In 2022, after 2 years of pandemic shutdown, Ananda village re-opened its Springtime at Ananda tours of the Crystal Hermitage Gardens. Many thousands of visitors came out to view the 17,000 tulips.
There is much more to the gardens than 19,000 tulips.
The gardens have been evolving for over 30 years when the Crystal Hermitage was built by Swami Kriyananda. For a long time it was enjoyed by Swami and also the village residents, however in the past 10 or so years has become a destination for visitors from the Bay Area, Sacramento and Reno as well as many locals.
Any time I am in the nearby towns of Nevada City or Grass Valley and mention I live in Ananda Village, it is met almost always with “oh the tulips are so lovely. I enjoy coming out to see them”
Over the winter, 19,000 tulips were planted, trails rebuilt, and other improvements made. This year Mother Nature has delayed the bloom with cold, wet weather so far.
The good news is the gardens will be open probably clear into mid May.
Yesterday, we headed out late morning after a 2 day dig in the snow. We made it to Orange Grove RV park just south of Bakersfield by 7 o’clock. Enroute to the Grand Canyon south rim where we plan to spend 4 days hiking down into (and out of).
This morning, we walked around the park picking oranges (yes, it isan Orange grove) with my cousin, who rendezvoused with us there on his route north. Fun to see them. Rving in their 80’s and had delicious oranges too
We proceeded east over Tehachapi via Barstow to Amboy crater.
We stopped in Barstow for fuel and had a “Barstow Walmart“ experience. Hard to describe that in an email, you had to be there.
Amboy crater is on the eastern side of the Mojave desert on the old route 66 highway,an old cinder cone from many eons ago. We shouldered our canyon backpacks as a little preliminary hike before heading out to the Grand Canyon. 4 miles later we felt pretty confident that we could do the canyon
That’s is that is assuming we could stay upright. Very steep and narrow. Easy without the packs, Treacherous (never again) with.
Now, as the evening sun sets over the Mojave desert, and the golden light illuminates the beautiful boulders and dry landscape, we proceed along the highway down the hill towards the Colorado river atNeedles, California (also known as to us as Noodles,California), where are we will encamp for the night
Tomorrow we head up to the Canyon. We will encamp I’m Trailer village. Hi temp is 40, low is 20 or well 🙈. From experience we think if we keep plugged in with heater on, we will be ok. Daytime above freezing and☀️☀️to warm the van.
Prayers willingly accepted. (Memo to Kent: “what were you thinking when you omitted to this?”)
More later, assuming we don’t get run off the road by sleepy truck drivers on I-40. Ah, the life.
We headed down to central coast camping at Morro Bay state park.
The marshes and bay are fertile areas for many bird species
We stayed one night up at the strand north of town then back to MBSP for the most amazing Sunday football games ever
Monday found us heading south to Pismo beach state park
A section of Grover besch is alloyed for drivi g on so we went down there, parked and walked the beach then had lunch watching the surf waves roll in.
We scored 2 nights in a wonderful spot in the north Pismo state park campground
Next door to the campground inside the park is a butterfly grove. Thousands of Monarch butterfly’s hanging out. About 28,000 by last count. According to AP news, over 250,000 counted overwintering here in California. Way up from recent countd.
We hiked down to Oceano campground via the beach then returned thru the dunes.
Time for a nap
Next day, after 2 days in Pismo and a long discussion, we elected to head back to Morrow bay state park. I rode my bike up 33 miles on back roads while S drove the van. And I beat her! Haha. We knew, from looking at reservations site,there were dry sites available so when we arrived at the entrance the lady gave me several open sites to review and we rode our bikes around to check.
Decided on one with plenty of sun for solar and general warmth (it’s cool in winter here) then dumped waste tanks and have settled in.
Early morning we made our coffee, dumped waste and headed home up the 101. Found a spot to wash the van in West Sacramento. IW for a little R&R at home.
Reserved 3 months in advance and it is a slow time of year. We lucked out in the weather this week with dry daytime temps in upper 60’s and low 70’s.
We did a lot of local riding around the town. I went to liberty twice to use internet. And got a long ride to Avila beach 22 miles south near San Luis Obispo.
Along the harbor the Sea Otters rest and nurse their young.
Didn’t know there was such a wonderful marsh area across the road. Birds galore. Spouse in heaven. For the first time we saw a California Thrasher. Lotsa shore birds; white pelicans, egrets, amazing wildlife in the area.
Now time to move on. We have reservations for Arizona, however are going to remain on central coast for rest of week then head home. The weather has been amazing.
We begin the third year of the pandemic where the virus seems to still be the boss. Still we are making adjustments to live as “normal” as possible. Instead of cloth or little surgical masks we are wearing the N95 or Kn95 masks. We have received our boosters and feel we can go out as long as we mask up.
We have a couple restaurants at which we can eat outside under propane heaters in the colder weather. Also a couple take out places but mostly we cool at home. Our community, Ananda Village, has a co-op market providing essentials and a few other fun items. We do shop in town which is 30-40 minute drive. In this pandemic we limit our public interactions but always welcome encounters with friends.
We had over 12-14 inches snow last week which is slowly melting. Woke up to 27 degrees this New Years morning and decided to ride. My friend and I usually ride on saturdays together so we loaded up the bikes and headed for lower levels.
The snow had melted a bit but i still needed to scrap if off the back deck in order to open the shed where the road bike is stored. The black object in the back there is my trail bike covered for protection.
I regularly ride my road bike in the area having switched to electric to help with the steep hills.
This quote from one of my teachers is something Itry to live by.
“Forget the past, The vanished lives of all men are dark with many shames. Human conduct is ever unreliable until anchored in the Divine. Everything in future will improve if you are making a spiritual effort now.”
Lord knows i have made many mistakes and have regrets. However, i try to remember this quote when my monkey mind starts thinking of these mistakes and regrets. It really does help. One thing for certain is we can stay in the past in our minds or move forward and be in the present.
Things I will be amazed by, proud hopeful or, grateful for in 2022
1. Amazed we can plan ahead for everything we are doing already
2. Hopeful we can do these things.
3. Concerned about what might happen with wildfires, pandemic, politics
4. We hope The pandemic will no longer the major issue although it will be with us for a long time in some form.
5. Always hopeful The Seahawks win the Super Bowl
6. Am expecting The Warriors win the NBA championship
7. Wouldn’t it be something if Tiger finishes top 5 in the Masters?
8. Hopeful that our village ponds are full in July
9. Looking forward to viewing the photos sent back from the James Webb Telescope.
10. Hopeful We can travel the west in late summer without wildfire smoke
11. Hopeful I’ve created more photo art.
12. Enjoying the new Lord of the Rings Prequel on Prime in the fall.
What a year! We decided to go for it this year with our van. 8 trips with 108 nights out over 15,562 miles driven around the West!
Jan/Feb – Arizona – Our first trip in January found us heading for what we thought would be warmer climate down in Valley of the Sun. spent a few days cycling at White Tanks and Lost Dutchman parks then down to our usual haunts in Tucson where we stayed at Tucson Mountain park, and house sat for our friends in Oro Valley.
March – Death Valley- Since all national forest campgrounds within 300 miles of us are closed we elected to head to Death Valley. Caught a break in weather which allowed us to drive over Donner Pass and down US 395. Was snowy but roads were dry. We spent 4 days exploring the area with temps in 60’s, some rain storms in valley gave new experiences. And driving to the 5475 ft top of Dantes’ View in SE area gave us a wonderful perspective on the valley.
April – Had to get out somewhere so we headed back over to the eastern sierra for boon-docking in the Alabama Hills near Mt Whitney south of Bishop California. Biking the dusty trails and hiking for a few nights. This is where many old western movies were filmed back in 30’-50’s
May – One place Sraddha has always wanted to explore is the San Rafael Swell in central Utah. With features like the “Little Grand Canyon, Slot canyons and majestic geologic views. Most people head to the amazing national parks which we have done several times. This is less traveled and we had the place to ourselves much of the time. Trail cycling here was a lot of fun. We explored Goblin Valley, Temple Mountain, Swinging Bridge, Lake Powell, and Valley of the Gods.
Early June – finally the sierra opens up to camping so I went up to Lakes Basin for a few quiet days alone hiking and cycling. Explored some new trails and just hung out.
Late June/July – Colorado beckons. We had planned to meet Sraddhas family in Pagosa Springs for few days of fun. Our route took us across central utah and thru the Rockies to Lost Lake above Crested Butte, Colorado for a few days then winding down thru central Rockies to Pagosa Springs. Return trip thru Moab.
July/August – Wildfires and smoke caused cancellation of a couple trips into the sierra but finally the smoke cleared and we were able to get up to one of our favorite places near Tahoe and also went to Sea Ranch on California Coast for a few days of cycling and hiking.
August-September – Smoke again changed our plans. Originally scheduled to spend a week in Tetons then Idaho and on over to Puget Sound, we canceled the eastern part of trip and spontaneously headed up the Oregon and Washington coast for a real fun time. It is getting harder to find great places to camp on short notice but we lucked into some wonderful places along the coast including the Hoh River Rainforest campground. We stayed with friends over the weekend in Portland area and also visited the Ananda farm up on Camano Island (where we plan to return in the spring to help with planting a “cutting flower garden”. Camping on a city street in Edmonds at my cousin’s place is always fun. Great neighborhood there. We returned via Cape Disappointment SP at the mouth of Columbia river , Nehalem Bay, Umpqua Lighthouse and Bullards beach near Brandon.
October – Our last trip of the year was the most challenging. Our route took us down eastern sierra for a few days then on to Usery Park in Mesa, AZ where i would then fly to Atlanta for a few days of model railroading with some buddies whilst Sraddha explores museums in the Valley of Sun then on to Catalina State Park in Tucson before heading back home.
En route thru Nevada we stopped for propane. A couple days later, while camped at 9500 ft elevation, we started having issues with the propane system. We ended up cutting our eastern sierra travels short and headed to Las Vegas for repairs. The Van City service center took us in and diagnosed the problem to be bad propane. We ended up spending 3 day in Valley of Fire State Park to bleed out and empty the propane tank and 2 nights at a KOA near a casino in Vegas. A very different experience than was planned but much, but not all of the problem was solved. Still intermittent issues but we soldiered onto Mesa with our plans having set up a return visit to Van CIty for a couple other repairs we needed on Mightee Wonder Van.
This year has been a blessing. When we bought the van back in late 2019, we figure to continue travels as long as one of us has a valid drivers license. Didn’t anticipate the pandemic but we have found ways to safely travel and have fun.
I continue regularly with cycling, averaging about 60-70 miles per week mostly at elevation. We are blessed with good health, a safe community in which we live amongst good friends
Some long time Ananda folks organized and World Market Day here at Ananda Village during this summer’s Spiritual Renewal week…
Some long time Ananda folks organized and World Market Day here at Ananda Village during this summer’s Spiritual Renewal week.
The intention is to provide an opportunity for an interactive event for guests and gurubais to: Represent our various communities and tell folks about Ananda’s work and offerings in their area; Sell products, crafts, artistry and services; Build stronger communication and relationships among individuals in Ananda worldwide family
I went out with quadcopter to show a friend how it works and got some fun footage. We had to find a good spot to take off then flew around. Didn’t have much time to do justice to this delightful experience but did manage to capture some footage
Last spring when we first landed here at Ananda Village I had thoughts to fly the Mavic quadcopter over our village. As it turned out the village manager asked me to shoot some footage which ended up in a presentation to the Nevada County planning commission and Board of Supervisors when we applied for the new village master plan permits. Needless to say it was well received.
We held off making this public but now I set it to Swami Kriyananda’s song called “Joy in the Heavens” which seems appropriate.
I have shot more and will be posting more soon. Here is the link to the 3 minute video