I promised my sis (Pseudo) this, oh, more than a week ago.
As you can probably surmise from the more-than-erratic non-postings on this site, I've been a mite busy.
The funny thing is, the day she called to verify that she had the dates/time confluence of the surreal happenings of the family vacation in the summer of '69 straight in her head, I'd been mentally going back to the very same thing for more than a few days. Strange? Yes. Weird? That too. Some type of mental connection? Probably... but there's no point dwelling on it.
The summer of '69 was huge, a major milestone, a parting of time where I took a definite fork in the road, the path which decided so much my life journey. And I was actually quite young.
Fifteen, just short of my sixteenth birthday.
In retrospect, I had an extraordinary amount of freedom. As long as I kept my grades up and maintained the status quo of what was expected around the house, my life belonged to me. We'd moved the previous fall to our vacation place, and as an extra added special bonus one of my best friends from L.A. also moved to the beach. This was key... she was two years older, with a brand-new VW beetle, purchased specifically due to the remoteness of Surf & Sand.
I was not confined previously (even in junior high, which happened to go through the 9th grade), and was used to being somewhat out and about around Los Angeles. I'd managed to catch performances of The Seeds, those local bad boys The Doors and Tim Buckley, but it was with the slipshod reliance of caging rides... even from parents. Once there were ready wheels and an accomplice that freedom became magnified times... oh, times almost infinity.
Of course we spent a lot of time cultivating the local scene in Oxnard that we'd become enmeshed in, while also regularly traveling south down PCH to spend time on the Strip, at the Troubadour, or hanging out in the Canyon. Whenever I was at home I spent most of my time in my room with the stereo blasting. My favorites that summer were Cheap Thrills and Led Zeppelin.
In the midst of all this heady activity my parents decided to go on a three-week summer vacation road trip. Camping. Never done before. Not even once... and planned with 8-10 hour daily drives while stopping for the night, then hitting the road first thing in the morning.
I was already miffed that I couldn't travel to Woodstock - my parents may have been somewhat permissive but a cross-country trip to attend a rock festival at the age of fifteen was absolutely out of the question. I couldn't get them to loosen up and permit a drive to San Francisco so I could experience The Fillmore, let alone the big experience that would be Woodstock.
My dad promised. He had to be back at work on Monday morning, and wanted to return by that Saturday so he had time to unwind from the trip.
Off we went... and I saw for the first time so many places that would someday become so much a part of my life. San Francisco... the Sonoma Coast... the Redwoods... the Oregon Coast... Seattle. Whew. Clairvoyant travel. Then onward to Vancouver, Victoria Island... throughout Canada before heading down to Glacier Park, Yellowstone, Lake Tahoe. Really quite the marvelous trip, marred only by the perception of a surly teenager who wished herself at home with her friends.
Then L.A. came to greet us, in the form of the shock of the murders that occurred in a familiar canyon.
I just wished myself home. (But) the drive through the Mojave took longer that anticipated. By the time we got back, my friends had already left for Santa Barbara.