The warm sun of the Tempe–Phoenix area was a nice respite from the hitchhiking experience I had just come through. Traveling through Colorado, I’d gotten stuck in a snowstorm while sitting on the side of the road waiting for a ride wearing summer clothes. I was literally shaking from head to foot from the cold. Fortunately, someone stopped and I got one long ride all the way from Colorado to Arizona. I was even able to sleep through the night, waking up to the warmth of the Arizona sun.
I’d been hanging out in a park just outside of Tempe, Arizona for a few days with some other hippies who seemed to have nowhere to call home. We would hitchhike to Phoenix each day around noon to get a meal at the local St. Vincent de Paul food kitchen. During the day we’d hang out at supermarkets and panhandle. There always seemed to be a lot of pot floating around, so we spent a good deal of time getting high as well. In the evenings we’d hit the local bars and spend what little money we’d made that day panhandling. We eventually found a cave not too far from the park where we all slept at night and stashed our packs during the day
It was autumn of 1972 and I had I’d ridden a freight train to Minnesota from Washington State with friends. They all wanted to go back to Washington, but I was up for more of an adventure, so I struck out alone with not much of a destination in mind. In my mind I was lost and knew there was nothing back in Washington that seemed to strike a chord within me. With my pack on my back I struck out for Arizona in hopes of meeting up with my destiny.
In the back of my mind I was thinking that I’d like to go to Phoenix, Arizona, but not really knowing why. A few days earlier we were all browsing through a record store and the latest album by Grand Funk caught my attention. It was titled “Phoenix.” For some reason Phoenix got lodged in my mind and seemed like as good of a place to go as anywhere. Basically, I was following my intuition.
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