Coming north, I carried little. In Toronto, I unburdened the load of mushrooms, I had shipped up. For the return trip, I was packing a guitar, I had retrieved from Liz’s house. Besides that , I had a pocket full of colorful Canadian money. I separated from Esperanza in Buffalo. She was headed to Philadelphia, I wanted to hurry directly to Florida. Around noon, I left Buffalo west toward somewhere in Ohio where I could meet up with Interstate 75 headed south. My driver told me he picked me up because he saw my guitar. He asked me what type of music I played. My answer, “I don’t play much; I just fool around a bit.” In truth, I had only begun learning. A previous roommate, had taught be some basic chords for common folk songs. I was not at all accomplished on even those yet. That and I only retrieved it after not practicing for four months. I was quickly berated, “You must never say “fool around’ with a musical instrument. They are much too important to treat so lightly. I hope you take care of it while on the road. It needs better care than a baby.” It turned out my benefactor played Flamenco Guitar in the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra. He let me out where Interstate 77 heads south. I promised to take good care of my baby and was sure, I would never again slip by saying, “I only fool around a bit.”
Immediately, I was picked up by Bob. He was headed to California. He was in the same kind of hurry to get there as I was to get to Florida. He had come to retrieve a car his grandmother had left him in her will. He did not like Ohio spring weather. He showed me his boot . The heel swung aside and revealed a hidden carrying place. Here he kept his stash of speed that he planned to use to keep awake for his whole drive. After walking around spring mud, his boots got soaked and the Dexedrine pills turned into mush. He showed how he to scoop a dose out with a finger and lick it off. He offered me some, but speed was not to my liking. But, I offered to share a hash oil joint that I found hidden in my wallet. By the time we finished it, we had arrived in Dayton, Ohio. Here we parted ways. I to head south on I-75, he heading west on I-70. He gave me his address should I ever want to come to California.
Right away, Dave pulled over in an old Volkswagen Beetle. He had the look of a focused race car driver, Both hands on the wheel, head slightly bent forward, eyes peering straight ahead and shoulders hunched in a bit. He was in a race to get to Florida. He had a week off for his job and wanted as much time in the warm weather as he could squeeze in. He did not want to spend much of that time driving. I offered to share the driving and we proceeded ahead, stopping only for fuel, coffee and snacks. Before sunrise the next morning, I was deposited in Gainesville. My elapsed time from Buffalo to Gainesville was 19 hours. I could not have made better time had I had a car traveling alone. It seems the roads were filled with drivers with a purpose.