Always West

The car has been running for a long time. Like a one heavy long time. 2000 klits the first day, 18 hundreds the second. Still beat all my hitch record. Met that guy, from Gatineau he was. A bald eagle and a southern flag on the back, saying “Fuck you” to any black people of this planet. The guy got 3 years, for beating the crap out of couple cops. His friend wasn’t so lucky he went 15 years, for the seven bodies they found in his trunk. Do not ask me how you can fit 7 corpses in a trunk.

A 38 hundreds flying-by pieces of road journey, that is what it takes to go from the buzzy swamp of northern Ontario to the start of the Albertan nightmare, Edmonton. A black stain, in the mighty prairies.

This was it, the big boom, I was there, they say that you can tell an economy by the number of cranes piercing the skyline.  That day 21 of them were standing tall, but that was it. I heard about the Okanagan dream during my three days with the Oilers.

Got sick on wine and jerky, I took a cozy greyhound to reach Calgary and then I saw them. The wall was there. The Rockies do not announce themselves they pop in your vision. When the city has been all you’ve seen for 19 years, you don’t understand what you’re seeing at first, clouds or snow.

Descriptions are useless. I reached Kelowna, life was great met some anarchists and punks. Played guitar and ate a bunch of cherries. My money was running low, but I manage to do my first batch of wine on a vineyard I’ll never forget. I got a bottle of that somewhere that turned bad a half decade ago.

I still remember hurting an old lady from the Sunshine coast, damn I was arrogant and young. But she was special as fuck too. Anyway.

The money was good enough to pay myself a trip to San Francisco.

Spend 10 days there, strolling the streets, saying Hello to strangers, having conversations with people I will never see again, 15 minutes friends. Man when the cigarettes are shared and the eyes are high you can live an adventure everyday. Fucking Frisco.

I met one of the nicest girl there, Michelle, The Beatles wrote the song for her, no kidding look it up. A Colorado bum with a guitar and a leather jacket named Andy, went through Berkeley to find the finest mushrooms.

She told me she never been to the beach, dipped her feet in the ocean. I said: “I crossed a continent to see the Pacific, you live an hour away and you never…”

We took a fog tunnel to a beach (was it Stanton beach!?), visibility -20, 5 people in the daddy’s CRV. The beach was freezing, we put up a tent you would put in a living room for kids waited for the pro-life friend to go to bed and popped the caps.

I remember being in a small depression in the sand surrounded by several dunes, we had that single window to the ocean, the massive Pacific was just pounding and pounding the beach. No doubt I went running first thing soaking the lower part of my pants.

When the mushrooms kicked I was in the sand eyes closed, Andy’s guitar was ringing like a symphony. The liquid dream was going on, full on tie-dye HD. We discussed about life for a while and Michelle fell asleep her heart beating on my side, I fell that night but sleep never came.

I had to borrow money to leave California by plane. This was not the last time I would go to the Bay area. I later found out that Oakland was the home to the craziest black panthers protests, that Berkeley gave birth to Kerouac and Watts and that the Grateful Deads played in that huge park. I would also read a book that would changed my vision on underground culture, Ringolevio, his roaring fingers in the shape of a V for victory stamped on the walls of the Anarchist library of Haight (or was it Ashbury!?).

Once a Woodstock trooper told me how great the 60s were and that it will never be the same. My answer was: “I don’t think we visit the same place.”


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