The first time …

Posted on by Lee Richmond
The first time I went to California, I was not hitchhiking. I rode the Greyhound bus. I had just been kicked out of college at the beginning of my senior year, my old car had only taken me as far as Albany before breaking down, and I was not a happy traveler.

The trip took three days. The scenery grew more interesting. I felt pretty grubby by Rock Springs, Wyoming; I gave up the chance to buy lunch, walked up the main street to a barbershop full of lean tanned men in cowboy boots, and got a shampoo and a shave. Amazing how much better I felt!

The end of the line was midnight in the Tenderloin District of San Francisco. A fellow passenger remarked, “That’s the end of the Grey Hound. No more Grey Hound for me!” Counting my small supply of money, I checked into a skid row hotel.

In the middle of the night, I awoke to my bed shaking, the overhead light swaying, screams in the shaftway from my neighbors. It was an earthquake! (a little one) Yes, I was in California for real.

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