Rocky Start to a Vacation or “How to get rid of stuff”

CloudsThe good news is we are safe and sound and have the resources to get on track.  And the bad news is… well.. not that bad compared to most things people have to suffer through.

Yesterday it took us 10 or so hours to get to Chicago and having missed a connection spent the night there.  Today we arrived in Seattle to learn that our checked bags did not fly with us.  Three of the 4 have made it so far after they went to San Francisco.  The 4th bag is still missing.  It turns out Southwest does not scan checked bags so they have no clue where it is.  If you spend 10 dollars to ship a UPS package you would know what truck it was on anywhere in the country.  No so with checked bags.

So in that bag are any number of crucial items.  Although I carried on most of my prized possessions and things I did not want checked we couldn’t carry it all.  All my cool/cold weather clothes are in that bag with other items such as a small bag with odds and ends electronics, card reader, chargers and a 1 tb hard drive for all our expected pictures.  Our stove and utensils for cooking, a tripod, a film camera (not my Rolleiflex), my hiking shoes, my flute, and other things I’m not thinking about right now are all waiting to be found.

I remember a flight a handful of years ago a little girl in the seat in front of me said to her mother as she watched bags being loaded onto the plane, “we’ve been on the plane 5 minutes now, I think they’ve had enough time to lose our bags”,

Tomorrow we are leaving Seattle with or without it.  We are a day behind schedule but since we don’t really have much of a schedule we’ll make it up in short order.  We’ll acquire what we need and move on.  It is just stuff.  I’ve been thinking lately how we have too much stuff and how we should downsize and not consume as much.  Maybe this is a good start.

98% Packed and Ready

We leave tomorrow for Seattle and spend the night there.  Tuesday we acquire a vehicle and load up with supplies we brought and shop for odds and ends for our camping.  Things are loose enough we have no idea where we will stay Tuesday night.  We’ll have all day to figure it out.  We will head in the general direction of Missoula Montana were will be through labor day weekend.

It won’t feel real till we are in the airport tomorrow in Norfolk.

Counting the Hours

I’m hijacking my blog once again and this version is a 2014 travel story.  Karen and I are leaving Monday for a 5 week trip to the northwest US.  First stop will be Seattle.  This year we are flying and renting a vehicle.

I’ve got piles of photography equipment and cameras to sort through and decide what stays and what goes.  I want to limit myself to 4 cameras.  I’ll get there.

This trip will be an assortment of camping, motels, hotels, time share and a friends cabin in the Montana woods.  We have very few destinations that are planned and most will be day to day decisions.

Stay tuned…..

Turning the Wheel



There are thousands upon thousands of students
who have practised meditation and obtained its fruits.
Do not doubt its possibilities because of the simplicity of the method.
If you can not find the truth right where you are,
where else do you expect to find it?



Hungars Church


“The Buddha respected people’s desire to practice in their own faith….  If you enjoy waliking meditation, practice walking meditation.  If you enjoy sitting meditation, enjoy sitting meditation.  But preserve your Jewish, Christian, or Muslim roots.  That is the best way to realize the Buddha’s spirt.  If you are cut off from your roots, you cannot be happy.”

Thich Nhat Hanh

The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching

A Letter to a Dying Man

Prayer Flags in Snow


A Letter to a Dying Man

Bassui wrote the following letter to one of his disciples who was about to die:

“The essence of your mind is not born, so it will never die. It is not an existance, which is perishable. It is not an emptiness, which is a mere void. It has neither color nor form. It enjoys no pleasures and suffers no pains.

“I know you are very ill. Like a good Zen student, you are facing that sickness squarely. You may not know exactly who is suffering, but question yourself: What is the essence of this mind? Think only of this. You will need no more. Covet nothing. Your end which is endless is as a snowflake dissolving in the pure air.”

Transition to Cold



We are all but recent leaves on the same old tree of life and if this life has adapted itself to new functions and conditions, it uses the same old basic principles over and over again.  There is no real difference between the grass and the man who mows it.  ~Albert Szent-Györgyi