Autobiography Dieter Rolf Fischer Book 11
(Pictures by author, unless indicated) Book 11 / Ch. 24 Written / Published 15.5 - 18.5.2013
On the day of commencing this chapter, one year ago to the day, I departed for the 5-month 2012 world tour, flying first to the USA. This chapter takes us back to California, crossing the American continent via Canada.
It so happened, amazing timing, about an hour before writing this intro, I watched the final ten miles of the (cycling) Tour of California 2013 on SBS TV. Keeping in mind the date (15.5 in Australia) the stage was won by No. 51, his 9th win of the Amgen event.
Beyond the finish line, two of the winner's team mates drew beside him, to congratulate No.51. Their numbers made me smile: First came No. 53, a moment later, as if numbers had anything to do with it, No. 55. The winner's time for stage 3 of this Amgen 2013 - 4 hours 20 min, 31 seconds.
More codes came hidden in the winner's name: Peter Sag.an, and the town where the race just finished: Santa Clarita. We all heard of Santa Clara. Can you see - it?
24. Golden Hope
My plane at Barajas Airport Madrid, Spain was ready for take-off. It was taxiing along the runway, ready to take us to Philadelphia, USA, when the voice of the pilot spoke: "We will be arriving in Philadelphia at 3.18 PM..." This was despite the scheduled time of arrival was only 3 minutes earlier at 3.15 PM, and we were leaving almost right on time. Why bother? I thought, this pilot must be a German-born perfectionist, with a strong guilt complex?
In the end, the plane landed at 3.05 PM. The pilot reminded us twice after landing, that this was the local time. I had booked my flight to New York to arrive reasonably early in the evening, as to avoid walking the streets of Manhattan alone at night. Lucky I had allowed a few hours to change planes at Philadelphia. Time would be needed to go through customs again, since I was re-entering the USA.
At the entry point I had a difficult time. I had failed to fill in Form 1-94.The immigration officer, I have not met a friendly one ever, showed his displeasure. He gave me a form to fill in. I did, but not good enough. Twice he rejected my effort and made me go back to fill in a new form.
My patience was running a little thin. Other countries welcome tourists. Why was I made to feel like an illegal immigrant, a terrorist or a fugitive? I had been double-checked in Madrid airport, but never felt the same coldness about the whole process. It might have been this un-nerving experience, which made me decide to not cross the continent through the USA, but via Canada.
Philadelphia Airport - 2.10.2012: (I just noticed the No.31 in this picture)
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All en time - 3 0 1.
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After the delay at Philadelphia airport there was another, in the subway station on 42nd street. For at least half an hour I waited for my train to the youth hostel. It never arrived. Some kind person informed me, a little late, that the line I was waiting for does not run after 10 PM. But I could take any of the others, many of which I had let go by.
It was not a long walk from the subway at 103rd Street, but as midnight was approaching I felt a little apprehensive. I needed not worry. The path was well lit and a few pedestrians were still about. It was exactly on midnight, when I crawled into my bunk, trying to not disturb those already sleeping in the eight-room dorm.
Jet lag or not, one does not visit New York and stay in bed after 7 AM. I took an early walk up to Broadway, took another photo of Tom's Restaurant, of Seinfeld fame, and had breakfast at a MacDonald's nearby. Reading the Metro Newspaper I mused at an article on page 05. Police had found a number of unusual creatures in an apartment: a boa constricta, two pythons etc etc. The address was Dean Street.
Another name on the next page of that free newspaper stood out: Brian Fischer. As head of New York State's Prisons, he said that his department may have to re-think the use of solitary confinement. He agreed that it was being overused for prisoners, who had committed only minor offences. I was reminded of the man, who spent nearly ten years in solitary confinement, who had done nothing wrong.
The mild New York weather in early October 2012 surprised me. I had expected far colder temperatures. It made the two days of riding across this city so much more pleasant. How thankful I was for my GIANT, and the people at the Amsterdam Ave. YHA for looking after it for me.
On the first morning I rode right from the bottom of Manhattan, on the cycle path, right up to 122nd Street, which took me past the huge towers of the historic Riverside Church. Later I attended a mid-week service there, a great experience in this magnificient Baptist Church.
At the Lincoln Centre on Broadway I had come across an interesting name. A person had a theatre named after him - David H. Koch. I took a photo. Glad I did, because minutes later, racing my bike up Manhattan to be on time for that church service I stumbled across a street name - Tiemann PL, with two n. Take a look:
The posters, some addressed to XI JIPING (Mr. 11 J1?) read:
On the morning of October 4th, the weather was still very mild, I found myself exploring the East side of Manhattan. One street had a nice ring to it - Madison Avenue. That's if you're a male and people think your are not quite there - in the head. What I experienced on Madison Ave. between 84th and 85th Streets sounds just like that. You be the judge:
What really blows my mind, friends, how God used this little Belgian Cafe, firstly back in October 12, then seven months later, the day of this writing. Take another quick look at the numbers on my Suzuki dash earlier. Now take a look what I uncovered, only hours later: The address of the Cafe on Madison Ave.
1131 Madison Ave, Upper East Side, New York, 10021-47
Don't you love* this. Yes, it's only a number. To those who believe may see God is in all things, even a simple number.
God's love is even greater. Take another look at the New York address. The zipcode holds the digits for this chapter - Book 11, Chapter 24. Only a 700 (7 C) left over - the last digit standing is that of Almighty God. Nothing is co-incident, friends!
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Timely AWL (Pet Care Org) Magazine:
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New York left a very favourable impression on me. Unlike other places, I can't recall many beggars, or homeless people. According to the New York Post, the city had one homicide free Monday late in November 2012. In January a murder-free period in New York City lasted for nine days! (Poor journos, nothing to write about.)
So much did I trust the people of New York ( and God) that on the first night I left my bicycle outside the youth hostel, virtually unlocked. My bike accessories, including the lock, at first could not be located, it only turned up the next day. I just tied an elastic strap around the wheel and frame. Thankfully, my GIANT was still there the next morning.
My plane back to Australia was to leave from Los Angeles in mid October. I had two weeks to cross the American Continent. The cheapest way, I figured, was a seven-day pass on Greyhound Buses. Luckily, I had pre-booked this while still in Europe. Had I left it only a day or two later, on 30th September 2012 Greyhound discontinued their seven-day, unlimited travel ticket.
For budget travellers like me this ticket was perfect. Not only did it cover the US and Canada, by travelling overnight I saved on accommodation. The bus became my dormitory. Except, often there is not much room and you may suddenly find a fellow traveller resting on your shoulder. Travelling by coach can be a very intimate experience indeed:
On the bus - outside the bus:
The first leg of my seven-day Greyhound trek across the USA was overnight from New York to Niagara Falls. Crossing the border passengers had to carry all their luggage into the customs hall, and load it back onto the bus at the far end. My bike, again packed in a cardboard box, was rather cumbersome, but I managed. The weather had changed considerably from mild, dry New York to overcast and much cooler.
Arriving mid-morning posed a problem - check-in time not until 2 PM. But I need not have worried, the staff at the YHA Niagara, which was very close to the bus station and within walking distance to the famous falls, let me into my room early. (I wrote the number into my diary - 204.)
A lot of water went over the edge since, more than 40 years ago, my wife and I had travelled through this part of the world. The tourist facilities all had changed, many more high-rise hotels with fantastic views. Surprisingly, both the American Falls and the Canadian Falls looked just the same as before!
Since I was staying overnight I had unpacked my bike to use. I left the box at the bus terminal. In the afternoon I took a superb ride above the Niagara River, along the canyon ridge, out to Niagara Park. At a tall landmark tower I read the inscription: Brocks Monument. The 164 ft tall structure is in memory of Sir Isaac Brock, who was killed in a fierce battle in 1812 on that very spot, Queenston Heights Hill.
Niagara Falls - on the border of the USA and Canada
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Had it not been for the doubtful weather I may have considered a night in Toronto. As it was, within an hour of the Greyhound bus arriving I boarded another to travel west, far west. The route followed Highway 17, north of the Great Lakes right through Ontario to Thunder Bay on Lake Superior. For hours the autumn colours in the forests beside the highway were mesmerizing. It found it relaxing, to read my bible, as nature flew by at 70 miles per hour.
A major meal stop came at Sudbury. I needed to stretch my legs, so I took a brisk walk. Having read the Old Testament, all the exploits of Moses on the bus, I was actually thinking about his very name, when that same moment I looked and saw a sign. In large, blue letters I read: Aaron's. (According to Google, it's a furniture store on Notre Dame Ave.)
After a night and a day on the bus, I should really have disembarked and looked for accommodation at Thunder Bay. But considering, how far I still needed to travel on my 7-day ticket, plus the now rather cold weather, I decided to stay another night on the bus. Winnipeg was listed as having a YHA. I planned to stop there overnight.
A third night on the bus, without a proper shower, however, I did not even consider; (not fair to fellow travellers). Across the closed down Youth Hostel in Winnipeg was a reasonably priced Motel. For 70 Dollars I enjoyed a clean room with views over the town. It was raining, so I bought some food, took a quick walk around, dodging the rain, and went back to the motel.
(Back on the road)
Many of the places I travelled through I had never heard of or only known by name. Banff - now you understand, why I wrote - amazing timing above - was one I had heard a lot about and always wanted to go there. It was famous for a big hotel and high mountains. I had arranged my travels as to arrive early in the morning, spend a few hours there, and take the early afternoon bus to Vancouver.
It worked out perfectly. Everything in Banff was in walking distance. And after all those hours, bum glued to a seat, I made the most of it. It was a cool, but lovely, dry morning. One of the first photos I took gives credit to the outstanding beauty of this place:
Beautiful Banff, Alberta, Canada
I purposely did not take the late evening bus from Banff to Vancouver, but left mid-afternoon. The road west through the Rockies, right across Alberta and British Columbia was one of the most spectacular I had ever been on. On either side of the highway rose gigantic mountains, which I photographed, tried to, as the setting sun was hitting their snow-capped peaks. (Another reason to return, to take a better photo.)
The road followed deep valleys, beside wild rivers. Our friend's, who are travelling this part of the world as I write, must have been in awe, as I was, when they sent us their greeting. They were travelling these valleys by train and would see even more of its beauty.
The lady bus driver into Vancouver did a great job. Despite a 1/2 hour traffic delay, our bus arrived ahead of schedule at 4.30 am. Unfortunately, it rained. Forever optimistic, I still unpacked my Giant two-wheeler, placed the box in a corner at the bus station, and hung around, waiting for day-break and the rain to stop.
Sitting at the MacDonald restaurant I contemplated, what a long way over from New York I had come. Next, I spot this newspaper headline at a news stand:
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Thankfully, daylight arrived in Vancouver and the rain stopped. It was cold and rather dull, but I had heard so much about this place, I felt excited to be exploring this city, if only for a few hours.
In Vancouver I experienced the second half of my 2012 winter. My fingers were frozen without gloves. I mostly cycled with one hand on the handlebar, the other in the pocket. Near Denman Street I got talking to another cyclist around my age. He had come from somewhere in northern Canada to 'escape the cold'. One can only imagine how cold it gets in his home town, if he needed to holiday south in Vancouver, to enjoy a balmy 45 Fahrenheit ( 7 deg. Centigrade).
I was glad my bus was turning left, heading due south to warmer climates. We were running late, when we arrived in Seattle, Washington. The next bus to Portland, Oregon was already waiting. I ensured my bike box was loaded onto the right bus. There was little help available to move one's luggage. Fellow travellers at times were the best help, either watching or assisting in carrying my bike box.
All overnights between Banff and San Francisco I spent on the bus. One morning a male voice across the isle kept talking on and on to a fellow passenger. At 2 am one expected a little silence, not another's life story, where every second word was I, me or my. It was my third night on the bus. Thinking about it as I write makes me feel sleepy!
Arriving in San Francisco I looked forward as much to a good night's sleep in a real bed, as I did to riding my Giant across the Golden Gate bridge. At 240 7th Street, at the Knights Inn, I got it.
It was now October 12th, just before the final weekend of my long, long world trip. That night the Ryan / Biden Vice-Presidential candidate debate was televised on TV. I only half-watched, because I was busy in the bathroom washing shirts socks and underpants, which would have to last me for the rest of the trip.
My Giant again proved invaluable getting around Frisco. Before it was proper daylight, at 6.30 AM, I was on my bike down to the harbour. Following the esplanade I passed the famous Pier 39 and continued to Fort Mason. Across the water in the distance I got my first glimpse of the famous, red-steel bridge.
Because of the cost, I relocated, later that morning, to another place, a hostel a young Swiss man on the coach had recommended. As I cycled along 7th Street, loaded up with all my luggage, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a man sitting on the sidewalk. He was obviously homeless, begging. In San Francisco I saw many more beggars, compared to New York.
All that morning I kept thinking of that homeless man. So before embarking on my sightseeing rides I went back to check if the beggar was still sitting on the sidewalk. He was. We got talking. Why I felt particularly sorry for this man, I don't know. I asked him, if he had eaten yet. Silly question, really. I bought him some chicken and Orange Juice. As he ate we talked some more. I noticed two large letters showing through his jacket - I C.
A few moments into our conversation the owner of a business nearby came out and told him to move on. A beggar on the footpath, outside your premises, was obviously not good for business. Before we parted I asked for the homeless man's name: Darren Stanley Hilton. What a nice name, I thought; what a tragic way of life!
The next morning, pulling along my little red suitcase to the bus terminal, I suddenly thought I saw the person, who stole my bike. In broad daylight, around 9AM, a man about my age was riding a bike slowly on the sidewalk of busy *Market Street. It was a Saturday morning; shoppers and tourists everywhere. (*Am I really writing about a Market ... incident to be published on 18.5?)
I could not believe what I saw: The rider was carrying a full size, men's bicycle, which was locked up. With one hand he balanced his load, with the other he steered his bike with the handlebar. For a moment I was startled, thinking of my bike. Before I could take a photo, let alone challenging him, he was gone. Nobody bothered one iota. I looked around for a police patrol. Not one, anywhere!
Thinking it over, how could this be happening? Why would anybody carry a locked bicycle on their shoulder? My suspicious mind thinks it could be an organized operation. And if the bike on the thief's should had a steel lock, not a mere cable like mine, his was the only way to steel, sorry steal it. (Steel will be a key word in this chapter shortly.)
To be so brazen in broad daylight, could it be that police is turning a blind eye, or even receiving a kick-back? Police can be great. making music. They can also be corrupt, making money. After this sad experience, after observing things, I recommend San Francisco senior police study New York and learn a lesson.
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Fast forward seven months: While writing these chapters, as always, much is going on. I wished I could write all of it in this detailed format, but I'd have to be a full-time writer. It would be too much for the reader to digest and appreciate. I would find it exhausting.
The following is one of those discoveries, where I wonder, is it all madness, or who and what is behind it all? God knows. We must trust HIM.
On mother's day 2013 I was casually reading the Warcry Magazine of April 27th. There is no crossword and I don't usually bother with word search. That afternoon I did. I saw this:
(Warcry Magazine - Pages 4 - 7)
So where did I see a link in above word STEEL to a fire? Maybe I had fire on my mind, because our Advertiser Newspaper for 11.5.13 had a huge headline - MAYDAY - under a picture of bush on fire! Just outside Adelaide, very late in the season, a fire had been raging for three days. But this was Warcry Magazine.
I saw number 1115 in above wordsearch. On 11.1.05 a huge fire in South Australia had killed 9 people. In above wordsearch the word STEEL is in the 9th line - letters 11-15 from the left.
Just above STEEL I noticed (in the shape of the letter J) the letters DO DIE CN. Ever noticed that the letter J is a mirror image of the letter L?
On page 5 of Warcray a large headline read: STEELY DETERMINATION. After seeing this I asked the question - Why was Steel not in word search?
But there was, more codes on page 5, a code-crackers picnic).
I ON AN (white letters minus R).
If 7 minus 1 = 6, then on bottom right - 4 8 6.
Those readers, who no longer dismiss my writing as lunatic, will have come to the conclusion - there is higher mind behind all this. Those who still doubt, please read the conclusion of this book with an open mind. This higher power, Almighty God, is the think tank, the master planner, behind it all. Right here, toward the end of Book 11, God gave me Hope, the name Hope, to end this chapter in a most amazing way.
The Greyhound coach from Banff to Vancouver passed two places. One, the town where we had our evening meal break. It's called Golden. I recall taking a brief walk, where I found a coin, before crossing a busy main road. (No it wasn't a gold coin, the US doesn't have any).
The other town the bus passed through only registered during this writing, as I checked the route in Google Maps. I stand in awe, pondering not merely the name, but what message it holds: Hope (British Columbia).
Hope is a town, according to Google Maps, exactly 150 kilometers from Vancouver. Right near there, National Route 3 meets National Route 5. The reason I don't recall this place is this: Had our coach stopped for a break, it would have been in the dead of the night, between 2.00 and 3.00 AM. (Checking the online Greyhound schedule, it lists this service as No. 5155, stopping at Hope at 2.25 am.)
I see a symbolic message in this.
To this day, God's own people, the Jews, to a large extend, do not recognize HIM. They too are sleeping as HOPE passes by.
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