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Haven't heard from son on Pacific Coast bike trip
Old 05-30-2008, 08:15 AM   #1
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Haven't heard from son on Pacific Coast bike trip

Hi,

Our 22 year old son is traveling by himself by bike from Vancouver to San Diego, and the last we heard from him (May 22) he was on the Oregon/California border. His pattern had been to check in with us every couple of days, sometimes every 3 to 4 days.

We don't want to push the panic button too heavily, but, obviously we are concerned. He's been staying at youth hostels and campgroups.

No new is good news, for sure, and perhaps cell service is limited and he's been unable to charge his phone, or he is just having a grand old time.

Anyway, I thought I would reach out for any suggestions or ideas on how we might try to reach him.

Thank you,

Piano
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Old 05-30-2008, 08:28 AM   #2
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I'd be concerned as you are, but must admit that when my kids were that age it almost always turned out to be the typical dose of inconsiderateness, spacey brain, "do you have any idea how worried we were!?" type stuff.

Let us know when you hear from him. If nothing else, the "excuses" should prove interesting... Hope all is well.
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Old 05-30-2008, 08:34 AM   #3
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The only thing I can think of is for you to call the last place he stayed overnight. If you know his route, perhaps the hostel or campground folks may know where he might have stopped along on his journey.

Try not to worry too much. Keep us informed.
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thank you
Old 05-30-2008, 08:50 AM   #4
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thank you

Thanks for your encouraging thoughts. We have his itinerary and will make some contacts at the campgrounds he was planning to visit.
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Old 05-30-2008, 09:02 AM   #5
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Boy do I know where you're coming from. With a daughter it's worse. All sorts of things get into your head. DD has just completed her semester studying abroad in St. Andrews, Scotland. That part was not so bad. But when she made various trips to Spain, Italy, England etc. it would drive DW and I nuts when we didn't hear from her for days. She's in the air flying back home today. It will be good to see her at the airport this evening.

I wish I had suggestions for locating your son, but, short of notifying the CA State Patrol, you're out of luck. I remember when I was that age and traveling around. I NEVER called home and rarely wrote parents to let them know I was OK. I guess they finally got used to it.
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Old 05-30-2008, 09:05 AM   #6
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Piano, I can ask around the campsites here. Check your private messages.

There have been no reports of injured cyclists on the news -- something that would be a top story in this area.

Cell phone service is indeed spotty around here.
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Old 05-30-2008, 09:08 AM   #7
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Sorry I don't have any advice for this time, other than trying to call him and at least leave him a message on his cell phone that you hadn't heard from him for longer than you expected, and a check-in call would be appreciated.

For those looking for a solution in the future, there is something called the Spot Messenger, which can works on satellite to trace where you are, and to perform at least 3 signalling functions:

- In an emergency, call out for search and rescue.

- In a non-emergency help situation, sends a message to your email/phone list saying that you need help. The idea is probably that you are stranded and need someone to pick you up, but you don't need a rescue squad.

- An "I'm OK" message to your email/phone list just letting them know you're still fine. Ideally this is done every day so you (the parents) sleep better, and if you lose contact you know where they last were. But it does require the sender to remember to do this more or less on schedule.

It's not cheap, I think it's about $150 plus $99/yr subscription. findmespot.com is their web site. I don't even have one of these myself and I do read mixed reviews on the trail running and mountaineering forums because they aren't as reliable for emergencies as personal locator beacons, but those don't have the "I'm OK" or "Need a bit of help from a friend" signals--those only have a "911, come rescue me" button.

There's also a tracking mode on the Spot for an additional charge that will send signals automatically every so often so you can see even more details on where the person is and has been.
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We heard from son!!!!
Old 05-30-2008, 04:24 PM   #8
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We heard from son!!!!

Just heard from our son who is getting ready to cross the Golden Gate bridge; was having coffee at a place in Sausalito, tell me about the price of gas.

Why didn't he return his parents' phone calls? We didn't sound urgent or upset on the calls, and he had trouble getting cell service, was enjoying himself and didn't want to take time out to call.

Me? I was getting ready to call Governor Arnold.

Kids....and their parents!

Sorry for taking up the board's time with this personal matter, but you've help us out.

A special and heartfelt thanks to Trombone Al for his help and advice. We are fans.

Thank you,

Piano
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Old 05-30-2008, 04:52 PM   #9
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<sigh of relief>
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Old 05-30-2008, 05:02 PM   #10
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These 22 year olds...what are we going to do with them?

That's wonderful news.
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Old 05-30-2008, 05:05 PM   #11
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Glad to hear it!
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Old 05-30-2008, 07:32 PM   #12
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I did the same thing to my mother. Took off for a week in an airplane (I was flying it) to see an air show in Wisconsin. Never crossed my mind to call Mom and tell her I was OK after flying alone in a singe-engine airplane across the Appalachian mountains, which in her mind was akin to Lindberg flying the Atlantic. That was 1976 and no cell phones of course.

I got back, was 26 years old, had been a police officer for three years, and getting chewed out by an angry/upset mother. How do they have this knack of making you feel like you're still five?
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Old 05-30-2008, 08:54 PM   #13
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Glad that you heard from your son and everything is ok. I think he was being responsible by giving you an itinerary. At least you had a starting point if he was out of touch much longer.

I have 2 boys around the same age that I worry about when I don't hear from them regularly. I can imagine how you felt.
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Old 05-30-2008, 09:32 PM   #14
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my parents were used to me not coming home until very late even when i was just about 15 years old. but i got drunk & then sick at a friend's party one night so i walked home early to sleep it off.

when my parents came home from their night out, they saw that i hadn't let smokey, my weimar, up from the basement and so assumed that i was still out. well, in their mind, i never came home at all. so at 2 in the morning mom is calling the cops, has a 13 state alarm out on me and they are waking up like 20 of my friends, trying in a panic to find me.

finally they think to look upstairs where i was sound asleep, the angel that i am.

parents, go figure.

meanwhile, when i was in charge of 7 kids this summer and one of them disappeared i went into a parental panic. we can't find her. we can't find her. all the kids are telling me. i'm running around the house, around the property, yelling her name. down to the lake, the rocky shoreline, screaming for her to answer me.

where was my niece? under the bed, playing hide and go seek with her cousins who couldn't find her.
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Old 05-31-2008, 12:28 PM   #15
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I'm really glad that your son is ok. I have been watching this thread and hoping for good news. My daughter was in Berlin for 4 months this past winter. After her classes were over she flew to England for a 2 week visit with a friend that she "met" on the internet. I didn't hear from her for 4 days. She was fine...I was a wreck.
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Important TIP for EVERYONE: Learn to TEXT MESSAGE
Old 05-31-2008, 02:09 PM   #16
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Important TIP for EVERYONE: Learn to TEXT MESSAGE

Texting isn't just for kids. As it turns out, text messages are much more reliable than a person-to-person cell phone call or voice mail. There are many reasons for this, but the most important is that they store the text message, and re-try from time to time until it gets delivered. Also, even a long text is the equivalent of just a fraction of a second of speech, so it is very easy for these to get through, even in cases where you could not understand a voice message that was all chopped up.

It's easy - you can do it from your computer by just sending an email to the phone (and from phone to email). You don't need to learn how to use that numeric keyboard to type the alphabet. Check with the cell provider's web site - it's usually something like <cell#with areacode>@cellcompany.net. Ours is AAABBBCCCC@txt.att.net (ATT pre-pay) or AAABBBCCCC@tmomail.net (T-Mobile).

I very strongly recommend that everyone get the text address of important cell phone contacts listed in their computer and phones. If needed, you want it at the ready.

We are not too far from Northern IL University, where the Valentines Day shootings occurred, so we know people attending the school. They said, and it was widely reported in the news, that texts were going through no problem, while the voice lines were completely jammed and unusable. So this isn't just theory - it holds true, even in wide spread emergencies. That is when I loaded all the addresses in our devices (and tested them to make sure they worked!).

Glad to hear everything is OK - but I would do this now - it might avoid another gap in contact, and a few grey hairs.

-ERD50
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Old 05-31-2008, 02:35 PM   #17
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Old 06-01-2008, 05:21 PM   #18
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When I was a kid, I never appreciated my parents poking their noses into my business just because I didn't check in. None of their business! What a bunch of worriers.

When I was a young submariner, I never appreciated all the check-in requirements we had to comply with. We had better things to do than to phone home twice a day!

When I was a staff submariner and had to initiate SUBMISS procedures on a delinquent boat doing post-shipyard sea trials, I began to appreciate the administrative burden of checking in on time. It's a good thing that the submarine was OK-- because the SUBPAC chief of staff wanted to kill the CO before he turned him over to the admiral for counseling.

When I became a parent and my kid missed a checkin, I appreciated how the chief of staff felt.

Now that I'm a battle-tested parent of a 15-year-old with a learner's permit, who can't possibly get into any more trouble before she leaves the nest, I realize that I've started worrying whenever my father doesn't check in every month or so...
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Old 06-01-2008, 09:17 PM   #19
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Good to know that your son finally checked in.

My DD couldn't understand why her periodic check in calls are so important to my sanity...until her roommate seemed to be missing one day. The roommate left their house without purse, wallet or cell phone and DD was convinced that she was the victim of foul play, having recently broken up with her boy friend after a somewhat stormy relationship. Just as DD was getting ready to call the police with a missing person report, her roommate returned home. Turned out the roommate got a call from HER mother who was worried about roommate's sib not calling/coming home and she rushed over to her parent's house, forgetting her purse at home.

End result? DD FINALLY understands why it's important to stay in touch!

By the way, I wholeheartedly endorse using text messaging to make contact. Even if the phone's voice mailbox is full, the text messages still get delivered.

One other suggestion: When I was employed and traveled all over the world on business, usually alone, I got into the habit of leaving a note in my hotel room (usually in my toiletry case) noting the time, date and where I was headed (e.g., 8:30 pm, Monday, going to dinner at XX restaurant.) Maybe I'm paranoid, but I figured at least it would give the police a place to start looking for me if I ran into trouble.
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Old 06-10-2008, 05:46 PM   #20
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I was traveling cross country, right after 9/11, with a friend of mine who was moving to the Midwest from California. We were going to take about 10 days to drive 1500 miles. Neither of our cell phones had nationwide coverage and since we were both cheap, we only called our parents while we were still in CA.

Now we are both only-children and my buddy's parents are REALLY over protective! So, after about 7 days of hiking/camping all over Utah and driving through Colorado, we decide to call them up. My parents were worried, but also said that my buddy's parents were really worried! I had 6 messages on my cell phone, 5 of which were from HIS parents! He had *20* messages on his cell phone from them. Apparently, they got very worried and called up several state police agencies in Utah and Colorado. Tried to get missing persons report filed, but the cops said they couldn't do that yet. They eventually called up his credit card company and somehow convinced them that we must have been kidnapped and that they need to know where the last charges were. They had a complete list of all our charges. Needless to say, my friend got ripped into for days by his parents and subsequently all of his friends for his predicament.

BTW, my friend was 31 at the time of this trip
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