July 27, 1996
Saturday morning started off bright but not too early. By 10am, the Bus barn was a buzz of activity. Final touches were put on the video system, the Bus was wiped down to make it shine, and the windows were cleaned. Ten gallons of fuel were added... It was 11:03am...time to roll. All aboard... We were off to the Springfield Creamery to pick up passengers to accompany us on a media tour of Eugene to promote the Furthur Festival. George was at the wheel, Kesey and Babbs were in their familiar positions on the couch behind the driver. Kesey is at the controls of a somewhat elaborate audio/video mixing console. Roy settled into the back starboard corner. Izzy, a wise man who runs the Eugene train switching yard, Phil, who played the scarecrow in Twister, and yours truly took up seats on various couches. Headphones are strategically located throughout the Bus to communicate with each other and the outside world through speakers inside and outside the Bus. Kesey constantly mixes CDs, tapes, and a synthesizer while the riffs of improvisational conversations reverberate throughout and from the Bus. Babbs started singing an improvised "WE'RE GOING FURTHER" riff that would be our mantra for the next two days. As George put the Bus through its paces on the country roads toward Eugene and the Springfield Creamery, we passed through what he warned several times over the headphones was THE SOUND BARRIER. The Sound Barrier seemed to occur when the Bus careened down one of those long Oregon hills. As we approached the bottom of the hill at what had to be over sixty miles per hour... the warning was heard. "WE'RE ABOUT TO GO THROUGH THE SOUND BARRIER!" Kesey amped the music, Babbs yelled out "F U R T H E R R R R R R R " It certainly got my attention!!! As the Bus cruised along the Oregon freeways, cars and trucks would pull up beside and ride in tandem for a moment or two honking, waving, expressing thumbs up admiration. The reflection of the Bus in the car windows was quite a sight!
Around 11:36am, the Bus pulled into the Springfield Creamery parking lot and George honked the Ahhooogaa cow-sounding horn to let the new passengers know we had arrived. We all fueled up on Nancy's yogurt and ice cream. A dozen kids and adults boarded the upper outside level where Babbs took up the helm behind the fiberglass windscreen..."WE'RE ALL GOING F U R T H E R ! ! !" The Bus slowly cruised the heavily pedestrian downtown streets of Eugene where two television crews boarded to document the ride for a while. Pedestrians approached the Bus at intersections and shook hands through the windows with Kesey and Babbs. Many people waved in approval, they too wanted to go further! The television crews disembarked the Bus to go prepare their stories for the evening news... then one of those "you couldn't plan it any better" events happened. The Bus turned right onto a street and ended up right behind a legitimate parade espousing LORD JESUS - WE'RE HAVING A REVIVAL PRAYER MEETING. This was perfect...Kesey and Babbs immediately sprung into action...Kesey put on a CD of Louis Armstrong playing "Oh what a wonderful world this would be", Babbs started riffing "Praise the Lord, I wanna testify". The speakers inside and outside the Bus were going full-tilt-psychedelic-boogie. The Jesus parade was getting a real big dose of Pranksterism! The Jesus freaks carrying the large JESUS SAVES banner at the end of the parade didn't have a clue what hit them. Their nice effort to recruit potential converts had suddenly been subverted. The Bus followed the parade for about two blocks before a motorcycle cop pulled up beside the window where Kesey was sitting and asked if we had a parade permit. A voice over the Bus speakers asked, "Nooooooo officccerrrr, where can we get one?" Having already seized the opportunity, Kesey directed George to turn left at the next street and we headed out of Eugene back to Pleasant Hill.
After dropping off the passengers at the Springfield Creamery and refueling on Nancy's yogurt, the Bus headed south. About two miles further, the Bus lunged at an intersection..."uh ohh", the clutch linkage gave out. No problem! The amazing George Walker could drive the Bus without it. He maneuvered the Bus for about a mile and a half through some residential neighborhoods right past Hassler's house. We pulled into a parking lot of a shopping center where George, Roy and Hassler repaired the linkage in about twenty minutes. The Prankster tools with every assortment of wrenches and screwdrivers are painted dayglooooo... Wherever the Bus goes, it attracts admirers and creates photo opportunities. While the clutch linkage repair was happening, a woman drove up and came over to introduce herself. She had been a long time admirer of Kesey and the Bus. She also happened to be a field representative for the Democratic Senator from Oregon, Ron Wyden.
Consensus was that it was a successful trip! Kesey, George and Babbs. The back of the driver's seat has a fitted convex mylar surface that surrealistically reflects Kesey and Babbs. The end of a fun day...these photos were taken from behind the Bus barn within 10 seconds of each other. The photo on the left is the barely visible waning moon rising, the photo on the right is the sunset. Watching the above, Kesey, a great storyteller, explained about how the settlers of this region named the towns and mountains in the area from biblical references...Goshen, Mount Zion, putting into perspective the parade we encountered earlier in the day.
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