The memories of this road trip sometimes flood back from time to time as I peer deep into my skull for the occasional life review. It was the start of the summer, Friday, May 10th, 1991.
The setting: Monterey, California.
Destination: Shoreline Amphitheater of Mountain View, situated between San Fran and San Jose.
The vehicle: Well, this is the part where I tell you what happened.
I’m the responsible one who rented a van for the weekend trip to witness the age-old hippy band, the Grateful Dead. Now I wasn’t a deadhead then, but for kicks I wanted to see what all the talk was about. And afterall, San Fran was an active area during the 60s. How far can it change from the 90s? Yes, plenty perhaps, but it was the experience of seeing the Dead live for once that initiated this journey.
One minivan to rent. 5 passengers including me. The Weed, The Broffmeister, Duddley (the Broffmeister’s girl), Dudley’s blonde hippy friend, Zeusss, and myself.
I arrived at the rental car company late Friday afternoon for my 3-day rental. We have tickets to Saturday’s show. The Dead played Friday, Saturday and Sunday that weekend at Shoreline.
The conversion went as follows.
So dudes, where’s the van?
-Well sir, we’ve been trying to call you
all day, the van has a transmission
problem, we can’t rent it to you.
Damn, dude… let me tell you my situation. I’ve got 4 people to
drive to San Fran for a concert. I need your help.
-Well, we do have the stationwagon.
Let’s see it
A rust bucket arrives around the corner, brown or red, or maybe it used to be red – faux wood paneling on the sides and a muffler that wanted to kiss the ground. The perfect family truckster. Clark Griswold would be proud. It was the old Brady Bunch mobile!
Excellent! I’ll take it.
-$100 for the whole weekend.
So there I was driving the truckster back to the Presidio of Monterey to pick up the rest of the gang. The five of us hopped in. We took turns driving the truckster throughout the night. It kept making an awful sound like the muffler was scraping the road and was about to fall off, but it kept us moving forward and that was all that mattered. The perfect road trip car for a gang of modern military mindtrip wannabees.
We got lost within a slew of crossing highways. We stopped at a small gas station along a boulevard and I asked, “Which road is this? We have to get back on the highway!”
The old Asian gas station fellow told me, “Feerox! Feerox!”, as he pointed one direction. We went that way and noticed that Fair Oaks would take us to the highway we needed.
The evening was spent not in a hotel, but inside the vehicle, plenty of space. Why fork out another 100 bucks when you have the master bedroom on wheels? We parked in the lot of a Cybertech facility next to the amphitheater. Perhaps the home of the new Terminator class semiconductor. One could hear the Dead play their Friday night gig in the dark distance of the night.
Saturday Afternoon Circus
We arrived early at the parking lot near the Amphitheater. We all lost ourselves for a while and watched the Saturday parade of tie-dyed mutants selling and buying everything from blotter acid to sandwiches and beer to large nitrous-filled balloons. Mindtrip extraordinaire, a visual cornucopia of dementia. The Gestapos were on high alert as event personnel did their circuits through the mazes of people, cars, and stuff. Clear blue skies above.
I’m sorry, but you can’t drink that beer.
Sorry, but you can’t sell
Hey, you! Come here!
The Dead really had it back then and if they were still playing, Jerry Garcia RIP, they’d still have throngs following them from city to city. The most memorable scenes of the Mountain View Amphitheater cut out of the side of a hill was the whirling dervish dances on the upper fringes. Squint real hard and you’ll trip back to the 60s. The stage had a backdrop of a large silver screen where computer trippy animation took place. It was a focal point for those on the drop I would imagine. And drop many scores did.
Wang Dang Doodle
Queen Jane Approximately
One More Saturday Night
Playin’ in the Band
Uncle John’s Band
I Need a Miracle
Around and Around
Quinn the Eskimo
Grateful Dead Official Site: http://www.dead.net/