Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Ken Kesey

Ken Kesey, 1970

I have a Kesey story. I know it's true, I've told it before. In the summer of 1970, after graduating from the University of Florida my pal Bob Gould and I set out in our VW Bus to go to San Francisco and get a job at the Whole Earth Store. Well they already had an employee at the Whole Earth Store so Bob went to Boston and I headed up to Washington with my new girlfriend Pat Thomas in her VW bus. On the way we picked up another couple hitch-hiking and he turned out to be a writer for underground papers with an address of a buddy in Eugene, Oregon, that we could stay with. We knew about the Springfield Creamery being owned by Ken Kesey's brother Chuck so of course we had to drive by it.

As fate would have it, there, standing in front of the Creamery  with his dog Stewart (we know it was Stewart because he yelled at him to stop barking at us) , was the man himself, Ken Kesey. We played it cool of course. I rolled down the window as we pulled up next to him and we exchanged the knowing smiles. I'm sure he had seen hundreds of scruffy hippies coming up there to hang out with him. "Would you know a place we could camp?" I asked as casually as I could. He smiled again and said "Yes, below the Jasper Bridge is a good place" and he proceeded to give us directions. Sure enough we found the Jasper Bridge and the little road leading down below it. There on the side of the bridge support in flaming dayglo spray paint was "KESEY SUCKS!!!" We laughed ourselves silly.

Jasper Bridge, Highway 222 
Next day we headed for the address our writer passenger had and wound up at Kesey's farm. There was the famous bus and Kesey's Edsel convertible. His wife came out and was very nice to us but said they were expecting a bunch of people to show up any minute and we couldn't stay there. The guy who had given the farm as his address no longer lived there. We had our brush with greatness and it was time to move on. We never did make it to apple picking.

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