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  Excerpted from Chapter Four...

Chapter Four

Somehow you always know when a storm is brewing on the horizon; the atmosphere eerily changes...

Just a few days previous to Kubby and I taking off, my father offered us each one hundred dollars to not go on the trip. Yes, that was a lot of money at that time, but there was no way we were going to miss it. It was my father’s way of showing us he cared and also his way of expressing being a worry wart about seeing us leave the borders of Old Saybrook.

Often money was one of his ways of doing his best. He offered money in any situation where he wanted to make my life better, either from a material or a safety standpoint.

He was always generous with money, especially to get us out of his hair, or to get us to do something he wanted—and in that case, that was for us to stay home and be safe. A little loot would be his last ditch effort at saying,

“Just relax safely at home.” We were not a rich family; he just offered everything he could in that regard. I remember picking up Kubby at his house, and we were off to Maine. I was sixteen and driving my first car, a 1977 BMW 320i—not too shabby at all. I do remember feeling quite lucky, but still taking it all for granted. The
car was already eleven years old, but I wanted the “ultimate driving machine” in my hands, so I picked out an old one, because I did have a limit as to what my father would spend.

Kubby and I were very excited to be on our way, cranking tunes on the stereo, and truly feeling on top of the world. To this day, I wonder what was truly going through Kubby’s mind as we departed. He had just finished a conversation with his parents about feeling that he was not afraid to die. I remember this was the first thing he said to me when he got in the car.

We crossed over the border into Rhode Island, and soon afterwards saw a couple of dudes holding a sign saying something about the Grateful Dead concert to be held at the Oxford Speedway. We could not pull over fast enough to pick them up. As wannabe Dead-heads, it is a requirement to accept and support other Heads, and help them have a good time in any way possible.

So picking them up and giving them a ride to Maine would certainly qualify. They were also a couple of regular guys ready for a good time, and that was all that mattered to us. If I had thought about it all, this was already an out of the ordinary experience at my age; I did not make it a habit to pick up hitchhikers. This was one of the things I was taught growing up, and I truly listened—except when
it came to the peace, love, and happiness that the Grateful Dead experience promised.

The four of us traveled to Maine, and we quickly realized that for us, it was going to be an overwhelming event. For starters, we were going to be in one tent amongst another one hundred and fifty thousand or so, on the massive area of land that was temporarily being taken over by the Dead subculture.

I do not remember the hitchhiker’s names, but they quickly asked if they could stay with us, and then catch a ride home when it was all over. That was not a problem at all. Kubby and I had a tent for the two of us, so they would have to crash in my car, but that was no big deal, they were fellow pot-smoking hippies!

So we settled into our blip of a campground among what appeared to be chaos, but as always, there was the perfect order of a Grateful Dead concert, and it never got too chaotic. If you were there to party, you could; if you were there just to feel the music and the vibe, you could do that also; and if you were there to spread some of the free love the Grateful Dead was creating by leading that musical crusade, all the better.

It was now the night of July 2nd, 1988, and Kubby and I were walking around stoned, looking for something harder to take for the big show the next day. Well, at a Dead concert, you do not have to look far to get whatever it is you want, so we soon encountered a fellow freak, and scored some acid and hallucinogenic mushrooms.
Although I had taken mushrooms plenty of times before, I had only experimented with acid once or twice previously. I did kind of like the effect of mushrooms, for they are grown in the earth, and supposedly can have some benefits. The “Food of the Gods” one book calls them, and at that point in life I listened to such crap. As for acid, I knew it was produced in a lab and much more intense, but I was willing to be part of the “trip” of a lifetime...

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