It’s been a week now since I rolled down Emigrant Canyon in Salt Lake City, and I’ve been home for just a few days. In that time I’ve learned a couple of things I—well, I don’t know whether I wish I knew them while I was riding. But thought I’d report back anyway.
First, the Buddhists. You may recall that when a very worried MJ was offering to come out to wait on stand-by in Casper while I rode the Wyoming Steppes, Lisa allayed her concerns in part by explaining that her cousin was head priest of the Salt Lake Buddhist Temple, and in that capacity, rode circuit through Wyoming. So in addition to the Mormons, I had the Buddhists looking out for me.
Well, that wasn’t exactly true.
I saw Hirano Sensei at a family get-together in Salt Lake and learned he doesn’t visit Buddhist temples. Rather, he visits Buddhist cemeteries, either to perform services or just to check on their state of repair. Which may explain why I didn’t see a single Buddhist temple on the entire trip.
Please don’t tell MJ.
The second thing is post offices. I sent postcards home most days, for a couple of reasons. One, of course, was to stay in touch the old-fashioned way, like we used to do in the before-times. Another was to get postmarks from the small towns I rode through: Places like Edgar, NE, and Lodgepole, and Farson, WY. I liked the idea of Lisa and Kazu receiving cancelled postcards from towns whose population numbered in the hundreds.
As it turns out, the small POs don’t stamp mail: they collect it and send it on to the larger city office where (presumably) it is stamped by machines. So instead of Granger, WY, or Coalvillille, UT, e.g., the cards are stamped “Salt Lake City.” I find that kind of a letdown. It may make me a bit of a hypocrite because of what I wrote about it being a good thing the Pony Express passed into obsolescence due to the telegraph. But I was kind of hoping to send home these little pieces of my travels with stamps from places I’ll probably never see again . . . At least not by bike.