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Merry Pranksters journey
Further to UK

LONDON, Aug 6, 1999 -- Ken Kesey and his psychedelic troupe of jesters, the Merry Prankster's, took their historic intredpid journey to England today . Their magic bus "Further", which had been shipped several weeks ago from San Francisco, safely navigated the Atlantic ocean and arrived for the first time on the European continent.

"The Search for Merlin Tour," the Prankster's official agenda while they will travel England and the British Isles for the next month, is a remarkable continuation of a legacy which began with the first bus trip in 1964 - a legendary journey that spawned the "Electric Kool-Aid Acid Tests" and was at the heart and soul of a psychedelic revolution.

The tour is being sponsored by Channel Four Films in London, which is producing a TV speries looking back on the Summer of Love. Two of the segments will focus exclusively on the Prankter's travels in UK.

Kesey and the Prankters arrived into Gatwick airport and were pleased to find the bus Further waiting for them. Pictured at left is Prankster Roy Seburn, nicknamed "Secretary of the Interior" as it is his job to keep the interior of the bus tidy and organized.

The bus, and two locally hired passenger vans, will carry the Pranksters and guests -- an entourage of 46 people -- from London to the town of Penzance on the tip of Cornwall where the Pranksters will view -- along with an expected 4.5 million people -- the last solar eclipse of the millenium.

During the eclipse, scheduled for 11:11 a.m. on August 11, the Pranksters will perform a pegeant titled "The Knights of the Not So Round Table" at the Minack Theatre outside of Penzance. According to Kesey, its scriptor, the pageant will "summon the spirit of the ancient wizzard Merlin" who, according to legend, is expected to make an appearance before the millenium.

Arriving at Gatwick airport were Ken Kesey, right, and his wife Faye. They had flown all the way from Eugene, Oregon.

Also traveling on the tour are Merry Prankster originals, Ken Babbs, George Walker, Mike Hagen, "Anonymous X", and "Mountain Girl," the former wife of Grateful Dead founder Jerry Garcia. Also attending are two of her daughters Sunshine and Trixie. Also on the bus is John Cassady, son Beat legend Neal Cassady, who drove the Further bus on the original 1964 journey.

At left, George Walker, one of the regular drivers of he bus, inspects under the hood to see how Further's insides survived the long ship ride from San Francisco. Everything seemed fine, though George said that the International Harvester engine would need a new alternator. "Fortunately we brought a couple of those with us," George said.

Kesey's brother, Chuck Kesey, and his nephew, Kit Kesey, arrived in country several days earlier than the main group to pick up the bus from the frieghter "Chung Yao Success," which arrived around August 1st into the port Felixstowe. Kit said that the bus may need a new water pump and borrowed one of the mobile phones of the Channel Four film crew to place a call back to a mechanic in Eugene, Oregon to have one shipped to England.

Once all was detirmed well and good, Kesey gave the thumbs up and Kit sounded the bus' airy, "aah-ooga" horn and the Pranksters were off down the road to Brighton.

Hear the sounds of the bus travelling down the road. (.wav format, 2.2 MB download)

Reported by A.J. Catoline, a.k.a. NETWIT, on location in U.K.



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