Thursday, October 14, 2010

Desert Hippies

It is indeed time for a trip to center the mind. I am excited to go and hike the Grand Canyon with Bruce Corey of Canyon Tough on the latest Wapiti Trip that the Bald Guy put together. Looking forward to dropping down in to the Big Ditch, twice, on Both Friday and Saturday getting a decent burn with some folks from all over the country. I am really looking forward to this, I love the desert this time of year.

I will then get in a small car and head to LA to see MOM!

I am actually looking forward to driving from the Canyon to LA. The last time I drove across the desert by myself was in 1984, leaving Kansas City early in the morning and making my way across the country by myself. It was time to get out of town and I thought it would be cool to load up every thing I owned in my 1980 (turbo)Trans Am. I was going to go out and live on the coast for a while, see what the beach had to bring me, stay with my mom who had set up roots there back in the late 70's. It was the beginning of a journey that would eventually land me in Texas and then back to the Lou, where I would set up roots in white picket fence America. Not a bad thing. I am not bashing my hood, important to the contrast of this story, nevertheless.

After a long day of driving through boring Kansas and Eastern Colorado, I pulled off at a rest stop just up the hill from Denver and not too far from Idaho Springs. I was tired and had been driving for 12 or 13 hours. I was hungry and needed to get some rest before the second leg that would take me to Las Vegas. I pulled up next to a old rusty van with a bunch of funny looking people standing outside with broken boxes of stuff sitting around. They were changing a tire, hanging out, playing music and laughing.

My first impression was that they all looked to be a bit "weathered" as in not having showered or bathed in quite some time. Both the men and the women had hair everywhere. That's how I remember them anyway, dusty, hairy, dirty nice folks.

They were selling t-shirts, tie-die T's, all kinds of cool stuff. They had hemp bracelets, beads, bongs, flags, incense. They were following the Grateful Dead or some other band on the road and were making their way somewhere over the divide to a small town. This in an old van that one of the guys said belonged to his uncle or his uncles friend. He couldn't recall who's van it was but it had tags and they seemed unworried about their situation.

They were nice people, absolutely authentic in there free spirit and willingness to embrace others for who they were, no questions asked. Funny, at the time, my "personal culture" was shifting from Urban Cowboy to what was soon to be the British invasion of "Punk Pop" which I would later find waiting for me in Los Angeles. I stuck out like a neon sign, but they didn't care. They took me in for the night and opened up their...van to me. We played guitars, drank wine and sang songs for a good 6 or 7 hours until daylight. I will never forget the peacefulness and good spirit of the group, of which I was one for the night.

When we parted ways I had an overwhelming feeling of brotherhood, acceptance, all the sorts of earthy things that one would get from someone opening up their home to a stranger, regardless of where they come from or what their politics are. I have never forgotten the experience and wonder what ever happened to them, where their journey took them? To be honest, I am doubtful if they even put things in to perspective like that--probably don't even give a rats ass. There is a certain peace that comes with that type of "shedding of the shakles" and I think it healthy to seek to find that "state of mind" from time to time.

Yup, I think of my hippie brothers and sisters often, and picture myself on their canvass, their lifestyle and understanding of things, when I have had enough my capitalistic lifestyle--when I start feeling overwhelmed, off kilter in my attempts to get ahead. I think of those free spirits, those hippies in the van selling T-shirts and Bongs. It's soothing to think that people can be as happy and as content as they were while being completely off the grid, zero conformity, living the life of what those old conservative newspapers used to rag on, the conservatives and their disgust for this type of existence. Don't we all have a little of this in us? Hell yes, I do.

I soaked up a bunch of their culture, what their life was like. I dropped completely out, off mainstream, into the world of "I don't give a shit", and I have wanted more ever since.

I had trouble finding a rental car to drive from Flagstaff to LA yesterday. The timing is right and I need a break, so it occurred to me that I had a chance to experience something different. The thought of hitchhiking from the Grand Canyon to LA came to mind. No, it wasn't there for long, but it was there. I gaized at the canvass and replayed the tape of me and my happy van people and cracked a smile. While I am not at all up for putting my thumb out there, I certainly plan on keeping my eyes open; radar on hyper sensitive to whatever comes along while driving my economy rental car across the desert. ifyouknowhatim...

1 comment:

herekittykitty said...

Oh closet hippie. Please give us a story regarding your LA time and emergence into the punk culture. Can you says Cramps at the Roxy?