Total Kilometers Cycled: 84,944

Current Location: Paysandu, Uruguay

On the Road: 4 years, 4 months, 17 days

A look back at what we’ve been up to since the last update way back in September.

4 Number of border crossings.  Paraguay to Brazil, Brazil to Argentina, Argentina back to Brazil, and finally Brazil to Uruguay.  Which we technically crossed illegally.  Well, we haven’t officially departed brazil because when we turned up at the border we discovered there was no immigration post. Yep, you guessed it, the magic stamp was being given some 100 kilometers back.  What’s up with Brazil and borders?  This is our second such experience.  Thankfully, the Uruguayans stamped us right in without fussing about exit stamps from Brazil.  Saved us backtracking, but probably means we’ll be blacklisted from Brazil.  All I can say is that fatigue inhibits good decision making.

Lovely early morning riding in Paraguay.
Lovely early morning riding in Paraguay.

3 Number of new electronic devices purchased.   One new computer and two new MP4’s. While lugging around two computers on the back of a bike may sound a little extravagant, it sure does cut down on the arguments.    No more, ‘Are you almost finished?  What can you possibly be doing on that computer all this time.  You know I also want to check my e-mails.’  The extra weight is well worth the peace.

11 Hours spent visiting some of the world’s most spectacular waterfalls.  Iguazu, of course.

Beautiful Iguazu Falls- a view from the Brazil side.
Beautiful Iguazu Falls- a view from the Brazil side.

7 Number of e-books read.  Now you see why we needed a second computer.

73 Hours spent listening to podcasts while pedaling.  And there you have it, the reason for the new MP4’s (although I really wanted an I-pod, but you know what my frugal French husband thought of that).

22 Number of days spent waiting in Asuncion for shiny new passports from the French authorities.  Mine was expiring and Eric’s was chock full of stamps.  Used to be you could apply in one country and pick up your new passport in another country down the road.  No more.  ‘Heightened security,’ they say.   More like heightened hassle.


4.5 Number of liters of ice cream devoured.  The best being a liter we shared with new friends in Asuncion.  There’s just something about everybody taking up spoons and digging into a liter of creamy goodness that seems so convivial.


1 Number of museums visited.  Just one, but it was excellent.  The Mennonite museum in Filadelfia, Paraguay.  We learned all about how this hardy folk carved out a colony in the inhospitable Chaco.

1,545 Number of kilometers cycled since last update.  Some crazy hills near Iguazu, but otherwise gentle rolling farmland.

Steep hills ahead.
Steep hills ahead.

36 Number of mandarin oranges received from one very generous Uruguayan farmer.

33 Number of times we have eaten pasta.  Spaghetti or macaroni is about the only choice we have to make around dinner time.

2 Number of cyclists met.   Incredibly, the last time we bumped into other touring cyclists on the road was way back in Colombia.  Can you believe it?  Not a single cyclist had crossed our path in more than six months.

First cyclists seen in months.
First cyclists seen in months.

6 Average number of Chipas (delicious cheese bread) eaten per day.

Chipas--a tasty, filling snack for cyclists.

18 Number of nights spent camping.  All of them free.  We continue to be amazed at the sense of hospitality in South America.  It’s a rare occurrence that somebody turns us down we when request to camp on their land.  Ranches, gas stations, churches, community centers, police stations, schools…people everywhere have welcomed us with a smile.


29,279 Number of kilometers we have pedaled since leaving the United States in December 2009.


11 Number of rainy riding days.  Not too bad, I suppose.  The problem is that we’ve left the tropics and riding in the rain leaves us sneezing and hacking away for days. Yes, I grew up in arctic Montana, but that doesn’t equate with a fondness for negative temperatures.  Any suggestions for dealing with the wind chill in Patagonia?


Bicycle Touring by Numbers
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6 thoughts on “Bicycle Touring by Numbers

  • October 23, 2010 at 10:46 PM

    We were just starting to wonder what was up with the two of you and then this update. We’re glad you didn’t get caught in one of those fires in Bolivia. We are envious of all the ice cream you’re enjoying, afraid it’s not possible for us cubicle workers to indulge like you do.

    Peter and Marla

  • October 25, 2010 at 7:13 PM

    As is usual, it is a joy to follow your travels and travails. The photo titled “Girl in Market” (or something like that), is a very nice photo … congrats.

    I have returned from my summer sojourn and have settled in to Tucson … great weather and even better rides. Not to make you feel anger towards me, but I have to say sleeping in the same bed, night after night, beats the wholly hell out of sleeping on the ground (night after night).

    Best wishes always,

  • October 29, 2010 at 8:25 PM

    Hope you two are ok, enjoying Uruguay. I have been following you for a while. I truly envy you. When does this nomad life comes to an end? Just curious.

  • October 29, 2010 at 8:47 PM

    Dear Amaya, thanks for your E-Mails and the new “outfit” of your page. Strange to read the text in German! Incredible that you are more than 4 years on the road.
    All the best and thinking of you
    Susanne (former learner at Merck)

  • October 30, 2010 at 9:56 AM

    I am respect that you are doing and reading your e- mails. Keep going, earth is yours.
    and your telling us what we can do ourself.
    Thanks for everything.
    Zeki GOK Antalya TURKIYE

  • October 30, 2010 at 12:51 PM

    Thanks everybody for keeping in touch
    @Randy: We envy you in that comfy bed night after night after night. Really. Laying your head to rest in a new place is one of the most wearing things about bicycle touring. Your comments always appreciated! Looking forward to seeing you again in Arizona. Your guest room was rather nice as I recall. Next time hope we’ll have time (and the requisite energy) to check out the pool.


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