Joseph Machado is riding his bicycle from California to the White House to raise money for charity, but he is not alone. The 13-year-old has traveled more than 1,200 miles on his bike since June 5. His family trails him in a sport utility vehicle. His father, Robert, drives and acts as pit crew when needed. His mother, Elvira, navigates from the back seat and negotiates evening accommodations. His sister, Mercedes, 16, rides shotgun, updating the Twitter feed and taking snapshots along the way. The Machados made it to Fire Station 1 near NW 5 and Shartel Avenue about 5 p.m. Wednesday. They were to meet with Gov. Brad Henry this afternoon. They've already stayed in churches, homeless shelters, fire departments and police stations. Hotel chains also have donated rooms, Elvira Machado said. "We go from 50 miles to 120 miles every day. Today, we did like 110,” Joseph said. He spends up to six hours on the road each day. "There's nothing much out there. You have to watch the road, especially when you're on the freeway. If you have a blowout, it could throw you into traffic, so you really have to watch where your tires are,” Joseph said. "I play music when I'm out there, and besides that, I just watch the road.” Robert Machado said temperatures on the roads have been 100 degrees or more every day of the trip. It was 118 degrees when Joseph crossed the Mojave Desert over three days, he said. The Machados hit the road near Erick on Wednesday morning. A piece of metal in the road sliced Joseph's tires along a freeway, but the Machados still made it into Oklahoma City on schedule. "Our thoughts, my husband and I, were 45 to 60 days minimum,” Elvira Machado said. "Joseph, in his mind, has 40 days and he's had that from the beginning. Right now, he's about four days ahead of schedule, so I think he's going to make his 40 days. "We anticipate it, based on the miles we have charted out, to be about 3,000 miles total. So we're almost halfway.” They've received a little over $20,000 in donations. They hope to raise $500,000 for nonprofit organizations, primarily Kids in Christ. The Machados, who are in real estate, shut down their businesses in Upland, Calif., when Joseph announced his plans to bike cross-country two months ago. "Any parent who would let their 13-year-old ride across the country alone would be crazy. It was between him and God and we needed to be there to support him,” Robert Machado said. But his parents aren't the only ones making sacrifices to support Joseph. His sister, Mercedes, who sings opera in five languages, was recently chosen for a training program at Paramount Studios. She declined the invitation and also put off an audition for "American Idol” to support her brother this summer. "Joe has had people come up to him and say, 'Son, do you know how far the White House is?,'” Robert Machado said. "He'll say 'Yeah, it's about 3,000 miles,' and then they tell him ... 'How ... do you think you'll be able to do it?' And Joe just looks at him and grins and says, 'There's people all over this country who ride their bikes every day, and I'm going to ride my bike every day until I get there.' "And when I heard that, that's when I really realized how myself and probably most other adults live their lives with walls and barriers around them. And we restrict ourselves. We can learn so much from the younger children. "Not once has he questioned how he was going to do it. He's known from day one that he was going to do it and he wasn't concerned about that. He has that trust in us and in himself that he's going to make it, so I guarantee you, he'll be there. He'll make it to Washington, D.C., to the White House.”
HOW TO HELPDonations can be made at bikingforamerica.com.