YOSEMITE CA. 1965 part #1 – Two Teens’ First Trip Away From Home

It was mid summer, a year before the summer of love.  I was sixteen and free and looking for adventure.

The smoking den out back of Randy Blacks parents house was the place I spent most of my time. The sheer poundage of smokable marijuana that found it’s way into that building exiting only as a vaporous cloud sometimes, even now, boggles my mind. Many plans of adventure were hatched and blearily worked out in that building. Very few actually bore fruit but the ones that did were doozys.

Randy and I sat one morning, completely hazed into a stupor with the latest Colombian shipment. On a whim we got into his old, ratty, fifty four Chevy, borrowed from his dad. Between us we had twenty dollars and a pound of weed. Then a pound of weed was $65.00 and we could finance a trip and have as much to smoke as we wanted.

The twenty got us to our first stop, Yosemite. Gas was twenty cents a gallon and a fill up was three dollars and change.

The old Chevy, although faithful as an old dog, never went faster than forty five miles an hour. It took all day to get to the base of the mountains, then most of the next to get into Yosemite valley. What the hell, we had lots of pot and some food and all of the time in the world so we were in no hurry.

Once in the valley we found a camp spot and went out into the meadow to watch the fire falls and spark up a few more joynts. With a goodly amount of smoke in our possession we became instantly popular with the young people in the meadow and later most people we met.

“Hay, wanna smoke one,” was our opening line and it served us well. There was a few things that we lacked and it took a few days to searched out couple of older biker guys willing to buy us beer. Their only criteria was we had to share our pot and drink with them.

We spent two weeks in Yosemite valley and had a wonderful time mostly stoned out of our minds selling small amounts of pot to survive.

There was one moment that was a bit worrisome. As a result of a large party one night, we hooked up with a small group of guys and moved our camp next to them.

A few days later one of the guys offered to fill our tank with gas if we drove him a few dozen miles out of the park boundaries and back. Randy had something to do so I offered to take him. We drove to the gas station and the attendant filled the tank. My generous passenger got out, handed the attendant his credit card and went over to the store next door to get some smokes.

The tank full, the windows washed, the oil checked, I waited for him to return to sign the credit slip. After ten minutes I heard a nervous voice behind me. “Get out of the car with your hands up.”

I looked back and I was facing the business end of the biggest gun I’d ever seen. All I could do was stare down the shaking barrel into the darkness at the bullet with my name, waiting for me to make a wrong move.

“Get out of the car,” the old ranger demanded.

Slowly I opened the door and was directed to stretch myself across the trunk of the car, spread eagle. Cuffs were put on and I was carted off to the Yosemite pokie. I was interrogated and put into a small cell to wait for three hours.

After accepting the fact that I was going to be there for the rest of my life the door was opened and I was released. On my way out the officers were much more friendly and told me the story. My passenger had stolen a woman’s purse and tried to pass the card. When it became apparent to him that it wasn’t going to work the guy made a run for it. Lucky for me, they caught him trying to hitch out of the valley.

Part two in a few days