I first came to hear of Harry Partch in 1998, but have yet to hear any of his music. [This situation has been rectified. -Ed.] I have no idea what a Chromelodeon or a Boo are or what they look or sound like. And I don't know what the debate is over the Kronos Quartet’s musical interpretation of Partch’s work (nor do I want to involve myself in it), although I can appreciate the passion it stirs. It was, however, an Internet-posted article (Postcards from the Edge, Graham Reid) containing a fairly favorable review of the KQ album Howl, USA (Nonesuch/Warners) that led me to learn of the existence of Harry Partch -- and eventually to the Corporeal Meadows website. Included in the Howl, USA album is a version of Barstow, and the review of it explains that the piece "...uses hitchhiker’s [sic] inscriptions from the side of the highway going through Barstow, California compiled by Harry Partch in the forties who considered them ‘music’..."
Contrary to the real-world act of hitchhiking, when thumbing a digital ride on the information superhighway you generally don’t know the destination you intend to travel to until you’ve arrived at it. Speculation on my part, but it may be more than a coincidence that the space bar on the standard computer "QWERTY" keyboard is designed to be struck by the thumb. With that, I found myself that day back in 1998 standing on the shoulder of my Internet on-ramp doing a virtual hitchhiker’s equivalent of displaying a magic-markered, block-lettered, corrugated-cardboard destination sign by keying hitchhiker + graffiti and similar Boolean expressions into the search-engine query box and clicking on GO. Eventually, I managed to get an e-ride that dropped me off on the outskirts of Barstow.
As best as I can figure, this is where I first crossed paths with Harry Partch. At Barstow. In Barstow. In temporal, spatial, and visual terms, I must have caught a glimpse of Mr. Partch in a time warp at the intersection of parallel and perpendicular universes from a parallax point of view. We each were in or near our respective 39th on-face-of-the-earth year and each were transcribing hitchhiker graffiti. He, in 1940. Me, in 1994. My reason for doing so was purposeful and intended and, although I can’t speak for Harry, I’m guessing that his was happenstance. I also cannot say what inspired him to note down those eight hitchhiking inscriptions that became Barstow, but the result of having done so is evidently being celebrated many years later by Partchophiles worldwide. What has inspired me to be roadside collecting messages left by hitchhikers is, foremost, to satisfy my own natural curiosity and, paraphrasing Elton John, to allow a fragment of my life to wander free.
For background, I hitchhiked now and again from the mid 1970s to mid 1980s, logging about a half-dozen thousand miles mostly up and down the east coast of the United States and in the arid regions of the West. I guess some folks may have considered me a bum once, themselves! Well, during one of those hitches, as I stood at the entrance to a major highway in a rural corner of upstate New York, I noticed some graffiti scrawled on a light pole I was stationed beside--messages left by fellow hitchhikers who had come before me. I’m guessing that Harry Partch came upon the Barstow guardrail inscriptions in a similar manner. And while the messages Harry read that day in 1940 evidently made a significant and instant impression on him, I didn’t think much about the ones I encountered at the time and, thus, had no inclination to write them down and ruminate over them the way Partch must have done in the process of creating his Barstow work. Instead, I suppose, I catalogued this observation and relegated it to the recesses of my memory. It wasn’t until some years later that thoughts of these graffiti slowly seeped out from my subconscious, eventually pooling into a reservoir of irresistible interest within me. But by this time, I was busy raising a family and making a life in Las Vegas, Nevada; consumed by the day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month activities that turn one year into the next.
One day in the summer of 1992, when taking some mind-clearing time to myself by riding a bicycle down what is known to the locals as Old LA Highway--a two-lane desert road which nowadays doubles as a service road of Interstate15--I was drawn to pedal onto a freeway on-ramp to check out the light poles where I reckoned hitchhikers might strategically position themselves to bum rides. Sure enough, and much to my pleasant surprise, on one of the poles there were a few messages. And while the inscriptions I encountered that day were not, in and of themselves, as inspiring to me as those that Partch collected, planted, and cultivated as a nurseryman would seeds of prized flora, they became the catalyst which set into motion my quest to note down hitchhiker graffiti and messages written on light poles, signage, guardrails, and other highway hardware, first around Las Vegas, and then wherever else I happened to be. I have since logged inscriptions from roadsides in about a quarter of the 50 states with dates ranging from as far back as 1962 (collected in Barstow, California!) and all the way to Y2K. The topics of these graffiti run the gamut from the expected to the surprising, the curious to the strange, the somber to the comical, and the disturbing to the uplifting. Still others make no sense at all or I have yet to decipher their meanings. But, one thing they all have in common is their equivalence to being the converse of a message in a bottle. Once composed, the hitchhiker’s message remains static and exposed to the environment while its author drifts away. If I had to otherwise categorize some of the graffiti I have collected, the subjects would include: wayfarers’ names or initials with dates and hometowns or points of origin, itineraries, and final destinations; laments and complaints about the length of time they have been waiting for rides; public-bathroom-esque prose; political, racial, sexual, and violent statements; prophetic and philosophical comments about the condition of the individual and society; bible passages and evangelistic pronouncements; quotes from literature and lines and verses from songs; original poems; and some of the best nicknames I have ever heard.
Hello, lamp post, whatcha knowing? I've come to watch your flowers growing. Ain't ya got no rhymes for me? -59th Street Bridge Song, Paul Simon
I’ve been told that this avocation can be classified as "urban anthropology" or perhaps even "urban archaeology," depending on the age of the graffito. Regardless of what an academic may be inclined to label it, this research has taken me on journey into the realms of the physical, spiritual, emotional, educational, edificational, ethereal, surreal, and the very, very real.
Based on my roadside experiences and netside investigations, which have led to many unexpected revelations -- the existence of Harry Partch, among them -- I have had cause to ponder Barstow in very different ways, I suspect, than the typical Partch aficionado. I wonder, for instance, what road Harry Partch was on when he transcribed those eight hitchhiker inscriptions and exactly where on that road this guardrail was or, better yet, may still be! Were there only eight inscriptions on the guardrail that day or were there more? That is, were there other messages that Partch didn’t feel the need to record, either at the time he transcribed the other eight or later as musical compositions, because he was not moved by them? Since there are no dates documenting when these graffiti were written, how long were they there? Based on my own research, each inscription could have been there for a very many years or they could have been "graffitized" within days of Partch discovering them. In fact, it is quite possible that some of the messages were written in the 1930s and perhaps even as early as the 1920s. In that regard, with what were the messages written? Was pencil or some other writing implement used? I have come to learn that graphite, when applied to certain metal surfaces, will create a galvanic reaction and, under the right environmental conditions, will cause the pencil mark to remain sometimes even years longer than high-tech permanent-marker formulations which exist today. Just as these issues stir more passion in me than anything the Kronos Quartet may or may not have done to the "Partch octet" in Howl, USA, I don't necessarily expect the lovers and devotees of his music to share my interest in them to the degree I do. However, I do hope they would share an interest in what, for me, is the big question in all of this, which is, Why Barstow?
What makes Barstow, this not-quite a metropolis (metropo-lite?) in the middle of the Mojave, a conduit for the connections between Harry Partch, hitchhikers, and myself? In the first place, let’s consider Barstow, California, as an entity. It is my guess that, other than Barstovians, few people ever give this dot in the desert any thought, and most of the many millions of motorists who pass through it each year fail to look much beyond the quick gas-up, fast chow-down, and brief restroom-respite services that desperately hug to the freeway exits for their existence. And aside from the recently fabricated strip-malled, so-called factory outlet stores huddled in a protective, communal hulk on the south edge of town like anxious musk oxen on the tundra, Barstow proper is little more than a blacktop blink or highway hiccup for most passersby. Oh, it did manage to get an honorable mention wedged between Kingman and San Bernardino on the lyrical place list in Bobby Troup’s classic song Get Your Kicks on Route 66. And it has also enjoyed some more-recent recognition in the film Erin Brockovich; exposure which was likely overlooked by most moviegoers, however, for that of Julia Roberts’ cleavage. The fact is, Barstow is a genuine tourist destination for the very few, save "road groupies" on their nouveau-nostalgic pilgrimages to the towns along "Historic Route 66," and the fewer still who are drawn to the severity, subtlety, mystery, and majesty of the Mojave Desert which envelops it. Barstow can also be a place of serendipity for some and destiny for others. Maybe for Harry. Maybe for the occasional hitchhiker. Maybe even for me.
But anyway, the question remains, Why Barstow? It’s simple, really. It’s the roads. Situated at a major national crossing, X marks the spot in Barstow. It is so today. It was so back in Partch’s 1940. And it likely has been so, either at or near this enduring desert outpost along the ephemeral flow of the Mojave River, for centuries. These days the Barstow area essentially acts as the same transcontinental, overland hub as it always has. The main differences between the current and continuously evolving convergence of roads and those of earlier times are how and of what they have been constructed, the volume and types of traffic and commerce they have carried, and what they have been called. The principal modern-day highways radiate out from Barstow in four basic directions: due east, piercing through the breadth of the southern US underbelly and toward the Gulf and Atlantic oceans; west and then northwest around the southern end of the Sierra Nevada into California’s central valley and coast and on toward the Great Northwest; southwest to LA, the Southern California port cities, and Baja; and northeast to the Great Basin, the Rockies, the Great Plains, and ultimately, to the Midwest and beyond.
These roads fan out from Barstow like the vagus nerve from the brain stem. The vagus, or tenth, nerve is the longest and most extensively traveled of all the cranial nerves. Some nerve!? The word vagus is derived from Latin meaning wandering and the nerve named for it seems to wander from the medulla oblongata down through organs in the neck, chest, and abdomen. Vagrant and vagabond, terms often associated with hitchhikers, share a common etymological root (if not a neurological route) with vagus. Fittingly, the vagus is, in large part, composed of motor-nerve fibers. And, of course, it naturally follows that one of the main motor routes heading out from Barstow travels through Vegas!
Used to be I could drive up to Barstow for the night Find some crossroad trucker To demonstrate his might But these days it seems Nowhere is far enough away So I'm leaving Las Vegas today - Leaving Las Vegas, Sheryl Crow
The principal vagalic arterials connecting elsewhere to Barstow are known today as Interstate 40, Interstate 15, and California State Route 58. As the past is pealed back and old roadbeds and wheel ruts are revealed, the routes that led to and through this area exfoliate deep into the history of the region and the psyche of the nation. Take I-40, for example, which no sooner begins to roll east out of Barstow when a mileage sign on the shoulder proclaims that Wilmington, North Carolina, where the road runs out of continent, is 2554 miles away. Beginning in the early 1960s, this superhighway began to be slathered down atop and all but replace--or at least push from view and transform to back-road status--most of US Route 66. Vestiges of this, the "Mother Road," still remain as the newly renamed and recently revitalized and aforementioned "Historic Route 66." Maybe it’s time she’s called the "Grandmother Road?" Anyway, since the song which glorifies this concourse of the common man already documents for posterity the path it travels, there is no need to do so here. But before Route 66 was numerically labeled, it was itself a part of the National Old Trail Road. In California’s eastern Mojave, this route generally followed the tracks spiked down from Needles to Barstow in the early 1880s by laborers employed with the Southern Pacific Railroad. The rail line was surveyed basically to follow the 35th parallel; a criterion, for some reason, imposed by the US Congress and a latitude which the town of Barstow happens to lie almost dead on. This also is, in essence, the course snaked by I-40 for its 2500-plus close-to-coast-to-coast miles. A few years after the Southern Pacific line was completed, it was corporately absorbed by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe, the railway that connected Barstow to the Pacific Ocean via Cajon Pass, a box-canyon saddled between the San Gabriel and San Bernardino mountains.
And even before the rails, there were the trails. Trails that carved a slightly more northerly and mountainous route than the one cut and graded to the specs of the railroad construction engineers--a group of guys who opt to draw routes which avoid extreme elevational changes in favor ones with gentler grades. Although the steam-driven locomotives of the 1880s required large quantities of water to boil and were very much dependent on reliable and regularly spaced water stops along their lines to fill their tanks and sate their red-hot thirsts, the paths etched by the earlier voyagers who traveled on foot or by hoof, wagon, or stage, were more limited to and affected and directed by their proximity to the precious and coveted desert springs and other water sources essential to sustaining man and beast, alike, on their journeys through the otherwise parched land. Thus, in connect-the-dots fashion, these trails tended to follow steeper gradients than the rails routes that followed them in time, if not in course. Some of the names of these almost-forgotten trails include the Mojave Road, Fort Mojave Road, Los Angeles to Fort Mojave Road, Old Government Road, Mojave Trail, and the Beale Route or Beale Road. The latter was named for Lt. Edward Fitzgerald (note the lyrics of Song One of Barstow in the table below) Beale who led the US Army’s desert transportation experiment with camel power in the late 1850s. I suppose that when the camels were on them, these passages could also have been called "shipping lanes of the desert." Remnants and complete stretches of these trails remain and are used today mostly by what are ironically called "off-road" enthusiasts!
Born of much following; Lines of tracks amalgamated, Hoof beats and foot taps, Perennially continuous Of the leaders and the led. - How Trails Are Made, Lowry Nelson
Back when Partch was knocking around Barstow, Route 66 turned southwest out of town where it gently and steadily rose in elevation as it followed the banks of the Mojave River toward its source before veering off and plunging into Cajon Pass and drained down to the Pacific Ocean. This role is now fulfilled, in part, by Interstate 15. I-15 also carries traffic out from Barstow in the opposite direction, northeast to Utah via Las Vegas and to points north and connectors east. Before "The 15", in the days when the Mother Road was still queen, this used to be the role of US Route 91. Today, in the Las Vegas area, what’s left of original US 91 is now renumbered as County Route 604. Route 604 is more commonly known to Las Vegans and the rest of the world, alike, as Las Vegas Boulevard or ‘The Strip.’ And as noted earlier, on the south end of Vegas, this is the same road the locals call Old LA Highway. Prior to the numeration and macadamization of US 91, for what scarce auto traffic there was, the main roads from Vegas to Barstow held such titles as "Pikes Peak Ocean-to-Ocean Highway" and "Arrowhead Trail," each of which at one time, like US 66, wended all the way through Monrovia, California (see lyrics for Song Number Two of Barstow in the table below). Back in those pre-pavement days, according to Emma Peirson (Mojave River and its Valley),
"Having experienced many difficult phases of desert living in pioneer days, (Barstow residents) knew the hazards of automobiles on desert roads. When a car left Las Vegas someone would telegraph to Barstow that the car had started. If it did not arrive in due time, a search was begun."
Northeast from Barstow, these various routes funneled through the same basic travel corridor as the Union Pacific Railroad, which came south from Salt Lake City and joined the AT&SF Railroad in Barstow soon after the turn of last millennium’s last century. Predating all of these asphalted, graveled, and railed routes that parallel, crisscross, diverge from, and converge with one another between Las Vegas and Barstow, are portions of the Mormon Trail down from Salt Lake and the Old Spanish Trail west from New Mexico. The Mormon Trail actually hitched up with and for a time replaced the Old Spanish Trail, which was itself an extension of the Santa Fe Trail. The Mormon and Old Spanish trails had sections that have also been called the Mojave River Road, Garcés Trail, and Salt Lake Trail. A modern reflection of these names is noted today on parts of I-15 which are signed as the "Mojave Freeway." But as it is with the proverbial lunch, there’s really no such thing as a free way.
If these aren’t enough route, road, and trail histories for one sitting, there’s still State Route 58. This road heads west-northwest out of Barstow to Boron and Bakersfield and Buttonwillow and, when strung together with the town of Baker on I-15, completes what I call the "B" line through the desert. At the time Partch was jotting down the Barstow inscriptions, SR 58 was actually called US 466, an off-shoot from Route 66 which bent around the foothills of the southern Sierras and into the vast central valley. On the other side of Barstow, 466 also shared the right-of-way with US 91into Las Vegas, where they then parted ways. To add to all the historical road trivia already presented, it was around a bend on a northwestern stretch of US 466 that, on a late-September day in 1955, James Dean died.
Coincidentally perhaps, a continent and several biomes away in the cool, green forests of northernmost Vermont, there is another Route 58 which intersects with Interstate 91 (not US Route 91) near the tiny hamlet of Brownington. So what? Other than some random similarity with road numbers, what could this little-known and even less-populated village near the eastern Canadian border have to do with Barstow, California? Well, Brownington just happens to be the hometown of William B. Strong, the tenth president (like the vagus is the tenth nerve) of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad. The "B" in Mr. Strong’s middle name just happens to stand for "Barstow," for whom the California desert town and, subsequently, the Partch musical piece, are named. If Mr. Strong hadn’t bestowed part of his name on Barstow, the Partch work might otherwise have been known either as Fish Pond, Grape Vine Station, or Waterman Junction, each of which was what Barstow or nearby plots of desert real estate had been called before AT&SF’s rails reached it and, which no doubt, resulted in William Strong acquiring significant financial and political standing in the community. In fact, one story has it that Robert W. Waterman, a successful area silver miner in his own right, was extremely upset when the town changed names from his last to Strong’s middle. Ironically, soon after the final "re-nomination" of the town from "Waterman Junction" to "Barstow," Robert W. became the governor of the State of California without ever having been nominated for or elected to the position! As it happens, he was the lieutenant governor when the elected governor died in office. While holding the post, Waterman secured the nickname of "The Great Pardoner." Although I don’t exactly know why this moniker was pinned on him, I suppose a response by Mr. Strong, if he was aware of Waterman’s anger over the Waterman-to-Barstow town name change, could very well have been, "Well, pardon me!" And to complete this little back-road loop in the discussion about routes to and from Barstow, Vermont in the 1800s had a governor named Waterman and another named Barstow.
Finally, in retracing the human hand prints and foot tracks upon the landscape, before there were the adventurers and the entrepreneurs, the seekers and the explorers, there were the indigenous peoples of the region who used precursors or variants of these same routes around Barstow -- for hunting, for gathering, for water, for migration, for communication, for trade, for war, for spiritual paths -- for centuries before Europeans began traipsing around the American Southwest. And speaking of these early inhabitants, be it coincidental or cosmic, there is a place but a few miles to the northwest of Barstow as the raven glides called Inscription Canyon. This site contains a particularly high concentration of petroglyphs, which are basically ancient graffiti incised into the desert-varnished rock faces and outcroppings. Those who profess knowledge of such cultural relics claim these markings were worked by the hands of spiritually energized shamans (shamen?). However, these same experts can only conjecture as to their meaning and, thus, we are all left to ponder and speculate as to what was in the hearts and on the minds of those who held the tools that created these drawings, designs, symbols, and lines. Perhaps less archaeologically significant, I find myself at times asking the same questions about some of the hitchhiker messages and drawings I have collected from alongside the highways. And since the Latin root for graffiti is to scratch and ultimately to write, it seems appropriate to find oneself scratching one’s head about petroglyphic or graffitic inscriptions and the intent of those who left them.
The thing that has struck me most about my cyber-hitch to Barstow is that some of the messages I have logged down on my real-world journey are not so different in word or theme than those Partch infused and entwined with music two, three, even four generations before. The inscriptions he transformed were all written at some time before the onset of World War II, while the majority of those I have found are from the post-Viet Nam, and even post-Reagan-Bush, eras. The table below attempts to show the similarity between a selection of hitchhiker graffiti I have collected and the Partch-documented Barstow inscriptions.
Many changes to the Barstow-area roads have been made since Partch’s day and continue to be exacted on the intersections into and out of Barstow today. Most of the interstate and route exchanges, considered inadequate for the current flow of traffic coursing through them, are either being extended, diverted, demolished, or replaced; thereby providing easier and more sweeping and tangential connections to, through, and around the City of Barstow and appeasing travelers seeking to slide on by and be on their respective, busy ways. As it has so many other times in the past, as the design of this road network once again transforms, so to will it alter the strategy of the hitchhiker who finds himself on the shoulder of a Barstow freeway or on-ramp entrance and his decisions about where best to stand to bum a ride. In the re-construction process, I expect that some of the light poles, guardrails, and signs I got my hitcher messages from have either been dismantled or are earmarked for removal. With six decades separating today from the time Harry Partch found his inscriptions, it’s hard to imagine that this did not also happen long ago to Partch’s inspirational guardrail. But who knows? Wherever it was that Partch found himself when he found and delighted in what were to become the Barstow lyrics may be lost to memory. But, in kind, as new roads are redesigned, realigned, and rearranged, new writing surfaces will be erected for use by a new generation of wayfarers to tell their snapshot tales and leave their respective marks in time and place. And so it goes. And with all that...that’s why Barstow.
I may have been a bum once, myself. And who knows what the future will bring?
- Mark Silverstein January 11, 2001
Comparison of Barstow Lyrics to Similar Examples of Recently Collected Hitchhiker Graffiti
Barstow Song Lyrics: Partch's 1941-collected Hitchhiker Inscriptions vs. Silverstein's 1992 to 2000-collected Hitchhiker Graffiti
Lyric Number One: Partch-collected Inscription:
"It's January twenty‑six. I'm freezing. Ed Fitzgerald, Age 19. 5 feet 10 inches, black hair, brown eyes. Going home to Boston Massachusetts, It's 4 p.m., and I'm hungry and broke. I wish I was dead. But today I am a man."
Viet Nam Vet. 2 YEARS 69-70, 71-72. Michael Ferrel Marvel. Born 5NOV 1951. Dying of prostate cancer. Lord what does it take to get a ride. Been here all day. May 11, 1989(from: Modesto, CA/I-5N @ SR 132)
I been living out on the road for a long time. It’s another lonely night. No one to love. I know that God loves me. Probably sleep right here tonight knowing that he will watch (from: San Mateo, CA/US-101N @ Holley Ave)
Lyric Number Two: Partch-collected Inscription:
"Gentlemen: Go to 530 East Lemon Avenue, Monrovia, California, for an easy handout."
Travelling Frank. Nov 1 1980. Saint Mary The Star of the Sea in San Pedro will feed ya. Too many bums in Long Beach Mission but a bed feels good. Food there too. Wilmington Mission is OK too. But partying there is rowdy. For me anyway. Here comes the SUN!(from: Santa Clara. CA/US101N @ De La Cruz Blvd)
Lyric Number Three: Partch-collected Inscription:
"Marie Blackwell. Age 19. Brown eyes, brown hair, considered pretty. 118 East Ventura Street, Las Vegas, Nevada. Object: matrimony."
Rick Pommels(?) 10/9/79. Going to Joseph City Arizona to try and get a job and marry Linda Pettigrew my reason for living(from: Barstow, CA/I-40E @ I-15 split)
Curt Byrne just got out of jail on my way home to see my gal(from: Bakersfield , CA/SR-58E @ Downtown on-ramp)
Lyric Number Four: Partch-collected Inscription:
"Dear Marie, a very good idea you have there. I too am on the lookout for a suitable mate. My description – No description follows, so he evidently got his ride."
Valerie to St. Louis to bring my baby girl home. Got here 11:00 2/15/82(from: Needles, CA/I-40E @ US-95)
Charlie to Nashville to sell his songs - my guardian angel Valerie (also from: Needles, CA/I-40E @ US-95)
Lyric Number Five: Partch-collected Inscription:
"Possible rides: January 16th, 58. January 17th, 76. January 18th, 19. January 19th, 6. January 20th, 11. To hell with it ‑‑ I'm going to walk!"
Listen Bros. Do yourself a favor. Walk over to the liquor store across the street. Buy a supply of brews and/or some whiskey then sit here and roll a couple of joints. Wait till it set(s) in then START WALKING OUTA HERE. That's what I'm going to do. Now party hard and live long. May the wind always be at your backs. Forever on the wing. Chris Smith Mike Smith To walk the whole US (from: Barstow, CA/I-40E @ 1st entrance off Main St)
Pat Callan From NY took Rt. 80 then to San Diego. Stayed there 2 days and left for NY. Here May 8 Mother Day (77). 3 hours and no ride. Good luck to all you other hitch hikers. We all stick together. (from: Mesquite, NV/I-15N @ Exit #122)
Lyric Number Six: Partch-collected Inscriptions:
"Jesus was God in the flesh."
Jesus loves you. Peace be with you. Have a beautiful journey.(from: San Mateo, CA/US-101N @ Holley Ave)
Jesus Christ died for our sins. Repent now before it's too late.(from: Merced, CA/Cal-99S @ Downtown/R St)
Jesus is the Lord(from: Barstow/I-40E @ first Entrance off Main Street)
Have no fear. I've got a ride on the way for you. Jesus Christ.(from: Sunnyvale, CA/US-101S @ Mathilda St, northbound)
Lyric Number Seven: Partch-collected Inscription:
"Looking for millionaire wife. Good looking, Very handsome, Intelligent, Good bull thrower, Etcetera. You lucky women! All you have to do is find me, you lucky women. Name's George."
Beautiful girls pass me by. I'm not so ugly, wonder why? Well here comes one and (cross-out) Hey, BYE (from: Bakersfield, CA/Cal-99S @ Panama Rd)
Curtis was here 11-21-77. Don't know about this place say right now- Hey to the beautiful girls that read this. Hang on in there lover. Life is just like you "Lovely"! (also from: Bakersfield, CA/Cal-99S @ Panama Rd)
Lyric Number Eight: Partch-collected Inscription:
"Here's wishing all who read this, if they can get a lift, and the best of luck to you. Why in hell did you come, anyway? Damn it anyhow ‑‑ Here I am stuck in the cold ‑‑ I've come 2700 miles from Chi, Illinois – Slept along the highway, slept in open boxcar without top. Went hungry for two days (raining too). But they say there's a hell ‑‑ What the hell do they think this is? Do they think about this? I'm on my way, one half of desert to the east. Then back to El‑lay, to try once more ‑‑ Car just passed by, make that two more, three more. Do not think they'll let me finish my story. Here she comes, a truck, not a fuck, but a truck. Just a truck. Hoping to get the hell out, here's my name—Johnnie Reinwald, 915 South Westlake Avenue, Los Angeles. Here's wishing all who read this, if they can get a lift, and the best of luck to you. Why in hell did you come, anyway?"
Dennis Willis to Colorado Springs, Colorado. 10 pm Feb 1, 1967. No traffic, cold, help! (from: Barstow, CA I-40E @ Montara Rd)
I missed Turkey Day. I won't miss Christmas, though. Ray Dellinger 11/Thanksgiving Day/78 from Penna. to LA and Las Vegas! Going back home from there. Got too cold last night. No money, no food, no dope. Gonna find me a mission and save my life! Good luck everyone else. God bless yall! Oh yea
9:30 Toes dropped off (frostbite) 10:00 Fingers dropped off 10:30 Legs fell off 11:00 Peter dropped off 11:30 Arms dropped off 12:00 Head dropped off (from: Barstow, CA/I-15N-S split, between Lynwood & Rt 247)
Greg and Dave were here. This place is fucked. Spent night under pass. Good luck. Everyone pray to the good Lord
Peirson, Erma. 1970. The Mojave River and Its Valley. The Arthur. H. Clark Company. Glendale, California. 229pp.
Reid, Graham. Kronos Quartet: Howl, USA. Postcards from the Edge. Real Groove. Real Groovy Promotion Publication. 1996. http://www.realgroove.xtra.co.nz/44-996/postcards.html [Caveat from website's developer: Please note that we include this link for completeness and fairness, and it is not an endorsement (rather, an indictment) of the transcriptitory work of Kronos with regard to Partch. - Ed.]
Simon, Paul. 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin Groovy). Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme. Columbia Records. 1966.