That first summer I lived here in Tahoe, camping when and where the spirit moved me, I heard the call of my Phamily. I became a deadhead in the summer of love when I was twelve and witnessed Jerry and the Boys in a little park on a sunny day play the show from the back of a flatbed truck. I can't begin to count the shows I have seen or the friends I have made along the way in this journey.
I had been mourning the loss of the fat man for 3 years when I found out that the rest of the band had re-formed calling themselves the Other Ones. I had to go to shoreline amphitheater in my old town Mountain View and be with my people once again. So off I went off the hill in that infamous little red truck and down to the flats again. The trip down was uneventful and I was supposed to meet up with some Tahoe hippies at the show, I didn't meet them but I did meet someone with some decent blotter that was a very pleasant enhancement to the traveling circus that is known as a Show.
I was home again! With the spinners,tapers,systers and brethren, and due to the success of Touch of Grey the tweekers,dirties,and a host of pseudo-hippies that could not understand the history and the culture that surrounds these events. And the Turkish market know also as the parking lot which is REALLY fun after about an hour of ingesting 300 mics or so of good LSD.
Any way I am getting sidetracked here.
The day was all I expected and I witnessed the show from the start, Rusted Root did a set, which was cool but after many shows it was hardly an appetizer, and then Hot Tuna came on and Jack and Jorma ripped it for the next hour or so, and it was stellar. And then the band hit the stage, three of the original band Phil,Bobby, and Mickey along with John Molo and Steve Kimmock and Bruce Hornsby rounded it out and the joy began! Once the band beyond description got a going there was a gasp from the crowd as Billy Kreutzman, who had been quite incognito from both the tour and the public in general since Jerry' passing, stepped up on the riser and laid down that rock solid rhythm I have grown to know and love. It was a show that would be carved into my memory eternally. I have yet to see the Dead, yet.
As I said it was a perfect night, but as I generally do, I hadn't made any plans. When the show ended I herded back to the lot and partied with kynd pholk until I was chased out of the lot at around 12 am, and I was off once again in the little red truck,oh did I mention a head still really high on LSD, this time at least on very familiar ground albeit late at night and sans lodging for the night (or morning as it was).
I was not about to attempt driving across California in the middle of the night chemically altered to the gills (and full of beer also). Not drunk mind you but buzzed enough. I took a ride back to the Pacific coast for the night and knowing the Santa Cruz sheriff rolled a little further up highway One to the little spot on the map about 10 miles north of the Cruz to Davenport.
Where I parked in a dirt lot and crawled into the bed of the truck without thinking about taking my medicines(still quite a few then,more now!) and fell asleep. I would pop up the cover on the truckbed throw a blue tarp over that and zammo!, instant camper!
Six hours or so later I woke up with a case of full blown gout, which I have suffered from since I was 18 or so. I have in the last 50 years gone through some really heavy duty pain. Nothing compares with the agony of full blown gout, even a broken bone measures up to it. PAIN!
I was in so much I could not even think about crawling out of the back of the truck to the cab where relief was in the form of 10mg vicodin, so I laid there. I laid there just far enough away from the other tribe that no one could hear if I wanted them to, which I did. I finally fell back to a fitful sleep.
OK, so I am so sick I can't move and can't get help when I was awoken by a piercing howl in the direction of the beach. I heard it and paid no more attention to it as I had my own trouble. About 20 minutes past when I heard the familiar, unwelcome sound of police radio chatter. RIGHT next to the truck, and from the chatter I discovered that a couple of kids from the show that were camped there had taken a walk along the sandy cliffs above the Pacific, and the girl had gone over the side 75 feet down. Next thing I know I am lying in the back of the truck surrounded by the police,sherriff and a bunch of gawkers. I pulled the covers over my head just before John Law took a peep and overlooked the 400lb lump laying there. I thought that was bad enough when I hear a chopper flying in to serve in the rescue of the unfortunate young woman. Guess where they decided to land the damn thing? Yup, right next to the little red truck! All this activity happening inches away from my fugitive ass. Well I hunkered down and didn't let out a peep and eventually the girl was airlifted away, and all the law enforcement and emt went away. I waited until I heard someone near the truck and called out to them and relief was on the way, I popped 4 vikes and waited until I was numbed enough to crawl out and get in the cab and able to drive, and drive I did, I drove it all the way home to Tahoe, and did not leave the hill again until after my little stay at the greybar. There is no moral to this story it is just another chronicle in this crazy life of mine.