November 22nd is a beautiful day

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My old man. Wish you were here

It’s been 9 years now since my father has passed away from pancreatic cancer, and a lot has changed since then. 9 years ago I was a wreck, and the next few years after his death was no different. His death started a chain reaction in my life that sent me into a downward spiral. I just lived each day to get to the next. I never lost someone close to me, someone that I loved my entire life . That’s how I tried to deal with his death, by not dealing with it. It didn’t work. In 2010, I started Pedaling for Pennies and that has been the best therapy for me. Pedaling for Pennies has let me ride to honer my father, to learn how to live each day to the fullest, and to raise money for cancer research. My father felt so far away after he passed, and now, he rides with me everyday. When I sit in silence, taking in some of the most spectacular views, he’s there with me. I talk out load as if he sits right to my side, and somehow nature shows me that hes listening. Almost five years after starting Pedaling for Pennies, and November 22 is no longer a day to dwell and be sad. It’s a day that I give thanks for everything he has done for me. That day has changed my life forever. That day is where I woke up to life and now I see the world in different light. His death opened a door in my life that I would have been scared to walk through, if I never would have went through those emotional years. Once again, thank you dad for everything you have done. You still inspire me, even after leaving this world. Missing you always.

9 years ago I lost my father to pancreatic cancer, and his death showed me to live each day like it's your last. Today, I biked the Road of Death with some amazing friends. The Road of Death was once considered the worlds most dangerous road. We started over 15,000 ft in elevation and dropped down 9,000 ft to the Amazon. Miss you old man. Wish you were here.

9 years ago today, I lost my father to pancreatic cancer He was one month away from retiring from work and his death showed me to live each day like it’s your last. Today, I biked the Road of Death with some amazing friends. The Road of Death was once considered the worlds most dangerous road, with 200-300 deaths a year We started over 15,000 ft in elevation and dropped down 9,000 ft to the Amazon. Live each day like it’s your last! Miss you old man. Wish you were here.

 


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Day 451 – A crazy morning

Day 451 /  Puno – Juli, Peru / 55 miles (Total 11,275)

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Downtown Puno, where the traffic is crazy and the streets are on fire.

My last, full days ride in Peru and these past few months here have been a challenge. Peru gave me some pretty hard riding all throughout the country, but was well worth the hard push. Peru didn’t want me to leave without one last good story to tell.

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This was a different way to start the morning

Tom and I were all packed up and waiting on Barbra to make her way down from the hotel. A bakery was just a few feet away and we ventured in for a morning snack. Our eyes were fixated on some donates and for a split second I forgot our bikes were unattended. The bikes were no further then 15 feet away, but that’s all it takes for a good thief. As I was waiting for my change, the spidey senses went off. I noticed a shady man walking down the street and peeked my head around the corner. He looked around fast, then the scumbag dug his dirty hands in my handlebar bag. He didn’t notice me, so I was about a foot away from him when I screamed as loud as I could, HEY!!!!! The thief jumped back, and I stood inches from his face, telling him to get the %$#^ out of my face. He made some excuses and I told him one last time to get out of my sight. He quickly ran off down the street. Old me would have donkey punched him in the back of the head, but lots have changed since then. I have learned over the years that dealing with a problem in a negative, forceful way, only spreads more negativity throughout this world. And that’s something this world doesn’t need. I could have easily taken the smaller man down, but who knows where that would have led. Nothing was stolen and I think he will think twice about stealing from a biker now. Onto my morning ride.

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The locals and police just walked around the filth as if it was just another day in Peru

We biked around the busy city to get some last minute chores done, and finally started to make our way out of the city. Leaving Puno was like a war zone. Over night the government raised the gas prices and the locals were not happy, and showed just how angry they were. Streets were covered with broken glass and burning tires. Streets and intersections were closed down from all the chaos. It took sometime to walk our bikes through all the broken glass and we finally made it past all the protest streets. About 20 minutes later, it was as if it never happened. Our road hugged lake Titicaca and the views were amazing early in the morning. There was no wind holding us back and the sun was shinning hot on us.

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Puno, minus the burning streets, broken glass, and the dirty thief’s.

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Lots of farming between the road and the lake today

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Handcrafted boat. $400 and it’s yours

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Smile, you’re on the Pedaling for Pennies blog

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Lake Titicaca

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First person view of the road

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Rocks stacked up to protect the crops from the winds

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We stopped and took some photos of the animals when….

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this lady came over acting all sweet, then told us we had to pay her for the photos we took. Had to say no on this request

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No one around to charge me for this photo

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This was pretty cool. We noticed rope stretched out for hundreds of feet at a time. Then we noticed this device. This is how they make their rope here. Pretty cool watching them in action.

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4 pieces of thin twine wrapped into one. The final product is on the right hand side. I even saw some rope over an inch in diameter that they made

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Some cool rock formations

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Some kind of shrine in the middle of nowhere

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Barbra, enjoying the day, till the winds picked up

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Right about this time we had some hard headwind to deal with

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Lake Titicaca far off in the distance

The entire day was filled with lake and mountain views all around. Seriously, another perfect day behind the bars. A few hours went by and we were closing in on our destination. Around 2 o’clock the winds turned strong, shifting slightly in our faces now. The last hour had us battling the strong winds and a nice long hill climb into town. We rolled into the town center and found a nice hotel right away. I liked the little town of Juli right away. All the locals were friendly, and the town had a nice feel to it. Another night of getting caught up on the blog and emailing friends from back at home. fell asleep to the winds whipping outside, and had a great night sleep on a comfy bed.

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This pretty much gave me the creeps. Rolling into Juli and these statues welcome you into the town. WHY THE HECK WOULD YOU HAVE THIS? Pretty much the devil welcoming you into town.

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A look at Juli. Not that bad of a town, I actually enjoyed my stay here.

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I took a walk when the sun was setting

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Last photo of the day.


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Day 450 – Terrified

Day 450 / Juliaca – Puno, Peru / 45 miles (Total 11,220)

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I basically slept in a pool of water all night

There was no sleep for me last night. For 12 hours the rain came down hard and halfway through the night my tent couldn’t handle any more water. There was over 2 inches of water built up around my tent, and water was seeping inside. By the time I got up everything was soaking wet. It was still down pouring at 7am, and I was already soaked. I decided to push onto the next town and talked to the others what they thought about riding in the rain. Barbra, Tom, and Mateo all slept under a dry roof and were hesitant to venture out in the rain. It only took a few minutes for them to jump aboard and brave the elements. We all started to pack up and mother nature decided to give us some sunshine right before we left for the road. That felt great!

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Tom showing you how much style we have on the road. He even has matching gloves

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Our great host at the Casa del ciclista

I rode only a few miles and it felt like I hit a wall. I was in no mood to be pedaling today. Lack of sleep and shivering through the night took its toll on me. I wanted to make it to Puno to dry out my gear and get caught up on the blog. I didn’t want to hitch a ride, so I did the funnest possible option. Waiting near a speed bump, I grabbed onto a Semi and went for a ride of my life. Throughout this trip I have grabbed onto slow-moving semis up steep hills, but today was a wide open, straight road. After the speed bump the driver kicked down the gas pedal and I was hitting speeds like never before. Scared, was a good word to use at 45 mph. Terrified, would describe how I felt at 55-60 mph. But…It was just to darn fun to let go. For the next 8 miles my heart was pounding out of my chest and I have never had a smile so big on my face. Up a head was some kind of dead animal on the shoulder and there was no way to avoid it while hanging on. I let go and my fun was over, just for a few minutes though.

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55-60 mph on a straight away

I took a break for a while and found the next speed bump. Rinse and repeat. I held on this time till things got a little to hairy. My wide shoulder vanished and traffic picked up, so I let go while I was still in one piece. Perfect timing though, the views opened up to some incredible sights. There was a long uphill ride to the edge of town that had us all breathing heavy.

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Moments after I let go of the semi, this was waiting for me. Took a nice break here and enjoyed the view

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Puno and lake Titicaca

I waited for everyone on the edge of the big city and had some lunch. After everyone showed up, we decided to call it a day in Puno, except Mateo. He’s on a deadline to meet someone in La Paz, Bolivia, so he ventured on. We made plans to hook up with him in a few days to ride Bolivia together. The three of us found a hotel, a little out of our budget, but its a tourist town and cant expect to much. For $10 we had our own private room with a bathroom, hot shower, fast internet, and one of the most comfortable beds I slept on in a long time. Spent most of the afternoon drying my gear and getting caught up on the blog. Later in the evening Marko and Anja gave us a visit. They grabbed a bus from Juliaca to Puno for their exit stamp out of Peru. They are taking the north route over the lake and there is no immigration office for Peru there, so they need get stamped out here. I should be hooking back up with them in Bolivia in a few days.

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At 12,500 feet above sea level, Lake Titicaca is one of the highest commercially navigable lakes in the world. It’s also the largest lake in South America by volume of water. Lake Titicaca has a maximum length of 118 miles and a maximum width of 50 miles. The average depth of the lake is 351 feet, although some parts of the lake are over 900 feet deep.

No toilet paper in the toilet for over a year now. My girlfriend is going to have to house train me when I get back.

No toilet paper in the toilet for over a year now. My girlfriend might have to house train me when I get back.


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