Driving Miss Daisy and Hare Krishna

So Disco and I showed up on bike yesterday at the Hare Krishna Temple on Ponce de Leon Avenue (just called Ponce locally) in Driving Miss Daisy’s Druid Hills section of Atlanta. Whoa. That’s a mouthful.

It was yet another pilot test (Virgo that I am — and possibly neurodivergent, I’m increasingly realizing at 59 years old, if that’s what left-handed Mensa members are). This time, I was pre-testing our approved stay at the Krishna Temple in Utah on our trip Round America with a Duck (here’s the current planned route), although this temple doesn’t have the organic vegetable garden and llamas that the Utah one has.

We had overshot the address because we were in the Olmsted linear park (built as the centerpiece of one of the first “suburbs” in Atlanta, originally race-segregated) and the just-now-blooming forsythias distracted us (for obvious reasons).

Plus, the temple is really just a large house so it blended in with the others that line the wide boulevard, and there were no outward indications of the advertised open-to-the-public Kirtan festival. I didn’t see the sign identifying it as a Hare Krishna temple from a distance. When I finally did find it and get closer, I heard the spiritual chanting and rhythmic musical instruments emanating from inside.

I locked my painted folding bike to a railing; took off my shoes, as appeared to be the cultural expectation, which then revealed my Biker Chick socks; and opened the heavy wooden door.

I was nervous, never having been in a Krishna temple before and not knowing what to expect. Would I feel welcome? Would I feel safe — COVID-wise, per the Keep One Cow Apart sign on the door, and otherwise? Would I feel like this is something I can do for two weeks 1,872 miles away in Mormon country?

Can you guess which shoes are mine?

You’ll hear more about what happened next in my forthcoming book, Round America with a Duck. Follow here and on TikTok at SpeedOfBike and Round America with a Duck. Read the first chapter for free here. If you are a literary agent, please feel free to contact me for the full creative nonfiction book proposal.

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