Family on Bikes at the equator
Photo courtesy the Vogel family.
At the Equator
The Vogel family at the equator in time for Christmas. Photo courtesy te Vogel family.
Nancy, John, Davy, Daryl Vogel on a two-1/2 year, 20,000-mile bicycle trek from Alaska to the southern tip of South America
by Nancy Vogel
December 23, 2009
Update from the Vogel Family, Sunday, December 21, 2009:
The last time I wrote, we had just completed our frantic race against time. Now we have too much time. What happened to that balance that used to come so easily?
Since we left Alaska 18 months ago, the longest time off the bikes we had taken was three weeks in Honduras. Boy – have we blown that one now! When we arrived in Pimampiro, we figured we would be there three weeks or so – enough time for Davy’s toes to heal.
But somehow, one thing led to another and time passed by… John struggled to overcome the virus that invaded our computers, flash drives, Kindles, and cameras… Davy kept getting sick and we finally figured out he had amoebas which had compromised his immune system… Life was good and we were reluctant to leave.
But finally the day came when we loaded up our bikes and headed out – back on the road again! We were all feeling the effects of so long off the bikes as we inched our way up and over hill after hill after hill. Daily climbs in the Andes are equivalent to full-blown passes in the Rockies, and our bodies were ill-prepared for the demands.
Slowly, we crawled southward with our sights set on the EQUATOR!! It didn’t take long for us to arrive – halfway around the globe!! We had done it! Way back in Alaska we rejoiced when we reached the Arctic Circle. In Mexico we celebrated arriving at the Tropic of Cancer. And now – the equator! Mitad del Mundo! Half of the world! We had pedaled 16,534 km by that time and were feeling on top of the world.
We kept pedaling into the southern hemisphere (are we riding upside down now?) until we arrived into Quito and met up with Steve and Maria – newfound friends. We stayed with them for a few days until an unbelievable opportunity to visit the Galapagos Islands fell in our laps.
While John was making arrangements for his mom to take a tour to the Galapagos, a last-minute cancellation came in – and they offered it to us. We still had to pay for our plane tickets and half the cruise which was way over our meager budget but hey! It’s the Galapagos!
We spent a lovely four days in the islands snorkeling with sea turtles and sea lions, gazing at enormous tortoises, and taking pictures of marine iguanas, blue-footed boobies, and penguins. What a place! We loved our time there and learned more about evolution and natural selection than I ever could have dreamed! I’ve written up some articles about our journey:
And so we come to now. John’s mom will be arriving for a visit in January, so we had to make some choices – push on and leave the bikes somewhere in southern Ecuador to travel with her? Or hang out here in Quito until she comes and then push on? In the end, a teacher at the British School was looking for someone to housesit for her while she basks on the beach in the Yucatan, and we offered.
We’ll spend both Christmas and New Years here in Quito while we anxiously await the arrival of Grandma. The boys are thrilled that she’s coming and can’t wait to see her. Although we’ll do something for Christmas, we will put off our celebration until January when we can have a good, old-fashioned Christmas with Grandma!
I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year. May 2010 be the year you live your dreams!
Nancy, John, Davy, Daryl
www.FamilyonBikes.org - Vogel Family website, blog, photo galleries
Family on Bikes in Ecuador - Pinedale Online! November 9, 2009
Family on Bikes is in Columbia - Pinedale Online! August 15, 2009
Family on Bikes checks in from Costa Rica - Pinedale Online! June 23, 2009
Family on Bikes rides through Mexico - Pinedale Online! January 27, 2009
Checking back in on the Family on Bikes - Pinedale Online! January 1, 2009
Family makes pedaling pit stop in Pinedale - Tiffany Turner, Sublette Examiner, October 16, 2008
Family on 20,000-mile bike trek visits Pinedale - Pinedale Online, October 10, 2008