002
(Sent From Antigua Guatemala)

Guatemala:   Riding Through the Highlands
November 2002
Thanksgiving day in the USA
(Sent From Quetzaltenango, Guatemala)

Our Final Weeks in Mexico
November 2002
(Sent From Comitan, Mexico)

Six Months Down the Road
October 2002
(Sent From Amecameca, Mexico)

So Close to Mexico City Yet So Far From Anything
September 2002
(Sent From Amecameca, Mexico)

Toluca
August 2002
(Sent From Toluca, State of Mexico, Mexico)

The Great Secret of Michoacan
August 2002
(Sent From Morelia, Michoacan, Mexico)

Adios Guanajuato
July 2002
(Sent From Guanajuato, Mexico)

Hello Guanajuato
June 2002

(Sent From Guanajuato, Mexico)

Greetings from Mexico
May 2002
(Sent From Cuauhtemoc, Mexico)

Heading into Mexico
May 2002
(Sent from Douglas Arizona)

Enjoying Arizona
April 2002
(Sent from Sierra Vista Arizona.)

Our first week Down the Road
April 2002
(Sent from Tucson Arizona)

Good bye Letter
February 2002
Written while living in our RV

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WB00771_.gif (436 bytes)  See the complete story on how I made the decision, saved up, and finally left on my life long bicycle tour

 

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