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    Monday, July 27, 2009

    Blog from Iquique, Chile
    July 27, 2009

    The newborn puppies of my host Roberto. Too Cute!

    I made it to the Pacific Ocean and am fired up! The crack in the frame has indeed grown worse from 2-weeks of pedaling in Bolivia and not a titanium welder in sight so far. Looking like the frame piece will go back to USA and I'll take some time to do some skiing and writing while repairs are done.

    I landed into the arms of a super warm and open Corona family. All in all there are 11 of us under one cozy roof and I feel like part of the family. My host Roberto has styled me out with a portable office, place to stay and so much caring hospitality. He's a stellar photographer and visionary I'm sure you'll enjoy meeting in the near future. The Chileans are known for their tight family unit and I can certainly feel it here--and it's lovely.

    My Chilean brother Roberto and I in his studio workin' up some beautifully evil plans :)

    Off to Atacama for some adventures and relaxing later in the week followed by a search for snow in the Andes--been way too long without skiing and the broken bike frame is permission to ski, baby!

    Over n out for now!


    Friday, July 24, 2009

    Blog from Potosi, Bolvia
    July 24, 2009

    Greetings from 13,420 Feet!

    A quick post here from Potosi where the wind has been howling and temperatures pretty darn chilly. I gave it my all to connect w/ the indigenous folks in the countryside including bringing a kilo of coca, learning Quechua & the traditions, and sharing tons of great Bolivian music upon arrival in the villages w/ my Ipod sound system. But I'm sad to say I simply could not crack the fear and prejudice that is rampant of white faces on a long tandem bike.

    My Quechua language class in Sucre with Bruno

    Learning to chew Coca and how to invite the locals in the villages

    To make a long story short I was gutted when I was told, after being as consdierate and kind as I could at my first night's village stay, that I was there to "steal their blood" of the people, and they feared I would "open their chests and steal their hearts". No joke, this was my wakup call yesterday morning.

    Yesterday was a tearful, frustrating day that started with some tough interactions with the elderly folks, then led to insane headwinds and brutal solo climbs (5 people the night before wanted to ride the next day and zero showed up...sorta bumed me out more...). While eating on the the side of the road a truck came by and offered to take me to Potosi with a smile. It was perfect timing...I was done.

    I was hoping to have a start fresh in a new region and do some riding in the stunning area of Uyuni but there have been unseasonal wind storms raking havoc for days and the report is for at least 4 more. So, all day I've been I spend 4 days in freezing cold Potosi or dusty n cold Uyuni or do I hop a few buses to rock some warm waves in Iquique, Chile where the weather is perfect, waves divine and several lovely souls eager to host me and show me some good, nurturing hospitality...hummmmm. A few years back when my ego was a bit stronger I might have waited it out so as not to seem like a whimp in the eys of whatever folks that might be following my adventures. But right now the waves, warm weather and friendly people are callin' like never before. I'll be in the water as soon as Sunday night and am stoked about it.

    That's the skinny...totally stoked on the majority of my expereinces in Bolivia--just the one crusher of not really being able to ride, connect, understand and be understood by the Quechua people of this region. But I'll be back...they ain't goin' anywhere! On the positive side, my new partner Bruno has located our first pilot community to launch "Operation Agua" to bring fresh water to the first of many villages who lack clean water. More to come on this, but I can say happily "mission accomplished" here in Bolivia--great new friends, amazing adventures, lovely music and so much more. OFF TO CHILE!!!

    Big love!


    Tuesday, July 21, 2009

    Blog from Sucre, Bolivia

    July 20, 2009

    More photos at:

    Big Love from lovely Sucre, Bolivia!

    Bolivia is rocking my world in every way. My three days in Camiri were magical with live music, traditional dance and a huge festival going on to sample food, people and tons of smiles. Mauro was my first rider in Bolivia and he and I adventured both in Camiri and out of the city to my first stop in Ipati. We rolled the cameras into Ipati and the magic unfolded by meeting a cool cat Oscar who invited us to stay the night, eat and share a slice of life in the Bolivian Chaco with he and his family. My adventures in Bolivia were off to a great start.

    Festivals = Treats = Happy Binks!

    My Bolivian Brother Mauro with his 2 pets--Cat and Rat

    Mauro and I out on a sunset ride in Camiri

    Our host Oliver and his family in Ipati--unforgettable home stay!

    Mauro headed back the next day and I began riding the rugged dirt roads heading for the highlands. The climbs and roads were brutal but I was having a blast. But at my lunch stop I realized that the small crack in my bike frame I discovered back in Camiri was getting worse from the off-road riding. I checked my map and decided to do a wild hitching mission to some roads in better condition. My map turned out to be wrong and the roads were not much better up in Padilla but I rode onwards with low tire pressure looking for adventure.

    My first broken frame--still rollin...

    I could not find any guest riders going my way on the challenging head-wind infested rocky road to Tomina but I ended up meeting a handful of friendly locals when I arrived who invited me to stay with their family. The experiences were unforgettably rich, living and bonding with some truly special souls beating to a drum so pleasantly different than mine. My two planned riders the next day had to cancel in the morning so I hit the road solo for another day of tough riding, getting painful rejections from a few very worthy riders who, for some reason, chose walking or taking a bus than riding—perhaps it has something to do with the insane climbs and butt-crushing bumpy roads?

    By the time I was just outside the town of Zudenez my body was totally exhausted after climbing over 3,000 vertical feet on sandy roads into a headwind—oh, without any suspension since it’s been out since Argentina and parts on the way to Chile. Again I struck out with riders all day and my physical and mental state was not so hot. I met a truck driver Jose who offered to take me up to Tarabuco where proper asphalt would start and to give my body and bike a much needed break. I was battling a cold to boot, so the rest would do me good.

    I asked at least a dozen people to come riding in Tarabuco but again had to hit the road solo for a 65km ride to Sucre. Luckily the 14 hours of sleep did me good and I was feeling strong for another tough day of climbing the endless hills of Bolivia—and now I was pedaling up at about 10,000+ feet so the air was thin. Luckily the headwind mellowed out and the pavement and stunning views were just what the doctor ordered to get my spirits back again—not to mention the thought of getting a proper meal, shower and checking some music and nightlight that weekend (always a good motivator for me)

    After six of the most challenging days of touring to date Sucre was a site for sore eyes. After climbing again well over 3,000 feet over the day I descended from the dry, brown and mostly featureless countryside into an oasis that blew me away. Sucre is called the “white city” for its lovely white colonial architecture and it’s a true gem. I felt at home from the first moment I arrived—just the right size, not too big and not too small. I was eager to rest up my sore legs and explore what Bolivia’s capital had to offer.

    I could write forever on the magical experiences I’ve had since landing in Sucre but I’ll keep this blog short and encourage you to read the newsletter when it comes out. The summary goes like this…

    Met the owner of Bibliocafe Renato and his sister Marcia who LOVED the Peace Pedalers project and invited me to film a local rock concert the next day and styled me with yummy food and cold beers. Next day I rode with some cool indigenous folks on the way to search for traditional music and ran into Renato and his family who took me to a private concert that was just starting the moment I arrived by Los Masis, one of Bolivia’s top traditional music groups.

    From there I met one of the band members Roberto, who became like a brother at first site. From there I met Sonja, a cool Czech volunteer English teacher who offered to be my assistant at the rock concert later that night. Then a cool cat Bruno I met way back in Muyupampa joins Sonja and I at the concert location where Renato styles our team out with lovely food and some of South America’s finest beers. Nice!

    The concert rocked until 2AM and Bruno and I began to talk about starting a charity project to bring water to small villages in the campo. Roberto and Rene then show up, members of the Los Masis band, and after the concert we kept the party rockin heading out to enjoy Sucre’s nightlife until 5AM with great new friends from around the world. Life is good!

    Yesterday was another magical day where I ended up riding with Roberto up to a small barrio to meet an musician Miguel at his family’s salt stall. This turned out to be a private concert by Miguel, Roberto and an old drunk yet talented guy who grabbed the guitar and ripped out numerous stellar songs that Roberto just happened to know as well. Roberto sings like no other and has performed worldwide so I’m sure the hi-def video will be stellar. Trying to get a utube video on this for ya…classic! From there we went back to Los Masis cultural center where we discovered food, culture, history and a personal interview with one of the founders Roberto, followed by another private concert by Miguel and his sister playing traditional pan flutes of Bolivia—unforgettable.

    A private concert by Miguel and his sister

    As if it could not get any better, today we were invited to film and experience some of Sucre’s best food and top chefs at Restaurant El Huerto. They had a full spread set up and showed us and the world via video how to make two yummy traditional meals with many lovely touches and we ate, drank and celebrated just before Rene put on a private show of his skills playing the “kena” flute that blew us all away.

    I’m now just ready to go meet with Bruno and Roberto to talk about our charity project, now called “Aqua por Vida” or Water for Life. We hope to get the ball rolling on our first pilot project at a small village near where Bruno and I met that is in dire need of water. Stay tuned—very excited.

    My first kilo of coca--I have a new strategy to bond with the locals on the way to Potosi

    The two founders of "Operation Agua" in our office makin' plans--stay tuned!!

    I’ll be heading out on a very tough 3-day ride Wednesday to Potosi, the world’s highest city at 13,420 feet, with a new strategy to find riders and connect with the local people. I’ll be bringing coca leaves as a gift to the elders and have a new sound system for the bike to crank Bolivian music—that should warm up the locals for my next journey! I’ve got 2 riders lined up between now and then and many more cool experiences to be had. Super excited about how Bolivia is shaping out! From Potosi I’ll make my way to Uyuni to experience the stellar Salar before making my way to Atacama to relax at Atacama Adventure Wellness & Ecolodge where much needed rest and massages await!

    Come to Bolivia! You’ll love it!

    Friday, July 10, 2009

    Blog from Bolivia
    July 10, 2009

    My last day of riding in the Chaco, Paraguay--Magical

    I just took the most dusty and bumpy bus ride I’ve had since back in Africa! I’m covered in dust as I write from the bus, looking out on the grey skies. I’m in Bolivia and feeling a bit low in the energy department but still pretty excited. Not as excited as I would be if my partner in crime Cristina was still with me, to be honest. We spent 18 days together adventuring Argentina and Paraguay together we grew quite close and used to being together. She was a great teammate, travel companion and now one of my best friends on the planet. Needless to say, yesterday was a teary one as she hopped a bus back to her backpack in Argentina and will be returning to Brazil soon after. I’m still recovering as I’m sure she is as well.


    Golfing with Friendly German-Speaking Mennonites in Chaco Desert of Paraguay--Priceless

    4 Flats in one sittin'. Classic. A grand adventure in the Chaco

    And the people we met were just stunning...see the photo album for more!

    Paraguay was magical. I’ll be writing a newsletter shortly so stay on the newsletter list for a full journal as you’ll love the stories. From golfing and staying with Mennonites in the dry Chaco Desert, to adventures with two indigenous families way off the beaten path, it was unforgettable. A few pics are below and a rough cut of the photos can be found at

    Here in Camiri, Bolivia I really lucked out. Although I lost my partner in crime Cristina I am blessed with a big festival that is here in town with live music, happy people and good times. Going to find some cool music and art for the show over the next few days and begin my ride into the mountains soon after.

    If you are not on the newsletter list sign up. The next one will be a winner.



    Thursday, July 02, 2009

    Blog from Asunción, Paraguay
    July 2, 2009

    The rodeo clown at the San Juan festival in San Juan...stellar!

    So we are about 24 hours from departing on an expedition into the Chaco region of Paraguay! We are being hosted at an amazing crib in Asunción by a cool cat Ruben and life is grand. I just posted a newsletter for Argentina if you wanna check that out hit this link here. He're the update....

    Giving a lift to the local tailor in Encarnacion

    Cristina ended up buying a cheap bike in Encarnacion for about 50 bucks which was totally rebuilt by the super cool bike shop owner Batlome. We hit the road during the tail end of a cold southern storm that soon cleared in San Ignacio to tail winds and blue skies.

    Cristina's bike all ready for the road :)

    We had a magical adventure to San Juan where a huge festival was going on and we picked up a rider Christian who guided us into the wild festivities. From there we met Ronald who decided to join us the next day to Florida and offered to host us both at his house! Bonus!

    Cristian led us to the San Juan festival--cool cat!

    Live music in every direction...there is serious talent in Paraguay!

    On the road with Ronald and Cristina

    Ronald was an epic guest with lots of positive messages on the rolling interview to Florida. We found a sweet campsite there and pedaled our way towards Asuncion. We got word from a Couchsurfer Ruben he'd be at Lake San Bernardino so we made our way to the lake. The magic continues as we get invited to stay for free 2-nights with the gracious hosts Osvaldo and Tony at the historic Hotel del Lago founded back in 1888. Epic! Osvaldo is the king of culture and took us to check out artists of ceramics and a wild indiginous festival.

    Lakeside in San Bernardino

    The costumes n characters at the festival in Los Altos

    From there we rode to Asuncion to stay here with Ruben where we've been treated like kings cooking, eating, jamming to music from all sorts of artists coming and going and doing final prep for the Chaco to Bolivia mission. Cristina is joining me in the Chaco and will finally head back to Argentina and on her own adventures next week. It's been nice having a partner in crime with her own bike for company, massages (she's really good...), help with filming/admin, and she's having just as much fun.

    Off tomorow pedalin' northwest! Over n out!