I'm sitting in a toilet stall
in a campground lavatory in San Luis Obisbo, California. Today is the
first day of my northern adventure. So far it was pretty nice.
This morning Marvis and I
got all of my shit together, stuffed it into my yellow '75 Mazda wagon,
drove out to Santa Monica and had breakfast. We talked for several hours
and I truly like him. He dropped me off in Malibu where I began my trek.
My first ride was in a VW
van with a couple, a child,another hitchhiker named Andrew and many
photos of Sri Krishna and one of a dolphin having a baby. Next, a fellow
with no chin picked me and Andrew up. I drove, singing all the way,
while the chinless fellow studied a speech for school. We got off in
Santa Barbara. We spent the next three hours there, getting acquainted
and alternating sticking out our thumbs, until a black van stopped.
The three guys in the van
were from British Columbia and were total rowdies, guzzling wine, drinking
beer after beer and smoking hash (I joined in). The driver was crazed,
weaving and going about 90 mph. We stopped and were all urinating on
the side of the freeway when a cop pulled up.
He said, "Go find a john
or a bush, but don't water your lizards on the road." He asked
to see the inside of the van and a half a dozen beer cans came clattering
out onto the pavement. He let us off with a warning. (Close call #1).
These guys dropped Andrew
and I where the Pacific Coast Highway forks to the 101.
We ate fish and chips at a
place that Andrew knew of, then were taken to a nearby campsite in the
back of a pickup truck.
And here we are. Andrew has
gone to sleep, while I, having drunk coffee with my fish, am still awake.
I cleansed myself and am now writing this while sitting on a toilet
in the campground john.
Nighttime is so odd and eerie.
It would be difficult spending my first night alone. I'm glad I'm not.
Andrew knows a goodly amount about movies, so I've been spouting my
usual jive. He's been listening, too. He's going to Oregon so we may
continue traveling together. Perhaps not -- we'll see. However a friend
made is never really lost, unless of course I just forget him, but now
he's on paper, so I won't.
I'm now sitting in my tent
in the woods in British Columbia, by myself. This is the first time
I have been alone since I left Los Angeles (except for being in an occasional
restaurant or gas station restroom).
Anyway. . . Andrew and I left
Morro Bay and hitched together for the next four days. He turned out
to be a bright, kind of shy arid slightly self conscious, good human
being. We proceeded up Pacific Coast Highway 1 and got a ride from a
fellow named Andrew in a red Datsun pickup truck. He kept us stoned
and supplied with beer for the next two days.
This Andrew was sixteen years
old and tried to impress us older, bearded guys, with his tapes (,Jackson
Browne, Dave Mason, George Carlin, etc.) and dope and gave us each a
hit of speed. He took us to Berkeley after we had stayed the night in
Big Sur, ate spaghetti with sardines. ( fishy !) and stopped very quickly
in San Francisco.
Andrew and I were then picked
up and taken to Corning, California by a fellow I believe was named
Bill who had had the bridge of his nose shot off in 'Nam. He had tons
of war stories about gooks getting shot open like cans of tomatoes,
him getting shot at in his patrol boat. (PBR) a bullet coming up through
the floor, then through the fat of his stomach and out his cheek, and
about fucking Vietnamese woman for candy bars and bars of soap, and
also having them blow him with his . 45 pressed against their head so
they wouldn't bite it off. He told us about his girlfriend who was a
millionaire and bought him an $11,000. van which he wanted to give back
because she couldn't buy and possess him. His little girl fell asleep
on my lap, causing me to lose feeling in both legs, then pain and agony.
Bill dropped us off in Corning
and told us it was the best place to hitchhike in the area. After standing
for a half an hour with two cars going past, we were picked up by a
hippie in a V-dub and informed that Corning was absolutely the worst
place to hitchhike. Next was a shoe salesman with a kilo of Thai weed
which he wouldn't smoke with us, then a researcher from The University
of California, Davis, who was working on a cure for premature births
As we were heading out of
a little town in northern California, we ran into a kid we had met before
in the car with the researcher. He gave us the ramp and walked up the
freeway. After a bit we walked up on the road, too. All of a sudden
a cop coming from the north made a youie and nabbed the kid, but didn't
see us. Frantically we dashed down the ramp and were not seen. (Close
call #2) .
After several hours in the
dark we were picked up by a hippie couple named Dan and Barb who took
us to Oregon, where they are from. When we neared their hometown it
was 5:00 A. M. so we pulled into a park, tossed our sleeping bags on
the lawn and crashed.
As I lay in my bag on the
edge of sleep I could suddenly feel a presence lurking over me. I opened
my eyes and two feet from my face was a dark figure with long hair hanging
down to within an inch of my nose. This scared me shitless and I gasped.
The face pulled back slightly and it was Dan. He was wearing blue jeans
and nothing else.
"Get up," he whispered.
"Barb wants you to come
over and screw her."
"She wants both of us
to fuck her. She likes it. Come on." He started back over to Barb.
"Jesus," I mumbled,
not knowing quite what to do next.
Andrew glanced over, then
went back into his bag.
I went over to where Dan and
Barb were and found her naked on top, with the sleeping bag covering
the rest. She was very pretty with long brown hair and a trim body with
small firm breasts. Dan slid down the sleeping bag revealing her to
be entirely nude, ran his hands over her pubic hair and began fondling
her breasts. I was still very apprehensive and Barb could obviously
sense it. She smiled warmly.
"Don't you have a lot
of clothes on?" She said as Dan pulled off his pants and climbed
into the sleeping bag.
"Enough for three people,"
I said and disrobed.
Dan began fucking her as she
gave me head. When he had come, I fucked her while she gave him head.
She climaxed while I was on top and almost exactly at the moment a police
car drove up.
Dan pulled the cover over
all of us and said, "we're gonna get the shaft," and shut
his eyes. Barb and I played dead.
We heard the cop shut his
door, walk over and speak to Andrew who looked over at us with a very
rejected expression. The cop came over, turned on his flashlight and
aimed it at us, although it was already light out. There being three
of us in the bag seemed to sincerely puzzle him.
"You can't camp here,
it says so on the sign.''
Dan awoke slowly. "Huh?"
I had my eyes open, decided not to deal and Barb continued to play dead.
"Can't camp here,"
the cop repeated, no longer looking at us, but instead out at the lake
beyond. "Says so on the sign in front of the park.''
"Oh, wow! said Dan. "We
didn't see it. We were all real tired and had to crash, we could hardly
Oddly enough the cop looked
like he could accept the plausibility of this story, although he still
would not look at us. "I could give you a citation ...but I don't
think I will. I'll just give you a warning -- this time."
He finally left after a few
more exchanges with no comment on the three of us naked in one sleeping
bag. (Close call #:3).
Barb and Dan took us to their
hometown of Medford, Oregon and we stopped at a very beautiful place
in the woods across a rickety suspension bridge straddling a fast river.
I whipped up some bacon and eggs with my butane stove and mess kit,
then washed the dishes in the river and screwed Barb two more times
while she looked at pictures of naked women in Penthouse.
Andy and I decided to backtrack
about twenty miles to Ashland for the Shakespeare festival. We saw the
Pioneer Day parade go past in Jacksonville. It was absurd, American
"Streetcar Named Desire"
was playing in Ashland, however we chose not to go, but instead fell
asleep on the lawn in front of the theater. That was all of the sleep
we got that night.
A zany chick in an old Mustang
convertible blaring Kiss and T. Rex took us a little way, then an absolutely
beautiful blonde woman named Chris picked us up in a jacked up Trail
Blazer. Andy and I sat in the back with her two boys, Jeff (three and
a half) and Steve (seven), who were both cute blond kids. We colored
with them while Chris drank one beer after another after another and
played Fleetwood Mac, the Doobie Brothers and Carly Simon. These were
her only tapes.
I snoozed off for a bit and
awoke in Eugene, Oregon which was Andy's destination and the location
of The University Of Oregon. We exchanged addresses, bid each other
adieu and he left. We continued north to Seattle where Chris was to
attend her brother's wedding.
Both children were asleep
and I moved up to the front seat. Chris and I talked for about an hour,
then I took the hit of speed that Andrew in the red Datsun gave me and
fell immediately to sleep.
I awoke in an hour completely
awake. Chris and I then talked all night long: about me, about her (she
loved riding horse, dune buggying, swimming, driving, and drinking beer.
She drank at least twenty beers during this drive. She also happened
to be an accountant), I talked about books, which she had never read
any of, but wanted to hear about anyway, she talked about her husband
and marriage, about tripping, about religion (she was Presbyterian).
She bought me breakfast at a Denny's outside Seattle, then dropped me
off on 85th St. right in Seattle.
A man going to play golf who
had served in northern Africa during World War Two dropped me off near
a bridge where two exceptionally ugly American Indians picked me up.
They were so big and muscular and mean looking with scars and bruises
and scabs that when they offered me a warm Ranier beer I was ever so
polite and gracious in accepting.
When they began speaking their
tribal language, pointing at me and laughing I became certain that they
were going to kill me. I became very aware of the Buck knife on my belt.
It was a Bar Mitzvah present and had my initials in old English on the
These terror Indians dropped
me off in Marysville, Washington with absolutely no ado about anything.
There I sat for the next two and a half hours.
An older Canadian couple,
who quickly informed me that they were naturalized Americans, took me
to the border of the U.S.A. and Canada -- Sumas, Washington and Huntingdon,
British Columbia, where I was detained by a young, female, immigration
official who checked and rechecked everything in my past for hours,
but never checked my backpack. She asked if I had ever been denied entrance
to Canada and I answered no and began to sweat because I was lying.
Four hours later , after her
supervisor had grilled me, too, I was given a one week visa. I lit out
across the border into British Columbia.
After a short ride from an
older Canadian couple that were just like the Canadian couple on the
other side of the border, I stood for several long hours on a ramp in
the hot sun. A sign at the end of the ramp read, "No hitchhiking
on freeway. Pickups are illegal."
I edged my way to the end
of the ramp feeling hot and paranoid, but lost the latter when two cops
went by and didn't even slow down.
Finally, a pickup truck stopped
and an old guy missing the end of his thumb picked me up. He told me
of a female bike rider he'd picked up earlier that day who was going
to Mexico. He gave me a can of pop and two cans of fruit juice, which
I just this very second drank the last of. He made me promise to write
from Alaska. I promised.
The next ride was also in
a pickup truck with two big Irish Setters in the back. The driver, a
chubby bearded man with long hair, was a teacher. He taught Indian children
in a one room schoolhouse in Clinton, B. C. He asked me if I wanted
to smoke some pot and said, "It's Columbian, not British Columbian.''
It was raining when
I got out, so I ducked into the very buggy woods, pitched my tent and
here I am.
I am in Tok. Junction, Alaska!
I'm not sure what to say because it's not that fantastic. It's nice,
of course, but it's not too much different from British Columbia or
the Yukon, which are both great.
Since I haven't much money
($225) and it takes at least $200 to cross back into the U. S., I'll
only be able to stay a few days, perhaps less, things are awfully expensive
up here. It doesn't really seem like that much of a crime, however.
It's all very beautiful, but scenery has never gotten me off for too
long. People is what it's all about, and I'll meet more of those back
on the road. So far I've met some pretty good ones.
Now let's see. . . (I just
had a fantasy of killing a bear with my Buck: knife ...God!). After
crashing in Clinton, B.C., I walked about a mile up the road (a motorcycle
just zipped by through the woods). Anyway, I sat in the same place for
about five hours in the rain and was finally picked up by some friendly
freaks (thank God for them) in a beat-up customized van, going to Prince
George, B.C. We smoked a couple of joints, drank tequila sunrises and
had a very pleasant journey.
I walked through Prince George,
got a ride out of town from a local freak who gave me a pack of cigars,
and then sat for many hours. A fourteen year old kid strolled up to
the little store I was sitting in front of and we talked for several
hours. I gave him the pack of cigars, then we went back: to the trailer
park: where he lived and I set up my tent.
It rained all night long
and by morning my tent was completely soaked through and my sleeping
bag was soaking wet. as well. I used the trailer park facilities, shit,
showered and dried all my stuff for free.
I hitchhiked many hours in
front of the trailer park the next day until a fellow named Andrew (there's
been quite a few of those on this trip so far) in a 1958 Pontiac Strato
Chief picked me up. There was no floorboard on the passenger side so
I could see the road whizzing past beneath my feet.
Andrew was a friendly guy
who was going to work on a road crew for the summer in Fort St. John.
His Dad had gotten him the job because he was still in high school--"Some
job, aye?" The muffler on his car dropped off and had to be wired
back on, then fell off two more times.
We stopped for a pretty blonde
girl who was hitchhiking. She got in the back and I asked her if she
was frightened hitching alone? She said that she was a barmaid in Inuvik,
which is in the Northwest Territories on the Arctic circle, and that
all she ever dealt with were horny woodsmen and loggers and if she could
handle them, she could handle anything else that ever came down. We
both believed her.
I got a short ride out of
Fort St. John from a couple from Windsor, Ontario (which is just across
the river from Detroit).
I was then picked up by a
really tremendous person named Tom who had a bushy beard, drove Datsun
pickup camper and was going all the way to Fairbanks, Alaska.
Tom and I talked movies, books,
life, sang Simon and Garfunkel, James Taylor, Crosby, Stills and Nash
and basically got along fine. He was going to work on the pipeline for
the third time. He tried talking me into staying longer in Alaska and
getting a job. Tom truly loved Alaska.
He told me about working at
a pipeline camp near the Arctic circle where it would get to be eighty
degrees below zero and everyone would get so tired from working that
they couldn't even 1ook up. Due to this he physically ran into a guy
and when they looked up at each other they realized that they had gone
to elementary school together in Wisconsin. He said they had the world's
ugliest hookers at the pipeline camp that charged $500. He said after
a few months they really seemed beautiful to him.
At some point Tom and I
tried to get some sleep in the camper on the back of the truck, but
these tiny horrible little biting bugs called no seams drove us nuts,
so we kept going.
The next evening we were in
Whitehorse, Yukon where we saw both Jack London and Robert W. Service's
cabins on Lake LaBarge (where Sam Magee gets cremated. I actually have
a copy of Service's poem "The Cremation of Sam Magee" with
me). Tom and I had a drink at The Whitehorse Inn and saw a rock band
made up of Indians in blue shirts singing Peter Frampton songs. We both
thought this was very funny.
We stopped for the night one
hundred miles outside of Whitehorse, then continued straight through
to Alaska along the AlCan Highway -- eighteen hundred miles of dirt
road. The gas stations begin getting further and further apart until
there are three hundred mile stretches between them and the gas gauge
is right on 'E' .
At one gas station somewhere
in the Yukon there were signs posted all over the place stating, "Free
ice cream with fill up," and between the gas pumps was an old freezer.
An old man with a big white beard and wearing all kinds of rubber rain
gear (although it was sunny) came out and filled us up. He said, "Don't
forget about your free ice cream."
After the tank was full and
we had paid he began to walk away we said, "What about the free
ice cream?" and he hook his head. "Damn, I almost forgot."
He went into the freezer and handed each of us the smallest ice creams
on stick either one of us had ever seen.
Tom dropped me off in Tok
Junction, Alaska, which is about one hundred and fifty miles across
the border -- and here I am.
I went to pitch my tent in
the woods and passed a graveyard of snow moving equipment. There were
probably twenty rusted out chassis, some looking like they might be
The bugs are so intense, moving
in gigantic swarms, that I cooked my dinner of beef, onions and potatoes
here in the tent with my little butane stove. A few moment ago a large
dog began barking at me. Scared shitless, I got out my knife and waited.
The dog had its teeth bared, circled my tent several times, barked some
more, then left. I'm still scared. This wild fucking country! I'm smoking
a cigarette right now in an attempt to dispel the odor of food. I'm
convinced that the dog has gone to get it's friends the wolves and bears.
I've slept for many hours,
woken up several times and gone back to sleep, but now I'm finally awake.
From inside the tent it looks to be a beautiful, bright, breezy day
-- and yet it could be any time of the day or night, for the sun never
sets up here.
Nevertheless, I'm pretty sure
that it's morning.
Traveling alone has many advantages:
getting rides quicker and making much better time, but alone at night
is so empty and disconcerting (even if it isn't dark). It's not the
way to travel on a vacation.
I have decided to leave
Alaska and head home. It is wonderfully ironic that I should spend but
two days in the largest state in the union, but I can't find a reason
to stay longer.
Well, I've been sitting
on the side of the road in Tok Junction now for about nine hours and
it's been alternately cold, sunny, boring, amusing and very, very buggy.
It is probably eighty degrees now and I am wearing jeans, hiking boots,
a winter army jacket, gloves and a mosquito head net and still the I'm
being eaten up. Every ten or fifteen minutes I spray myself with army
surplus bug repellent and I keep moving, which is all that has stopped
these oversized mosquitoes from picking me up and carrying me away.
Looking east, toward Fairbanks,
the Alaska mountain range looms in the distance. The highest peak, I
believe, is Mt. Kimball at 10,350 feet. Many of the mountains are snow-capped
and all are very impressive.
The clouds are abundant and
soft and the sun sits shrouded off to the right, certainly not ready
to set, but not too far from the horizon, either. To my left is Farren's
Groceries with a sign stating, "Meat, Prod., Fishing Tackle, Guns,
Film and Ice." Two frozen, lounging, cement bears, one Polar, the
other Grizzly, guard the store's entrance. To my right, the Alaska Visitor
Information Center and the Tok Community Library, which serves free
coffee (I've had six cups), and has nice clean bathrooms (which I've
also partaken of several times). Beyond that is a small weigh station.
Behind me a sign reads, "No studded tires -- May 1 to Sept. 15."
An Airstream Trailer Club
is meeting at the trailer park around the corner and so far one hundred
and forty Airstream trailers have arrived -- all silver rounded jobs,
and all mud coated.
I'm in Beaver Creek, Yukon,
which is the border to Alaska. After hitchhiking in Tok Junction for
nine hours, I was in the midst of a conversation with some Airstreamers
and had just told them that big trucks never pick up hitchhikers when
...I was picked up by a big truck.
Unfortunately, he only took
me ten miles to a truck stop. I bummed a smoke from a guy there and
he gave me the whole pack. I was very appreciative.
On the road I was given a
lift by a pickup full of Indians who also stopped for another hitchhiker
(a half-breed named Pat with real long hair and a bad attitude). They
dropped us off about forty miles up the road, then we walked fourteen
miles until we reached a U. S. Army Restricted Fuel Testing Center.
We spent the rest of the night there, then, in the morning, we started
back to a cafe we read passed several miles before. Two burned out guys
in a shitty looking blue car that had passed us the day before, stopped
for us going in the wrong direction (the right direction for the cafe,
though). They had been turned away at the border (here) for having neither
proof of insurance for the car, nor I.D. and were going back to Anchorage
to get a flight out. Since Pat had no I.D. either, he went with them.
The damn cafe was closed,
so I sat there for several hours until another pickup truck full of
Indians picked me up. The cab had four people in it, so I got in the
back with two Indian kids, one of whom was blind and had totally white
eyes, the other had withered legs and aluminum crutches. Between them
sat a cardboard box stuffed with bags of Doritos and cans of Pepsi and
the two crippled Indians scarfed this shit non-stop for a hundred miles
without ever offering me any, or even speaking a word to me. They took
me to the American side of the border, twenty miles from Canada, where
they lived in a log cabin with pelts on stick racks drying outside.
The four adults got out of the cab and walked up the rutted path to
the cabin leaving the kid with crutches to make his own way, while the
blind kid held the box of junk food in one hand and the crippled kid's
shirt with his other.
I walked for ten or twelve
miles and saw two cars pass going the other way. The sun went around
the sky in a circle and it rained once every hour for about ten minutes.
By the time I stopped, got my poncho out of my pack and over my head,
the rain had generally stopped.
I had forgotten to fill up
my canteen and had no water. The further I walked the drier my mouth
got and my thirst became the overriding thought in my head. I began
to eye the little muddy streams of water coursing across the road, but
didn't quite feel like sucking mud, or stopping and boiling the shit
out. I just kept walking and walking, my head down, watching my boots
go up and down and feeling the blisters on my feet. Suddenly a big black
bear came running across the road about twenty feet in front of me.
It went by so fast I didn't have time to get scared. I kept walking
and then a giant moose stepped out of the woods with a baby moose. The
baby appeared bigger than me. I froze into a pillar of salt. The big
moose looked right at me for a long, calculated moment, then decided
I was not a threat and disappeared into the woods with the baby. Now
my mouth and throat were so dry I could barely breath. I was ready to
suck mud, but now there was none of that to be seen. Lo and behold,
sitting right on the side of the road was a full, unopened care of Coca-Cola.
I looked to heaven and gave thanks, drank a third of the can in a gulp
and poured the remainder into my canteen. I consider this to be a miracle.
A minor one for sure, but a miracle nevertheless.
I was finally picked up by
a big tour bus completely full of people. I stood at the front beside
the driver and the passengers raised their hands and asked me questions,
like where I started and how long it took me to get here?
There is zilch traffic here
in Beaver creek, Yukon, so I'll probably be here for quite a while.
If I can just get over that damned ACLU highway things will be just
I just finished "The
End Of The Road" by John Barth and it was amazingly good.
I am now sitting beside the
road in Cache Creek, British Columbia heading east on Trans-Canada #1
toward Kamloops. The bugs are biting, but only a minor annoyance compared
to Alaska. But of course, how did I get back to British Columbia?
As I sat in front of the tourist
information center in Beaver Creek, Yukon, two drunk truckers stumbled
out of the Alas/Kon Lodge and told me that: if I was still there in
the morning they would take me to Vancouver.
About 1:30 A. M. I was walking
in circles so that the mosquitoes wouldn't nest in my hair when the
two drunk truckers pulled up in their eighteen wheel White Star Western
truck and picked me up. The driver, Max, was a thin, light -haired guy
of thirty-seven from Vancouver and had a growth on the bridge of his
nose. The other was Curtis, a pucker-lipped, very accented Canadian
from New Foundland who swore continuously. Both of them were still totally
looped and Max had vomited only moments before picking me up and it
smelled like it. In just a few swerving miles, Max gave up and changed
places with Curtis in the sleeper. Curtis looked awful (although he
didn't look much better sober) and within just a few minutes hit the
air brake with a hiss, stopped and tossed his cookies in the middle
of the road. Now the cab smelled really terrible.
Since either one or the other
of these guys was always asleep in the sleeper or driving, I ended up
in the air controlled passenger seat for three whole days. There was
no place to lean my head, for when I did my head smashed into the metal
edge of the speaker, which continually blared Freddie Fender in my left
ear. "Wasted days and wasted nights..." I got very little
sleep and quite a few cracks on the head.
Max was on his second marriage
and had a seventeen year old son in Vancouver. Curtis was into eating
women out and felching and was grossly graphic about it. "Straight
fuckin' is for Chinamen."
It was a long three days.
Now it's 6:00 A. M. and I'm
sitting beside the road in Cache Creek, B. C. which is known for its
over abundance of rattle snakes. It actually looks like Texas; dry,
hilly and scrubby. I'm beat and filthy. My last shower was six days
After standing at the junction
of 97 and Trans Canada ##1 for about an hour and a half, I decided I
was too tired, dirty and messed up to continue. Another hitchhiker came
walking up the ramp as I started down. The minute he stuck out his thumb
he got a ride.
I got a room at the Oasis
Hotel in Cache Creek and that's where I am right now.
I slept for eleven hours
and am wonderfully clean. I'd forgotten that I had soft hair.
The only movie theater here
in Cache Creek is a drive in. What good does that do me? It's just as
well, perhaps, since if when I get to Calgary "New York, New York"
has opened, I am going to go see it. It has been thirteen days since
I've seen a movie. The longest stretch since before I got to Los Angeles
in 1976. I'm cleansing my mind and soul. It's also putting a little
bit of the thrill of going to see a motion picture back into me. The
next movie I see, good or bad, will probably be a lot of fun.
I can presently recall the
thrill of sitting in a dimly lit movie theater and waiting for the lights
to go down.
I'm still wasted. All that
sitting in the truck without sleep really wiped me out, gave me acne
an my ass and legs and left me stiff as a board. This R&R is more
necessary than I thought. Luckily, I don't have to be out of this hotel
room until noon tomorrow. I was actually pretty paranoid when I first
got here this morning that they would boot me out of here at noon today.
I was truly wasted.
During the long, long truck
ride I thought quite a bit about Detroit, the people there and Robin.
In my mind I must have told her to fuck herself twenty time. I doubt
that I'll ever really tell her, though. I'm having great difficulty
picturing faces -- anyone's. That's why I can tell everyone in my head
what I really think, I can't see them.
I have to defecate for the
third time. When I leave there I'll be as pure as Ivory Snow.
As soon as I got into the
room I pulled off my boots it had been five days, since Tok Junction
-- and popped my Alaskan water blisters. Big ones on both feet. They're
healing quite well now.
Since I spent all day sleeping,
I'm having great difficulty getting to sleep now. So far I've watched
Monty Python, Room 222, Barny Miller and M.A.S.H., ate some candy bars,
took another shower, took another sauna and here we are. I'm just not
It is Dominion Day.
I'm now in a hotel room in
Upsala, Ontario. Rob, the fellow who picked me up yesterday outside
Calgary, is asleep in the bed. I'm in the bathroom.
After I left the Oasis Hotel
in Cache Creek, I got eight rides from unknown kindly human beings who
weren't traveling very far (between ten and forty miles each). One ride
was from an old geezer named Ernie in a pickup truck who kept saying,
"British Columbia is the most beautiful. place in the world. You
want beauty, you got it here. I wouldn't live nowhere else. 'Course
I was out on the Atlantic coast in '26 and that's real beauty. Worked
on a fishing boat, and boy did we see things there. Beautiful as can
As I got out of the truck
we finally introduced ourselves. When I told him my name was Becker
he said, "Becker? I "ll never forget that name. I once spent
twenty-two hours gettin' a guy named Tom Becker out of a caved-in well.
First we got his head out, then we lowered rum down to him in a vanilla
bottle. We drove a shaft down next to the well, but when Tom come out
he was sober as a judge. Twenty-two hours it took."
I hitched for four hours in
Revelstoke, B.C., then climbed a small mountain and pitched my tent
The next morning a fellow
in a Capri who was on the faculty at Calgary College (or University
of Calgary, I can't remember which) on the theater staff, took me to
As I walked through the very
modern and clean downtown area of Calgary, I drew many 1ooks with my
beard and big pack on. A fellow wearing a day pack sidled up beside
me at a street crossing and we began to talk. He asked where I was going
and I said a movie. This seemed to amuse him. We walked for a while
together, got a newspaper and found out where "New York, New York"
was playing and he showed me how to get there. He asked if I wanted
to get high and I said yes. We stopped at a vacant lot, sat down on
a log and smoked some really sweet hash.
We both got pretty stoned,
laughed and kidded around, then he went his way I went mine.
The movie blew.
I hitched out.
Rob, the fellow in the bed
asleep, picked me up and drove for thirty hours straight. He is so emotionless
he is almost catatonic. We haven't exchanged fifteen minutes worth of
conversation in thirty hours. He has one goddamn fucking 8-track tape
-- Deep Purple -- which he never takes out, turns down or anything.
He has a garbage bag full of beef jerky in the back seat. Every forty-five
minutes he says, "Hey, could you hand me some of that beef turkey."
After the third or fourth time I asked, "Why do you call it 'turkey?'
it's called jerky," and he said., "I like to call it turkey.
Hand me some more of that beef turkey." And that's how it went
all the way across Canada, the second largest country in the world.
At some point after we passed
Sault St. Marie I fell asleep for the nine-hundreth time and began having
a very vivid dream about that beautiful woman named Chris who took:
me to Seattle. In my dream we stopped and made love in the back of her
Trail Blazer. I awoke to an orgasm. I looked over at Rob and he was
staring straight ahead, his face completely expressionless, Deep Purple
blaring out of the speakers. I asked if we could stop at a gas station,
went in and cleaned myself up.
Rob dropped me in Chatham,
Ontario. I got one more ride to Windsor, then called my parents from
the border and they came and picked me up. We ate Lebanese food at The
Sheik, then came home and here I am.
My father and my little sister
took me out to 1 94 and I started on my way back: to California. My
nose is stuffed and my allergies are out of control. I won't miss the
ragweed of Michigan.
After several rides I was
dropped at an exit near Jackson, Michigan that did not have an on ramp.
I walked for about a mile before I began hitchhiking on the freeway,
which is illegal. In moments a Michigan Highway Patrol car stopped.
I'm fucked, I thought as I approached the car. However this happened
to be the coolest cop in history and he said, "Jump in, I'll take
you to a much better place to hitchhike a few miles up." He asked
where I was going and said that he and his family were going to take
their camper to California next summer. When he let me off he said he'd
come back in an hour to see if I was still there, in which case tee's
take me up to the next exit.
I got a short ride to the
other side of Jackson and was dropped off beside a sign that said, "No
Hitchhiking. Prison Area." I felt this might hamper my chances
of getting a ride, but no, within minutes a beat up old camper stopped
for me. In the cab was a fat ugly woman with growths on her face and
lip and a man driving who was fatter and uglier. He told me that he
was just convicted of felonious assault and bearing arms and would probably
get six years. They gave me several bottles of some strange, off brand
soda pop that I kept imagining was poison and dropped me off in Paw
When I got to Joliet, Illinois
and was comfortably positioned on the freeway ramp, I sprayed my aching
stuffed nose with Afrin nose spray. It says on the bottle to not use
it for more than three days in a row. I had been using it for over a
week. Suddenly, my nose began to pour blood. Not just some little dribble
of a nose bleed, I'm talking a torrent of blood from both nostrils.
By the time I got to the top of the ramp blood was cascading over- my
hand, down my arm, all over my beard and the front of my jacket. I stumbled
into a Wendy's Hamburgers for some napkins and several. people screamed
when they saw me. I quickly reassured everyone in the place it was just
a nose bleed and began blotting myself. The employees of Wendy's were
very helpful and brought me some ice and soon it stopped. I ate a hamburger,
cleaned up in the bathroom and started back on my way.
I was then picked up by an
older guy named Virgil with a speech impediment in a yellow VW bug.
He had been agent for the IRS. He brought me here to his children's
house in Iowa City where they are all attending college. His youngest
daughter, Amy, is so gorgeous it's insane. She is dark complected, has
straight black hair down to her very shapely butt and was wearing a
little white lace halter top that barely covered anything. I'm fantasizing
that as soon as everyone goes to sleep she comes down here to the basement
bedroom where I presently am and fucks my brains out.
After I left Iowa City, Virgil
gave me a ride to the freeway and a guy with two German Shepards picked
me up. He told me very seriously that I should name my backpack. He
said the best thing to name it after would be a great American city.
To please him I named my pack Pittsburgh.
The next ride was in a '71,
white Grand Prix with a black vinyl top. Two guys were in it: Billy
driving and Mike in the passenger seat, and they were going all the
way to California. This seemed like a really great ride for about ten
seconds until Billy, which was poorly tattooed on his arm, took a gigantic
slug of whiskey, swerved across both lanes and nearly hit an embankment
at eighty miles an hour. I thought to myself, if I'm supposed to die
in a white Grand Prix in Iowa, here I am. When Billy raised the bottle
to take another inhuman slug I saw that his right index finger was cut
so deeply that six stitches probably wouldn't have closed it up and
his middle finger was severed at the first knuckle.
Miraculously, we got to Altoona
and Billy filled up with a "borrowed" 76 credit card, then
got a little trucker's room so we could all shower. Since I knew I would
never get back into a car with him, I figured what the hell, I may as
well take a shower.
In the room, Mike's pants
were torn real bad in back. and Billy volunteered to go down to the
car and get him some others. Mike and I talked for a while and he told
me a particularly boring story about getting picked up by a fag and
throwing a brick through the guy's window. Before he started to tell
another story I decided to go down and see what was keeping Billy.
His car was not where he'd
parked it, so I walked around the gas station but could not find him.
My pack and Mike's suitcase were in the car so we both got panicky and
didn't know what to do.
After a cup of coffee we called
the police who came and took down all of the info, then told us to wait
a day or two arid give them a call. A half an hour later Billy came
walking in. I told him he was in big trouble and demanded the return
my pack. I found it completely torn apart in his trunk. I scooped out
all of my stuff and told him if he didn't get out of my face I'd cut
off the rest of his fingers. He told me I wasn't being cool.
I put my pack back together
and walked down the ramp. A truck stopped and Mike was already inside.
He and I hitchhiked together for the rest of the day and he turned out
to be a complete blithering idiot who punctuated every sentence with
"fuckin' this" and "fuckin' that."
We were dropped off at the
fork going one way to South Dakota and the other to Omaha, Nebraska.
We sat there for three or four hours, me getting nutty and singing and
him just sitting.
Finally, a yellow van pulled
over. In it were John and Rick, two brothers from Boston that were going
all the way to San Diego.
Somewhere in Nebraska Mike
got another ride with a guy going to Sacramento. We were all as glad
as hell to be rid of him.
John and Rick and I hit it
off real well. Both of them were really good guys and both of them talked
like Kennedys. Neither of them had ever been west before and just freaked
out as we went through the Rocky Mountains.
The van had two flat tires,
the lights stopped working and kept flashing on and off, it almost overheated
going through the desert, but finally we got to California.
We were still two hundred
and fifty miles outside of L.A. in San Bernadino when we saw two girls
standing beside a grey Datsun 280 Z on the side of the road. We stopped
to help. They were both Mexican and said that they did not speak English.
When John asked if they needed any help they both replied very plainly
in English, "No we don't need any help." John said, "Oh,
so you do speak English," but they both shook their heads, so we
I was in the back of the van
reading Penthouse when Rick said, "Keep your head down, they're
shooting at us."
It turned out that the two
Mexican girls had boyfriends hidden somewhere who thought we had done
something to the girls, pulled up beside us on the freeway and tried
to shoot John with a pistol.
John ducked down, grabbed
the CB radio, asked if there were any smokies on the line and got the
Desert Fox, California Highway Patrol. John said that we were being
shot at from a grey, Datsun 280 Z with its lights on. Within ten minutes
we were told by the Desert Fox to pull a U turn. When we got back to
where the Datsun was stopped we found two Highway Patrol cars and a
San Bernadino Sheriff. The two Mexican guys had their hands cuffed behind
them, were lying on their faces on the pavement (which was certainly
over a hundred degrees)and each had a shotgun pressed against the back
of his head.
We all went down to the Barstow
Police station, hung around for hours answering the same questions over
and over, then left without doing a thing.
We got to San Diego to John
and Rick's sister's house and I crashed in the van. I awoke the next
morning at 7:00 and had breakfast with the sister, her husband and their
three kids, a cute little girl and two boys with speech impediments
that are also slightly Mongoloid, I believe. The sister is an epileptic
and her husband is an alcoholic on probation for beating up some Mexicans
after he had just served six months in jail for something else. Just
your average happy family.