We start out by driving east on Carmel Valley Road from the coast and then turn right onto Tassajara Road.
Carmel Valley Road
Tassajara Road is paved until Jamesburg, then becomes a gravel/dirt surface which gets narrower and rockier the closer to Tassajara. Sure glad Rossana's driving a AWD. Actually, with the drought year and a recent grading the road is in good shape. We make the trip in a record 45 minutes... but make no mistake about Tassajara Road. It's basically a Forest Service road which can be impassable.
It's always a treat to finally arrive at Tassajara. After checking in at the Registration Office we use one of the work carts to gather our things out of the car and set up our cabin for the next few days. This year we are staying in the Courtyard. The temperature is hovering in the low 90's by the time we finish lunch so we decide to rest in our cabin.
Our home for the next few days
After a refreshing nap, we head to the pool to cool off.
Pool reflections on a shade umbrella
Ahhhh - this is more like it
Memorial Day weekend is a busy time at Tassajara and some of the weekend guests are still at the pool Monday afternoon before heading home. We get a kick out of watching the kids playing with a foam water gun that can shoot water clear across the pool.
Boy demos his foam water gun as his father and sister look on
As the afternoon cools off we wander through the grounds to the Bath House. Along the way, we pass the Registration Office and the Stone Rooms, where Steve Jobs liked to hang out when he visited. Staying in one is on my bucket list.
Garden by Registration area
Ahhh - the Bath House
Altar at Bath House
Entrance to Women's side
Inside the Women's Bath
Weathered wooden door to steam room
Outside warm pool
Path to Tassajara Creek
Cool creek water
Fishes give a free pedicure
Reflections in Tassajara Creek
Good place to chill out
We call it an early evening because 5:30am Zazen is required as part of the Guest Practice.
New low voltage path lighting
Kerosene lamp at night in cabin
Steps to Temple for Zazen
It's common to hear various bells, chimes, and drums at Tassajara. Each sound has a special meaning. For example, the day starts with a runner ringing a cow bell for the 5am wake up call, then the steady "thock!" of the Han starts, slowly at first, then faster finishing with a final roll down which signifies students should now be sitting on a cushion in the Temple for Zazen. At morning work meetings, I get a giggle out of the fact the morning wake-up bell not a favorite task amongst Zen students. Still, volunteers are always recruited and it gets done. Other sounds summon students to meals, work meetings, Dharma talks, etc.
One evening, Rossana and I wander through the grounds and gardens as the golden hour approaches.
On this visit many of the local Century Plants are blooming. After a magnificent bloom, the plant has done it's job of producing seeds for the next generation, so it literally curls up and dies.
In full bloom
Roots of dead Century Plant
To capture Zen in a nutshell, below is what's written on the Han:
Life is Transient
Be aware the great matter
Don't waste Time
The annual Santa Cruz Blues Festival is held on Saturday and Sunday of Labor Day weekend. To kick off summer, we attend Saturday's show.
Jeeze - long line to get in. We need to get here earlier
Finally we find ourselves a good spot
Not too far back with a clear view of the stage
Good line up this year
The first to play is Nikki Hill from Durham, North Carolina. Like many musicians from the south, she grew up singing in church gospel choirs. She now specializes in American roots music.
The beer/wine stands are all open and doing a brisk business.
Humm - time to get a drink
Line at beer stand
These people stick close to their beer source
My favorite of the groups playing today is Dave and Phil Alvin. The brothers hail from Downey CA. They have just put out their first album - "Common Ground" - together in over 30 years and are on the road to give it a good kick off. It's working as all their CD's have sold out by the time I get to the booth to buy their new release. Oh well, there's always Amazon.
Lunch time! Let's go hit up the food booths.
At least some of the choices are healthy
Don't understand why so many people like this stuff
Peter is delighted when his favorite Trombone Shorty takes the stage. A child protege, he got his name playing the trombone as a young boy when his instrument dwarfed him. Now he delivers a high energy show bridging music's past and future. He's a well respected musician, considered a virtuoso on trombone and generous with his time with young music students.
We pick out our own "virtuosos" from the crowd at the festival. Here's our prize winners as best of show:
Last up is the concert's headliner Greg Allman, a veteran rock and roll icon who recently announced he'll be retiring at the end of this season. A biopic entitled "Midnight Rider" was due out soon, but the production has been delayed due to a tragic accident on the set. Greg and his band give us a great show.
With the concert winding up, people are busy picking up their souvenirs. It's been a successful show and many of the CD's have sold out, but there's still tees, balloons and statues available.