Hello, and welcome to the next step in my post-military globe-trotting. Many of you followed my first blog (tonyrides.com) as I traveled the United States on my Motorcycle, riding over 18,000 miles and reaching 49 states and three countries.

In this next installment, my friend Jerod and I will be going abroad for an open-ended jaunt. We will start in the Middle-East at the end of February and see where the roads and the winds take us.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Picking up the slack

We want a blog, we want a blog, we want a blog.......

OK, OK, OK......

For the 27 people who are "following" the blog, and the zero people that were interested enough in the last one to comment on it, here goes nothing.

Last you heard from us we were in Santiago, Chile.  From Santiago we headed North, needing to be in La Paz a week later.  Unfortunately, due to time constraints, we had to cut Valparaiso out of our itinerary.  Instead, we hopped a bus to San Pedro de Atacama in the North of Chile, very close to the Bolivian border.  Here we got our first taste of some good high altitude, going on a jeep tour of the deserts and salt flats, culminating at about 4,500 meters.  We really liked the town of San Pedro, but had to cut our visit short in order to get to La Paz.  So, two more bus rides, and we were in La Paz, after passing through Arica, Chile.  At the border, Jerod and I held up the entire bus, as we are of one of the few nationalities that require a visa for Bolivia.  $135 US and a half our later we were back on the bus and heading for La Paz.

Some of you are probably in the dark as to why we were in a hurry to get to La Paz.  Well, we signed up for a two-week mountain climbing expedition and wanted to get to town early to start our acclimatization process, and to give us plenty of time to retrieve some climbing gear that we had sent to us from the States.  So, La Paz is the highest capitol city in the world at about 3,600 meters.  Luckily we were greeted with plenty of coca tea and coca leaves to chew on to combat altitude sickness.  Now the important part.  Never ship anything to South America....EVER.  What a nightmare.  After struggling all week with Bolivian customs, DHL, and a few other entities we finally received our equipment on Friday night around 8:00PM.  Talk about the 11th hour.  Saturday we had our gear check with our climbing guides, and today we did some walking and hiking around La Paz with the other member of our expedition and one of our guides, in order to further acclimate.

So what are we climbing?  We start of easy with Pequeno Alpamayo, coming in at a measly 17,618 feet.  Next, we move up to a slightly larger mountain, Huayna Potosi, weighing in at 19,974 feet, and entering the critical "high altitude mountaineering" realm as a 6,000+ meter peak.  After practicing and acclimatizing on those little mountains we will move on to the second highest mountain in Bolivia, Mt. Illimani, at a staggering 21,201 feet.  We are both a little nervous, but excited as hell also.  They are all pretty easy mountains from a technical standpoint, so the elevation is the biggest difficulty.

Also worth noting, I ate a giant serving of ultra spicy Chicken Vindaloo a few nights ago, earning me a free t-shirt.  I also bought a guitar and accessories.  Bolivia, apparently, is known for guitars, and they are dirt cheap.  For less than $90 I bought a guitar, a case, an electric tuner, extra strings, and picks.  It may not survive the trip home, but at least I can keep my callouses going from my few weeks of practice in Argentina, and worse case scenario I get to keep the tuner, case, etc....

In other news, our trip is getting scary close to the end.  After our trek we will only have about a month left before we plan on being back stateside.  Yikes!  Some potential highlights of the next few months include Macchu Picchu in Peru and Chichen Itza in Mexico, both considered to be among the seven wonders of the modern world.

Anyway, we leave tomorrow for our first two mountains.  We will be back in a week or so, for a few nights, and then back out in the field to finish off the big boy.  Until then......


  1. You guys are amazing! Stay safe and rock on! <3

  2. Phenomenal. Good luck on the big ascent! I want to see a photo of that t-shirt you won too.

  3. Hi Tony, I am going to be in MA september 25-29 hope we can catch up with each other. I'd love to see you and hear more about your trip. Love, Monica

  4. No comment does not = No read! I get them sent RSS directly to my email, so I never even think to comment because it's not an option. I seriously totally forgot I even could. On another note, I tell everyone about your guys trip! It's very impressive and I am extremely jealous! PS...Australia with the US Combined Military Rugby team was RIDICULOUS!!! Speak soon! -CAL

  5. Hi Tony...you two sound very busy. Can't wait to hear about the mountain climbing adventures. Maybe I will have had this baby by the time you read this. Be safe...especially in Mexico when you get there.

  6. Jamcupid is me, Jenni E....sorry about that, I am a first time commenter.

  7. I am living vicariously though both your exploits. Hope you have a great time in the mountains.Glad to know you are having a great time.

  8. It is winter there correct? It's summer/late summer here, so that must mean it is winter there. Did you know this before you went there, and why are you climbing mountains in winter. Sound like you are having a great time. I here there is a great restaurant at the top on Machu Picchu. I love to read these things during my workday.

  9. Good luck -- will be thinking of you guys.

  10. I noticed Jer didn't eat the Spicy chicken, maybe that is the bigger triumph of the trip. I mean come on, you did get a T-Shirt. Also, I am going to get my students hooked back up with it here in a couple weeks, so keep the blogs coming!

  11. Good luck and stay safe! I can't wait to hear all about the climbs :)