On a Greyhound to San Francisco
You can live on a Greyhound bus. It’s not easy. They have a habit of pulling into small places and dumping you off in the small hours of the night. But you can sleep, eat and watch the world. You meet a variety of people and you are kept at a nice temperature. They make regular toilet stops. The only thing missing is a shower.
We lived on the bus for a couple of weeks.
We headed out of Boston and up to Canada, stopping off at Niagara Falls for a peer over the rail at the spray and rainbows. Then it was up to Montreal where we wandered around and spoke French. I discovered that they didn’t understand me there either.
We headed off round the Great Lakes as the early fall colours were just starting up and blotching the green with patches of red and gold. Then it was back down into America and across the vast ocean of the plains with its rippling wheat like waves. At one point we saw a line of huge combine harvesters crawling across the land. There must have been fifty of them, each one in line a length behind the other, serviced by a stream of trucks carrying off the grain. You could imagine their journey relentlessly motoring forward at a steady pace, day and night, leaving a wide swathe of stubble in their wake.
He hopped off the bus to hitch through Yellowstone to see the bears, geysers, steaming pools, bubbling mud and algae/bacteria stained deposits. Then on to Grand Canyon for a half hour peer into the chasm.
We hit San Francisco late in the evening and decided it was too late to check out our address so we hopped a bus up to Sequoia for a sleep and took time to stare at those majestic two thousand year old masters of the forest.
Walking through Haight Asbury we were home again. They had names up on the Fillmore West for the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane.
We were sick of Greyhound buses and needed a break.
Once again we found ourselves standing on a pavement with a scrap of paper looking for a fictitious person. The address did not seem to exist.
But this was the sixties (well 1971). Anything was possible.
A window went up and a girl leaned out.
‘Hey, you look lost,’ she shouted down to us. ‘Do you need a place to stay?’
We made new friends with Dave and Jack. They turned out to be the people who actually owned the place.
The Golden Gate Park and the Haight still had some of its magic. You could imagine the ‘Human Be-in’ and free concerts in the park. There was still the camaraderie and fun though the wheels were coming off, the hard drugs were there, the weekenders , young kids and junkies were all over the place.
We decided to head to Los Angeles. Given our experiences in Boston and San Francisco with addresses Jack offered to take us. We could have caught a Greyhound, we had tickets, but we decided to hitch, stop off at Big Sur and get down to this cove that Jack knew of called Pfeiffer State Beach.
It sounded cool.