1  We shared a cottage with Alex and Carissa outside Woodacre, California, home of Spirit Rock Meditation Center. 2  It was unexpectedly beautiful! 3  The property ran down the steep hillside, dotted with gigantic cedars and Douglas firs. 4.5  it wouldn't be California without . . .
4  jean's sleeping nook, with a glass ceiling for tree-viewing. 5  Another resident 6  Jean spends two months of the year here, in silent meditation. Today, Alex will graduate from the lay-teacher training. 7
8  In front of the new meditation hall. 9  Alex's brother Nate with C and A 10  Jean's home for two months. 11  The new hall is used for daily programs.
12  Alex's ceremony is in the old hall, nestled in the steep hills. 13  Brian and Ada Haley with their children and a friend. 14  Among the graduates was Bart, who stayed at our house when Jean and I were absent, with his son, Lou. 15  Alex's turn!
16 17  Alex receives his diploma! 18  Teachers, students, staff. 19  Lou gets in the act.
20  At the reception following the ceremony. 21  Brian and Ada in the center. 22  Saying good-bye to Bart, Lou and Chantel. 23  At our celebration dinner.
24  We climb the hill behind town to visit Spirit House, where many of Alex's trainings were located. 25  Once you get past the perilous road up there, the views are great! 26 27
28  Jean and I do some sight-seeing at Point Reyes, home of a famous lighthouse. 29  The light is perched under the edge of the cliff for visibility during the frequent fogs. 30  The climb back up. 31  Point Reyes is a vast tract of land.
32  For future reference, the backpackers' camp sites, some with ocean views. 33  On to San Francisco, where we stayed in the Japantown neighborhood. 34  The docks used in wars between WWI and Korea to send and receive soldiers. 35  The big, forboding slammer in the bay.
36  Old ships are docked at the National Maritime Museum, near Fisherman's Wharf. 37  The below-deck crew quarters to which Chinese and other groups were relegated. White crew members had better quarters. 38 39  A thriving international trade did not originate in the late 20th century. Material for the ordinary burlap bag came from India!
40  The National Park Service must emulate old seamen to maintain the ships. Differences: this person is female and wears a hardhat. 41  Downtown from the old ships. 42  The museum is on the site of a former ferry dock. 43
44 45  The old car ferry. 46  Early fast food: you could chow down on boiled corned shoulder of pork during the 32-minute crossing. Yet obesity is a 21st century problem! 47  Our hike continues through the former Crissley Airfield, home of Hap Arnold, early leader of the Army Air Corps.
48  Finally, we climb up to the bridge. 49  We saw fortifications all around the Bay, including the pre-Civil War Fort Point. 50 51  The main cables are a yard wide and contain 27,000 wires.
52  The suspension bridge design was drafted by the engineer responsible for the Manhatten Bridge. 53 54  So much undeveloped land! 55  The Golden Gate was the longest suspension brodge in the world until 1964.
56  Walking the bridge is a two-mile round trip. 57  International orange was chosen partly to enhance the bridge's visibility in fog. Thirty-eight painters are kept busy on it. 58 59  A reminder of real life.
60  We return to Japantown after our all-day walk.