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Tale of the Tortoise that Tanked

Dear Rudy,

One of my most memorable strandings took place during the summer of '88. That June, I took a trip with my boyfriend to my first and last Grateful Dead concert. We hitched a ride with friends from Seattle down to Laguna Seca in California with the understanding that we'd make it back to work Monday morning. Crossing the border into California, it became clear that this had been a misunderstanding. I didn't want to lose my new job, so when we stopped for the night, I called the Green Tortoise to get on standby for the trip back to Seattle the next day.

(For those not fortunate enough to have ridden the Tortoise, imagine a shoe-free, hang-loose haven from the highway that delivers you to the other end of the coast in a day via a retreat in southern Oregon. The trip comes complete with communal feast, sauna, and for the brave, a river plunge.)

In the morning, we arrived at the concert to find our tickets and wallet gone. We talked our way into the concert and heard a couple of songs before hitching back to San Francisco. Miraculously, we had just enough cash to get the last two seats on the bus. Heading up I-5 after our blueberry pancake feast, the bus was hit, forced off the road, and nearly tipped off a bridge onto a train track. We had to "ride the dog" the rest of the way home.

Instead of our missing luggage, we dragged home a poet from San Francisco who crashed on the couch. Mom was surprised, but happy to see us in one piece. I still meet Tortoise fans who can't believe I was on "the one that crashed"!

Julia Seattle, Wa.



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