A Ride To Banyan Grove

Posted by Bradley Stoll on Jul 15, 2019
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This part of my journey began at 6:20 am Friday morning. Along the nearly 100 miles (we did take a few detours...some even intentionally) I never felt lonely, although often alone. Vishesh met me at the Kindness Temple. Of course, Harshida Auntie wouldn't let us go without a nourishing breakfast, both physically and emotionally. And she did this all as she was also trying to get herself off to work! The next stop was Pavi and Viral's, where a planned circle with Sr. Marilyn was in progress. We arrived after about 3.5 hours on the road. Riding along the Bay Trail, it was mostly relaxing. My mind didn't have to focus on pain or wind; I was just allowed take in the nature. And then we got close to Pavi and Viral's. OK, I had to walk my bicycle up several steep hills. For me, it was a decision that had to be made. Listening to Sr. Marilyn, as well as Mia, John, Richard, Anne, and Pavi, was just what we needed. That, and the continued nourishment provided by everyone who held us. John reminded Vishesh and I it's not just about getting from point A to point B. Anne again invited us to stop by her place, which would prove to be pivotal for both of us, especially me. Oh, and this is the first place that I was able to make my first bracelet as an offering.

Around 3 pm, Vishesh and I headed out for SF. 5 hours later, not the 3 predicted by Google, we made it to my cousin's home in SF. Along the way, we were able to receive help from two young women. I think it was somewhere in San Mateo where we got a bit lost. They used their phones to help us get back on track. Interestingly enough, most of the time I had no idea of what city I was in. I like to think boundaries were dissolving in my mind...it could also have been that I was getting physically and mentally tired, too:).

Next came an unplanned stop South San Francisco, to visit the home where my wife grew up. Some neighbors that I knew invited us in, letting us use their facilities and refresh our waters. An added benefit is that they also gave us a better route (less uphill!) for part of our trip. Off we went. Of course, we got a bit lost. As we approached a BART station, I decided to ask a cab driver for directions. He offered them and then surprised me with, "how much are you going to give me?" Now, I think he was half saying it jokingly, but partly serious, too. I was a bit thrown and had no plans of using any money on the trip. But, I did bring envelopes and stamps. I asked him to self-address an envelope and I'd send him some money. He asked, "How much? I want to know if it's worth my time." I wasn't prepared for this, but then what am I ever prepared for? I told him I'd send him a $20 bill. Anyway, I think I'll put something together for him.

After taking the long route to my cousin Vicki's, we finally arrive. Of course, Vicki was there to serve us in so many ways, with conversation, food, shelter, and a much needed shower! I couldn't help but think we're half way...only half way! I was quite sore and not really sure about how Saturday would go. I suppose this wasn't as easy as I thought it would be. We got an early start. I started to feel my brakes not working too well, but they were slowing me enough. Then, we got to our first real test in relying on strangers. Right before the Golden Gate Bridge, Vishesh's handlebars came loose. He couldn't safely ride his bike anymore. Vishesh was going to go to the gift shop at the base of the bridge to see about buying the needed allen wrench. Before he could, I asked a bicyclist if he could help us out. Of course he carried the necessary tools, so Vishesh and I were able to get them tightened up. Who knows what would've happened without him. It as a gorgeous, foggy drive over the bridge! After walking our steepest hill up to Anne's home, we were welcomed by Anne, George, and Emily. Of course, Anne hydrated us, as well as making us delicious Indian pancakes (Chilla?). It was at this time that I began to realize that my brakes were not working well enough to stop my bicycle on any sort of decline. Anne mentioned a bicycle shop, Tam Bikes. After carefully riding there, I rolled my bike in. I don't know if John is the owner or an employee. What I do know is that he made it possible for me to continue. With enthusiasm and joy, John tightened up by brakes. As I discovered later, this would prove to an act of kindness that John will never know.

Finally, Vishesh and arrive at the end of this particular journey: Banyan Grove. Audrey was of course, Audrey:). Offering us more nourishment, cleanliness, and silence. BG is a truly magical place. And my appreciation for it continues to grow. We were also blessed with a special visit from the person who was instrumental in brining BG into existence.

It was Saturday evening when Vishesh and I also realized that we had reached our limits...at least for this ride. I've also learned that I need a more comfortable seat:). So, Vishesh called his parents, as they had offered to serve us on our journey, too. They came and picked us up.

So many people, both in and outside of SSp, provided us with just what we needed; nothing more, nothing less. Isn't this how the universe works? Lessons were learned through the pain of riding (or walking) uphill, as well as with the ease of "coasting" downhill. Isn't this exactly like life? Thank you all for making this possible, because I would never have imagined with without SSp<3.

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Comments (2)

  • Kozo Hattori wrote ...

    Nothing more, nothing less. So perfect. Thank you for sharing Bradley.

  • Birju Pandya wrote ...

    just amazing to read - very happy to hear you're both safe too :) sounds like you're pioneering an idea of 'urban pilgrimage'!!!