Pilgrimage day 11

Our last full day in San Francisco. We started out around 9:30 a.m. for a packed day. We worshiped at St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal and got to hear Sara Miles preach. The rector, Paul Fromberg, is on sabbatical. Paul and Sara came to our church in Waco in December to lead a retreat (and we read her book, Take This Bread together) so this worship experience plus the food pantry on Friday were part of our main call towards San Francisco.

After worship we headed into the Mission district for sushi to a place Sara recommended. We polished off a rather impressive array of rolls and nigiri. On our way to the Mission Delores park we stopped in 826 Valencia – a hybrid writing/literacy center for kids and a pirate shop. Yes, a pirate shop.

We stopped for a bit to enjoy the sun and soft grass at the park and talked together about the worship service and other experiences this week, and read a piece by Brueggemann on the myth of scarcity.

We then embarked to Berkeley to spend the rest of our final day. We spent most of that time on the UC campus to talk some more and share in the LSBC tradition of the “web of love” (see photo of my toe + rope below). We had an american dinner (meat! cheese fries! more meat! more cheese!) and then journeyed back to our hostel to pack and turn in for our final night in one room together. Monday we check out of the hostel at 10 and on to the airport.

For me and our seniors we return to Waco to unpack our suitcases and start packing up boxes. (wanna help?)

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Pilgrimage day 10

Today began with a bus ride over to a plot of land called the Free Farm, where a rotating army of volunteers plants, tends, and harvests crops and gives the food away. They also provide a vegan lunch every work day for whomever shows up to work. We harvested, weighed, and planted seedlings. Lunch was also delicious.

We had a bit of a break when we returned, so I walked (straight) up (hill) to Grace Cathedral.

The fog had lifted so we all ventured out to see the Golden Gate Bridge and (unexpectedly) hikes around the presidio.

We bused down to Haight-Ashbury and then to Golden Gate Park and took some time to talk on the grounds of the flower conservatory. We capped off our day with a delicious (but way over-filling) Chinese meal.

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Pilgrimage day 9

First morning in San Francisco. The breakfast at the Adelaide Hostel rivals the breakfast at the monastery, let’s start there. A big pot full of homemade oatmeal with fruit. Not to mention the overflowing breadbaskets and giant jars of jellies and nutella. And the chorus of languages spoken between bites.

Our main activity today was serving alongside the regular volunteers at St. Gregory’s food pantry (started by Sara Miles). I tried to give out bags of cereal (it was an unpopular item) next to a man who gave out loaves of bread from local bakeries. He spoke at least seven languages and moved between them easier than most of us speak English. We also met a young woman from Ethiopia who moved to the US on 9/11/01.

After departing there we caught a few minutes of down time at the hostel before embarking to the piers via cable car. We ate on Pier 39 and rode the historic cable car up and down hills back to our neck of the woods.

One of the most disorienting things we’ve noticed so far is that it is July and most people (natives included) are walking around in jackets, scarves, even gloves. Y’all, it is chilly. I, personally am thankful for all the walking.

Oh, and we stopped for a nightcap of creeps before turning in for the night. Yum.

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Pilgrimage day 8

Today started with another run (for me and for Maya) and a leisurely morning. We took some time to discuss our days since the Grand Canyon and our readings by Philip Newell and Barbara Kingsolver. We set out on the road towards The One-Oh-One and stopped for In-N-Out burgers in Gilroy (animal style for me. Yum.).

We arrived to our hostel. Some took naps and others relaxed in the lobby. After finishing some laundry we walked through Chinatown to Bocce Italian Cafe in North Beach (not actually a beach. Do not be fooled.). We climbed up hills as the fog was rolling in. After dinner we strolled through City Lights bookstore (Ferlinghetti. Beat ports.) and of course I couldn’t leave without a book. (but only one. Impressive, yes?).

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Pilgrimage day 7

This is the first time all trip where morning did not mean packing up the van and traveling to a new location. We had a leisurely morning (which for me meant a run along the coastline), and a group trip to Carmel beach. Even though it was only about 65 degrees outside and windy, our three ladies decided to swim. And swim they did. A few scrapes and some blue lips later we headed back to Monterey for lunch.

Afternoon was free time. I can’t speak for the rest of the group, but my afternoon was spent wandering around town and enjoying how summer ought to feel. I did get some jeans at a second hand store because evenings are chilly.

We had family dinner at a seafood restaurant where most things we ate–at least seafood–were locally caught. I don’t know if the chicken sandwich one of our youth ate was locally caught.

As the day is tumbling to a close, the girls are looking forward to a nice long night of sleep and the guys are staring down the neck of a game of monopoly.

Tomorrow holds another easy morning with some conversation about nature, spirituality and environment. Then on to San Francisco.

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Pilgrimage day 6

Today we woke up early in Barstow to head west and then north. We made it as far as Starbucks before we were willing to commit for the long haul. The scenery consisted first of mountains made of desert, then avocado fields, orange groves, and vineyards (no tastings this trip!). We made it to paso Robles for lunch before getting on “The One” (Pacific Coast Highway). I was behind the wheel for a good bit of the day, but not thirty miles into CA 1 I decided being a passenger was more my speed.

We arrived at our hostel in Monterey around 6 pacific time. I gathered all the dirty clothes to do laundry while the rest of the gang went to Target for long pants (California is not Texas). Finally, burritos for dinner.

Tomorrow a fun and free day in monterey.

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Pilgrimage day 5

The most important thing to know about Monday is: Grand Canyon. We stayed Sunday night in one of the in-park lodge/hotels and then spent a good part of Monday in the park. I got up early and ran along the south rim. I was slowed by stopping every little bit to gasp and snap pictures, and the elevation played tricks on my lungs. We took some time to explore the rim alone, then after lunch hiked down into a bit of the canyon. On the way up a summer storm found us.

The rest of the day we drove through Nevada, pausing to drive through the strip (and played Elvis on repeat). Finding a place to eat dinner was a challenge as it seems all dining is couched in the windowless, time-stopped casinos. So, somewhere just shy of the California border we succumbed to McDonald’s. (gross) We spent the night in Barstow, California and are now en route to Monterey and Big Sur. It’s a safe bet to say we are equal parts excited for both the ocean and a laundromat. Okay, maybe a tinge more excited about the ocean.

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