Saturday, July 03, 2004

Week 1 - South Range to Santa Fe, United States

June 26 to July 2, 2004

South Range, Michigan to Santa Fe, New Mexico


Heading for Brasil....taking the long way. We left one of the most beautiful places on earth...the Upper Peninsula of Michigan - the Village of South Range.

Pulled out of the big green house at 6:43am on June 26, 2004.

Six people (Kiko, his mom and aunt who were visiting from Brasil, his brother, Fernando, and Fern's girlfriend, Jessica, and I) in a Jeep Cherokee, doing it in style with luggage high-on-the-roof - stacked 4 feet tall. Headed to Faribault, Minnesota - the city where I was see my parents and 93 year old amazing and beautiful grandma.

The clan...from left to right...Fernando, Kiko's mom, Sarah, Kiko's aunt, Jessica, and Kiko...

Beautiful (and cold) 93 year old grandma...

After 3 nights in Faribault, four of the crew left to Chicago by car. The other two (Kiko and I) stayed 2 more nights, and left by train - Red Wing, MN to Chicago, IL.

CHICAGO - June 30

In Chicago, we hooked up with more friends (Eli, Doug, Paul) to say hellos, and goodbyes, stayed one night in Chicago, then left by train to New Mexico with 7 other people (the original 6 plus our friend Joe).

Waiting for the train...


Roughly 30 hours later, the clan of us arrived in Lamy, New Mexico - to celebrate lots of stuff at the 5th annual "Refuge Party". Spent 3 nights in Santa Fe at Jen's house, 4 nights in Albuquerque at Kevin's house- tomorrow we leave the country...Mexico bound...Kiko, and possibly Kevin, and I.

Refuge clan in part...

Kevin (with the baseball cap) showing us his studio where he designs and builds canoes...

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What to Bring in a Backpack – for a Year

One might wonder what to pack - in a bag that you will be carrying - for a year. One also must take into consideration what one brings is what one carries. Thank goodness I started packing the Tuesday before the Saturday of which I left.

It took 7 revisions in 4 different US states. After each revision, I happened to be with friends who were able to return my stuff to South Range. When I was no longer with people who could assist in the return of my unneeded goods, I sent them in the mail back to Michigan. The rest I threw out. Anything else extra that I come across, I can give away. Here's what I started with...and finally ended with:


2 - pairs of shorts / 1 - pair of shorts
4 - pairs of pants / 1 - pair of pants
6 - skirts / 1 - skirt
4 - short sleeve t-shirts / 1 - short sleeve t-shirt
2 - long sleeve t-shirts / 1 - long sleeve t-shirt
7 - tank tops / 2 - tank tops
1 - swim suit / 0 - swim suits
1 - sweater / 0 - sweaters
1 - raincoat / 0 - raincoats
6 - pairs of socks / 2 - pairs of socks
7 - pairs of underwear / 4 - pairs of underwear
1 - small bath towel / 1 - travel towel
3 - books / 1 - book *
2 - maps / 1 - map *
1 - pair of boots / 1 - pair of boots
2 - pairs of sandals / 1 - pair of sandals
1 - sleeping bag / 0 - sleeping bag
1 - fleece blanket / 1 - thin wool blanket
1 - bed sheet / 1 - bed sheet

Miscellaneous: bathroom stuff, bug stuff, malaria pills, sun screen, first aide kit, etc.; English/Portuguese dictionary, journal, pen, candle, lighter, Spanish/English dictionary....

The weight of my 4500 cubic-inch backpack (including the heavy 6 ½ pounds that the backpack weighs)...all of my belongings came to 22 pounds.  My bag is so is pretty funny...I guess I have room to buy stuff if I want or need along the way...however, if I did a trip like this again, I would use a smaller bag.

* I took one book (Mexico and Central America) and one map (Mexico and Central America). My travel partner, Kiko, took one book (South America) and one map (South America).

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