space
space
Peshtigo Times
space
space
space
Perspectives
* Country Cousin
space
space
Sports Shorts
* Marinette Golfers Winners at Menominee/Oconto Falls Invites
* Peshtigo Boys Dominate Running Events
* M&O Softball - Peshtigo Claims Conference, Earns Fourth Straight Title
* M&O Baseball - Casper's Crew Adds Another Conference Crown
* Area Golf - Marines Finish Second at the NEC Mega Meet

space
Peshtigo Fire
space
e-Edition
Now Available
For more information
click here
dot
THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
space
dot
space

Pete Nelson Bicycles Through Andes In Peru

At an age when most folks sit around in their rocking chairs reminiscing about the good old days, former Peshtigo and Marinette resident Pete Nelson is out creating memories to enjoy in his old age. He retired in 1996 from teaching at East De Pere Elementary School. To fill in the gaps, he has taken to riding his bicycle. Not just on comfortable trails, but to some of the hardest to reach spots on the globe.

At age 75, Pete is not a stay-at-home kind of guy! He’s kindly shared some of his experiences with those of us who stay at home and get most of our exercise watching TV.

Nelson attended schools in Peshtigo through sixth grade and graduated from Marinette High School in 1956. He now lives in the Town of Sobieski. In addition to bicycle trips, and traveling in general, Nelson loves to visit his children and grandchildren, and care for his yard and garden. He does a bit of canning in his spare time, and helps care for Wisconsin bicycle trails.

Since his retirement, he’s bicycled across the United States from north to south and from east to west, across Canada and to many points in Europe. In Africa he didn’t bicycle, but he did hike to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro.

He has been around the world by bicycle, and says he has visited all seven continents one way or another, if you count New Zealand as part of the Australian continent.

Finally this year, he spent two months touring parts of South America - mainly Ecuador and Peru - mostly on his bicycle, but also on foot and by motor vehicle.

Since retiring, he has pedaled his bicycle at least 42,000 miles - he is no longer sure of the exact number because the odometer quit working on his last trip. That trip, completed last July, took him from the Pacific coast to the deserts to the jungles and the high country of the Andes mountains in Peru, and from modern civilization into ancient times when the Aztecs and Incas ruled South America.

His companion for the South American trip was Diedre Goodwin, a bicycling enthusiast of 60 he met while on the trans-Canada trip in 2012.

Their South American experience started on March 21, 2013, the first day of spring here in the northern hemisphere, official first day of autumn south of the Equator. Their ride would take them on both sides of the Equator, but mainly south, where it’s generally warm anyway, but at some of the altitudes they reached in the Andes winds can get more than a bit chill at any time of year.

The riders met at the airport in Houston, Tex. and flew together to Quito, the capitol of Ecuador, arriving late on a Thursday night. After customs we had to haggle with the taxis for a ride into Quito, which is about 30 km from the airport, Nelson said. The taxi was small. After getting our bike boxes into the taxi, Diedre crunched up in the back and I sat in front with my knees up against the dash. I could not move! Nelson said.

After an hour’s ride we couldn’t find the hostel, Nelson said. Bummer! So we drove up and down streets until we found it. The taxi ride cost $30. He said Ecuador is on the same dollar system as the U.S., so there was no money exchange. American dollars and cents are good there. In fact, Nelson said, they love the American dollar coins that no one in the US wanted, so our government sent most of them there.

Their hostel in Quito had two floors, and each room had three bunk beds. His room was mixed, male and female. Everyone was from a different country but English was the common language. Nelson said Goodwin had a one month jump start on Spanish. That was a life saver, he commented, adding he knew a few words, hola, bano for example, but couldn’t do a sentence.

On Friday the two wandered the old section of Quito. We were either going up hill or down, Nelson remarked. The streets are narrow and paved with cobble stones. The traffic is one-way.

He had been carrying a back pack, and after returning to the hostel found that his camera was missing. Welcome to Quito! he declared. After 30 plus countries, this is the first time I had anything stolen! He would have to buy another camera.

The camera would wait. On Saturday the pair hired a taxi that took them to the start of the cable car line. Quito elevation is about 2,400 meters or about 7,200 feet above sea level, Nelson wrote. The cable car carried us up to 4,311 meters, or 13,000 feet. The view was awesome! There was a trail 5 km long. We walked about 1 km and did it very slowly, as the air is quite thin. This was to help us get used to the elevation. After all, I am a flatlander. Home is about 600 feet above sea level.

There must have been a foot race, he went on. I was sucking air like crazy and these people were running!

The next day, Sunday, he was not feeling well, but they went for a short bike ride anyway. Later that day they took a bus to Mitad del Mundo (Middle of the World), which is located on the Equator. I could jump from the northern hemisphere into the southern hemisphere, and I did, back and forth, just like a kid, Nelson laughs.

Then the impact of what seemed to be Montezuma’s revenge struck and he stayed at the hostel while Goodwin went off on her own to do some sight seeing. While she was taking a photo some guy reached across her shoulder, ripped the camera out of her hands and took off running. She returned to the hostel with the strap that had broken off on her wrist.

The next day they decided to go to the mall for new cameras, using public transportation. The busses cost only 25 cents a trip, but they are crowded, Nelson said. We were packed like sardines. Two people would get off and five would get on. Goodwin got pushed so far back that he lost sight of her. But they did manage to get off together at the mall, and buy the cameras. That was a good thing, because later in the trip he lost his replacement camera, and she had the only remaining photos of a good part of their bicycle trek.

Quito is the highest altitude national capitol in the world. It was settled originally some time before 980 AD by the Quitu tribe, who were conquered by the Caras tribe. In 1462 they were conquered by the Incas, and marked the northern boundary of the Inca empire. In 1534, less than a hundred years later, the Spanish conquered the Incas. The Spanish government moved Quito to its present location that same year and made it a government headquarters.

After a few days Nelson felt good enough to leave the hostel and Quito. They hired a truck to take them to Pan America Highway. They did not care to bike through the traffic on the narrow streets of Quito.

They began pedaling south, but after a few hours he realized he was still weak from being sick, so they stuck out their thumbs for a ride. They were lucky enough to get a ride to Cotopaxi National Park, but found it closed for the day. They found the nearest hostel and made arrangements to be guided to Cotopaxi Park and the mountain itself. Snow capped Cotopaxi is the second highest mountain in Ecuador. They hiked to the snow line, at about 4,300 to 4,500 meters. The peak is 5,897 meters - about 18,000 feet.

The next day they cycled to Latacunga, and the following day they decided to do the Quilotoa Loop, which other cyclists had told them was very scenic, with one of the nation’s largest farmer’s markets. It was scenic, Nelson said, but they forgot to say it was very mountainous. Silly me! I forgot we were in the Andes. Of course it was mountainous!

He said they saw a scar on the earth’s surface made by an earthquake a few years ago, and they did visit the Farmer’s Market, which was held in the plaza, or town square. Generally hostels and government buildings surround the plaza, Nelson said.

The Farmer’s Market was huge, he declared. You could buy live chickens, pigs, etc., and also raw meat and fish, hung out in the open, sun beating down on the meat. Clothing was offered for sale, and he tried on a hat. All the women there wore hats, from five to 90 years old.

Finally they biked back to the Pan American Highway and again traveled south, toward Ambato to Bano, and from there down hill to Puyo, where they saw some very nice waterfalls along the way.

From Puyo they headed north to Tena, which is very close to the jungle. They were a little concerned because of malaria. A great road, lots of wild flowers, Nelson declared. Farmers were using oxen to plow the land, and horses to haul sugar cane and logs from the jungle.

In one village, right on the sidewalk, with traffic driving by, there was a dead hog. There was also a butcher with a blow torch, burning the hair off that hog. Street dogs - dogs that no one owns - were hanging around for a free meal, Nelson said, adding they saw similar sights in many villages.

They left Tena by bus to get back to Puyo. Plans were to cycle to Macas, but after 70 to 75 kms, Nelson said the hills, heat and humidity got the best of him. He’s prone to heat exhaustion, so to be safe they caught a bus to Macas.

On Sunday we went to church, not for the services but to check out the interior, Nelson wrote. He said the interior of the church was all gold - real or not, he wasn’t sure. The floor, either wood or stone, had grooves from thousands and thousands of people walking on it for hundreds of years. The main front door was 16’ high, about four inches thick, and wide enough to drive a semi through. Beside it there was a smaller door for people to pass through.

From Macas to Limon it was hilly and lovely, with jungle on both sides of the road. Everything was lush and green, Nelson wrote. In Limon the bus driver turned onto a barely two lane gravel road that climbed up and up. My ears started to pop. The driver must have thought he was a race car driver, Nelson commented. Down shifting, passing on curves and hills, sliding around hairpin curves, with multi hundred foot drop offs on one side and sheer mountain walls on the other!

Nelson said some people on the bus were sleeping, others were talking, but all at once people stopped talking and those asleep woke up. It became strangely silent on the bus. Perhaps the altitude? Perhaps the fear?

Nelson said there were many places where rocks has skidded down the mountain and blocked half the road. As they continued upward, clouds completely surrounded them like a blanket. Coming around a curve and seeing headlights was even scarier than seeing nothing. We finally passed through the cloud and reached the top, about 4,000 meters, Nelson said.

Going down was even scarier, going faster, with the driver braking instead of down shifting. But he noticed that the people had started talking again, he said.

Upon arriving in Cuenca they claimed their bikes and panniers and sought hostel. Found one for $14 per night. Cleaned up and took a taxi to a restaurant. But they had learned their lesson. They set a price for their taxi rides, generally two to three dollars. If the price was too high they waited for the next taxi.

They enjoyed a great meal for $6 and then flagged a taxi back to the hostel. Another lesson learned. In each city he would take a business card from the hostel. Showing that to the driver as their destination when they wanted to return saved a great deal of time and confusion.

We visited the center of the town and did some sight seeing, Nelson wrote. Lots of people selling things on the sidewalk. Fruit, chicken - alive and dead - veggies and clothing. Just think! No rent, no electricity, no overhead!

One thing I noticed in every village was usually two or three women breast feeding their child, in public. The first couple of times it was startling, Nelson commented, but the more you see it, the more you realize that this is a way of life.

We take for granted to toss toilet paper in the stool and flush. Here the toilet paper goes into a container beside the stool. Then every day it disappears. He didn’t know if it got burned, recycled or otherwise disposed of.

I grew up with outhouses, Nelson commented. I still have one at the deer shack. But here the outhouse is about a 3-foot square with a concrete slab for a floor with a 5-inch hole in the center and two raised foot prints for your feet. It is called a squat toilet. Here too the toilet paper goes into a container. I know this is more information than you need! Obviously aim has to be good!

(This the first of several installments. Watch for more next week, including the start of a trek from the Atlantic to the Pacific side near the top of the South American continent.)


Recent stories, opinions and photos

Issue Date Department Headline
05-18-2016Sports
Marinette Golfers Winners at Menominee/Oconto Falls Invites

05-18-2016Sports
Peshtigo Boys Dominate Running Events

05-18-2016Sports
M&O Softball - Peshtigo Claims Conference, Earns Fourth Straight Title

05-18-2016Sports
M&O Baseball - Casper's Crew Adds Another Conference Crown

05-18-2016Perspectives
Country Cousin

05-18-2016Perspectives
From our readers

05-18-2016Perspectives
From My Window

05-18-2016Obituaries
Morris Whiting

05-18-2016Obituaries
David L. Teteak

05-18-2016Obituaries
Ivan Ryan

05-18-2016Obituaries
Thomas W. Robison

05-18-2016Obituaries
Tony Rabas, Jr.

05-18-2016Obituaries
Harriet M. Pearson

05-18-2016Obituaries
Richard J. Netzer

05-18-2016Obituaries
Elizabeth H. Myers

05-18-2016Obituaries
Rev. Frederick Mueller 

05-18-2016Obituaries
Verna F. Minzlaff

05-18-2016Obituaries
Arlyn C. LaFortune

05-18-2016Obituaries
Virginia E. Harner

05-18-2016Obituaries
Scott G. Grady

05-18-2016Obituaries
James A. Durocher

05-18-2016Obituaries
Deacon Jim Dennison

05-18-2016Obituaries
Alexander J. Brisko

05-18-2016Obituaries
Harriet l. Bergfelt

05-18-2016Obituaries
Dorothy A. Anderson

05-18-2016Obituaries
Virginia M. Adams

05-18-2016Obituaries
Jed C. Barley

05-18-2016Obituaries
Leigh E. Konop

05-18-2016Obituaries
Karlene and Henry Keller

05-18-2016Obituaries
David D. Kasten

05-18-2016Obituaries
Ruby E. Ivens

05-18-2016Obituaries
James J. Hanna Sr.

05-18-2016Obituaries
Babe Doney

05-18-2016Obituaries
Gladys M. Davis

05-18-2016Obituaries
Elsie V. Bair

05-18-2016Community - Wausaukee
Residents Can Join Flea Market

05-18-2016Community - Wausaukee
Grand Opening of Goodman Historical

05-18-2016Community - Wausaukee
Legion Memorial Service May 30

05-18-2016Community - Wausaukee
Red Hots Dine at Red Brick

05-18-2016Community - Crivitz
Crivitz Sponsors Summer Food Service Program

05-18-2016Community - Crivitz
Crivitz Rescue Squad Lists Annual Presentations

05-18-2016Community - Crivitz
Country Gospel Jam May 20th

05-18-2016Community - Crivitz
Seek Volunteers to Clean Up Park

05-18-2016Community - Coleman
Pound Car Show Seeks Venders

05-18-2016Community - Coleman
Recognition Night for Coleman Seniors

05-18-2016Community - Coleman
LCMC In Area Rummage Sale

05-18-2016Community - Coleman
Coleman Choirs Get Good Rating at Fest

05-18-2016Front Page
Officers Remembered at Law Enforcement Memorial Service

05-18-2016Front Page
Jail Only Current Option For Marinette County Mentally Ill

05-18-2016Front Page
Rededicate Town Brazeau Memorial Field May 28

05-18-2016Front Page
Miron Will Have Two Separate Jury Trials

05-18-2016Front Page
Jail Crews Help Clean Up County Roadsides

05-11-2016Obituaries
Jodyn Walters

05-11-2016Obituaries
Patricia M. Wilcox

05-11-2016Obituaries
Alan W. Vollmer III

05-11-2016Obituaries
Dorothy B. Usiak

05-11-2016Obituaries
Jacob A. Thorne

05-11-2016Obituaries
Ernest R. Schroder

05-11-2016Obituaries
Janina Sabon

05-11-2016Obituaries
Barbara E. Paulson

05-11-2016Obituaries
Francis H. Nowakowski

05-11-2016Obituaries
Sylvia Markusen

05-11-2016Obituaries
Richard T. Lowery  

05-11-2016Obituaries
Loretta L. Hanson

05-11-2016Obituaries
John D. Elliot

05-11-2016Obituaries
Marcia G. Booker

05-11-2016Obituaries
Irene M. Plewka

05-11-2016Obituaries
Ann M. Klescewski

05-11-2016Obituaries
William J. Block

05-11-2016Sports
Area Golf - Marines Finish Second at the NEC Mega Meet

05-11-2016Perspectives
Country Cousin

05-11-2016Sports
Area Track & Field - Marinette Boys Top Peshtigo Invite; Marine Girls Second

05-11-2016Perspectives
From our readers

05-11-2016Perspectives
From My Window

05-11-2016Sports
M&O Softball - Peshtigo One Step Closer to Title

05-11-2016Front Page
BAMC Breaks Ground For New $135 Million Hospital

05-11-2016Sports
M&O Baseball - Coleman Extends Conference Lead; Takes Down Wausaukee

05-11-2016Front Page
Closing Fieldhouse Pool More Expensive Than Other Options

05-11-2016Perspectives
9th Annual Ride for Homeless Vets May 21

05-11-2016Front Page
Parkinson Support Meeting May 19th

05-11-2016Front Page
Creative Flea Market Town of Peshtigo Style

05-11-2016Community - Wausaukee
Bailey Miller is Scholarship Recipient

05-11-2016Community - Wausaukee
Wagner Town Board To Meet May 11th

05-11-2016Community - Wausaukee
MI Board Meet May 12

05-11-2016Community - Crivitz
NWTC Provides Small Business Workshops

05-11-2016Community - Crivitz
Fishing Derby at Timberline June 25

05-11-2016Community - Crivitz
VFW Brat Fry May 15

05-11-2016Community - Crivitz
Stephenson Board Looks At Road Work, Building Project

05-11-2016Community - Coleman
Coleman Pound Annual Rummage Sales May 20-21

05-11-2016Community - Coleman
Coleman High School Commencement May 28

05-11-2016Community - Coleman
Coleman School Board Monthly Meet May 16

05-11-2016Community - Coleman
2 Classes at Coleman Library

05-04-2016Community - Wausaukee
Silver Cliff Fire, Rescue May 9

05-04-2016Community - Wausaukee
Change Pembine School Board Meet

05-04-2016Community - Wausaukee
Athelstane Post 66 Plans Memorial Rites

05-04-2016Community - Wausaukee
Wausaukee Greenhouse 5th Annual Plant Sale

05-04-2016Community - Crivitz
Crivitz Legion Gun Show May 7

05-04-2016Community - Crivitz
Crivitz American Legion Names New Officers

05-04-2016Obituaries
Lori A. Wilson

05-04-2016Community - Crivitz
Crivitz VFW Auxiliary Current Officers Remain

05-04-2016Obituaries
Morris W. Lange, Sr. 

05-04-2016Obituaries
Roger A. Kittson, Sr.

05-04-2016Community - Crivitz
Loomis Historical Meeting is May 5

05-04-2016Obituaries
Arlene E. Jaeger

05-04-2016Obituaries
Michael L. Gilligan

05-04-2016Obituaries
Jean A. Kanzenbach

05-04-2016Obituaries
Carmen M. (Shallow) Danks

05-04-2016Obituaries
Alberta L. Risner-Clute

05-04-2016Community - Coleman
Pastor David Navis Seated With Pound Village Board

05-04-2016Obituaries
Michael C. Cloutier

05-04-2016Obituaries
Gerald H. Chenard

05-04-2016Community - Coleman
Equity Park Craft Fair, Flea Market on June 18

05-04-2016Obituaries
Earl E. Bramschreiber, Jr.

05-04-2016Obituaries
William F. Baumler, Jr.

05-04-2016Community - Coleman
Coleman Pound Annual Rummage Sales May 20-21

05-04-2016Obituaries
Dorothy A. Anderson

05-04-2016Obituaries
Delbert G. Zahn

05-04-2016Obituaries
Donald A. Witt

05-04-2016Community - Coleman
Coleman Legion Memorial Day Program May 30th

05-04-2016Obituaries
Gerald J. Williamsen

05-04-2016Obituaries
Virginia Wardecke

05-04-2016Obituaries
Suzanne M. Timock

05-04-2016Obituaries
Robert J. Taylor

05-04-2016Obituaries
Everett D. Stinehart

05-04-2016Front Page
Crivitz Fire Department Chosen For CBA/CRA Annual Awards

05-04-2016Obituaries
Earl Shallow

05-04-2016Obituaries
David L. Schingeck

05-04-2016Obituaries
John S. Ries,

05-04-2016Obituaries
James E. Reed Jr.

05-04-2016Obituaries
Ellsworth Luebeck

05-04-2016Obituaries
Hollis Lance

05-04-2016Obituaries
Margaret Kloida

05-04-2016Obituaries
Dorothy A. Holmquist

05-04-2016Obituaries
Frank J. Bretl, Jr.

05-04-2016Perspectives
Country Cousin

05-04-2016Front Page
Council Approves Design, Survey for Civic Center

05-04-2016Perspectives
From our readers

05-04-2016Front Page
Lena School Considers Europe Educational Trip for High Schoolers

05-04-2016Perspectives
From My Window

05-04-2016Front Page
Peshtigo School Ad Hoc Looks To Next Referendum Attempt

05-04-2016Front Page
Coleman Considers ATV Trails in Village

05-04-2016Sports
M&O Golf - Crivitz Wins Conference Nine Hole Match; Peshtigo Claims Annual Ryder Cup Event

05-04-2016Sports
Local Track Squads Compete At 66th Annual Oconto Falls Invite

05-04-2016Sports
Area Softball - M&O Heats Up as Second Round Begins

05-04-2016Sports
M&O Baseball - State Ranked Coleman Continues Conference Run

04-28-2016Sports
Marines Suffer First Set Back

04-28-2016Sports
Marines Win Mega Meet; Oconto Tops Crivitz Invite

04-28-2016Sports
Area Athletes Standout at Rosholt/Suring Invites

04-28-2016Sports
Peshtigo Stays Perfect to Pace Conference

04-28-2016Obituaries
Marian E. Smiltneck


space
Peshtigo Times
WEB Poll!
The Obama administration is telling all U.S. public school districts to allow students to use restrooms and locker rooms "consistent with their gender identity". Do you agree?
space Yes
No
Undecided
space
TO VOTE CLICK
YES, NO or UNDECIDED

Suggest a Question
space .
space
FRONT
space
.
space
CLASSIFIEDS
space
.
space
COMMUNITY
space
.
space
GUEST BOOK
space
.
space
NEWS
space
.
space
OBITS
space
.
space
PERSPECTIVES
space
.
space
SPORTS
space
.
space
SUBSCRIBE
space
.
space
.
space
PESHTIGO FIRE
space
.
space
CUSTOM PRINTING
space
.
space
TIMES' SAVER
space
.
space
Click for Peshtigo, Wisconsin Forecast
FORECAST
space
Quick...
News or Ad Search
Enter News key words.
Enter Ad key words.



Peshtigo Times
841 Maple St
PO Box 187
Peshtigo, WI 54157
Phone: 715-582-4541
Email:
News@
PeshtigoTimes.com

space
Fax: 715-582-4662
© 2000-2016
All right reserved
space
Powered by
WEB Media
Interactive
COMMUNITY
WEB sites