Day 24 – A Whiter Lake Tahoe

Today is wedding day, and I wake up to a different Lake Tahoe than the one I have experienced these last days.

The weather has changed completely. It’s snowing!

I look through the window and observe the snow flakes dancing with the wind. Everything is so beautiful! This planet of ours really knows how to wow us.

I am happy that I am having a different experience. This snowy day is making my journey richer and more complete. This is a day I will surely remember.

We took some funny pictures to send to Mateus.

It is beautiful outside. We are ready for a memorable White Wedding. Let’s go!

Life is good!

As Barbara once taught me, “Best day ever!”


I am writing this on 02/12/2016. I am throwing papers away and found a 2012 calendar with the itinerary of my bike journey. I decided to write it down, so my son, if he so wants, can retrace my journey as he said he would someday.

5/01/2012 – Miami – Portland – Astoria

5/2/2012 – Astoria – Cannon Beach

5/3/2012 – Cannon Beach – Manzanita

5/4/2012 – Manzanita – Tillamook

5/5/2012 – Tillamoook – Cape Lookout Campground

5/6/2012 – Cape Lookout – Lincoln City

5/7/2012 – Lincoln City – South Beach

5/8/2012 – South Beach – Florence

5/9/2012 – Florence – Umpqua Lighthouse

5/10/2012 – Umpqua Lighthouse – Coos Bay

5/11/2012 – Coos Bay – Denmark

5/12/2012 – Denmark – Gold Beach

5/13/2012 – Gold Beach – Smith River

5/14/2012 – Smith River – Klamath River Campground

5/15/2012 – Klamath River Campground – Trinidad

5/16/2012 – Trinidad – Arcata

5/17 2012 – Arcata – Eureka

5/18/2012 – Eureka – Burlington Campground

5/19/2012 – Burlington Campground – Myers Flat (end of bike ride – broken spokes)

Journey continues by car

5/19/2012 – Myers Flat – San Francisco – Cameron Park

5/20/2012 – Cameron Park

5/21/2012 – Cameron Park – Sacramento – South Lake Tahoe

5/22/2012 – South Lake Tahoe

5/23/2012 – South Lake Tahoe

5/24/2012 – South Lake Tahoe – Incline Village (Meghann and Aaron wedding)

5/25/2012 – Incline Village

5/26/2012 – Incline Village

5/27/2012 – Incline Village – Muir Woods – Big Sur – San Luis Obispo

5/28/2012 – San Luis Obispo – Los Angeles / Santa Monica

5/29/2012 – Santa Monica – Redondo Beach (bike ride) – Los Angeles

5/30 2012 – Fort Lauderdale


Day 23 – Enjoyable Dinner

Weddings are memorable events, and this is one that I will not forget.

For those of you who haven’t attended many weddings, here’s a quick lesson about rehearsal dinners, taken directly from the pages of Wikipedia… “A rehearsal dinner is a pre-wedding ceremony in North American tradition, usually held after the wedding rehearsal and the night before the wedding ceremony. The guests generally include the couple to be married and others who form the wedding party, but may also include extended family and out-of-town guests. The purpose of the rehearsal dinner is for the relatives and friends of the bride and groom to meet and have a good time.”

And a good time we had, with Meghann and Aaron, and everyone else who was there.

Meghann & Aaron

We were surrounded by nice people.

Siblings – four of six

We had lots of fun.

Pedro & Maria

We were very grateful that we were invited to partake. Meals are definitely better when shared with people you like.

Life is good.


Day 23 – Joy of My Life

Nothing brings me more joy than my family. Today is a joyful day. Maria and Pedro left Los Angeles last night, drove all the way, and woke me up this morning with a knock on the door of my motel room in South Lake Tahoe.

I am together with my wife and son!

We hold each other in long ‘I-am-not-going-to-be-the-one-to-release-first’ hugs.

I am so happy to be with them!

Life is good.


We drove to Incline Village and checked in the hotel where the wedding will take place. It is a gorgeous resort, right on the lake.

Life is good.

We meet our friends and — no time to waste — the fun begins…

Maria, Pedro, Aaron, Steve, Steve Jr., Tim, and Jeff go kayaking.





Aaron (Steve’s son-in-law) and Steve (Aaron’s father-in-law)

Later we went to the heated spa.


Life is good.

Life is good.

Life is good.

The Bliss of Being in Heaven

This solo biking journey is giving me many opportunities to be here-now, to pay attention to the world around me. I guess that traveling does this to everyone; it awakens our senses and enhances our attention.

A little pause for reflection along the road…

I believe that our mission in this life is to develop our attentiveness, in order to be able to feel the Divine Presence, and realize that this Presence is everywhere.

If Heaven is where God is, then wherever we experience the bliss of being with God we are in Heaven, right?

It is by paying attention that we realize the beauty that is around us, the miracles that surround us.

It is our diligent observation that will make us realize that God is in each of us, and we all are in God.

And this realization will, from that moment on, inspire what we think, say, and do; it will guide us to create Heaven, and will lead us to experience a Heaven of beauty and abundance, right here on this Earth.


Pay Attention! Be Alert!

Day 23 – My Friend Steve

Some people come into our lives for a reason…

Those of you who have been following my journey through this blog have already heard about Steve, my mentor, and, by now, you know how fundamentally important he has been for my journey. He not only inspired me, but also made it possible for me to undertake this adventure.

1 – He was the one who broke ground, by going on a solo bike ride through the mountains of Colorado in August of 2011. When he came back he showed pictures, told stories, and allowed me to read his journal. He inspired me.

2 – He was the one who invited me to watch The Way, a movie I knew nothing about, but that was the tipping point for me; after watching it I decided that I would not wait any longer, and that it was time to start doing the things that I want to do before I die.

3 – He was the one who generously lent me all the equipment for the journey: bicycle, panniers, tent, sleeping bag, air mattress…

4 – He was the one who patiently acted as my coach and instructor. He taught me the ins and outs of bike riding and bike touring. He was the one who suggested the Pacific Coast bike route, gave me maps and books to read.

5 – Finally, he is the one whose daughter is getting married in Lake Tahoe tomorrow, and the reason why I scheduled the end of my bike trip to coincide with the wedding.

Steve was an integral element of this entire adventure.


This morning, I met Steve in Incline Village, where the wedding will take place.


Steve is an avid cyclist and runner. Everyday he is either cycling or running. Other days, he does both in the same day.

We were happy to see each other.

The disciple was happy to see the master.

The master was happy to see the disciple.

The disciple approached the master with a heart full of gratitude.

The master was proud with the disciple’s accomplishment.

The Monster and the Mentor of Monsters

Some people come into our lives for a reason…

Day 22 – Tahoe Queen

Another beautiful day, and today I am going for a boat ride on the Tahoe Queen!

This boat takes us from South Lake Tahoe to Emerald Bay and back, and the ride lasts close to four hours.

The island in Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe

Blue skies, snow covered mountains, green vegetation, and transparent water undoubtedly make Lake Tahoe one of the most beautiful places on this planet.

The gentle movement of the boat… the warmth of the sun…  ZZZ

I wake up… “Oops! I have been sleeping. I dozed off.”

Yes… for the record… on my way back I did take a nap on the upper deck.

Life is good!

Day 21 – I know where the Blues Brothers are…

If you have been following my journey, you know the many interesting people that I have met along the way.

You also know that I have used my superb investigative skills to reveal where Ringo, Bono, and Clak Kent are living.

Now I will reveal where “Joilet” Jake Blues and and Elwood Blues are…

… South Lake Tahoe, California!!!

Day 21 – We Are One

It is another perfect day for a walk in the woods.

I am taking the day for hiking in Nevada. I am going up Kingsbury Grade, through the woods, and then down to Nevada Beach.

It is so serene… the smell is so refreshing… silence and solitude… and then, suddenly, I am transported to a different dimension. There is no distance… no near or far… space is an illusion. Time slows down, and I realize that I am not separated, but that I am one with everything else.

I know what you are thinking. 🙂

Yes, I am in California, and… No, I am not smoking anything.

Back in 1997 I traveled to Utah to attend a week-long experience on principle-centered living with Stephen R. Covey. Back then I wrote a letter to my sons the day I arrived in Sundance, after a walk in the woods of Mount Timpanogas in the Wasatch Mountains.

Sometimes it is necessary to be alone in silence, and think. Today I have done just that. Today I took the trail to the waterfall. The one who arrives first does not win. The one who wins is he who enjoys the stroll the most.

We must walk slowly, in silence, and look at everything… the flowers, the sprouts, the tree trunks, the stones, the shadows, the sun through the leaves, the little insects and the huge sky.

We must look at the smallest and the biggest things. We must look at what is near and what is far.

Listen to all sounds: the river, the wind, the dogs barking in the distance and the grasshopper. Touch, feel, and understand that the little pebble contains the whole world. Feel the sun’s warmth, the breeze, and the cold in the shade. See the reflections of the sunlight on the water. Breathe in. Smell.

Look at the trees, humble yourself, and become one with nature.

Sometimes we need to be alone, in silence, without distractions, and just be.


Day 21 – Father and Sons

I woke up this morning with a phone call. It was Mateus, my son. We had an enjoyable conversation and talked for quite a while. Apparently my little adventure reignited my son’s interest in me.

“You are a very interesting man, dad,” he told me, with the excitement of someone who has made a recent discover. “I was thinking about you and the many roles you have had in your life. How many different jobs have you had?”

We began listing and got up to almost thirty different occupations, from the powerful high-paying jobs to the humblest ones. “You know something, dad? Someday I will do a documentary about you and your trip… It will be a son retracing the steps of his father.”

“I know it will be good, Mateus,” I told him.

He wished me good luck with the rest of my journey and we exchanged goodbyes.

After our conversation, I went out for a walk in the woods, and I kept thinking how this journey is inspiring my sons.

Witnessing their father doing something unexpected for his age is making them realize that age is relative. It is guiding them to take a second look at their own lives. It is instilling in them courage to pursue their grandest dreams, and self-confidence to ignore the nay-sayers they will meet along the way.

This trip is also making me take another look at my role as a father. I am here to inspire and support them.

Life is a mystery and I know that I have been blessed… two exceptional human beings came into my life, and made me a better man.

Nothing brings me more joy than my sons.

Day 20 – My Mentor’s Praise

I didn’t talk on the phone with too many people during this journey. I had daily conversations with my wife — to update her about my progress and let her know that I was OK — and every now and then I talked to my sons. That was pretty much it.

I exchanged some text messages with Steve, my mentor, but today we actually talked on the phone.

He told me, “You are not a cyclist who took on touring. You are a tourist who took on cycling; this is different, and it is a lot tougher. You should be proud of yourself. I admire and respect you. You said you were going to do it, and you did it, and that means a whole lot.”



Day 20 – Bethany

I am going to buy some food to have in my room. It is a way of saving some money…  skipping meals in restaurants.

On my way to the supermarket I pass through Heavenly Village, a newly developed complex in South Lake Tahoe, with condominiums, hotels, restaurants, coffee shops, and retail stores. It’s quite large and just one block from where I am staying. It is a nice place to hang out.

“Unfortunately the cable car is not open for the public,” I am told. “It will resume operations next week.”


I get to Raley’s to buy some groceries. I want chocolate milk, bread, cheese, and some fruits and vegetables. There is a mini refrigerator in my room.

That’s where I meet Bethany.


Bethany in the supermarket

First, I cannot believe my eyes… It is cold outside, and here she is, wearing a bikini… in a supermarket! I can’t resist, so I ask her, “Would you mind if I take your picture?” She does not mind. She even strikes a little pose. She tells me her name and her age, and that she doesn’t have the same body she had when she was younger. I listen to her, but I don’t have the nerve to ask why she is wearing a bikini, sandals and a backpack, and if this is the attire she usually wears when she goes out shopping.

Later, I had to think that maybe she wasn’t mentally sane, and this thought made me a little sad.

O well… We certainly meet some interesting people on the road.


P.S. … a friend of mine just brought to my attention that probably there was a hidden camera in the supermarket filming people’s reactions to the girl in bikini.

How naive I am!

That possibility never crossed my mind. 🙂


Day 20 – South Lake Tahoe

Here I am in South Lake Tahoe after a nice bus ride. I took a nap along the way but woke up in time to enjoy the amazing views from the top of the mountain pass.

I don’t know where to stay so I look at guides and maps.  I decide to check in the Capri Motel – nice and affordable – and the lady at the front desk is kind and helpful.

The motel is located on the Stateline road which separates California from Nevada. The difference between one side of the road and the other is evident; there’s no gambling in California, so this side is full of small two-floor motels like the one I am staying, but across the street tall buildings and casinos populate the Nevada skyline.

I walk down to Lakeside Beach. It is a beautiful day and the view of the lake and mountains is breathtaking.

I am happy to be here!

Life is good!





Day 20 – Bus Ride to Lake Tahoe

I woke up and folded all bed sheets, trying to leave the room in the best possible condition for Shirley to have the least amount of work… I’m just trying to be a good guest.

After breakfast I said goodbye to Shirley, we exchange one of those long-time-friends hugs, and I am riding with Bill to Sacramento where I will catch the bus this morning. On our way we stop at a UPS store to ship a box to Florida full of stuff that I will not need any longer.

Bill takes me to Amtrak station in Sacramento and we say goodbye. I don’t know if I will ever see them again, but they surely will not be forgotten. They left a good mark. They have re-taught me a lesson; with their kindness and generosity they have increased my willingness to be kind and generous.

I reflect… the kindness and generosity you give out increases and multiplies through those who have received it.

Amtrak Station in Sacramento

I sat down at the station and waited for my bus. The day before Bill had given me one of his old coolers, “Here. Use this.” So here I am with my 2 pieces of luggage: the black and yellow handlebar bag, and my piece of “Hawaiian luggage” — Bill’s cooler with a bungee cord around it to keep it closed. I probably wouldn’t need to carry the cooler had I decided to ship the tent and the sleeping bag, but I have decided to keep both with me because I am not completely sure what lies ahead.

And here I am, on my way to Lake Tahoe!

The only stop along the way... Placerville, I believe.





Day 19 – Total Eclipse of the Sun

Today I have a to-do list.

1 – Do the laundry

2 – Purchase a bus ticket to Lake Tahoe

3 – Ship the bike back to Florida

4 – Buy a pair of jeans for the rest of the trip (because I only have biking clothes)

5 – Buy a duffel bag to carry my stuff (since I am shipping the panniers back to Florida with the bike)

We took care of the first two items in the morning. Shirley helped me with the laundry, and since all my clothing is made of fabric that doesn’t go in the dryer, we hanged everything in the garage. It worked just fine.

I checked in the Internet the available bus rides to Lake Tahoe. Buses don’t stop in Cameron Park so I will have to get the bus in a city nearby. I couldn’t find one to my final destination –Incline Village — which is located in the north of Lake Tahoe, so after checking with Bill if he could give me a ride, I decided to purchase a ticket in the bus that leaves tomorrow morning, at 10:15 AM from Sacramento and takes me to South Lake Tahoe. I figured that once I get there I will find transportation to the north of the lake.

After taking care of those two items, Bill, Sophia and I left for shopping and shipping.

Bill took us to a nice outlet where Sophia did her shopping at the Nike store (an item she will wear at her pool party tomorrow), Bill purchased what he needed at the Jockey store, and I bought my Levi’s jeans. We ate lunch at the food court and we took the bike and the panniers to Bicycles Plus in Folsom. They said they would take care of packing and shipping, but Taylor told me that it would take them at least one week because they had a lot of work to do before they could get to it. I agreed.

I looked at duffel bags but couldn’t find a simple and inexpensive one; all they had were fancy ones with wheels and handles so I decided not to buy.

Bill showed me a little bit of the historic section of Folsom and we took the scenic road back to Cameron Park. It was a beautiful day.

On the way back home, Bill told me that once, not having a suitcase, someone had assembled a carton box with a handle, and his sister-in-law, who is from Hawaii, pointed at the box and said, “This is Hawaiian luggage.”

“I guess we will get a piece of Hawaiian luggage for you to carry your stuff,” Bill said with a smile.

Later that afternoon we saw the solar eclipse.

I got the image below from the following website

It was interesting to see the shadows projected on the wall.

Again, we had a nice dinner, enjoyable conversations, and I had a lot of gratitude in my heart. I realized that the Wingates were the ones who created the conditions that allowed me to experience such happiness.

I said my own little prayer of gratitude and recommitted to help the people I meet.

Day 18 – The Kindness of Friends

“I have always depended on the kindness of strangers” is a line spoken by the character Blanche DuBois in the play “A Streetcar Named Desire” written by Tennessee Williams. Vivien Leigh played that character in the 1951 film based on the play, and the quote became one the most famous movie quotes of all time.

I have to say that I have been immensely blessed by the kindness of strangers. I met Bill for the first time just two days ago and I am in awe with his generosity.

Here I am!

He brought me into his home, fed me, and offered to help me in any way he can.

I admire his giving spirit.

Shirley, Bill, Matthew, Lissa and Sophia

I met Shirley, Bill’s wife, and after listening to their stories, it became clear to me that the two of them are real good people, devoted to do good and spread goodness. They have made many sacrifices during their lives and continue to selflessly give of themselves. I was honored to meet them, and humbled by the grandeur of their character. They really are admirable individuals!

Sophia and Tyler

I met the other members of the family and we ate a delicious dinner in the lovely backyard.

What a day! When I woke up this morning I could never have imagined that I would be covering 350 miles, that I would be in and out of San Francisco in the same day, and that I would be sleeping in Cameron Park that night. I wasn’t even aware of Cameron Park’s existence!

Life is what happens to us while we are busy making plans, isn’t it?

Today’s outcome was better than what I could have imagined, so I guess that what I am learning is that, as long as I remain open to accept the kindness and generosity of the people I meet, I will be blessed beyond what I am capable of imagining.

I have been blessed by the kindness of strangers…No!

I have been blessed by the kindness of friends.