Road Trippin with the Pranksters

by T. Wiggins, Bi Polar Bear

It was about 3:30 and I was so frigging excited. I'd been yakking to everyone about this unique opportunity I now had, and finally it was time. I was supposed to leave and meet the bus in Reno; the car ride wouldn't be that long-like 4 hours or so, well actually that was according to mapquest. According to me it was 3 and half (or so I found on the way back). Well that plan blew through because that bus didn't have an engine that worked. The merry prankster bus, Further, was still up in Eugene, Oregon. I was too energized though I had to get on the road to meet my prankster friends. So I said fuck it and jumped in my car with necessary items like: overalls and hat to paint with prankster day glo paint, cameras, tape recorder, some clothes, no underwear (don't tell anyone look they all got ripped I don't know why just forget I said that), an invigorated soul, and a smile. I zoomed up to Eugene in about 9 hours-would have been so much faster, but I hit a ton of traffic. I made up for it though by hugging turns and pretending I was racing some car with much better torque than my car not a smart idea. Wouldn't recommend that style of driving; I guess its an east coast aggressive mean thing or whatever. Anyway, I pound at least four energy drinks and get there at like 1:00, and find out they're pretty much done working on the engine for the night, so Zane Kesey (Ken Kesey's son) tells me to chill at U of O with some friends of friends I've been put in touch with by Julia. I meet these girls, they let me stay with them, they're so chill and cool, and we have fun. Next morning I do some research and find out where the ranch is and just jet over there. I pull into the driveway right before the tree with "sparkling glistening stuff" and park next to about 5 other cars. Boom! Right there in front of me is the original Further. They did a huge operation and cut down some of a swamp in order to take out the old retired cultural icon. It's coming out of retirement because of the social and political climate. I mean fuck.. we actually might have to deal with a draft. Well, not us rich folks because we're in college; I'm referring to the poor people that will fight our rich war. In the garage I see the new Further-not that new: it's a 1947 (instead of the original 1939) Harvester school bus that came into creation I think in the early 80s in order to prank the Smithsonian. Some millionaires wanted some tax write offs and saw their opportunity in donating the bus, after buying it, to the cultural museum. It's in Washington D.C. I think. Well the pranksters aren't exactly the type to sell out so they did a usual prank. They called media and news coverage, told them the exchange was going to take place, and even recruited reporters to come on the bus with them. They drove the new bus down (pretending it was the old one I think) and sort of parked outside the Smithsonian, honked at it, and then just turned around and drove away. Very funny stuff. The pranksters managed to effectively dupe the entire media, museum, and benefactor community about their intentions. Hence the motto: "Never trust a prankster."

So that's the story of the bus; now I'll tell you my personal story. I stuck around for a day, painted my pants, marveled at the bus, got to know the pranksters, talked about love and peace, when confrontation is necessary, where our politics have gone things of that sort. Finally we get the engine in and are super excited and take off late Friday night around 10 or so I decided that I'll tail the bus in a chase car, my trusty Volvo, and this guy named Mushroom will drive with me. We take pictures and tune into the radio station that the bus broadcasts. Ya see, Jerry Garcia gave the sound equipment on the bus to Kesey and the pranksters. They have speakers outside and inside the bus that can emit incredibly high volume sounds. They also have the capability to adjust distortion and create echo effects. So when the time is right, the pranksters play some dead or beatles or whatever and rap and sing and do effects over the music, making their own unique prankster brand of sound. This music is broadcast on 104.7 to anyone within a couple miles (if the antenna isn't broken, which it was). We only get about a couple hours and the bus breaks down turns out the clicker isn't sparking properly, but we're all too tired and cold to figure it out. So we pull off the road and pass out. Next morning we realize how easy it is to fix and fix it. We also pour more oil in because we lose oil fast; there was a leak or something. Zane would lose his voice later and sound like a frog because he inhaled so many fumes on the bus.. haha. That would mean I would be the one to sing at the acid test. Lord. So we fix it and make good time; drive through cali Zane made fun of California for considering a certain area a forest; the tree density was not very high. We were high, only on life though. Swear to god. Haha. Did I just prank you? Guess you'll never know. When we get to Reno I ditch my car there and put up a sign that says: "Not lost or stolen will be back on Tuesday; call if there is a problem," and I left my number. "A bus came by and I got on and that's when it all began." Jerry Garcia referring to Further.

The bus is the trippiest thing ever, colored over and over posted with drug paraphernalia and propaganda and powerful photos of powerful visionaries-the likes of: Neal Cassidy, Ken Kesey, Ken Babbs, Gretchin Fetchin, Jerry, Wavy Gravy, Mountain girl, and others. You've got swirls of psychedelic paint; you can pretty much cause yourself to trip sober just by looking at it. My favorite mural is the Tin Man, Dorothy, and the Scare Crow, looking down the yellow brick road into the huge infinite mystery, and the tin man goes: "Holy shit!" Fun stuff.
First we get to Vegoose early on Sunday morning. We set up a venue so Zane and other pranksters can sell prankster stuff like: signed copies of One Flew Over the Cuckoos nest, Sometimes a Great Notion, dvds on the various trips, and other random cool stuff. We also raffled off 2 All Access passes to the 40th anniversary of the first acid test. That was the whole point of this trip to make it to and host the acid test. That's why the old bus came out of retirement and the new one got a new engine. Some friends from Santa Clara show up later, I buy some underwear (cool ass stones boxers you can see them sometime if you want my number is 203 858 354 no just kidding haha), and I walk around the whole venue looking at other buses. I eventually buy a ticket and Jules, Mark, and Garret peace out leaving me with Jordan, who has decided to ditch his car to get on the bus. At this point we don't know if Zane allows this sort of thing, but ultimately (and thankfully for Jordan), he does allow spontaneous jump aboards. I go into the concert with Jordan and we have a frigging blast-dance the night away, see Jack Johnson and his band of gypsies, Wide Spread Panic, The meters, and others. I get out of there at like 11 or so, and get on the bus. We have a bunch of groupies by now; not beautiful young groupies-mostly old timer burnouts that perfectly fit the burnout hippie acid dealing stereotype, perfectly. I get on the top of the bus and we drive around with at least 20 people, lost and altered, singing and talking to all of Vegas. Eventually, we make it back; some of us go to see Phil, Garcia's bassist, at the Hard Rock Café, others do other stuff. Jordan and I of course go to buy some beer. The rest of the night involved deep seemingly intellectual (probably not though) conversations with pranksters and Jordan. The next morning we recover and sleep a lot, and go to the acid test. We hook up there with other pockets of hippies from around the country. There were a lot of people from New York actually, which I was very surprised and happy to hear about (I'm from CT, which for those ignorants out there, is right next to NY). I put on my hippie gear: multi colored overalls, hat, sunglasses, necklaces, and get a performer wrist band in order to get into the show. It was 21 and up, but I got in cause I was a performer. I walk around, imbibe stuff, and have a grand old time meeting some real old cool pranksters and some new ones too. Certain people there included Perry Barlow, George Walker (original prankster and married to Mountain Girl for 20 years before), String cheese Guitarist in his samurai outfit, the pranksters, and other really cool ass bands. I listen and talk and then finally, perform. Eleven or so of us pranksters get up on stage and Zane actually tells me to sing cause his voice is shot from the oil fumes. I, for some reason, agreed to. Prankster music is terrible; or amazing-depends on how you look at it. It's all spontaneous with some very talented musicians and some terrible ones. Zane speaks for a while about the prankster message. He asks the audience: "What do you know?" A lot of people throw up their arms, others say shit they know. Zane says: "I don't know much. I like to have fun. I don't have the answers and you guys probably don't either. So why not love each other and be open to one another?" Note: this isn't an exact quote, but it's pretty close. The prankster message is: "You don't know anything, searching for something is good, but keep in mind you'll never be sure, and always accept others, do your thing and let others do theirs, and by our educated prankster guess, love and peace are probably good things to embrace." A beautiful message that has gone extinct in our world that has no standards. Enron, Iraq, Bush, separation of church and state where is the standard, the pranksters assert. 2000 dead, draft on the horizon. Romanticism needs to kick in soon. That's why they took the bus out; and that's why I showed up. There is a revitalization across the country of a hippie ideology, a neo hip movement. Some call it peacers. For sure, we need to learn from history but the neo hip movement has to succeed where the hippies failed. We can't succumb to heroin or coke, we can't lose intellectual guidance, and we can never ever stop trying and submit to the system that we know is perverted. That is what Zane and the pranksters and I say; that is what our generation might hopefully come to say. Wish us luck and hop on the bus please! If you want more information go to www.skypilotclub.com. We need energy and mobilization. We'll get it; it's just a question of whether it will be fast and efficient enough to succeed where it hadn't before. They'll hear us this time.

Red Hot Chili Peppers, Road trippin'

Road trippin' with my two favorite allies
Fully loaded we got snacks and supplies
It's time to leave this town
It's time to steal away
Let's go get lost
Anywhere in the USA

Let's go get lost
Let's go get lost

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