Here is Speed Limit, Neal Cassady, driving the Merry Prankster’s bus, Furthur, down the road, in I think 1964. A perfect amalgam of space and time and wing and a prayering it down those twisted roads I travelled in our own bus, Beastie. All good buses deserve names. The hippies and Kesey’s glorious acid freaks got to live on the road, Dean Moriarty giving them a taste of what it is to haul ass for the mountain pass, head for the state line, thousands of miles of black top under bald tires, bouncing along on ruined suspension and animated conversation. Neal looks to be running pretty fast here, especially when he is ignored when he asks for a drink, and decides gloriously comically to let go of the wheel, take his foot of the gas, and head back to get his own damn drink. It would have been safer just to get him some juice or coffee, or whatever else he wanted. When you travel so many miles, and so many miles in one long head-spinning rush of a day after day after day, you find yourself growing blasé, life is spent behind the wheel, on the move.
In later years Billy had become a mostly sedate driver, careful and considered for the most part, somewhat prone to desperate lurches to make turns we were not ready for, but mostly sensible. In years gone past during our first period of time together, before Japan, before the children, I had many time promised never to ride in the passenger seat next to him again, leaving me in a crying, snotty and desperate to get out of the car, him rakishly enquiring if I had ‘messed his seat up’.
There are freaks braver than me….I particularly like the fact that Furthur has some brave souls on the roof, holding on, while the bus twists and turns and bounces, the amount of acid that Kesey’s group were doing, that must have been one heck of a trip!
If all things beat interest you, I can fully recommend the full documentary, the link is in the clip, I believe.