Trip sponsors and people we want to thank!

Product & Service Sponsors

Resource Contributors

Lina and Paulo Petrucco & family.Our time with Lina and Paolo and family has been rich with good company, good food and spectacular country. We are deeply indebted to this generous family for the warm hospitality they showed us. Thank you Giacomo, Luigi, Nicola and Paolo for the fantastic futebol action! Thank you, Piero, for the use of your car for the week we were in Buttrio, and thank you, Paolo, for surrendering your Alpha Romeo to Piero while we were using his!  And, thank you, Lina (and the cooks at the Cantino), for all the home-cooked meals and companionship in your warm and comfortable home and with your beautiful family.

Jim & Ma'Carry Cairo and Mary Butler for sponsoring our unforgettable trek to see the chimpanzees in Kibale National Park in western Uganda. We hiked a couple of hours deep into the jungle in search of the chimpanzees. Even before we saw them, we could hear a clamour ahead and sure enough, there they were in great numbers congregated in the largest canopy I have ever seen. Their calls to neighboring communities rattled our ribs as they reached a fever pitch. It was amazing being in their company. Read more about it on the Uganda travelog, Communing with chimpanzees, Feb. 21, 2006.

Deb and John Simonson. Deb, Steve’s cousin, and her husband, John, were married last October in Connecticut and we were all privileged to be there and witness the celebration of their union. They are expecting their first child next April and we all joyfully anticipate the arrival of the newest addition to the family. We thank them for their generosity and financial support of our trek.

Bill Clark III. Bill, our dear friend from Kwajalein, lovingly hosted us in his home, fed us and entertained us in style in LA before we left for Central America and again before we departed for the Southeast Asia segment of our trip.

Noy and Heng Manupipatphong, Ton’s mother and father, welcomed us to their home with open arms. We were ushered into their home and showed extraordinary hospitality and kindness. A feast was prepared for us when we arrived at the family’s home. Later that afternoon, they escorted us to Umm Milk, a local dairy farm that produces some of the best ice cream and yogurt we have ever had, and Khao Yai, a national park Steve has always wanted to visit! That evening they took us out to dinner at the dairy’s restaurant, and Peter is still talking about the fabulous chicken entrée he had there. They insisted on providing us with accommodations at a very lovely hotel in town and picked us up the next morning to tour Ton’s mother’s school. Ton’s parents spent the day with us showing us Heng’s dairy farm, Noy’s outdoor educational camp, and the other schools Noy runs. Just before we had to part, we stopped at a roadside restaurant for lunch and had the best pad Thai of the trip. Again they insisted on providing us with transportation in a luxury van all the way to Chiang Mai, driver, translator, Joy, Noy’s English teacher at the school, and accommodations for a several day tour of Ayutthaya and Sukhothai. Once in Chiang Mai, we were kindly delivered into the hands of Ton’s uncle, Phongthep (see below).  Our visit with Ton’s family was one of the highlights of our trip and we are very grateful we had the opportunity to meet them and share this cherished time with them.


Pongsak Vorapanya, Ton’s uncle, gave us detailed information about our travels through central and northern Thailand and provided us with luxury accommodations in Ayutthaya right on the river in this lovely historical Thai town.


Phongthep and Kanda Manupipatphong, Ton’s uncle and aunt in Chiang Mai, generously provided us with critical counsel when our travels were held-up because of flooding in Chiang Mai and transportation and a guide from Lampang to Chiang Mai once the flooding receded. He also made reservations for us at a lovely hotel in Chiang Mai during our stay and showed us several temples in the city, taught us how to play the incredibly fun Southeast Asian sport of takraw, took us out to lunch at an incredible Chinese Restaurant and dinner at an Italian restaurant, and he and his wife Kanda took us to one of my favorite markets of the trip, Chiang Mai’s Sunday night market. We were very lucky to have their support during this juncture of the trip, and their friendship really enriched our experience in northern Thailand.


Bill Savage, a friend from Kwajalein, graciously offered us his home in Bangkok while we were in Thailand. We stayed at his house for several days during our second visit to Thailand and before we left Thailand in December. We also retreated with him to his house on a farm in southern Thailand for four days. There, we feasted on his savory vegetarian cuisine, swam in the beautiful oceans and waterfalls of southern Thailand, enjoyed his and his friend Boon’s company, and relaxed on this lovely working farm. Bill has also been a wonderful source of information about many international destinations as he travels extensively in his consulting business. Thanks also to Kwaj Kid, Alan Taylor, currently on Kwajalein and Bill's good friend, who connected us when he heard about our trek.


JoAnn Rachor, Peter’s former distance learning Geometry teacher from OSU, offered to obtain a CD curriculum for Algebra II for Peter and Pre-Algebra for Paul and send it to us at Bill’s address in Bangkok. Since she has also lived abroad and remembered how much she appreciated care packages from home, she asked us to let her know what we needed or wanted from home, and these two items turned into a wonderful care package, full of all manner of goodies—chocolate bars, milk chocolate icing (so we could make a yellow cake while in Bangkok), fun games, magazines and books, and necessities I couldn’t locate overseas. This package generated so much excitement for us and has kept us entertained and well-sated for our past month in India! Thank you so much for your overwhelming generosity and friendship, JoAnn!

Morompi Ole-Ronkei.  Ole-Ronkei grew up in the Masai village of Enoosean in southern Kenya, near the Masai Mara National Park. He now lives in Boulder, Colorado and works for Compassion. Ole-Ronkei is arranging for us to stay in his house in his village and work as volunteers helping to install a water supply system.  This is an incredible opportunity and we are very moved by his gracious and generous offer. Many, many thanks Ole-Ronkei.

Thank You

Ada “Faang” Chirakranont, our international exchange student Ton’s girlfriend, met us when we first arrived in Bangkok and accompanied us shopping in the famous Jatujak Market and even rescued us when we got lost a couple of times in this mad labyrinth. She also arranged for us to meet Ton’s family and escorted us to their home in Lopburi and traveled with us for a couple of days as we visited the historical city of Ayutthaya. And, she met us again in Bangkok at the tail-end of our trip and helped us trace a care package that got lost in the Thai postal system! We are very grateful for her friendship and kind and generous help throughout our stay in Thailand.

Vitavat “Noi,” Prasert, Pat, Pa and Wong Vorapanya, Ton’s aunt, uncle and cousins, greeted us warmly and generously in the family home in Lopburi, equipped us with our very helpful atlas of Thailand and copious information about our travel in Thailand, and briefed us on the historical periods of Ayutthaya and Sukhothai, Thailand’s ancient capitals, before we visited them. Noi also met us in Bangkok just before we left Thailand and gave us a tour of her children’s showcase international school and helped us find our coveted care package that got temporarily lost in the Thai postal system. We are exceedingly grateful for this family’s unending kindness and generosity.


Mr. Ravindra Kumar Faujdar, manager at the Saras Hotel in Bharatpur, helped us retrieve an important parcel that we left on the local bus we took to town. He mobilized his colleagues across the route of the bus and ultimately arranged for a jeep and driver to escort me to the next juncture in the bus’ route where we were able to intercept the bus and locate the package in the overhead bin! We are indebted to him for his kindness and exemplary customer service in resolving this issue. In addition he invited us to his resort, Swaraj Resorts, across the street from Keoladeo Ghana National Park, showing us extraordinary hospitality. We really enjoyed developing this unexpected friendship and our conversation at the resort and around the campfire that evening. 


Mr. SN Yadav, owner of the Pugmark Resorts in Kanha National Park, offered our family a significant discount for our accommodations at Pugmark, showed a personal interest in our stay at the park, took us on several hikes around the park and accompanied us with his brother on our safari. We had wonderful food, accommodations and hospitality at Pugmark under the care and attention of Mr. Yadav, his son, Rahul, and his brother, and this contributed to making our stay in Kanha a highlight of our tour of India. We are also grateful for his and his brother’s recommendations for hotels and local contacts in several locations along the remainder of our itinerary. Thanks to this caring family, we continued to be well provided for as we continued our travels in India.  


Scott Carter, project manager of the Cape Pakarang Boat Yard, found a place for all of us in his tsunami relief project, building boats for local fishermen who lost their boats in the tsunami. This experience was rated by our family as one of the “wonders” of our excursion through Southeast Asia, and we are very grateful to Scott for believing in us, utilizing our special skills and talents, and teaching us so much during our week volunteer stint. We wished we could have stayed longer. It was a privilege to work with him and the other volunteers on this incredible project. Again, thank you for this extraordinary opportunity and experience, one that will have a lasting impact especially on the impressionable Peter and Paul! By the example of so many selfless volunteers, they have now become committed to volunteer service.


Tarana and Abbhinav, staff at the Business Center at the Marriot Welcome Hotel in Delhi, India, were extremely helpful and cordial to us during our stay and use of the Business Center. It is indeed impressive that a hotel as large as this one can offer that kind of attentive and personalized customer service. Thank you for making our stay such a pleasant one!


Miguel and Maria Morales, friends of Jeff Baumgart from Eugene, picked us up in San Jose and showing us the lush region around Cartaga, Costa Rica, Volcan Irazu, the family's farm on the edge of the Talamanca Mountains, and Dos Pinos ice cream, such rich environmental and culinary delights!


Jim Bryson, Eugene Rotarian, who has funded a water resource project in a Maasai village in southern Kenya. He met with Steve and briefed him on the project, the village and travel in Kenya and encouraged us to visit this remarkable land. 


Dal Ollek for providing us with detailed information about travel in general and specifically about our itinerary in India and offering his family's home to us while visiting the Punjab province in northern India.


Catherine Nash, friend of my childhood friend from Kwajalein, Maureen Delaney. Catherine and her family (including two boys close to our boys in age) lived in Nepal for several years and in Kenya briefly. During that period, they traveled extensively through Asia and Catherine was an enthusiastic resource about this region, providing detailed accounts and commentary about all the places we want to visit and again ample encouragement about undertaking the journey. She and her family miss Nepal terribly and would return in an instant if the opportunity arose.


Jeff Baumgart for managing our house while we´re gone and taking care of a multitude of our personal affairs.


For all the women renting our house (Beth, Aubrey, Renee, Amy and Annie) and taking care of our beloved cats, Kale and Blessing.


Becky & Joe Millon for driving us to the bus station and sending us off with love and for taking care of our kids for most of the last two weeks before we left!


Carrie Peterson for rushing to the bus station for one last farewell, delivering yet another card full of well-wishes from my colleagues at Parks & Open Space and a satchel full of healthy munchies, as well as other sweet delicacies. Carrie also created a beautiful album for me that chronicles my tenure at Eugene Parks and Open Space. I will cherish it and the many friendships and inspiring work I was blessed with these past 3 1/2 years.

Sponsors for our trip. We will gladly accept donations or test travel products. All donations will be acknowledged through our website and when possible through written or media related correspondence. In addition, we will be giving post trip talks about our journey. Do you want to underwrite a regional section or major activity (i.e. safari in Africa), please contact us.