Sunday, March 15, 2020

Big Sur Research Trip

Just before we started our social distancing program, Beth and I drove to Big Sur for some Hunter Thompson research. I hadn't visited Big Sur since my college days, when a classmate and I rode his Yamaha 1100 up the coast from UCSB and checked into a monastery for the weekend. We were taking a Religious Studies class from Walter Capps called "The Monastic Impulse," and a field trip was part of the program.

The highlights for me this time were visits to the Esalen Institute and the Henry Miller Memorial Library. My Esalen connection began when I met cofounder Michael Murphy at a Berkeley book event. Over lunch, I asked him about Thompson, who served as the caretaker of the property before Mike and Richard Price established the institute. I figured I had to visit the grounds so that I had a clearer picture of what I was writing about. Mike was kind enough to arrange that.

The Henry Miller library is a short hop from there. We met Magnus Toren, its founder, and had a pleasant, wide-ranging conversation. He even tolerated my rusty Swedish for a few seconds. Beth and I definitely want to keep in touch with him.

On the way back, we visited downtown Monterey and had dinner with friends in Pacific Grove. In all, a pleasant and productive trip.

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