Inuvik to Ushuaia

Slideshow of Nebaj Women

Treats for Geeks, Geography Nuts, and Bike Tourists going to Mexico

You might wonder what we're doing with all this time off here in Palisade, Colorado. Well we intended to be riding and trying to get into shape, but winter has now set in...

But here's what I've been up to . If you're a computer geek or a geography nut or a bike tourist planning to go to Mexico, you'll probably like it. Otherwise you'll think I'm crazy.

Our new Mexico Route Section has the complete and accurate maps of where we went in Mexico, down to daily detail. Each region in Mexico has an overview map with some narrative about our route (how the road was, what the best sights were, etc.) Then at the bottom of each regional map are links to the daily detail, with a map of the day's ride and an elevation profile, and downloads of the .gps and .kml files.

Geography geeks of the world, unite! Thanks to Google Maps for their incredible free services (and the fact that they turned on imagery for Mexico and Central America a few weeks ago).

Enjoy the new Mexico Route Section. And the Guatemala Route Section is ready too... But we have more to do with that one!

How do you like our new banner?

Our new website banner is a combination of 3 photos taken in Guatemala. Two photos of volcanoes along Lake Atilan Guatemala are merged together displaying three volcanoes along the lake. The other photograph which is superimposed on the volcanoes is a handmade quilt I saw at a market in Chichicastenango. The quilt tells a story of the Mayan's belief of natural forces such as volcanos, and seasons and the culture of the people of this part of the world. Many panels of this quilt illustrated the family and the strong bonds the Guatemalans have to the family and the community and the ancient beliefs of their ancestors.

Our bike touring gear

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Randy's bike and gear
Randy's bike and gear (View on flickr)

Nancy's bike and gear
Nancy's bike and gear (View on flickr)

On private road to Chiquicara
On private road to Chiquicara (View on flickr)
Click on the picture for a larger view

Lots of people ask what bikes we used for the trip, so here they are.

We both used Specialized Stumpjumpers with front shocks, trekking handling bars with extenders, Old Man Mountain racks, Ortlieb panniers, kickstand, wide touring tires from Continental and 36 spoke wheels.

In Peru, Randy switched from panniers to a BOB trailer. See the update and the picture on the right.

We both started out with Brooks saddles but both of us switched to various version of the Terry Liberator Y - we never did get comfortable with the Brooks saddles, despite waiting thousands of miles and the rave recommendations of so many people. Neither one of us use clipless pedals - we just use regular shoes with flat pedals. We always wear a helmet and use a marvellous helmet mounted rear view mirror. We ride with riding shorts for comfort.  read more here... lee mas aquí... »

Goodbye to the old and hello to the new. Or where have Randy and Nancy gone to and will they ever ride again?

Hi friends!

Holiday greetings from the Hobobikers.

You may have noticed that we have not posted many stories on for the last 4 months. In case you have been wondering what we have been up, here is a recap, along with our future plans.

You may have read that at the end of August, Randy and I went home for a two weeks visit with our respected family and to make sure everyone was healthy and doing well. It turns out they were all fine and we where the very sick ones. Whooping cough is a a hideous illness called the "100-day-cough" because it lasts that long (and maybe longer in Randy's case). I started to feel ill in Guatemala a week before coming home and got sicker and sicker while in Colorado. Within two weeks, Randy came down with the same awful cough which was treated with rounds of antibiotics, coughing syrup, and inhalers. Randy even broke a couple of ribs during one of the 1000 coughing fits he has had. We came to the conclusion it would take at least 100 days before we were well enough to travel so we decided to hang out in western Colorado and recuperate.

We bought a used car, bought car insurance, restarted our cell phone contract, got Internet access for the laptop and made arrangement to live in a trailer house normally used as migrant workers housing for workers in the orchards in Palisade, Colorado. We loaded the car up with everything we would need for several months.  read more here... lee mas aquí... »

We are back on the road in Guatemala

We got to Guatemala safe and sound. And took a bus to Antigua. We stayed with new friends, Judy and Gene, in their incredible home for several days until we got started riding again. (Thank you so much Judy and Gene for all the help and the new friendship)

On New Years Eve, we walked around the plaza in Antigua and watched fireworks and listened to a little music. The plaza was beautifully lit with white Christmas lights around the base of all the trees. We felt we were back home. The sounds, the smells, the people, the festive plaza, the incredible climate, yes back home again.

The time we have been in Guatemala, we are getting quality exercise. We climbed a Volcano (Pacaya) where we got so close to flowing lava it almost melted my nylon coat. Incredible to watch lava slough down the lava worms turning the hard rock to molten liquid glowing from the fire from the earth´s core. I was hoping there was no earthquake or eruption while we were so close. It turns out there was a good one several days later. While we were hiking down in the dark, the winds kicked up, trees swayed in the violent wind and the air was thick with ash.

The next day we started out riding with another cyclist, Scot Domergue, who cycled down from Mexico. He met us as planned in Antigua and we will ride together for 3 weeks if he can stand our style of riding. So far we have had a great time and all is going well.

On the first day we only rode 6 miles but we climbed up a few thousand feet.  read more here... lee mas aquí... »

Priming our MSR Whisperlite Internationale with Denatured Ethyl Alcohol

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This is just a note for other bike tourists and people who travel with their MSR Whisperlite stoves. The wonderful thing about the Whisperlite is that it will burn plain old gasoline. The terrible thing about it is that (if you use the gasoline to prime the stove) it makes a mess every time. You're always dealing with ugly black soot on the stove.

Well, we've started using regular denatured ethyl alcohol to prime the stove, and we never have to clean it, and rarely sense any kind of fumes. Ethyl alcohol has been easy to get in Mexico and Central America - you just go to the drugstore and ask for Alcohol Etílico in a high percentage (88 or 90 grados). It's cheap and wonderful. Our stove is more reliable, but most important, I don't get dirty all the time from it. (And we can surrepticiously run it in a ventilated room because it doesn't make any smells.)

Here is a great writeup on all types of fuels and where you can get them around the world.

Daily Life Back On The Road

Nancy at Lake Amatitlan
Nancy at Lake Amatitlan (View on flickr)

We are getting into the groove of riding our bicycles down to the bottom of South America. After 4 months of living in the United States we have giving up that and live the life of Hobobikers. What does this mean?

It means staying in a different place every night. a hotel, a flop house, someone’s house, a backyard, or camping somewhere in a town that someone has claimed is safe. Currently we are staying in hotels, with anywhere from a small twin bed to three various-sized beds. Some have running water all day long and produce warm water through an electrical device attached to the shower head. This is called a suicide shower. Never raise your hand up while washing the armpits and touch the electric device. You will get a shock. Others have water only part of the day because of water shortages in the region.

At the end of the days riding we wash that day’s biking clothes in the sink or shower or perhaps a concrete basin for washing clothes called a pila. We have a stretch clothesline for drying our closes. All the shower floors in Central America are about 8 inches taller then the surrounding floor so when I step out of the shower with wet feet onto the tiled ceramic floors, I always feel like I will slip. I use a red bandana as a rug which I wash in the morning and hang it on the bike to dry during the day.

Dinners are usually some kind of grilled meat or chicken dish with rice and some other side dish. Actually this is also for lunch and also for breakfast.  read more here... lee mas aquí... »

Climbing the Pacaya Volcano

Views from Pacaya Volcano

One of the delightful touristy things you can do in Antigua Guatemala (the beautiful gringo touristy old colonial city just a few minutes from Guatemala City) is you can climb the Pacaya Volcano and see the lava flow there. For $5-$10 you get a bus ride to the trailhead (about 2 hours away by slow bus) and a guided hike up to the lava flow at dusk. What a treat it is! I've never seen a lava flow before, so this was great. We climbed up a steepish trail for perhaps 45 minutes before getting to the cold lava flow we had to cross to where the actual river of lava was flowing. Then we had to slow down considerably and pick our way across the rough black lava. But when we got to the actual lava flow, it was just at dusk, and it glowed terrifically, and it was so much fun to see it squeeze and fill and move around and flow into little lakes.

When I did the exact same thing in 1994 with my young kids, it was a completely different mountain. Then you had to climb up a steep, steep cindercone to get near the crater, where eruptions regularly dropped rocks just a few feet in front of you. A completely different kind of volcano.

You can click on the triangle in the video to view it.  read more here... lee mas aquí... »

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