nancy's blog

Banking in Honduras

People often ask us how we get money for our daily travels. For the last year and one half we have been able to get money from an ATM using a debit card. While there is not one in every town through out Central America we have been able to plan ahead and get enough money for a week or two or more of travel. Sometimes I feel awkward because I can just go into one of the ATM booths, bypassing the long lines waiting to go into the bank. I just go into one of the private booths, slip my plastic card into a machine and get a couple hundred dollars worth if the local currency.

This is how we have been able get our money until we reached. Gracias, Honduras. We miscalculated our available Lempiras, the Honduran currency, partly due to a hotel clerk in Copan Ruinas going through our bags as we explored the area and removing a few things from our bag including our stashed reserve. We we did not notice the cash being gone until we got low on money. So of course we go looking for an ATM which turned out to be non-existent in the town of Gracias. I went to all three banks to see if I could use my debit card as a Visa and with draw money. It turned out I could at one bank but the system was down and I needed to come back two hours later. I was curious to see I could use my debit card at another bank and since I had a couple of hours to wait anyway I gave it a shot.

What I found at the other bank which is true of all the banks is there is always one or two uniformed guards standing at the entrance with guns that look like sawed-off shotguns.  read more here... lee mas aquí... »

La Tigra National Park Cloud Forest

light flower on white background
light flower on white background (View on flickr)

Randy riding down from Tigra National Park
Randy riding down from Tigra National Park (View on flickr)

In Central America there is still some remaining cloud forest. In Honduras we had a chance to visit Parque Nacional ¨La Tigra¨ for a couple of days. We took a 3 hour hike up into the high mountains. We walked along the flower lined path up further into the heavens and into the misty rain forest. The thickness of the clouds increased with each meter we climbed. The visibility dropped down to nearly nothing and the silence of the jungle like mountain forest became louder. Up at 1800 meters there are pine trees, flowering hard wood trees, mosses engulf everything. The parasitic bromeliads grow in the branches and grow with vengeance. We climbed to the 100 meter waterfall before calling it quits. We could have climbed another 6 hours but that day was suppose to be a rest day. It was wonderful having the whole rainforest to ourselves, we did not see another person hiking the old mining trails of ¨La Tigra National Park¨.

What was amazing is that we where only 15 Kilometers from Tugucigalpa, the capital of Honduras. It was just over the ridge another couple of thousand meters higher and then down a couple thousand more.  read more here... lee mas aquí... »

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... »

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... »

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 hobobiker.com 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... »

Our bike touring gear

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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... »

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.

Move to Palisade, Colorado

We are staying in Colorado until the beginning of 2008, at which time we will continue our trip to the bottom of South America. Why, you ask, well mostly to get healthy and get rid of the long lasting affects if whooping cough. One way to do this is to exercise daily which we believe we will be able to do here even in the winter. So we will take this opportunity and explore the western part of Colorado.

We have decided to relocate for two months to Palisade, Colorado where Randy's parents live. We will hang out with them and help out as we can. Randy will get some work doing website design and I will continue with my new profession. Painting. Not the wall type, but the type you do on paper which is called art. Palisade is such a beautiful place with wine vineyard and orchards through out the valley and surrounded by towering mesa called the Bookcliffs, the Colorado National Monument and the grandest of the grandest mesa called Grand Mesa. The sun in this part of the world is crisp with a golden rays brightly eliminating the landscape. Can you tell I am excited?

We are staying in migrant housing (normally used by Mexican workers here at Talbott's orchards) because they have all left for the season and there is lots of room for a couple of hobobikers. We have two roommates, Ryota who speaks Japanese and Artemio who speaks only Spanish. Our view out of the bunk house bedroom is looking at the sun rise of the towering Grand Mesa and the sunsets illuminating them and the orchards that all around our quarters.  read more here... lee mas aquí... »

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