January 01, 2000: Burbank California
Got up at 4 AM, took a bus the staging area for the tournament
parade. Mostly chaos. Had to strip down to just bike shirt and
and stand around for about 2 hours in 40 degree weather waiting
parade start. They sent us off a few minutes early, and as a
consequence, I don't think we were on national TV in the parade.
started about 5 or 10 minutes before 8AM. Were freezing the whole
The only neat part was when the stealth bomber flew directly
while we were riding the parade route. After the parade we had
at the gear trucks to put on warmer clothes and then were off
on the ride to Dana Point. The route followed a bike trail along
the San Gabriel
river (bed) to SR1, and then down the highway. Got some light
the way. Set up our first camp site, then stood in the chow line.
was great with fresh baked cookies for desert.
January 2, 2000
Monika in the breakfast line, at
a Park in Dana Point California. After our first day on the
Road. Cold in the morning, but the food was good.
Later in the day way road through a military base, and I had
stop and get my photo take with this old tank.
Tank on military base en route to San Diego
Jan 03, 2000
Traffic and road on the way to the Mexican board were both
But they were nothing compared to what we found after crossing
Tijuana. We were both afraid for our lives trying to ride Mex
1 out of Tijuana Mexico to Rosarito. I thought for sure someone
would die that day, and I suspected it might be me! There are
were no paved shoulders,
heavy traffic zooming by, and so much broken glass and other
the sand/dirt and gravel shoulders that we each had two flats
within about 10 miles. There were other hazards also, like big
2 or 3 foot square storm drains with a grate comprised of slats
about 3 or 4 inches
apart oriented parallel to the direction of travel. If you hit
those your bike would be demolished, and you would be seriously
Things were not as tense by the time we reached Rosario. We
a very nice hotel room that night, which partially made up the
stress. The rest of the route past Rosario was not as busy, and
so hair raising as a result.
Food has been great!
January 04, 2000
Below a nice loncheria in the middle of the day's ride in
this was in the middle of nowhere, with nothing else around.
Wish I could stay here all day, but still a lot of miles to
January 05, 2000
There are two riders with "peg-legs" on the trip,
and one of them
was hit by a car today, and was hospitalized.
Some people did not train very much for this trip and a lot
are taking the sag wagon. I had envisioned Baja as being flat,
but it is NOT. The route is quite mountainous. The mountains
are not real high, but we keep going up and down repeatedly.
January 06, 2000
On route to El Rosaario, Baja
We actually hit 20 kilometers of great new pavement today WITH
a shoulder. Heard that 3 people have dropped out already. They
return later. Great food, especially the fresh hand made tortillas.
We eat a lot. Usually have to stand in line for a half hour or
get the food. After dinner we go to bed in our tent at about
7 PM, and sleep until about 6 AM. Then get up and do it again.
Our day starts by packing up our camping equipment and everything
don't need for the days ride. Putting it in the gear truck. Standing
line to get breakfast, then getting on the road and pedaling
for about 6 hours or so. Then we get our stuff out of the gear
truck, put up our
tent, stand in line to take a shower, then stand in line for
dinner, then go to bed and get up and do it again.
There hasn't been much time to sight see. You have to concentrate
on the road while you ride, to avoid getting hurt or killed.
is a quiet moment, you can glace around while you ride, but you
much have to stop to really look at anything.
I think we've seen most of the world's supply of saguaro
is quite a variety of cactus in Baja, and some of the vistas
<h3>Jan 7, 2000 - Catavina (Monika)</h3>
Overnight 2 bikes were stolen, they were chained together but
over the fence. I don't know what the owners are going to do.
$1300 to get a new bike. Breakfast was late, so people didn't
the road until 8 am. The first 40 km were very hilly, after that
road flattened out a bit. Some of the road is in very bad shape,
potholes. They fill them with dry clay and let it harden. The
is beautiful, hill covered with a large variety of cacti. Near
are huge boulders all over with large cacti in between. This is
the longest day yet, we didn't get in until 4pm, we were about
A photo stop near the end of the days ride on Jan 7, in Baja,
pretty tired here. This was an interesting area with a lot of
that reminded me of the baths along Virgin Gorda in the British
except there is no water.
100 people were sagged in this day. We camped in the back of
hotel, an oasis in the middle of nowhere. Wonderful dinner and
bedtime at 7 pm.
Jan 8, 2000 - Catavina Layover
No riding today! Everyone is doing laundry. I am very tired,
especially my hands.
<h3>Jan 9, 2000 - Parador Punta Prieta
This is I think the mid-day checkpoint on the way from Catavina
Parador Punta Prieta (Baja)
Easy ride today. Terrain is flattening out, the road is pretty
many holes and rough pavement. 1 1/2" - 2" rocks on
the surface, in
some spots 3" and 4" rocks embedded in the pavement.
We camped in the middle of nowhere, dinner took a long time to
There are virtually no services available, all the water was
Jan 10, 2000 - Guerrero Negro
A long desolate stretch of Baja road, most of Baja actually
more mountainous than this, but I didn't feel like stopping for
photo's during those stretches.
Pretty cold again in the morning. Tried a new routine. Since
took so long, we stood in line first for breakfast and then packed.
Doesn't matter how we do it, always takes about 1 1/2 hrs. to
Road condition was pretty bad to begin with but improved. Slightly
remote country side, little traffic. I feel pretty good today.
hot shower today and a quick meal inside the restaurant. My butt
is doing well. What more could I ask for.
Jan 11, 2000 - San Ignacio
Some nice pavement (for a change) in Baja, between San Ignacius
and Mulege. Both cities look like oases full of date palms.
Bought a kilo of dates in San Ignacius for about a buck.
Long bike day today, good road mostly, got a little hilly just
We are staying at another La Pinta, inside camping.
Beautiful hotel and pool (way cold). Walked to the town and saw
the mission. Bought some dates and date cake. Ate the whole cake
dinner. The town is covered w date palm trees, beautiful setting.
Jan 12, 2000 - Mulege
It was 36 degrees F. when we got up. We were very cold when we
riding. I needed to stop to put on my warm bike gloves. After
5 km we
were out of the valley, the sun was shining and it was 60 deg
stopped and took off our clothes. The road was hilly with a significant
downhill before Santa Rosalia. There was a truck in front of
a tremendous noise and taking our earned decent away. Found a
bakery in St. Rosalia. The road flattened out and we got into
about 4 pm. Camped at Orchard Vacation Village RV Campground.
a little grass, mostly dirt. Campground is located in river,
know there where rivers in Baja. The hotel where we ate is about
walk. There are lost of very nice houses along the river, many
shells which take an RV. Looks like Americans have poured money
the city. The food is very good at the hotel and for a change
to eat inside. Mulege is a very clean and authentic Mexican town.
Jan 13, 2000 - Mulege Layover
Beautiful day, explored the town, did laundry. My legs are
my butt is a little sore, but my hands are very tired. I can't
fingers very well.
Jan 14, 2000 - Loreto
The Sea for Cortez, near Loreta (These photo's look nice,
is the first time I've seen them full size myself). We haven't
time to enjoy the scenery yet, because we have to keep
moving most of the time. It takes about three days to feel rested
after we stop, so maybe after we are in Santiago Chile for a
I will feel more energetic).
It wasn't too cold at night (40 deg F.). We had a quick breakfast
the hotel and left at our usual time, about 8:15 am. We hardly
and made the ride in 6 hrs. It was a little hilly in the beginning
roller coaster ride the rest of the day. We are staying at another
La Pinta hotel. Weather is getting hot during the day.
Jan 15, 2000 - Ciudad Constitucion
Did some climbing in the morning. Nice switchback, felt really
Road flattened out after checkpoint. Slight headwind and the
seemed to go on forever. I am very tired today, can't wait for
Photo of Antulio (more about him below) cranking his tricycle
up over a pass on the way to Cuidad Constitucion.
Jan 16, 2000 - Las Pocitas
Breakfast was a little late, but plenty of good Mexican food.
I need to eat less, I don't' think I am pedaling that hard.
The road was
flat as a pancake with just a few hills at the end. This was
a short, easy
day which was good because it got really hot (98 deg F.). We
camping on the school campgrounds. Tonight is the annual birthday
for everyone. Someone threw a beer can out of the car window
at me. I
guess some people don't like bikers.
January 17, 2000
Just found our first cyber-cafe entering La Paz Mexico,
our big discovery about Baja is that
Baja is NOT flat
We've pedaled over a thousand miles so far (without taking)
the sag wagon. About 10 more miles and we get a couple of days
Will try to get back in the next few days to fill in the details
a little more, and maybe add some photos. So far we have not
sick or hurt. Just sore muscles and butts.
-Dan & Monika
Jan 17, 2000 - La Paz
We slept under the stars in a little shed and had to get up
the cold again to vacate the school property. The road was hilly
first and then dropped down to the Sea of Cortez. Nice view,
was not very good. We rode through La Paz and stayed at two very
hotels by the marina. We made it! We have biked every mile in
earned a rest day and beds in the hotel. We took a cab to the
Value store in town and got some missing screws so we can put
fenders on the bikes. Sometime it is going to rain. Dan cleaned
bikes and put a new set of chains on.
Jan 19, 2000 - San Juan, Costa Rica
Breakfast was at 5 am and at 7 am when it got light we pedaled
airport. The two planes arrived the day before and we were told
relax and go with the flow. No one knew how our first flight
The lists of who was on plane 1 and plane 2 got jumbled up over
and caused a little confusion. While loading the planes with
gear the crew realized early on that 2 727's are not going to
do the job. Plane 1 finally took off about 10:30 and we on plane
2 about 1 pm. Our plane apparently exceeded the weight limit
slightly so we made a
short stop in Acapulco to refuel. We got to San Juan after dark
killed the first plan which was for us to bike to the hotel 15
By the time we arrived they had organized shuttle buses and drove
the hotel. By the time we finally arrived, stood in line to eat,
in line to get our room, we were tired and went to bed.
Most of the bikes are still in La Paz and Tim was organizing
a 3rd plane. We have another day off tomorrow and will do some
Jan 20, 2000
We're sitting in a cyber-cafe in San Jose Costa Rica, writing
We survived Baja!
One the interesting events there was that early on we passed
legged Mexican man in a 3 wheeled cart that he had made hand-cranking
his way over a pass. Every few days we would see him again. He
very fast, but he must get a real early start, and not take any
to get ahead of us. It turned out he as on his way to La Paz
also. As we neared La Paz, we started seeing him every day and
found out a little
more about him. It turns out his name is Antulio, and does the
from Tijuana to La Paz several times a year. One day recently,
one riders chain came apart, and he stopped and fixed it for
her with his bare hands and a couple of rocks. I hear he used
to be a bike racer and
owned a bicycle shop. He doesn't carry much with him, just a
blanket, and a little food, which I think he gets mostly by donations.
The last few days in Baja, he camped and ate dinner with us.
He was in inspiration to many of us to keep going on our trip
even though things
get tough. Antulio said he was also inspired by the many older
on our trip, and also the younger ones, because he sees most
people on motorcycles and in cars and not enough on bicycles.
On our last day in La Paz, someone took up collection to get
him a gift, and are working on getting him a recumbent hand crank
bicycle which should arrive about May. He said he had dreamed
of owning such a bicycle, but had no idea of how to get one.
On our final morning at the airport he was there to see everyone
on our way to Costa Rica.
Jan 21 2000:
Today we went on an all day bus tour. First we went to the
top of Poas
volcano. It was foggy and rained in the cloud forest and we couldn't
see the crater. Afterwards we went to the Sarapiqui river for
a boat ride
again in the rain. We saw a lot of wild life, a sloth, howler
lots of iguanas in the trees, birds and a crocodile.
Our guide was very
knowledgeable and told us a lot about Costa Rica. Everyone here
entitled to a free university education! During dinner we watched
local dancers and musicians.
Jan 22 San Isidro
Today we started using a regular truck for our gear. We all
got to love the gear trucks but they were left in La Paz to be
shipped to Europe.
The other set of gear trucks will meet us in South Africa. Our
arrived just in time from La Paz.
Today was a really hard day. We had to ride through San Juan
to get out
of the city. I must be getting used to some of the traffic on
because I am not so stressed out about it any more. After that
climb of 80 km started to a pass at over 10000 feet. It started
shortly after the climb and the road had no shoulder and there
quite a bit of traffic. My glasses fogged up and I had to take
Since my mirror is attached to the glassed I lost my view back.
we crossed an open area the wind gusts where very strong and
difficult to stay on the bike.
We endured this for 50 km and decided that this was very unsafe.
able to flag down a cab which took three of us for $70 over the
and down the mountain. The downhill was even more scary than
It was foggy, wet, poor roads, and heavy traffic.
Until this point we had ridden every single mile but we decided
wasn't worth while to bike in these really bad and dangerous
We do want to come back home alive.
We got into camp at 3 pm and only 3 riders had made it over the
After dinner there were still more than 100 bags sitting on the
and I felt very sorry for people who made it to the top but had
there until very late to be picked up.
Some people are getting up at 4 30 am and don't wait for breakfast
are still on the road when it gets dark. Some people get into
camp so late that there is no dinner for them.
It is a very difficult trip. Some people are on a very tight
can't afford the extra money to take cabs or buses to get off
Today was a day that Tim needed to provide some alternate transportation.
Jan 23 San Vito and Panama Border
The morning provided a very pleasant ride up to km 82 where
off to go up to San Vito. This was a climb of 3200 ft. It was
the hills were very steep, as were the down hills. I got so tired
I had to walk many of the steep sections. People who never in
pushed their bike instead of riding, ended up walking this day.
The last two 2km it started raining
but I didn't really care at that point. One guy who I just passed,
slipped in the wet downhill and scraped his legs up pretty badly.
don't have a doctor on this trip, there are quite a few injuries
lots of sick people and we could really use a doctor.
After 7.5 hrs and 6000 ft accum. climb we made it into camp.
completely exhausted. I have never in my life worked so hard
Dinner was at an Italian place and it was good and plentiful.
The next day we took a cab off the mountain (it involved another
climb) and a very steep down hill. I was so tired that I could
the fairly flat 70 km to Panama.
Costa Rica was very tough biking. The rode between San Jose
and San Isidro,
is very bad road, no shoulder, pot holes that could be classified
craters, horrendous traffic and it rains ninety percent of the
the rode climbs over 60 kilometers to pass which is higher than
feet. It was raining when we got there, and as we got higher
were strong wind gusts which threatened to blow you off the road.
we could make only about 8 kilometers and hour and knew we would
make it over the pass at that rate. The support services were
inadequate this day. So we bailed after about 50 kilometers by
a taxi with another rider over the pass down to San Isidro. The
as too risky. This is the first day we did not rider everything,
my number one priority is to make through this trip without getting
injured (or killed). -Monika
The day (started out really nice until the diversion to
San Vito, which was tremendously hard, we made that one, but
the next morning which called for 17 kilometers more to climb
San Vito, and then another 20 kilometers down very steep windy
roads, to get back to the main highway and pedal into panama,
also a bad idea. So we took a taxi (with our bikes) back to the
highway and rode from there. This was a good move also, as it
us two hours putzing around in lines at the most disorganized
border crossing I've ever seen to get into Panama. People who
much longer to wait. After crossing the border we still had
50 kilometers to get where we were going for that day.
I liked Costa Rica, but I wouldn't recommend doing much biking
The border crossing took several hours and we needed to buy
a stamp, stand in a line to leave Costa Rica. In Panama we needed
to buy another
stamp for the passport, stand in a line to get a customs form
out (very slowly) and stand in another line to get the little
in the passport. They also decided to take a lunch hour so people
sat around waiting for a long time. The third world is truly
The road immediately improved when we entered Panama but still
shoulder and lots of traffic. We stayed in a stadium in David
and the meals were at a beautiful hotel nearly.
JANUARY 24 2000, PANAMA
The Highway in panama after the Costa Rican border changed
and was in fair condition (still no shoulder for most of it).
Riding was not to bad, up a gradual incline, but hot jungle climate,
keeping us drenched in sweat. We are getting used to the system
down here. You have to be very alert and watch traffic both in
behind when you ride. Not just bicycling, but driving also. It
concentration than driving in the USA where the roads are good
are more orderly. Here the road is barely two lanes wide, and
any time we
have a shoulder it is a real treat! We just keep on the edge
of the pavement
and hold a steady course. The drivers adjust their speed to pass
(some times very close). You have to trust that they will give
but be vigilant. The traffic is generally light enough so everyone
around. Tourists are the worst drivers in these conditions, fortunately
haven't seen many of them since we left Baja. There were plenty
driving big land zeppelins pulling cars and boats behind them.
The biggest thing to watch for here is someone passing in the
lane which means they are in your lane, coming head on at you!
see this too much.
The gear pile unloaded from the truck in David Panama,
We miss the gear truck with the individual lockers, we will get
in South Africa. This is much more work.
Monika sitting on the curb with Donna, posing for the camera.
We camped at the lions club stadium in David Panama. The Lion's
club set up a kiosk of free beer with a cute hostess to fill the
We walked about 600 meters up the road to the Grand National
dinner, which was very nice.
Panama east along the Pan-American highway from David. Imagine
in a wet sauna while viewing this, in order to get the proper
the climate (and this is the dry season/winter)
Panama is much flatter than Costa Rica. We enjoyed a couple
coaster rides. They would have been easy except for a really
head wind which made this another hard ride. The wind makes the
temperature and humidity tolerable. We even got a decent shoulder
quite a while and were able to ride on a newly paved road which
open for traffic yet. The highway patrol is driving up and down
road creating an illusion of safety. They must think we are all
riding on these roads. We find that the truck drivers in general
very careful and try to move over if possible. Frequently two
are passing at the same place and there is really no room for
Quite a few people have horror stories to tell about close encounters
and having to get off the road.
My butt is getting rather sore, my lips have blisters, and my
numbs. Other than that I am feeling pretty good. I think I am
stronger but every long day without a rest and am getting just
60 or more people decided to bag the biking and went already
City. I really want to get into shape because there is a lot
difficult biking ahead.
We are becoming more pragmatic about biking. We take other forms
transportation when we are too tired to push on. We don't have
set on biking 20,000 miles but we do want to bike around the
We took the sag wagon into Panama City because it was a very
(150 km) and the last 40 km where very bad road and dangerous.
crossed the Panama Canal bridge (which was apparently closed
and had a beautiful view of the area.
We are staying at a very nice hotel in the middle of town and
wonderful view from the restaurant on the 7th floor.
We had a meeting with Tim last night and some people are very
don't think much will change about the way the trip is organized.
you don't like how things are going your only choice is to leave.
sorry that so many people are discouraged (we have only done
a month). There are a lot of neat and positive things about this
and I think its important to concentrate on that. I guess adventures
just that, unpredictable, difficult, and not always fun.
Well tomorrow we'll try to get everyone and everything into
airplane. That's another story.
Waiting for the Sag bus to leave for Panama City.
We boarded this after going 75 kilometers of a 150 kilometer
Panama City. Yesterday was 160 kilometers which we rode. We just
to get to Panama City earlier, so we would have a chance to do
the same day and not be too worn out. The later part of the ride
heavy traffic which we would like to avoid, oh and I forgot to
a stiff head wind and some climbing.
Yesterday (Jan 26) had strong headwind the last 40K also, otherwise
would have been easy. We are getting some help from the Panamanian
highway patrol with cars shielding traffic in some particularly
Panama City: (Jan 28 2000)
Picture I took this morning after breakfast on the top of our
hotel in Panama City:
Tomorrow we are supposed to ride at 0630 when if first gets light
the airport (over a new highway which the police said was closed
We lined up a 4-door pickup taxi cab, just in case there is no
or the route changes. Its hard enough crossing the street in
let alone riding a bike. When we get to the airport we supposedly
have a L1011
charter waiting to take us to Santiago Chile. If we can get there
and get the
bikes back soon enough before dark we are supposed to ride to
our hotel in
Santiago. It didn't work that way from La Paz, because the whole
took too long. If we are there after dark, they will have to
buses and trucks to get us to the hotel. The travel days for
as much effort as the biking days. The Central America leg of
was very difficult. It should be much easier in Chile. One of
is from Chile, and he says it will be a "piece of cake".
No one is complaining about the food. It is usually plentiful
are always lines and sometimes it takes an hour to get your
well, it's all part of the fun.
Panama City Jan 29 2000 12:28
Still here. Got up at 5 AM, loaded bags on the gear truck,
stood in breakfast line about 1/2 hour, waiting to eat so we
could pedal the 22K to the airport at dawn (0630), then got the
word plane was delayed and we would leave for the airport at
Went downstairs in the hotel at 0830 to stow our carry-on
preparation for leaving at 0900, and got the word the plane was
still in Florida and we would be leaving about 1200. Went back
upstairs to watch a movie on HBO.
Just about to go downstairs at 1115 to check on progress,
room-mate returned with news that they got the part for the plane
which was still in Florida, we will have dinner here at 1600-1700
and leave for the airport at 1800 (the last chance to pedal there
in daylight). The plane is to leave at 2300 and get to Santiago
at 0600 tomorrow. (maybe). Went out to lunch, and to post this
update. It will still remain to be seen if we get out of here
today, or spend the night at the airport. The adventure continues.
P.S. The ride to the airport: Went downstairs an hour before
we were supposed to leave and found most everyone already on
the street in front of the hotel with their bikes. Had to scramble
to get our bikes. Waiting for the police escort to the airport.
The police were going to escort us along the toll highway to
the airport (which normally does not allow bike traffic).
We finally left for the airport about 1715 to ride on the new toll
road with a police escort. This was about the last minute we could
leave to get there before dark. There were two toll booths along
the route that we were supposed to pass free (being on bicycles).
On the second one, the police car lead the way around
the far right lane, and a bunch of us started streaming through
the lane next to it which was closed (with orange traffic cones).
Just as I was getting there I guy jumped out and tryed to block
the lane, with another guy with a machine gun (pointed up in
the air) next to him. He then saw the police car and stepped
out of the way. Another mile or two down the road however, another
police van (I think from the toll booth) stopped our escort,
and a woman got out and I think counted heads as we started moving
again. My guess is they inteded to extract the toll from someone.
It was a rather nice ride for about an hour.