Sunday, March 27, 2011

Who Says Ideas Don't Have Consequences?

One of my hitch-hiking buddies
in UT. enjoying the scenery, 1971
It’s no secret my early ‘70s impulse to travel was inspired by popular culture. Travels with Bronson (TV) and Easy Rider (film) fostered wanderlust. A friend’s journey to and from New Orleans by thumb gave me itchy feet. But without a doubt the sweet harmonies and cleaver guitar licks of AM radio had the greatest impact.

I was told to: Get out of this place (Eric Burdon), Head out on the highway (Steppenwolf), Get a move on (Dave Clark V), Hit the road (Ray Charles), Ride captain, ride! (Blues Image), Join a traveling band (Neil Diamond), Ramble on (Led Zeppelin), and get On the road again (Canned Heat).

I was told I was: Born to be wild (Steppenwolf), Born to wander (Rare Earth), and Born free (Roger Williams).

I was told to go to: San Francisco (Scott McKenzie), San Jose (Dionne Warwick), Massachusetts (Bee Gees), Nashville (Lovin’ Spoonful), USSR (Beatles), California (Mamas and the Papas, Scott McKenzie), Arizona (Paul Revere and the Raiders), New Orleans (Judy Collins, Arlo Guthrie), Phoenix, Galveston and Wichita (Glenn Campbell), Lodi (Creedence Clearwater Revival), Marrakesh (Crosby Stills and Nash), Woodstock (Joni Mitchell), Indiana and Carolina (James Taylor), Clarksville (Monkees), Alberta (Gordon Lightfoot), ‘Frisco Bay (Otis Redding), and No particular place (Chuck Berry).

I was told how to get there: Walkin' down that long, lonesome road  (Peter, Paul, and Mary), Kickin’ down the cobble stones (Simon and Garfunkel), Like a rollin’ stone (Bob Dylan), Hitchin’ a ride (Vanity Fair). And I was to take a Country road (James Taylor), To the country (Canned Heat), on a Long and winding road (Beatles).

I was told which mode of transportation: Magic carpet (Steppenwolf), Greyhound (Simon and Garfunkel), Diesel ( Janis Joplin), River (Creedence Clearwater Revival), Airplane (Boxtops), Boxcar (Roger Miller), Magic bus (Who), Beautiful balloon (5th Dimension), Motorcycle (Arlo Guthrie), Truckin’ (Grateful Dead), Wooden Ships (Crosby, Stills, and Nash), and a Yellow taxi (Joni Mitchell), a Yellow submarine (Beatles), on a Yellow River (Tony Christie).  No transportation? No problem! We can fly! (Cowsills).

And I was told I'd be gone awhile: Maybe I’ll be back someday (Sonny and Cher), I’m a long way from home (Peter, Paul, and Mary), because I've gone to look for America (Simon and Garfunkel).

After spending years marinating my brain in these songs how could I not throw cooked brown rice and dry granola into a back pack and hit the road when Simon and Garfunkel told me to hitchhike 100 miles?

Good thing pop songs of the day didn't encourage eating Mt. Ranier or building bridges out of toothpicks.

(Musings on my past for a memoir-in-progress)