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QUEBEC It was only a hundred yards or so to the customs booth. Booth is all it that was. A little wooden, cabin type, booth. The Hussy Bus was waved on through with minimal delay. An uneventful passing across the Medicine Line into Grandmotherís Land. Canada. It had always been a haven for the harassed and persecuted American Indian tribes. They had given her such names. The Sioux under Sitting Bull sought refuge there. Now it had been providing the same to young Americans resisting the draft ... to those attempting to avoid dying in the unholy war known as the Vietnam War. Slick and Doof had long ago figured if they got drafted this is where theyíd end up. Along come the draft lottery, though, and they both had lucked out with high numbers. It was still a refuge. Sure, America is supposed to be the Land of the Free, and in many ways it is. But a great intolerance was prevailing these days, and for some years prior. Those who disagreed with the status quo were banished. They just werenít wanted. From right up top, with Nixon and Agnew, down through the construction workers who threw antiwar protesters down the steps at Columbia University. It was the same. More pragmatically, it was just easier to exist up here if you were on the road.

First of all, there was a wonderful system of youth hostels all across the country, especially along the Trans-Canadian Highway, the main east\west thoroughfare. These ranged the gamut from reconverted old city buildings to tipis. Here a weary traveler could find shelter from the storm. Many offered free or nominal charge meals. They afforded fine meeting places for the people of the road. Secondly, the police just didnít hassle the bevy of long-haired, backpack laden, freaks who stood with their thumbs extended along the road. Hitchhiking was legal. Then, of course, there was the scenery. With 90% of her population residing within 100 miles of the US border, there was simply a tremendous amount of open space, filled with beautiful vistas and abundant wildlife. Most of that population was centered around the larger towns which seemed to spring up from nowhere every four or five hundred miles. These are the things Slick and Doof had considered while steering the group towards a trans-Canadian course. The rest knew Canada only has the source of Arctic cold fronts.

As they crossed over the Medicine Line into Quebec Province, there was a great feeling of encountering the unknown. Where were they headed? What were they getting themselves into? To most of them, Canada had the sound of some exotic foreign land. It even looked different. While still intensely green, it seemed a lighter shade, more of a lime green.

Amy sensed the changes and felt scared. She felt alone. She felt like a stranger among these people. She really was never anything like any of them. She was more of a preppy type. She wasnít into drugs. She wasnít politically oriented. She had no great social injustice to correct. She only wanted to be with Joey again. This was her ticket. Joey, though, had cheated on her continuously when she was out there in California a year ago. He had a regular bimbo he spent much of his time with. Thatís why she had left in the first place. He hadnít contacted her since.

"What a jerk!" she thought as she panned the van with her big green eyes. She wondered if she could make it with these virtual strangers who whooped and hollered and constantly got high. She searched the van for a friend. She got along with Mimi all right. Everyone did. Slick was a nice guy, but he always threw up that wall to keep you from getting too close. The rest ... She had seen enough to be turned off. Her tent-mate, Yonna, was on a different plane than she was. She slept late, she was moody, she was spacey, and she was ready to abandon the tent, and the chores that went with it, at any moment if the right guy, if any guy, came along. Basically, she resented all the other women. She had always gotten along with guys better. These ladies were interfering with her ability to do so with Slick and Scottie. Doof was becoming revolting to her. He hadnít yet changed his clothes. And all these drugs ... It seemed it was always time to get high. She just wasnít into it. Amy felt alone as they entered this seemingly strange and foreign land, with these definitely strange and foreign comrades.

To make matters worse, here was Dave crammed into the van. He was only along as far as Sherbrooke, but was that for certain? He said he needed a ride to meet up with some friends, but what if he stayed? Certainly Yonna would then sleep with Dave. Would Doof move in with her? She only wanted to be home.

Traveling along highway 22 up here in Quebec was certainly not home, but here they were. Passing strange places and talking cryptically of an even stranger past.

"Where you guys gonna end up?" Dave inquired.

"California for sure," came Scottieís reply.

"Between here and there, who knows," added Doof.

"Been to Vancouver?"

"Oh, yeah!" Slick said without hesitation. "Prettiest city Iíve seen ... We spent some time in Gas Town."

He smirked at Doof, who was about driving Mimi up a wall with his frequent extended glances into the back of the Bus. Doof could hardly contain himself at the thought.





 ... to be continued ...




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