EMMANUEL’S 30% PROGRESS REPORT
September 28, 1999 Miles Completed: 5,093.31
Route covered since last report: Crescent City, California, USA to Mulege, Baja California Sur, Mexico.
Dear Friends and Family:
So you arrived to your chemistry class and find out you have a test on three chapters. Of course, you completely forgot about the test. That is the perfect time to pay attention to the“ last minute review”. Be it known, that as a high school graduate, I have seen these last minute reviews last up to six minutes!! Here goes my last minute review in case someone hands you a Bike It Solo exam.
- Flew to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, on June 22, 1999.
- Began ride with a buddy on June 23.
- Buddy went back home on June 25.
- Cycled all of Alaska, Canada, Washington and Oregon.
- Got in shape about five weeks after I started.
- No flats in 2,500 miles. Now about two a week.
Let me clarify that my trip will be approximately 17,000 miles. That is why these 10% interval reports come along every 1,700. The original figure of 15,600 was what I got from a driving distance. Since on a bike I cannot ride on freeways, the side-road-riding adds up to the approximation of 17,000. Once I get closer to the end, I will be able to give an even more accurate figure.
Many of you may wonder why it took so long for this report to come along. The reason is that the majority of this period I was riding through my home state, California. I spent time with friends and family along the way.
Once in California, I was looking forward to the crossing of the Golden Gate Bridge, where I knew several friends and family would meet me. Because I wanted to cross the GG on a Saturday, I found myself about five days ahead of schedule. Thus, I took my time from Crescent City to San Francisco.
I rode through beautiful redwoods, including the world famous “Avenue of the Giants”. There, these giants took control of my route and guided me through small trails which penetrated what seemed to be the veins of the forest. I took my bike through the famous “Drive-thru Tree”. Believe it or not, it can also be a “Ride-thru Tree”. Two in one. Nice. This is a great place to go visit with a family, where we can assimilate the unity of the trees with that of our family members.
I have a very supportive family. My dad, Mario, and my mom, Elsa, where married when they were 21 and 22. They began traveling right away. They have five kids. Aldana, 22; Florencia, 20; myself, 18; Clarissa, 10 and Francesco, 9. Traveling runs in our family. I have lived in some sixteen different houses, counting my tent.
Cycling down Highway One was a great experience. I met several bikers during the day and at State Parks. The vast majority chooses to ride south on the Pacific Coast in order to avoid head winds. I was unaware of this when I began, but it seems I made a good choice by heading south. The California State Park System is quite developed, providing hiker-biker sites for travelers like myself. Rather than getting your own site, you share it with other fellow hikers-bikers. Theses sites are much more affordable than a personal site. This was great for me, since the reason I am doing the trip is to meet people.
Cycling Highway One was also very challenging, with long climbs and long descents. I found that my daily average went down in this section. It had been at about 10mph for the day. This is from the time I begin in the morning until I stop at night, so it includes all stops. The reason Highway One brought me down to about 8mph was that the climbs were slow and the descents were slower than others due to the sharp, repeated turns.
I am currently averaging 68.83 miles a day on riding days, and 51.97 for my total trip days. Today is day 98. I have ridden 74 of these.
I met my family one day before crossing the GG. On August 28 I was met by a group of about forty friends and family members. The feeling of seeing familiar faces was great. It felt like a dream. I had pictured this day many times before, yet being there felt unreal. I knew this was as close as I would get to Sonora, California, where I live, which is three hours east of San Francisco (by car) in the Sierra Nevada Mountains next to Yosemite National Park.
I want to thank all of you who met me there, and also those who would have liked to go but were unable to due to other commitments. When I return I am sure I will have the chance to spend more time with all of you. I wish a group of friends could meet me every Saturday.
This happened for a bit in California. My sister and her boy friend spent Labor Day weekend with me. They took me to Universal Studios, where I decided not to ride on ET. On the ET ride you go on a bike, and it was my rest day. No bikes.
The southern California coast provided me with several bike routes, many of them going on the beach, away from traffic and workers who some times even forget to glance at the magnificence of the ocean for a little inspiration. Could the ocean and the greatness of it be there by chance? Just like we know there is a mind behind the design of a wristwatch, it is also obvious that there is a mind behind the design of the ocean. It is the invention of a great, mighty and smart God. Let us show some respect, realize that we are nothing without Him, and thank Him for loving us as we are. Love him back and He will be your best friend. It’s pretty cool to be able to tell people that the One who made the ocean is your best friend.
I stayed in Huntington Beach for a week. During this time I visited friends and family. My cousins took me to Disneyland, the happiest place on earth. I missed being on my bike, though. It was going through some major surgery in order to get ready for Central and South America, where parts and dealers are not so widely available. I upgraded my bike components for longer durability and made it into a 27-speed rather than the factory-produced 24-speed.
With my bike and mind ready it was time to continue south. My dad was able to come see me when I crossed into Mexico. He spent four days with me. The crossing definitely was a change in the trip. Together with my dad, I began to switch to my Argentine culture. Not that one is better than the other, I have a good balance between the two, American and Argentine, but I leaned towards my Argentine side for now.
Careful with the people down there! The bandidos! Is all I heard up to this point. The way it goes is that people “down there” are always bad, but people “here” are no problem. So once you get “down there” and it becomes “here”, you are in safe territory again. Good thing it works out that way. It is like trying to chase your shadow; you can’t reach it.
Dad went back home. My family plans to meet me for Christmas. In Ecuador?
I chose to ride Baja California rather than main land Mexico because many bikers told me it had beautiful beaches and lots of mountains. This is true. I also discover that there are big long sections of desert and solitude, where traffic is converted into lizards, pedestrians into cactus, and the ocean into drifting dust. A place is define by the people who lives there, but when no one is around to mingle, nature takes on its personality, the raw place, teaches you so much more than a clump of buildings.
I am enjoying warm, very warm days. I miss everyone a lot, I’ll be a man, and confess that I have cried on occasion. Sometimes when talking with someone and sometimes alone, where I turn to God for comfort. Being apart from all of you is bringing me closer to you somehow. I think of all of you who support me, and it feels like we have been through so much together since my trip began. Don’t be surprised if I give you a big hug and thank you once I return. Probably more than one. A ten-month supply of hugs is pretty big for me, and I am saving more and more every day.
I will be taking a ferry in a few days from La Paz to Mazatlan. Then continue riding “down there” and gather up my thoughts for you in my 40% report. I’ll send it from “down there”, but I’ll wait for it to be “here”.
Thank you all very much.
BIKE IT SOLO,
Consider the following:
• Sonora area people: Tune in to KKBN The Cabin FM 93.5 Wednesday at 8:40 AM. I am trying to call in every Wednesday.
• Please forward or make copies of this report and post them where others may read it as well.
• Due to the fact that I have close to 270 people on my mailing list, please let me know if you have E-mail. You will receive the report sooner, with pictures attached. Send your name and E-mail to:
emmanuel.gentinetta at bikeitsolo.com
• Watch for Emmanuel’s 40% Progress Report, get one free when you buy 3 for the price of 4 coming to your town in a few more miles.
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