Clouds of smoke, a 70th birthday party and a riding companion

Well the weekend came and went and as I write this Gaby is patiently waiting in the shade for me to begin the journey. Today will be one of the hardest days, saying good bye to my dear mother has already taxed my emotions let alone my sleepless night. It will be a familiar 70 mile ride to the town of Borrego Springs where I hope to find a comfortable place to rest my head. Temperatures east of here are already in the triple digits I guess summer has already begun.

Gaby waiting for the long road ahead

Gaby waiting for the long road ahead

Saturday was Dharma Dan’s 70th birthday party, in Idylwild, CA. Dan has been a friend to my father since the early 1970’s when they met in Kathmandu. Dan and his friend Leroy Miracle gave my father a place to stay in Idylwild when he first came to America. When seeing Leroy again at the party he gave me a huge hug and had a very memorable story to tell me about my father.

In 1973 Leroy had just returned to America after being a “Coder” in the Vietnam war. He was experimenting with drugs and spirituality and decided to make a trip to the Stupa in Boudha Kathmandu. While staying in Boudha he befriended the infamous “mad monk” Tenzin. Tenzin was an American draft dodger who first fled to Canada followed by Nepal to avoid the war. While in Nepal Tenzin was introduced to Buddhism and became the wandering, adventurous, and many times crazy “mad monk”. Tenzin approached Leroy one day and said ” a good friend of mine really wants to try L.S.D”, Leroy had obviously had some bad experiences with Tenzin while using the drug and quickly told Tenzin that “He didn’t want to be anywhere near him or any of his acquaintances while they were using the drug”. Tenzin told Leroy that his friend (my father) was different and that he should come and meet him before deciding against it.

My father and "Mad Monk"

My father and “Mad Monk”

It was the day of the Luna eclipse and all of Boudha was getting ready for a big ceremony. In Nepal, at the time, it is was thought that a dragon was swallowing the moon and that the dragon must be scared off with loud music and noise to keep the moon from being devoured.

Leroy went with Tenzin to a local lassi shop where he was to meet my father. Upon arrival Leroy glanced in the shop to see my father in his Buddhist robe sitting perfectly straight in lotus, slowly sipping his lassi with a spoon. Leroy described him as “totally present and mindful of each sip form the lassi”. Before meeting him Leroy had already made up his mind that there was something special about my father and decided that he would enjoy a good experience with my father on LSD.

Later that evening while on the drug Leroy was on the balcony over looking the Stupa. The moon was slowing being swallowed by the dragon all on Bouda was shouting and banging on pots and pans trying to scare it away. Leroy had lost my father hours ago and figured that he had retreated to some calm environment to surpass the effects of the drug. Then in the midst of commotion, Leroy saw my father circumambulating the Stupa. Around the Stupa in Boudha there are 108 deity’s in cased in small shrines, each shrine having a small candle and a censer. Leroy watched as my father, not distracted by the ceremony, walked by each shrine, relighting the candle and saying a small prayer.

Mindful in nature

My father mindful in nature Circa 1973

I am leaving now, it is already 12pm and I hope that I can make the 70 mile ride before it gets dark. A friend of mine has made me a travel companion that fits in my saddle bag. His name is “misquit” and he is fluent in many languages and loves “Annies Mac and Cheese”.

"Misquit" like bisquit

“Misquit” like bisquit

Here is my last photo in Murrieta, will write again when I get to Brawley

Julian Wong 6/17 outside of the casita I built for my mom

Julian Wong 6/17 outside of the casita I built for my mom

8 thoughts on “Clouds of smoke, a 70th birthday party and a riding companion

    • Tenzin passed a few years again and is definitely missed. Might be getting a bit thin its so hot out here that I have lost almost all my appetite. Maybe you could save me some of your chicken? Any recommendations on cycling in 100+ weather?

      Julian

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