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3-28-08 - A Story from Tassajara - Kathy Cook - sent in early February of 2008 - an email exchange about this story between Kathy and me because I was part of it. - dc

See this story here in Psychoativism

Town Trip, Summer Guest Season, Tassajara, somewhere between 1965 & 1969.

It is the town trip, and I have gone into Monterey for some business I cannot now recall, and am supposed to meet the Tassajara guy with the pickup --  I think his name may have been ‘Ken” in town for a ride back to Tass.

He has been drinking, and he has loaded the lumber he picked up on top of a metal frame that sits about six feet above the bed of the pickup.  Black, beat up, as I recall, with this strange high frame over the bed.  It is night.  We are driving back to Tass, and are somewhere on the ridge, when I get this uneasy feeling that the truckload of lumber tied so high up on the frame is not balanced correctly with the truck, which problem is exacerbated by the fact that the driver is drunk.

I decide to ask him about it, let him know that I don’t think it’s safe to be driving this way with that load, and him under the influence.  We can’t arrive at an agreement about what safety would mean under the circumstances, so I tell him I’m getting out and will walk the rest of the way, which I proceed to do.

So I am walking along the Tassajara road, in what feels like the middle of the night, in the pitch black, and after awhile a limo appears on the road. . . they see me, and ask me what I’m doing there, do I want a ride?  I tell my story, to which they respond by saying, “lady, I hate to tell you but we’re both loaded on LSD.”   I decide not to get it, and walk down the rest of the way to Tassajara.

2/6/2008 - DC responds


I have a very different memory of the first story. I was there.

It was Larry I think who picked you up in town and drove you in. He was a biker with a steel plate in his head, our mechanic at that time. He wasn't a Zennie but someone who'd wandered in and we desperately needed his expertise. I remember he'd been in a biker club in my hometown of Fort Worth. I remember he was drunk and had promised he wouldn't get drunk but he did. I thought he was coming on to you and that’s why you got out of the truck. I know he had a crush on you. It was Mark Lewis and his friend Kelly who came by and offered you a ride. It was during the guest season of 1968, Mark’s last high school year. He and his friend were, as you said, on acid. They’d just asked Larry for directions – he was just sitting there in his truck and you’d walked on.

I called Mark at his desk in NYC to go over the story. He said that he and his friend Kelly were in a 1956 Chevy (which is about what the truck was) and they asked for directions and Larry said, “If you see a woman up ahead, it’s my old lady, and don’t stop for her.” He didn’t threaten them but was drunk and menacing. They drove further and there was indeed a woman in the road waving at them. She stuck her head in the window and said that she’d gotten out of the truck they’d just passed cause he was drunk and driving badly and was going to kill himself and anyone else in the truck because of his drunken driving.

“My friend Kelly and I confer,” Mark said, “and decide to let her in and drive real slow so he’ll have to drive slow. I got out and let her sit in the middle. The whole way down all he was seeing as far as I was concerned was his girl sitting between the two of us so we imagined he was getting furious because he’d told us not to even pick her up but now she was sitting between us. At some point we got ahead of him.”

I, David, was doing fire watch that night and heard a car driving in and walked up toward the gate and saw it park up there. One person came down the road fast and soon I could see it was you. I asked you what was happening but you just went by me crying. Then I saw two figures running over to the high grass to the side where they disappeared. Mark says they’d taken the time to get their sleeping bags out of the car.

Soon the Tassajara pickup truck came in, Larry driving it. He stopped in the road and asked me if you’d come in and I said yes and he asked where those two guys were and I said I didn’t know and he said that they must be in one of the cabins and then he drove the truck fast a few more feet into the shop area, slammed on the brakes, got out, and wandered over to the garden tool area, found a long axe handle, picked it up and said, “I’m gonna beat their brains out,” or something like that. I stayed with him and dissuaded him from going through the guest cabins and ended up taking him to the kitchen and making him five cheese sandwiches which I’d done for him before when he was depressed. The next morning Silas and Peter talked to him as I remember and before long he was driven out and never came back.

I wrote about this in an article published in a book but they took that story out. You can read it on my web site at

In this version I say that the problem was that he was coming on to you. That’s how I remember it. Mark doesn’t remember you saying that and you don't remember that so I think it's probably something I assumed.

That’s all. You take care.


Kathy responds:

David, this is great . . . thanks. I was telling this story to Steve and Robert, who immediately asked "Did you get into the car?" and I honestly couldn't remember whether I did or didn't. But now that you prompt my memory, I remember sitting in it.

I don't recall that Larry was coming on to me. . . we were having some kind of argument, and I didn't think it was safe the way the truck was loaded and the way he was driving. . . . I wasn't aware of his having a crush on me. . .

Anyway, it a funny story, and typical of those days. . . don't you think?

I think I thought he was drunk and getting crazy, threatening in some way, we had a disagreement about something abstract as I recall -- Proust, or Lawrence, or something like that. But I didn't think it was safe to be in that truck with him drunk, and the way he was driving, and the way the truck was loaded. . .

Thanks for the story. . .


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