A few have ridden, more have seen and every real and in-spirit hippie alive remembers Ken Kesey's magic bus, that '39 International Harvester heap of hand-painted psychedelia. Outfitted for trips both on-the-road and of-the-mind, Kesey and his Merry Pranksters set out cross-country in 1964 for points FURTHUR, introducing culture shock to the young and willing. Piloted by Beat voice Neal Cassaday, this symbol of an era gained fame in the lyrics of The Grateful Dead's "The Other One"; "The bus came by and I got on." The original bus lies rotting in an Oregon dale, although there are plans afoot but not yet in effect to resurrect it, and the second was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997. Kesey died in 2001, God rest his Merry [Prankster] soul.
FURTHUR brought Kesey and his Merry Pranksters to town for an "Acid Test." Ken Kesey had an interesting idea about outer space: it's all in your head. An early volunteer turned poster boy for LSD experimentation, Kesey came up with a plan to introduce the willing to the joys of tripping, the Acid Test, and held the first party near his home in La Honda. Early Tests were night-time wilderness events with Day-Glo painted trees, loud music, the Merry Pranksters and random ingestion of unidentified substances. The party moved to public venues and finally to dance concert halls like the Fillmore West where enlightenment, experimentation and the emergency room were close friends. Kesey's magic bus carried enough raw materials and revelers to make an Acid Test worthwhile and was a familiar psychedelic sight at these gateway events.