At Cal State LA I met some other hippies including a lady with long black hair named Linda.
She had a sweet face and wore a hand-embroidered fringed suede jacket.
She lived with seven other hippies in a house on a hill. They called themselves “The Tribe ” and loved listening to Beatles music.
The LA Free Press said there was going to be a month-long music festival in Toronto, Canada where the Beatles were going to get back together.
Three members of the Tribe including a guy named Sam who had long red hair, Tina, a brunette with big hips, Linda and myself decided we had to be there.
Sam’s best friend was Jim from Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. He said, “I’ve got a flight back home tomorrow but you should all come visit my farm for a while.”
“Let’s hitchhike there and see America. We can stop at Jim’s on the way to see the Beatles,” I said, so the next day we started hitchhiking to Toronto.
We caught a ride to Truckee and spent the night in our sleeping bags on the cold ground.
At 2 AM it started raining.
At 5 AM we pulled ourselves out of our wet sleeping bags and stuck out our thumbs.
at 8 AM a pickup truck gave us a ride in the back of the truck to Sparks, Nevada.
At 5 PM a pickup truck filled with cowboys stopped and yelled, “If you hippies are here tonight we’re going to have a turkey shoot.”
We waved at every car that passed by. A car slowed down and stopped in front of us. As we ran toward the car they tossed eggs at us and drove off laughing.
At 6 PM Sam said, “There are some train tracks over there. Let’s hop a freight and take it wherever it goes.”
Heading over to the tracks, a small car stopped. The driver asked, “Where ya going?”
“Anywhere,” we answered, climbed in and an obviously inebriated old man said, “My name’s Joe. Why don’t one of you drive and I’ll sit in the back seat.”
I started driving and within minutes Joe started grabbing the girls who were sitting on both sides of him.
An hour later we stopped at a gas station, got out and Sam said, “I put some LSD in his whiskey bottle.”
We drove all night long with Joe saying, “Wow, wow.”
In the morning Joe started grabbing the girls again so we all got out in Boulder, Colorado and left Joe in the back seat of his car.
An older couple stopped and said, “We only have room for three of you.”
“You three take the ride and I’ll meet you at Jim’s farm.”
Four days later I made it to Eau Claire, not far from Chippewa Falls. I called Jim from a phone booth.
Jim, Sam, Tina and Linda picked me up and I asked, “Are you guys excited to see the Beatles?”
Jim said, “Hate to tell you this, Phil, but we found out the whole thing was a hoax,”
There’s no music festival in Toronto and the Beatles aren’t getting back together.”
“Wish I was,” Jim said.
“Aren’t you glad to see me?” Linda said.
“Sure but I can’t believe we’re not going to see the Beatles.”
The next day Linda took the train to visit her brother in Florida. Tina took the train to see her ex husband in Reno. Sam hitchhiked home to East Lansing. Jim left for British Columbia and I spent the next week hitchhiking back to LA.
Three weeks later I got a call from Linda saying, “I’m at LAX. Do you want to see me?”
I picked up Linda up and she said, “Do you know anyplace I can stay?”
The radio was playing Joni Mitchell’s Ladies of the Canyon.
“Want to hitchhike and see if we can find where Joni Mitchell lives?” I asked.
Linda shook her head and said, “No,” and we both laughed hard.
Linda became my roommate and soon after that she became my first wife.
Neither one of us ever hitchhiked again and the Beatles never did have a reunion.