EMMANUEL'S 110% REPORT- BACK HOME.
Wednesday, November 15, 2000
Miles completed by bike on the Pan-American Hwy: 15,233.98 in 261 days, 211 ridden.
Miles completed by bike on Antarctic Base Marambio: 3.6 in 2 hours.
To all of us, we ALL made the trip together,
You may wonder why you are receiving a 110% report. Did Emmanuel fail math? Let’s go back to the end of my 100% report…
I think of the trip everyday. "The trip never ends," my dad said. And as I continue on this never-ending trip, I will share more and more with each of you.
This is the end of my 100% report. Is it the last? In soccer we were asked to play at 110%. So no, it is not my last report…
That is why we make it to this 110% report.
My parents and my little sister and brother flew back to the USA on April 2nd , 2000. On April 4th I took a bus down to San Martin de los Andes, in the province of Neuquen, Argentine Patagonia. There I visited my friends, the Miciu Family. We went out on a bike ride one day, and to do that I had to borrow one of their bikes. Mine went back home with my parents. If it didn’t, they might not see me for another 9 months until I arrived back to California by bike. The trip was so new everyday, it was a different trip everyday, I would definitely do it again. San Martin de los Andes is in the Andes Mountains. The city is by the shores of Lake Lacar. There are many beautiful lakes in this entire area.
On April 8, 2000 I took another bus to Cordoba, in central Argentina. I lived in Cordoba from 1987 until 1993. The bus ride to Cordoba took me through some places I had gone by during my biking. It was strange to see it from another perspective. It felt as if I would see myself riding past after any corner. In Cordoba I visited many friends of my own and of the family. I enjoyed a couple of great ASADOS while I was there. Asados are Argentina’s world-famous barbeques, which come from Argentina’s world-famous cows, which are famous because of Argentina’s world-famous Pampas, those large areas of pastures that don’t need artificial irrigation during any time of the year. Basically, if you are a vegetarian, you will miss out a lot if you go to Argentina.
Third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh grade were not too many years ago for me, so I went to visit my respective teachers in the La Falda area, the place where I lived and studied when I lived in Cordoba. I also visited the family that gave me my first bike. A large 28-inch wheel bike for an 11-year-old kid. An 11-year-old kid who would learn to ride on that bike, would fall a couple of times, would walk up hills, would take the bike to the bike shop for a flat tire (which turned out to be a joke from a friend, who had simply deflated the tire), would not get saddle sores because the saddle was too high to sit in, would place plastic wrappers in a tire to keep that one hole from becoming too large, would go buy bread on that bike, would go to see friends a few blocks away, but never, ever, ride over to the next town…it was TOO FAR AWAY. Almost two miles away. And that 11-year-old kid learned some more things in the next 7 years. He did. I did. I learned some more things in the next 7 years.
When I returned to the United States in 1993 I learned that a bike is more accessible to people here. Everyone has one somewhere in the house. Or a few. Larry Moore, from Twain Harte, gave me my second bike. A 1980 Raleigh BMX bike, which his son, Josh, had raced with for some years. That was the frame. The handlebars and other parts came from other bikes from behind the shed. That bike got some action. My favorite place to ride were the PG&E water ditches in the area. They all have trails on the side, and that trail is public property. I got to know those trails pretty well. The first time on one of them, on a blind corner, I encountered a large grouping of rocks. The bike had two options: Down the hill, or into the ditch. Into the ditch we went. After that time it was just fun to take my friends on that trail and have them go ahead of me in that area. The water would win once in a while. And I’ve always liked water.
So did the bike. I took that bike with me to Florida, from December 1994 until July 1996. No trails or hills there. Southern Florida is very flat. The highest and steepest pass in the city of Boca Raton was the overpass of the Florida Turnpike. I was still learning much from the American culture, and more cultures as well. I became best friends with Matt Thorn, who is from England but now lives in Florida. Together with Matt we took our longest bike trip up to that day. We rode to the beach, and back. 16 miles round trip. We were so excited, we told many people about it, and were even given a complimentary soda at McDonald’s drive thru for accomplishing such a feat. I wonder if they would include a cheeseburger if I were to go back and tell them I Biked It Solo.
After visiting Cordoba I headed to the province of Tucuman. A special province indeed. Northwestern Argentina is the location. And why special? Tucuman is where Nolan was staying as an exchange student during the 1997-1998 school year. I visited him there and that was where "Cruise the Americas" was created. The 9 to 10 month bike trip from Alaska to Argentina. Bike it Solo became the name of my trip only after Nolan decided to go back home on day three. I like to see the situation a little different than you might be seeing it right now. I don’t like to say Nolan quit on day three, I’d rather say that he was with me ‘til day three. I thank God for giving me Nolan’s company during the preparation and beginning of the trip.
My mom loves to cross-stitch. One of them says "begun is half done". I like that. In order to get something done you must do two things: begin, and finish. Two things. Nolan began; he’s halfway there. And I bet many of you are half way done with many things as well. Think about it, 50% done. Just a little more effort and determination, and you WILL finish.
Still in the province of Tucuman I found out that Nolan had his spring break coming up at the end of April and he had mentioned he wanted to see me before having to go back to school. My original plan was to return to the United States in mid April, but then postponed until early May. I called Nolan together with some of his friends from Tucuman. "Hey Nolan, you want to get together for spring break?" "Yeah." "Come on down, I’ll be in Buenos Aires, we can even catch a professional soccer game." Would he?
I went to Rosario for a couple of days. Rosario is in the province of Santa Fe, in central eastern Argentina. It is on the Rio Parana, which then joins the Rio de la Plata, which have a huge delta as they pour into the Atlantic. Rosario is becoming a very important city in Argentina. I stayed with the Omedes Family. Great friends. They had a vacation home next to our home in Cordoba and we would go swimming together at a hotel’s pool, which we were able to use. Together with Martin Omedes, who is now 26, but at the time was 18, we rebuilt and painted and repaired the hotel’s old foosball table. We still have a few more games to determine the all time champion. Martin and my now 21-year-old sister, Florencia, became best friends, and still are today. And I thank God that they are both here. God protected them. Back in 1994, Martin came to visit us in California. As my Mom, Florencia, and Martin were on their way to San Francisco International Airport at 2 in the morning after it had been snowing until 11 at night, they were hit head on by a truck that was coming too fast. God protected them. My mom, who was driving, broke her nose. Florencia and Martin, who were both in the back seat, broke their backs. And they are all here today. All fine. God protected them. And I thank Him.
I went to Buenos Aires for two more weeks. He came. Who came? Nolan came. It was good to see Nolan again. We did some good talking. Some talking that would have been difficult once I returned to California. We were in Argentina, in the southern hemisphere, speaking English. We talked a lot. We visited family and friends and went around the 14-million-population city of Buenos Aires quite a bit. "Nolan, do you regret not doing the trip?" "Every day." Shoot for the stars, take a break at the moon if you have to, maybe even several moons, but keep going for those stars, you will reach them. Perhaps Nolan is at one of those several moons.
I always like to stay mellow about things, look at it from a positive perspective. As we were on an electric train, my sunglasses were stolen right off of my face, through the window of this moving train. No time to think, no time. I began to go out the window of this moving train but was stopped by Nolan and other people around me. "It’s not worth it," they said. And they are right. After relaxing for a bit, and with an audience of people around me, I took advantage of the opportunity to try and change some perspectives. They all knew we were not from Argentina, and many were surprised when I began my perfect Argentine Spanish Speech. "I won’t let that one person ruin the perspective I have of Argentina. It is not fair for all the other great people we have here. Just one bad person can’t ruin it for the rest, at least in my mind I am not going to let it happen." And I shared a little about my trip and the similar reaction I had to my incident in Colombia (see my 60% report).
Why do we judge people so easily and harshly? The suspect: 24 years old, wearing a suit, college student, well groomed. And usually we are intimidated by the person wearing the dirty clothes and no shoes. You know, that person may have no shoes because they did not steal any. And they may not have a nice suit because they care about other humans and don’t want to take advantage of them. So rather that stealing a 100 dollar pair of sunglasses off of a kid’s face, selling it for 30 and buying a jacket, they sit there bundled up, getting the mean looks from people. What we have on us is of no value. What we have IN us is what counts. And the best thing to have in us is with no doubt the Love of God. Unconditional love, love with no limits.
Nolan flew back home and I stayed in Argentina for a couple more days. Just enough to say goodbye to all my family. It’s a big family. Two days is just enough to go all over the place to say goodbye to everyone. Now it was time to return to the United States, one more of the many countries I love. I’ve learned to love all of them. They all have something special, normally beginning with the way its people are.
I flew to Florida, where I visited my oldest sister, Aldana. I had not seen her for a couple of years. I was very glad to see Aldana. She was the connecting link between family members in Argentina and those in California. In a one-week period I would be able to see almost all of my family members between Argentina, Florida and California, with Aldana being the only one in Florida. It was a very special time.
I also visited my good friend Matt Thorn, the one that I rode to the beach with several years ago. This time we drove around. He even let me drive his car. I had not driven in a while, and I kept thinking I would reach for the brake with my fingers rather than my foot. Another very strange thing was speaking English. I didn’t sound like me. I had to thought, thunk…sorry, think, before I talked. It’s just like with any other thing you stop doing for a while. Although you know it, it takes a little while to get back into it.
And it was going to be summer again. I’ve had summer weather since May of 1999 and was longing for real winter weather in December 2000. Summertime is for traveling, exploring, relaxing, meeting people, making friends. If you plan to do all these things by bike as you travel from Alaska to Antarctica, then you better have a long summer.
I arrived at Sacramento International Airport on May 10, 2000. My family and a couple of TV stations were there. "It’s great to be back in California," I said. Sunny California, my home state. I was born in Burlingame, in the San Francisco Bay Area, on June 18, 1981. I was in California, I could not believe it. I was able to mention something that I consider very important with one of the TV stations. "I did not do this trip to tell people ‘Hey, look what I’ve done’, but more to say ‘Hey, look what can be done’." It can be done; all those things that we keep brainstorming about can be done. With God’s help and determination, anything is possible.
My welcome back to Sonora, where I live, could not have been better. On May 13, 2000, I participated in the annual parade, where I got to ride through the main street of Sonora as people waved and congratulated me. So many people supported me. Thank you so much to all of you who followed my trip, the fact that you were following it let me know that you wanted to know how it would finish. And so I had to go for it.
Sonora, California. I have many friends here. The Sierra Nevada. It is great to be back home. Since I returned I have been visiting with friends, giving slide presentations of my trip, running, hiking, occasionally riding, and I’m dedicating my time to writing my book, "Bike it Solo". So many details are involved, and I wish to tell you about all of them. That is what I am working on now. We could picture my book as being one large report, a 100% report with .0001% interval reports. So many stories. My bike hangs in my room, upside down, above my bed. I thank God every night for allowing me to complete this trip. I thank you all for your support and prayers. I will let you know when my book is available.
Matt, from Florida, came over for a couple of weeks this summer. I took him on his longest bike ride ever, shattering his record of 16 miles years ago in Florida. We rode up to the Brown’s cabin, great friends of mine from Sonora, which is 50 miles from my house, up Highway 108 towards Sonora Pass. We then rode back two days later. Good job Matt.
From November 23, 2000 to January 21, 2001, I will be in Argentina with my family. I will continue to work on my book as I am there. So once again, I am chasing summer. Into the southern hemisphere’s summer I go. No winter or snowboarding for Emmanuel until he returns to the USA in January 2001.
Summer is nice. This past summer in California I thought about some basic rules that I had during the trip. No unnecessary drinking. No girlfriends, back home or on the road. No giving up. I respected those rules during the trip and focused on arriving to the end of the world by bike. I was Dr. Love for my high school newspaper, and I believe friendship and knowing the person before hand is the main ingredient in a great relationship. I still don’t drink, I don’t give up, and right now I am not breaking rule number two either. I have no girlfriend right now. However, I do have great friends. Never let go of those special people.
Go for your dreams, all of you. Trust in God and you will see that not only will He help you, but He will also reward you for trusting in Him. He won’t ever let you down. With God’s help and determination, anything is possible.
We Biked it Solo, good job, thanks,
• Please let others know about my trip by forwarding this report or making copies of it.
• All the others, together with more information, can be found at www.bikeitsolo.com
• For information about presentations call or email me at: hearthestory at bikeitsolo.com
• This is how you keep in touch:
Bike It Solo
Phone: (209) 532-1952
With God’s help and
…6 pairs of tires, 5 rear wheels, 4 chains, 3 sets of cables, one dog bite, one bus accident, two records, a friend every 72 miles, never let go, naishtrahden…
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