October 12, 1997
Moss Beach, California, USA

I just got back from the 30th anniversary of the "Summer of Love" celebration. It was amazing. This morning, I made up a sign that said Golden Gate Park, and sat by the highway reading a book until someone stopped. It only took about half an hour to get a ride. The dudes who picked me up were classic Hippies, driving a beat-up VW van, and talking about halucinogens the whole way there. Peter, the guy in the back with me, looked like a bum, but turned out to be the author of a well-known book, The Psychedelics Encyclopedia - I’m sure you can figure out what that is about.

The Summer of Love was the climax of American counter-culture in the late sixties. During that summer "Hippies" from all over the US came to Berkeley and the Haight-Ashbury area of San Francisco. This happened during the Vietnam war when there were a lot of protests going on around People’s Park on the UC Berkeley campus. People were sick of seeing their brothers killed, and wanted to do something about it. The area was also known for having "Electric Koolaid Test" groups experimenting with LSD. Kids went to Haight-Ashbury, two intersecting streets, because this is where two of the most popular bands of the day often hung out, the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane.
Stepping out of the van at Golden Gate Park, was like stepping out of a time machine. There were folks wearing bell bottoms and all types of groovy clothes. I heard one dude say, "Man... this is just like the old days... except the sound system is better." With 10,000 people in attendance, it was like a miniature Woodstock. For most of the day, I just walked around and people-watched. There was no shortage of funky people to photograph.

There was a professional clown, named Wavy Gravy, who was an old friend of the Grateful Dead. He was cool. I was told that Ben and Jerry’s had named an ice-cream flavor after him. I met a guy named Christopher, who let me hold his parakeet, and I watched an almost-naked black dude in high heels dance around while playing the violin for dollar bills.

Things didn’t get rock’n on stage until later in the afternoon, when bands like Country Joe started to play old tunes like his Vietnam protest song... "1-2-3-4, What are we fight’n for? Who cares, I don’t give a damn... Next stop is Vietnam. And it’s... 5-6-7-8, open-up the Pearly Gates! There ain’t no time to wonder why. Yuppeee!!!.. we’re all going to die!"

The last artist on stage was the son of the man who wrote the song "Get Together". His excellent rendition of that number was the perfect way to end the concert. Everyone was totally into it, with their hands up in the air making peace signs and singing along... "Come on people now... Smile on your brother... everybody get together... and try to love one another, right now!"

After the concert, there were lots of people hanging around and police on horse-back began asking them to leave while there was still light. In the old days, they wouldn’t have asked so nicely. Unlike the old days, they weren’t dealing with a bunch of punks kids. These were mothers and fathers, grandparents, and, possibly, a few lawyers.

I left Golden Gate Park just after sunset, and walked through a parking lot asking folks if they were heading toward Moss Beach. After walking through the entire parking lot and coming out unsuccessful, I decided to start walking toward the highway, 2 miles away. I figured I’d be picked up long before I got there, considering the steady stream of cars departing the Summer of Love event. As I was walked along the road, with my thumb out, there must have been two hundred cars that drove right past me. I began to get a little ticked-off, and thought to myself, "Where is all your love and understanding now, ya bunch of Mercedes-driving Yuppies? So much for that "helping out your fellow man" crap, you were singing about an hour ago."

It was late and I was getting fed up, so I tried something new. I waited at a stop sign, and when a car pulled up, I’d stand only a couple feet away and look them in the eyes. The driver of the fifth car opened his door and I got in. The guy’s name was Steve, and we actually had a friend in common - the hostel warden at Pigeon Point. Steve lives in the town before Moss Beach, but drove me all the way to John’s front door. Is that amazing or what!?!