Monday, April 15, 2013

Virtual Book Tour & #Giveaway: Changing Gears: A Family Odyssey to the End of the World by Nancy Sathre-Vogel

Changing Gears:
A Family Odyssey to the End of the World
by Nancy Sathre-Vogel

Steel or aluminum bike frame for touring?

One of the current debates about touring bikes is whether an aluminum or steel bike frame is a better choice. In the end, it comes down to personal choice. Aluminum is more rigid, which some people prefer. Steel flexes, which leads to a more comfortable ride for many.
There is, however, another consideration that needs to be looked at – the ease of repair should something happen to the bike. If you are riding an aluminum bike, you will need to get to a specialized facility in a large city if you need anything welded on your bike. There are people in every tiny village throughout the world who can weld steel.
Some people say this is all a moot point – when was the last time you had your bike welded anyway? The chances of something happening to your bike that would require welding are very small.
One argument is that you will not be able to find someone to properly weld a frame back together in any case. Should your frame completely break in two, you will need a new frame, so it makes no difference if you are riding a steel or aluminum bike.
Much more likely than the frame totally failing, however, is the likelihood that some small braze-on will break off. If that happens, you could be stranded with an aluminum bike, but will be able to get a steel bike repaired easily.
When I was loading my bike on a bus in India many years ago I broke a small braze-on that held my brake cable in place. Fortunately, I was able to get it welded back together in the small village I was in and we continued on our way. If my bike had been aluminum, I’m not sure where I would have had to go to get it repaired.
Which is better – a steel or aluminum bike frame? There is no easy answer. If you will be riding in areas where you have an easy out, it will make no difference whatsoever, so just ride whichever bike you feel more comfortable on. If your plans include riding around the world, consider a steel frame just in case you happen to break some small piece. In either case, if your entire frame should fail, plan on getting a new one sent out.
Here’s another post you might be interested in: What to look for in a touring bike
welcome to costa rica

Nancy Sathre-Vogel is a 21-year classroom veteran who made the decision to leave her teaching career behind to travel the world on a bicycle. Together with her husband and twin sons, she cycled 27,000 miles throughout the Americas, including traveling from Alaska to Argentina. Now she lives in Idaho, pursuing her passions of writing and beadwork.

Follow The Tour Here

Giveaway: 5 ecopies of the book

Genre: Travel memoir/Cycling
Publisher: Old Stone Publishing
Release date: March 21

Changing Gears: A Family Odyssey to the End of the World by Nancy Sathre-Vogel

What would you do if you were not afraid?

Changing Gears is the true story of one woman asking herself that very question. What followed was a family journey of epic proportions – a journey ofphysical challenge, emotional endurance, teamwork, perseverance, and tremendous learning opportunities. It was a discovery of self, of priorities, of accepting hardships, of appreciating blessings, and of contrasting a comfortable past life with the extreme hardship and poverty of those they met.

Would the journey be a dream come true – or a mother’s worst nightmare?


Highs and lows in Costa Rica

“Congratulations Daryl,” I said. “You’ve just entered your eighth country.”
My son turned to me and said, “What difference does it make, Mom? Crossing a border doesn’t change anything. A border is just a line on a map.”
As I passed through the border formalities, I thought about Daryl’s words. He was right. We were still in the Central American jungle. People on Costa Rica looked exactly like those in Nicaragua. They spoke the same language and worshiped the same god. Nothing changed as we crossed that border except that we spent a different currency.
After spending so many years of my life poring over maps and dreaming of visiting far-flung places, I had developed a bit of a “map syndrome.” I saw a very distinct, physical line at that border. I saw a new country with a new government. In my mind, each country was a separate, unique entity and, of course, the people belonging to that country were unique and different from those from neighboring countries.
Daryl’s words brought me back to reality. There was no line at the border. The people who lived on one side of the border were no different from those who lived on the other. Once we strip away all the wrappers we tend to wrap around people – when we look beyond the language they speak, the clothes they wear, the god they worship, and the food they eat – we are all more alike than we are different. Underneath it all, there isn’t any difference between us at all.
My sons, at age eleven, understood that. I, at 48, was still working on it.

cycling Costa RicaFor miles on end, we cycled through a tunnel of green.
I was pedaling along the Costa Rican road and was quite bored. It was just another day in paradise. Nothing in particular to look at. No villages to keep me entertained. Just mile after mile of lush green jungle.
Then I thought, “This is crazy! Here you are in Costa Rica – COSTA RICA – and you’re bored? Costa Rica is paradise on earth! It’s a traveler’s utopia! Costa Rica is one of the premier vacation destinations in the world! And you’re bored?”
beach costa ricaI feared I had become jaded. I was so accustomed to fabulous scenery and people that I zoned out when I only had tropical jungle to look at. We were pedaling through a lovely area and I wanted to fall in love with the jungle and the green all around and the monkeys swinging in the trees.
Yet I wasn’t quite there. I was so focused on getting out of the blasted heat that I wasn’t paying attention to the small details surrounding me like I generally did.  My mind was so centered on getting to the next town and away from the interminable heat that I missed everything else.
For the first time ever I started to wonder if it was all worth it. Cycling through the jungle was miserable; there’s no other word for it. We awoke in the middle of the night and packed up as sweat poured out of our pores. By first light we were on the road, but it was still blazing hot and the humidity level made it hard to breathe.
I mentally drew a map in my head and figured we still had 800 miles of jungle. 800 miles of being covered with layer upon layer of sweat, sunscreen, and road grime. 800 miles of nothing but lush green jungle on either side of the road. Was it worth it?
I wasn’t quite ready to give up yet – that would come later – but I knew I wasn’t enjoying the journey.
The following day I sunk even lower. We had been amply warned by other cyclists about two things: the hills and the truck drivers in Costa Rica. By all account the hills were the steepest in Central America and the drivers were the worst. In our short time in the country, I had to agree.
We slowly ground up hill after hill while sweat fell like a river from beneath our helmets. At one point, John even took his helmet off and strapped it onto his trailer – he figured he was safer without the helmet than blinded by sweat.
traffic jam in costa rica
And the truck drivers did their thing. Their Costa Rican thing. Regardless of whether the far lane was open or not, each and every truck driver that passed by held his ground and refused to budge an inch. It seemed like the attitude was that the lane belonged to them and us cyclists hugging the edge of the road were nothing more than pests.
The third time a truck cut me so close my knuckles actually scraped the side as it whizzed past, I lost it. “What the hell is with this country?” I screamed to nobody in particular. John and Davy were too intent on controlling their own bikes on the narrow road to pay any attention. “This is crazy!” I hollered into the jungle.
All I wanted was to get safely through the country and out the tail end. Was that too much to ask?

April 17 - Guest Blogging at Lori's Reading Corner

April 19 - Spotlight at ScrapBlog

April 22 - Interviewed at BK Walker Books

April 24 - Review & Guest Blogging at Mermaids Singing

April 26 - Spotlight at Bookalicous Traveladdict

April 29 - Guest Blogging at BK Walker Books Etc.


Michelle Cornwell-Jordan

Looks like a grand adventure! I wish you success with your release:) Pit Crew

Burt Morgret

Love traveling traveled most of my life but my bike has motor!!!
Wish I could of traveled as much as you did I only traveled Mexico,Canada and US. Can't wait to read your book and share your adventure :-)
Wonderful post!!!!


Great and informative post.

Pit Crew

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