Falling Uphill book cover and Scott standing on the edge of Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa
Pablo's family
This is Pablo’s family. Sister, Patricia and her son, parents Ramero and Yolanda, and on the right I think is his brother Matías. The other brothers, Franco, Diebe, Andrés and Pablo, were off to school. I mailed them this framed picture. I'm sure they put this photo on proud display. So, if we share this image, someone might recognize it. (Please forgive my spelling of their names.)

The Search for Pablo

Pablo trying on a Dennis' bicycle helmet.
Pablo trying on a Dennis’ bicycle helmet.

Update 2023: I have some new information as to where Pablo and his family lived. See below. If you have ideas how to find this family, please contact me.

While riding around the world on a bicycle, Dennis and I got stuck in the mud in the Gran Chaco desert and were rescued by an Argentinian family. Because of this heart-warming story, I was honored to be the Cultural Ambassador to Argentina by the U.S. Department of State. As part of their cultural outreach program, I returned to the Chaco and visited many schools to tell my story.

Through a series of unfortunate mistakes, I lost contact with Ramero. So, myself, the embassy, the media, and even the Governor of the Chaco all searched for Pablo and his family. I especially wanted to find Pablo. I wanted to tell them that their generosity had gone on to create a book, and inspire thousands of children, and maybe even more adults in many different countries. 

Unfortunately, we couldn’t find their small village, which wasn’t on my original map. I used a paper map and it wasn’t very accurate as you can see, especially compared to the view on Google Maps. (See below.)

Rutas de la Argentina paper map
I navigated all of northern Argentina using this paper map. Each day on the bicycle was only a few centimeters on the map.
Rutas de la Argentina paper map close up
Here is a closeup of the paper map of Argentina. Each day I circled my campsite. Ramero and Pablo’s village is somewhere near the top arrow. The biggest nearby village is misspelled. It should be “El Totoral”. Our maps had many errors.

Clues to finding Pablo

Scotts bike coated in thick, sticky mud, which jams the gears and breaks.

Can I help you? 

Read the original story about getting stuck in the mud.

Though I met Romero and his family in 2002, and I’m sure Pablo went off to university, I’d still like to get a message to them all to show them what a big difference they made, not only to me and Dennis, but to their country.

I think the best way is to share the feature picture above of the family. 

When Dennis and I finally arrived safely in Buenos Aires, we developed my roll of film, printed, framed and mailed this photograph to Ramero. Unfortunately, it was a rainy day, so my picture is blurry. However, I believe they proudly displayed this photo and if we share it, someone in their community might recognize it.

New information 2023: My cycling partner Dennis found his journals in which he noted that they lived in Palmar Largo close to the Pilcomayo River. At the time, they had a Scottish friend living nearby in El Portillo. They lived in an indigenous community that was big enough to have a high school. And Ramero owned a convenience store that Patricia operated.

Here is Palmar Largo, Argentina on Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/y4TLM7WFjRtoEXW37

So, if you happen to be in Argentina, please share this story and the story of how we met, and these photographs.

I’d like to meet Pablo and his family again someday. Miracles do happen. Thanks. 
~ Scott

The book inspired by Pablo’s family

Ilustración de Scott montando su bicicleta y cayendo cuesta arriba.
Cayendo Hacia Arriba El Secreto de la Vida. By Scott Stoll. Sinopsis: Cayendo Hacia Arriba es la historia real de un hombre que viajó por el mundo en bicicleta en búsqueda del secreto de la vida. Si bien el autor descubrió innumerables maravillas durante su viaje, regresa a su hogar desalentado para descubrir recién allí el secreto en el último lugar que le quedaba por buscar.
Scott and his bicycle inside a big snake that ate them.
Here is the page in the book inspired by Ramero and his family. Ramero used to tease Scott and Dennis that anacondas love to eat bicyclists.

More photos of Pablo

Pablo washing Scott's bike
Pablo and his brother and friend took it upon themselves to wash our bikes. They were unrideable. What a pleasant surprise.
Pablo helping fix Scott's bike
Pablo supervises his dad fixing my bicycle. Ramero, a former mechanic, comes up with an ingenious method. He welds a piece of metal to the shaft of the broken bolt giving his wrench something to grab onto. While doing so, he teaches his sons and neighbor kids all the tricks.
Chaco Governor Capitanich Cayendo Hacia Arriba
Cayendo Hacia Arriba being presented to the governor of Chaco, Argentina where several schools participated in the making of the book. From left to right: Press Officer Shannon Farrell, DCM Jefferson Brown and Governor of Chaco, Jorge Capitanich. Photo courtesy of the US Embassy.

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More stories about the making of this book

How I make the aerial view photos look real, including using satellite views and chalking the drawing out square by square.
The children's edition of Falling Uphill arrives in Kenya.
The Spanish edition of my "Falling Uphill" kids book "Cayendo Hacia Arriba" is being used by the Peace Corp in Paraguay to teach kids how to read and dream.
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