Across the River Pineapple (Abacaxis) to Eldorado

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I am now in Apui´ with an injured hamstring. I predict it will take more time than I have to heal so I will head out and try to take it easy on the bike for the next leg of the journey. I have trimmed some of my gear down by selling and giving away parts I don´t need. It´s not easy to be a salesman in a foreign language!

After leaving Resu back at his lonely farm the inside tendon behind my right knee was red and visibly swollen. The chaffing from the ACE was an even worse problem, but I could still turn the pedals over so on I went.

When I reached the Rio Abacaxis I waded into the water to wait for the dugout canoe to ferry me over. Larger vehicles used a barge anchored there, however I didn´t see anything to move the barge?

 The ferry men were under a tree on the far side of the river downing beers. Nice work if you can get it.

The day proceeded with plumb sized loose rock jarring the bike every inch of the way. This was the case for the past 12-15 hours of cycling. Towards the end of the day I met my old friend the waffle packed dirt surface of construction.

I set up camp by a fazenda, using one of the fence posts to anchor my hammock. The bugs aren´t as bad by the fazendas as it´s drier and I had a decent night out. I even had a little bit of whiskey I´d been carrying for about 400 miles and I watched huge flashes of lightening in every direction around me, yet there were stars overhead.

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The rain ended up blasting down on me in the middle of the night but the hammock held up fine… as did my duct tape repair job on the holes in my rain fly made by leaf cutting ants. Everyone should carry duct tape with them at all times.

The TransAm is being maintained and improved as you approach Apui´ from the east. On an uphill I stopped to talk to some working clearing growth from the banks of the road. They asked if I had seen and Onças on my trip and if I shot them.

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You can just make out the workers in the orange suits. They are up on ladders using machetes to chop the growth. When I stopped the bike they were shouting questions but I couldn´t tell who was asking, they were all buried in the brush. The road is as steep as it appears in this photo. It´s difficult to capture the magnitude of these hills. Hill is such a weak word too. They´re ranges, ridges, summits! (Thanks thesaurus.)

A few miles down the road more workers stopped me. Before saying anything a man came over, covered my bike computer, and asked how many kilometers to Belem. It was as if they were in the middle of an argument and I had the answer on my bike computer. I didn´t tell them I had biked from Belem.

They promptly pulled me to the side of the road and gave me watermelon, Guarana´ cola (common as coke here), and bread. I rarely am assumed to be American. It´s always Argentinian, Bolivian, Spanish, German, or French… roughly in that order.

Apui´ is an honest to god gold rush town. “The city shot to fame in December 2006 when a Brazilian math teacher by the name of Ivani Valentim da Silva posted descriptions of miners scooping up thousands of dollars in gold in the area. In just three months, between 3,000 and 10,000 people poured into the area, cutting down trees, diverting streams and digging wildcat mines. The city was nicknamed Eldorado do Juma after the mythical El Dorado.”

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In this picture you can see I´ve updated my outfit. Although the button up shirt looked very expedition like it was cumbersome in the sleeve area and caught the wind like a para-sail on the downhills when open. I am now sporting a synthetic soccer jersey I picked up in Jacare´.

I have also updated my handle bars. I had a decent pair of aluminum bars from back in the US but they were too low giving me neck and shoulder pains to beat the band. I now have a 10$ pair of high rise steel bars that are much more comfortable but will probably fold on the first ditch I hit.

I tried my salesman skills with some other gear I just don´t need. I was able to sell my lock and cable to a motorbike store for 15 Reals which pays for my room tonight. I tried selling my bar ends and old handle bars to three bike shops but they just weren´t interested. They´d never seen bar ends before and they all were stocked up on handle bars. I ended up giving the parts away to the last shop I visited. He in turn replaced the broken kickstand he sold me the day prior. That is my 4th kickstand.

I have whittled my gear down once again to what I consider the essentials. As the road progresses there are less and less essentials. Weight has become everything when I need to carry so much water. While testing my bars and some adjustments on my bike I rode a steep uphill with the bike unloaded. With the lack of extra weight I felt like I could hit the moon!

17 Responses to “Across the River Pineapple (Abacaxis) to Eldorado”
  1. hello from rochester!!!!

    by sara & amie
    on 22. Oct, 2009

  2. Okay…our apologies for being a little late to the tweeting. Looks like we have quite a bit of catching up to do, but glad to see that the hammock is holding out and you are too! We’ll be checking a little more often to see your progress.

    PS…glad to see you got your hat back. That one’s a keeper :)

    by emily and jim
    on 23. Oct, 2009

  3. way to go man… didn’t Ed mention how valuable the duct tape would be before you ever left Boston??!

    by tim
    on 23. Oct, 2009

  4. A couple of days just went by when there were no posts to read. Tonight there are two new ones. We eagerly check each night to see how you are doing. It’s fun to read people’s comments, too. I liked how your mom mentioned in the previous post, in regards to your being a guest of Resu, that you are a good representative from the USA. She is right. We’ll consider you to be our ambassador.

    by kathy
    on 23. Oct, 2009

  5. Doug…you may or may not realize that this trip is reducing you to your essentialness. I don’t know if you met my friend Ivan when you were out in California? Is in his 80′s and I assume he knows a bit more about what’s important in life than I do. Anyway. He has a homemade bumpersticker that reads: SIMPLIFY!
    Also, glad to know you are spreading a good image for America. Not supprised people don’t suspect you are American…you’re not acting like the typical American!

    by Ed
    on 23. Oct, 2009

  6. Keep up the incredible journey doug! i love reading your blog and i know everyone here misses you, but is so proud of you! hope your hammy feels better soon! do you have any ibuprofen? that and some ice might help… although i am sure you have already tried those things! take care of yourself! looking forward to your next post!

    by jess
    on 23. Oct, 2009

  7. Duct tape is a savior. I am following your journey and enjoying the blog… stay the course. Mark Yost told me about your adventure… and now it allows me to explore a little bit of the amazon, vicariously through you… Good luck!!!

    by Rylan
    on 23. Oct, 2009

  8. Damn your skinny! Rest up and eat some more bread : ).

    And as for the duct tape, you know what they say…if you can’t duc it…..

    by amy gunz
    on 24. Oct, 2009

  9. Glad to see you’re hanging in there brotha. Stay strong and take care of that leg! Better to take a couple days off and let it heal up a bit than allow it to be a problem for your entire journey! I’ve been telling everyone I know your story. Proud of ya man!

    by Yost
    on 24. Oct, 2009

  10. Catching up with some of the guys this weekend in Columbus, Doug. Talking about how amazing your trip is. Keep it up.

    by Nate A
    on 24. Oct, 2009

  11. Good updates Doug. Yeah, Nate here is an old married man like most of us now! I’m just leaving Columbus. Stay safe.

    by John K.
    on 25. Oct, 2009

  12. Doug – you need a sandwich….or 5.

    Keep the updates coming!! We’re thinking about ya.

    by Dan & Sarena Norton
    on 25. Oct, 2009

  13. Doug – although you don’t see comments from us at Shire too often, we all have been following your exciting adventure, talking about your progress and wishing you the best. Take good care of yourself. You’ve been deeply missed.

    by Mei
    on 26. Oct, 2009

  14. Hi Doug — You are an amazing person doing what you are doing! You are one of the very few who are able to do this kind of journey you are experiencing. I am sure that what you have learned could never be taught from a book. Maybe when you come home you could write about your adventure. I’d be one of the first to buy a copy. Stay well and be careful out there.

    by Linda (Carol's friend)
    on 27. Oct, 2009

  15. I do indeed. It´s hard to stay well fed while riding all day. the weight is falling off too fast!

    by doug
    on 27. Oct, 2009

  16. Thanks for all the support and passing the page along to your freinds. I must say out loud like 5 times a day “Taste it!” when something good happens.

    by doug
    on 27. Oct, 2009

  17. The leg is feeling better, found some IB after some pictoral communication. Am I gonna miss you guys before you leave?

    by doug
    on 27. Oct, 2009

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