CHECK OUT THAT VIEW — Mitch Steiner, a Springville native, cycled across south and Central America with his college roommate, with many sights and scenes along the way. Photos submitted by Steiner.
SPRINGVILLE — This summer, Mitch Steiner, of Springville, joined with his college roommate, Niall Murphy, of Valhalla, N.Y., to bicycle more than 4,000 miles across central and South America. The pair had finished their degrees in aerospace engineering at the University at Buffalo in May. With no looming debt, they decided to take some time off to travel, before joining the working world.
The journey began with a flight to Cancun, Mexico. After arriving there, the two set off south and cycled through Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. From there, they flew to Cusco, Peru, and biked across Bolivia and Argentina to Buenos Aires, on the Atlantic coast. Along the way, Steiner and Murphy slept in hostels and hotels that were little more than a room with a bed, or pitched their tent in inconspicuous locations, along the way. The pair attempted to make it on $20 per day.
NOT A BAD BACKGROUND — Mitch Steiner and his roommate Niall Murphy visited many famous sights, including these Mayan ruins.
Some of their explorations included scaling Mayan and Incan ruins, “volcano boarding” in Guatemala, soaking up the sun on beaches in Costa Rica, crossing the Bridge of the Americas over the Panama Canal, testing out Peruvian medical care, eating meals of various unknown meats and riding lightheaded over a 14,000-foot mountain pass. The pair visited an ancient tribe on their man-made reed islands on Lake Titicaca, slept in a hotel made of salt on the largest salt flats in the world and traversed nearly all of northern Argentina.
Steiner and Murphy met many people along the way, including a lone young woman who was also a cyclist from Canada, a pair of Australian punk rockers, a German expatriate running a cyclists’ house in La Paz and two Italian girls, who joined them for an SUV tour of southwest Bolivia.
A SCENIC SELFIE — Steiner (pictured) catalogued his travlels on a blog, so his friends and family could follow along.
Not every encounter was human: They ran into crocodiles, alpacas, vicunas and monkeys, who were clever enough to unzip backpacks. The two recent graduates experienced views from the tops of volcanoes in Guatemala and Nicaragua, Costa Rican beaches under Pacific sunsets, the lost Incan city of Machu Picchu in the Andean highlands, expanses of salt in Bolivia and the Humahuaca Valley in Argentina. By the time the cyclists came down from the altiplano and could breathe easily again, they were covering up to 70 miles per day, right up to the finish line in Buenos Aires.
For more photos and additional stories about Steiner and Murphy’s trip, visit their blog at www.adventuretimeamerica.tumblr.com