Continued from 1/14
………We turned it down. We were too committed to even fathom getting off the bus. Instead, we offered to try to fix their veggie conversion and tour with them as support. Once her managers determined that we were upstanding citizens (an accountant, 2 school teachers, and whatever I was) they agreed.
We spent the day frantically patching up their problems so they could get their bus and crew to Boulder CO for a big conference at the University with Woody Harrelson and Johnette Napolitano (Concrete Blond/Talking Heads) the next eve. After many hours of gravel in our backs and grease and oil in our faces, we got it working (Huzzah!) and drove through the whole night to get there.
Everybody was flush with excitement and goodwill and a sense that the winds were at our back. A huge star studded national tour built on a noble vision was about to collapse until some random dudes from a festival happened to be in the right place at the right time with the right tools.
They were elated! We were elated! Magic was in the air. Adventure, teamed up with good will, good fortune, and the opportunity to not only help, but actually join one of our hero’s on a cross country mission had us glowing with disbelief.
Julia jumped on board with us for the trip and as we road through the dry summer night to Nevada, then Utah, en route to CO, we talked of serendipity and magic and in the middle of our giddy conversation, we pulled to the side of a vast desert highway for a pee break. When the bus door blew open, someone screamed!
Immediately outside the door, written in rocks 5’ tall by 8' long, was the word JULIA. We were literally in the middle of nowhere in an incredible confluence of events, all centered around Julia. She declared us her Angels, and for the next month we toured together and became family.
Unifried rolled from one tour date to the next with Woody toking in the back. His personal chef prepared us a meal as we stayed in a huge mansion with sauna and hot tub (no more roadsides and Peanut butter).
Johnette and I traded songs over tequila (while parked☺). Tracy Chapman did a few sets along the way. We were blown away by the experience and endlessly inspired by Julia and her work. When her tour ended and Unifried continued northeast, we transformed ourselves into a team with a press release and actively reached out to universities and media upon entering a new area.
We did t.v. spots and demos throughout the country. We still had some fun, but we had a better sense of how to spread the word.
Randomly, Mr Parker of Parker-Hannifin saw us parked at his neighbors and invited us to his office. He wanted to sponsor us. It was surreal. The 80 year old head of a multinational corporation with huge military defense contracts, was personally courting vagabond hippies to the tune of tens of thousands.
A crazy experience it itself, but It's a story for another day. We said no. Our msg that you could do this while being broke and untrained would no longer be potent if we weren't broke anymore. Especially since he was profiting from the war we were protesting.
Up next, the final chapter: Southbound