Wild Summer…For Sure


Poem Commentary

No world class poetry here, just my early scribbling some time afterward as a way of journaling so as not to forget some of this trip by thumb. Took many other trips by thumb, motorcycle, car, bus and trains. Never a fan of flying cause you missed all the landscape, towns and people along the way. Just a great time to be alive and hitching all over the country, working my way along doing whatever was available no matter how low down, pan handling for spare change when absolutely necessary so not to starve to death, rolling my bugler smokes etc., gettin 70 percent of my rides from the ladies, an seeing the country real slow like. Sorry this isn't a better write but it is what it is... something thrown together quickly back then. Blessings, W.

Wild Summer…For Sure

1972, a hep year, a heavy year, a stargazing rare year,

A hitch to Boston then back, with some stops along the track,

A stay at Harvard, a stay at Brown, a stay along the way, then homeward bound.

Then spring, and some new plans, some far-out cross-country cool plans,

Deliver a Nova to California on a 3000 mile trek,

then thumb for the summer, before returning to New York Tech.

With a couple friends along, we leave Long Island now, so long.

Us three through construction in the city,

Then the Big 80, with some cash in the kitty,

Listening to Stevens, and Cody, and Roberta Flack we fly,

Through the hurricanes and floods, in New York and P.A. we drive.

Camp along the way, doing 600 miles a day,

Steve and I at the wheel, John in the back, minding our deal,

Destination Denver, to drop off John and spend some tender.

Hitting up the foothills, to Red Rocks we ride, from the summer sights

To snowball fights, like the quick change of the tide.

Back down for a swim and din, then westward bound and gas,

Desert towns and buffalo, to the Big Salt Lake

To catch some brine, and climb a mountain pass.

Back on the road through Reno, with Frisco in our sights,

We made it coast to coast, with our spirit’s high as a kite!

Next morning, Willow Creek, deliver the Nova, then take off on feet.

Sleep on a bench, get a good rest, the knapsack a pillow, for this summer’s quest.

Hit the coast and Santa Cruz, spend a week, drink bad booze.

Bummest beer I’d ever had, was Buckhorn Beer, what a bummer’s brand.

Party’s and people, and bonfires all night,

Sleeping on the sand, a beachcomber’s delight.

The Fourth of July, a fireworks display,

Across Santa Cruz the flames dance and play.

Then pack it all up and drop in on some kin,

California’s distant cousin - Karen Allen,

Visit a few days, wash their dog, and off again.

Call up Saugus, northeastern L.A., talk to buddy Mike, hear him say;

“I’ll drive up to meet you, 500 miles, in Big Basin Park, out in the wild’s”,

We hitch down there, hike off and spend the night,

Under those enormous Redwood’s, what an illegal delight!

Now get in Mike’s wagon and head south on “5”,

Sleep all night in a rest-stop, on picnic tables, revived.

Mike treats us to Disney, and show’s us the sights,

L.A., “the strip”, Burbank and more, plus their airstrip hangout at night.

After a week we hit the street, hitch back up north, oh our poor feet,

Long wait between ride’s, thirteen hour’s… unreal!

Instant soup over “Sterno”, that’s our big meal.

Initial a road sign, sleep on the side’s of the road,

Up through Berkley and Frisco we carry our load,

Hitch up with Paul, a new convict released,

Us three thumb together, till our comradeship ceased.

To get out in the country and leave the cities behind,

We thumb further up north, to see what we find.

Ride with other hippies in their microbus,

stop off-road at Pistol River for the night,

Skinny dip in the river, hope the fish there don’t bite!

North of Crescent City, alone on 101 now we head,

To Fort Bragg, where stranded in a coffee shop Steve said;

“check out this couple, coming through the door,

Ugliest pair of people I’ve ever seen before”…

They told us they just got home themselves, but seemed a little tipsy,

Spent a year traveling the county, writing a book called “Wandering Gypsies”.

Billy Wood (a half-breed) and his wife, had us come home and spend the night,

Taught us to throw knife’s, into their wall’s, ceiling’s and floor,

Then at his wife, but thank God, no more.

Went to our room upstairs, till twilight arrived,

Then snuck out real quiet, glad to be alive.

Up through Eureka to Arcadia to stay and see a movie,

A Goldie Hawn flick, “Butterfly’s are Free”, really groovy.

Then into Oregon, through Salem to Springfield,

Visit Steve’s kin, “Rocky’s family and good meal’s,

Then Steve flew back to New York, and I traveled on…

Crashed into Portland, hung out and had fun.

Slept on benches among fountains, in a city park by night,

Panhandled for “spare change”, and went home with chicks to spend the night.

Then stayed a week at a “Shiloh house”, till they closed to repaint,

Then they took me to their Commune Berry Farm in Cornelius,

Where I worked in the heat till near faint.

Stayed a month at the farm, picked and wrapped vines by day,

Hung out evening’s, sung song’s, read the Bible and prayed.

What a great bunch of Christian’s, eighty-five living together,

Till we parted in our ways, as I left in good weather.

Later stuck in a desert at night, not a ride could I get,

Old bomb testing grounds, deserted as it was left.

Sick with fever and hunger, and with sweat soaking wet,

Finally got a ride into Pendelton, caught a Greyhound for a ten,

100 miles into Boise, arrived without a cent.

Found another Shiloh house, where I stayed several weeks,

Got free medical attention, and got back on my feet.

Started working for Coor’s Beer, hung out in the park,

Worked on a new friend’s motorcycle, till it was time to depart,

Hopped a bus for the east coast, with a stop in Minnisota,

Visit my middle namesake, Dad’s best friend who went to college together.

Spent a week visiting their family, see a movie at the Ritz,

Watch the Olympic’s on their T.V., all that Gold won by Mark Spitz.

Take a tour of Hormel, to learn just how their SPAM is made,

A sickening slaughter house attraction, from their products I’ll now abstain.

Get back on a bus, meet two chick’s from Great Britain,

Wow, what a real blast, exchanging lingo and mixing.

Arrive at Grand Central, must have looked great in it’s past,

Now it’s a shell of the former, and in need of repair’s that will last.

Hop a train from the city, on the eastbound Babylon’s southern route,

Now near home grab a Coke, and pour down my dry mouth.

Getting hungry, think of Mom’s great home cooked food,

Walk the last 5 mile’s home, in my hot and worn out boots.



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train64 commented on Wild Summer…For Sure


What a fantastic write.. A great story from beginning to end.. Good stuff..Life is amazing.. in 71' drove from Key West to Oregon in my 67' Midget. Crossed your path at several places. LA and I-5 right after that earthquake.. Eye opening to see 5 crumpled looking like Roman ruins..Stayed in Corvallis with the friends that started the mininstry.. Midget broke down outside of Paocatello.. Hitched into town.. Some truckers not very nice.. Caught a ride in a semi hauling milk..sloshed up and down the hills..Driver was a good guy.... Enjoyed your story..



Glad you enjoyed it bro, I was in the Keys in 70' following a trip to visit my grandparents who retired and moved to Venice in the early 60's. Loved the gulf coast then as laid back like the keys not all bustling with activity like the east coast. I was very lucky, never got a bad ride in all my journeys and never picked up a bad hiker either, something my wife finally broke me of, worried I'd be picked off. Never worried much about that as I usually packed a rod or knife but never had to pull them. When drivin always tried to pick up young chicks hitch hiking and go out of my way to take them where they were going just to make sure they got there safe in this crazy world. Pay backs for all the great rides I got from them in earlier days. I had friends that went into the ministry in Multnomah Falls along the Columbia river. Small world. Blessings, W.

Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion.

T. S. Eliot (1888-1965) American-English poet and playwright.

Whiskers’s Poems (76)

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Midday Rhapsody 1
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