Sunday, October 7, 2012

Buddhist Bicycle Pilgrimage 2012 Edition: Day 2

I woke up sunday morning and went to have brunch with the same friends I had dinner with last night. It was a busy weekend at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, a Buddhist campus where I work part of the week. A group of Humboldt State University students were making their semiannual visit; a well-respected community member passed away recently and his family was doing a service on campus that day. And of course, the pilgrims on the Buddhist Bicycle Pilgrimage would arrive later on this day. I decided to ride all the way here on day 1 instead of staying with the group at KOA in Asti so I could help to prepare to greet the pilgrims and make sure their program--including a sit-down meal--would go without a hitch.

First two riders to arrive at CTTB on day 2
I got some colleagues to communicate with the kitchen and the assembly hall to confirm the schedule. Scott, who has driven the gear truck for many years of the pilgrimage showed up first. After he unloaded "modesty attires" from the truck we stood on the curb outside the gate for a while. Heidi, whom I have known since the first edition of the pilgrimage, showed up next as she was assigned to help me set up the meals later. It won't be until slightly past 10AM when the first two riders showed up. 10 minutes later, other riders and some volunteer-driven vehicles began to string in. I helped to get them settle down, and gathered them together. Soon, Rev. Heng Sure, who was giving the talk to the group today, came and led a big group of them to the assembly hall for a short tour and a talk. As more pilgrims came in, I directed them toward the assembly hall to join the group.

Dharma Talk inside the Main Hall
I walked in a little later to the hall to check in. I gently inform Rev. Heng Sure that he had 15 minutes left, then I walked with Heidi to the kitchen and began to transport food to the dining hall. The kitchen/restaurant staff had prepare plenty of very delicious vegetarian food for the group, complete with dessert and organic grape juice made from grapes grown in the vineyards on the ground. Soon the group, finished with the talk, came and enjoyed the meal. I waited for most of them to finish eating, then changed into riding gears, and left for Abhayagiri Monastery.

Bikes at the destination
Even though the temperature was noticeably higher than day 1, a light breeze made it fairly comfortable still. I rode through Ukiah toward the northern edge of the town. The day's last "hill" was on Eastside-Calpella Road connecting Ukiah to Redwood Valley. Before I hit the day's last rest stop at Lion's Park, I caught up with Rachel. We rode the last stretch, most of it under the shade of trees lining Tomki Road to Abhayagiri. Surprisingly, we were among the first to arrive, even though I left Talmage pretty late. After a refreshing shower, I chatted with many fellow pilgrims to compare notes on their experience. I had a great chat with good friend and veteran BBPer (including being the coordinator one year) Eileen how her non-riding participation this year (she coordinated the supply-and-gear cars) turned out to be a great experience. As more and more folks came up, the compound where we were to have the closing ceremony was abuzzed with folks happy that they have completely a wonderful journey.
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