Christmas 2020

Spoiler Alert – We are well and have been well all year.

WHAT A YEAR! For the past 276 days since Ananda Village went into “Self Isolation” due to the COVID19 pandemic it has been a bit of “rinse and repeat”. I began to keep a brief daily log on my iPad with some personal notes and task list, with some quotes I find and also stats of the pandemic. We have been doing the 5 safe practices when out in Public and our community, so far, has been spared…So far.

We did not let the pandemic stop us from traveling since we have our “travel-pod”. The Wonder van with self contained with toilet and shower so we were able to remain isolated and safe. Whenever we go shopping for groceries we wear the protective mask, glasses and gloves. It has allowed us to be out and feel safe. I spent much of the spring doing short videos of the Crystal Hermitage Gardens.

We made several trips this year in our “travel pod” called Mightee Wonder Van (MTV). Big Sur in January, Arizona in February then the COVID hit and all our plans for rest of year was cancelled! By mid March, our small community here is in self isolation. All programs cancelled, the guest retreats shut down, and a “New Normal” begins to take shape. We limit our trips only essential needs and wonder how long this will last.

We had campground reservations for about 11 weeks of travel all over the western US from SoCal to Utah to Idaho and Washington. All cancelled by the state and national parks.

The one which really bummed us out was our favorite spot up in Truckee. The Corps of Engineers decided to not open the campground at all! We had booked several trips there since we only live 90 minutes away. Well, there goes the summer! Well, we did get one long weekend camping trip up in the Sierra for some hiking.

We planted a garden. Initially, due to our travel plans, we were not going to do that but with the pandemic, we opened up the beds and have enjoyed a bounty all summer.

Chomping at the bit and tired of cabin fever we looked at the COVID map of the USA and determined we could make a trip out to Teddy Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota via a diagonal route across Nevada, Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana then down thru South Dakota Badlands and back thru Colorado Rockies and Utah safely arriving home by end of June. We found some wonderful places to stay from Tetons National park to a little city park in North Dakota. We spoke only to 8 people the whole trip. A few campground hosts and neighbors and a couple grocery employees where we shopped. Most people were not yet wearing masks out in these areas, however we were very careful to keep our distance and wear masks. What a delightful trip.

July found us wondering when the next wildfire would begin. We didn’t have to wait long as California erupted in fire and smoke. We hunkered down thinking maybe we could escape in August back to the Rockies which we did. Except that we got seduced by a couple web cams in Ouray and Telluride which showed pretty clear air. So we headed east thinking we could find places to camp.

Not so fast! After spending a couple nights packed into an RV park with AC on for the heat and dodging people on the trails, we decided to pick up stakes and head north right thru the heavy smoke of central Colorado fires then into Wyoming where we spent 18 days in the Tetons. We delayed our return until the pending snow storm forced our hand at the end of Labor Day weekend and we headed home back to wildfire country.

Upon return we knew we had 3 months remaining in wildfire season. Our van became our “go bag”. We always had it stocked with our important papers, backup hard drives, food, water, fuel, ready on a moments notice to evacuate if needed. Our village had created and emergency radio system for alerts which i had spear headed. The radio sat next to our bedside at night in case of emergency. We had our generator ready to run when the Planned Power Shutoffs happen (and they did). Wildfire season officially was over late November this year here where we live. Still, the van serves as our backup overflow food storage and stands ready to head out on short notice.

We did one more trip in the fall, heading over to Bodega bay for a few days of cool ocean breezes and walking on the beach. What a welcome relief. We had planned a trip to Arizona for late October/November but again cancelled due to the pandemic. Still we managed to put 16,000 miles on the van since taking delivery last November back in Atlanta.

Now we enjoy the cooler, wetter days, remaining fairly quiet around the house, while active around our community, helping others in need of assistance. I cycle 60-80 miles per week to keep fit and we pray for rain and snow. Sraddha is back to cooking and baking so i have to keep cycling. Being introverts, we both enjoy the solitude and have found interesting books and streaming videos as part of our life. I wear my Seahawks jersey on Sundays in support of my team. Go Hawks!

We plan out next venture, knowing full well it may get cancelled, postponed, delayed and/or changed yet again. We have learned a lot about being flexible, understanding and respectful of others. It may be a while before we can again roam freely as we have in the past. Who knows?

We wish you all a Happy Holidays. Stay well.
We will hopefully connect in 2021!

Christmas Letter 2019

Christmas Card 2019-42019 rolled through like a freight train, didn’t it? Began with me getting all excited about buying a teardrop trailer, working all winter and spring on the photos and admin for our new Temple of Light in preparation for the largest event ever at Ananda Village in June. Then coordinating some amazing creatives for a week of photography and videography of an event with 1000 people

Christmas Card 2019-5Late January I headed to Tucson to run model trains and see my long time buddies.Joined by Sraddha who was helping one of her best friends move up here to the village.Hiking into a deep canyon near where we live and getting drenched in springtime snow without a jacket.

Christmas Card 2019-14

Our annual hike thru the oak savannah to hidden falls then the annual 40 mile bike ride around Sutter Buttes in the valley before it gets to hot .

img_3411Drove up to Portland to take delivery of Ladybug, our new custom built teardrop trailer and driving it home then traveling up in the remote NE section of California to experience the forests and desert and quietude.

Christmas Card 2019-19Spending several week long trips up in Tahoe/Truckee area hiking, cycling, trying out eBikes, sitting around campfires while the valley roasted in 100 degree temps.Hiking in High Sierra’s is an amazing experience.

Sure can see why indigenous people spent summers there. Fortunately we live at 2700 ft so are somewhat acclimated.nevertheless, hiking up a hillside at 8,000 ft takes your breath away even before you get to the view.Sraddha got an eBike in between everything. Takes the hills out of the ride

Christmas Card 2019 FreezingWe discovered that it can get real cold up there in late September,like down below freezing! We also learned that we prefer a bit more warmth.Ya think? Yup, we love the teardrop camping experience in warmer weather, however….

Christmas Card 2019-33We decided to see how well we could travel with the teardrop behind the subaru. (Hint, It travels well, but we don’t when weather turns cold). Nevertheless we headed to Utah for two weeks in early October.Saw a new niece, and some tall ones too. Had fun with some wonderful family.

We had scored a reservation down in Canyon lands National Park for 4 Christmas Card 2019-35nights.First 3 nights we great then weather turned as forecasted to freezing temps and 30 mph winds.brr. We bolted out of there to Zion, spending a few nights in motel due to no campgrounds available. A good lesson which we learned that is was time to move up from small trailer to something that is warm inside. The question was bigger trailer or camper van.

Christmas Card 2019-44Long story short, we found the van of her dreams in Atlanta of all places. Flew out the week before thanksgiving, bought it, and drove it 3000 miles back home. We had planned to drive over I-40 to Grand Canyon for Thanksgiving but the weather turned real freezing harsh so ended up traveling I-10 thru Tucson (in stealth mode) and LA then up I-5. Happy to tell you story in person.

Our new rig is called Wonder by Leisure Travel Vans. Only 24 ft on a Ford Transit chassis with diesel engine. We call her “MighTee Wonder” (MTW) and she drives like a dream. Already planning our 2020 trips.

We wish you all a very happy holidays and look forward to seeing ALL of you in 2020.

Some photos below of new rig. PS She loves driving it!!!

Link to Kent’s Christmas photo album