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KTVZ: Bend Celebrates Big Birthday For Ken Kesey Bus

KTVZ-TV | June 17, 2014 9:17 p.m. | Updated: June 18, 2014 10:25 a.m. | Bend, Oregon

Contributed By:

Dan McCarthy

The psychedelic movement of the 1960s began 50 years ago on Tuesday. Sort of.

“Sort of,” said Derek Stevens. “When you talk about prankster time, you don’t really know what you’re talking about.”

A message that rang true Tuesday, as residents of Bend waited for the arrival of “Further” (or Furthur, depending on who you ask), to McMenamin’s Pub and Brewery at the Old St. Francis School downtown.

The greatly modified bus, a replica of the one that carried author Ken Kesey and his crew of “Merry Pranksters” across country in 1964, was supposed to arrive before 5 p.m. It triumphantly rolled onto Bond Street at roughly 5:40.

For the Merry Pranksters, it was the oldest trick in the book.

“We’re late?” smiled Zane Kesey, the son of the “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Next” author.

For him and Stevens, it was better late than never.

“I spent about two years saying no to (Derek), it’s impossible,” Kesey said of the new cross-country plans and the reborn bus

If you saw the bus two years ago, you might have agreed.

“We completely re-wired the bus,” said Stevens, who is the tour manager for “Further’s” cross-country trek starting next month.

Funding for bringing “Further” into the 21st century came via Kickstarter, a website that allows donors from across the planet to donate towards a cause. And thanks to that funding, Further will be going farther than anyone first imagined.

“We had planned originally for a shorter trip, but with where Kickstarter went to, we’re looking at 2 1/2 months and 13,000 miles.”

But before the trip begins, the bus had some celebrating to do. Dozens of local residents stood outside of McMenamin’s to take pictures and climb aboard Further, as part of a celebration hosted by BendFilm.

Loyalists then went inside the theater area of McMenamin’s to watch “Magic Trip,” a 2011 documentary on the original trip made in the summer of 1964 by Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters from California to Woodstock, New York.

A journey much like the one Kesey’s son and his new era of pranksters will embark on in less than a month.

“I was 3 years old when the first trip took off,” said Kesey. “It’s exciting and terrifying all at the same time. I’m thrilled.”

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