Wednesday, July 31, 2013

On the road -- AGAIN!

First, let me say that I am so proud of my little car! Even as it approaches 90,000 miles it continues to get such wonderful gas mileage. On this last trip with three fillups, mileages were: 38.45, 38.52 and 39.49mpg! The latter was actually the first tank, when I was driving easily in the early morning hours headed northeast. The last two covered heavy slow/fast and even stop and go traffic during the next half of the trip north, and a slightly heavier foot on the pedal all the way home. I'm getting braver, edging that speed up just a tad and hoping the vigilant Virginia cops leave me alone. So far, so good. If I didn't have this car -- or another car with equally good mileage -- I'd never be able to afford all these trips I take.

My next trip, however, is going to take me further and faster -- as in a big old jet from Atlanta to San Francisco. I returned home to find my dear friend Ayya Sobhana left alone at the hermitage with only one lay woman to help, and many construction and maintenance projects underway. The other bhikkhunis are staying elsewhere for the next few months while all this is going on, so I felt that I had to find a way to help her out. I can do more of the financial stuff from there, and more to help her with various elements of project management. I am already doing more from here, but in a few weeks there are no more lay women scheduled to visit and help. Someone must prepare her food and drive her from time to time -- the monastic orders do not allow her to do these things for herself.

That said, I'll be leaving here August 14 and returning September 17. Cold weather, rodents, mold and all the chaos be damned! It'll also be a really good opportunity for me to determine whether or not I will be able to go there to stay, as I've been considering once again. This is going to be tougher than last year -- the 'kitchen' is outdoors, soon to be covered by a large canopy that I just ordered for them. Two big Coleman camp stoves do the work. Water is nearby -- don't know if it's been plumbed to the temporary kitchen or not. But, I've cooked meals in the woods for myself many times, using a simple one-burner backpacking stove, so I can do this. All that's needed is filling and nutritious food -- nothing fancy.

So, it's going to be an adventure -- one I'm looking forward to. This time I'm taking some good cold weather clothing, even though that will require checking a bag and thus more $$. But the comfort will be worth it.

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