OT ... Where were you during Woodstock?

I was a college junior. I also got a 1A draft notice. I had completed 2 years of ROTC but had decided not to go further.
When I got the notice, I asked if they would take me back and they did.
I got to spend 6 weeks at Fort Bragg that summer.


Ah, so many memories, like faded San Fransisco art nouveau. Thanks, Grayhawk, for the reminder.

I was always fond of the Dead for as long as they lasted but, like ppine, in little three or four day doses. Sort of envied those folks who’d follow them around the country. But I always had some kind of work to get back to.
In that traffic jam so long ago it was humping RR ties for a retaining wall and a 'side gig" scraping barnacles/painting a yacht hull in CT. We bailed during the thunder storm when we heard on the car radio about Bob Weir getting zapped, a bit like like Paatit and his buddy. It looked like we weren’t going to get there and that things were perhaps going south.
I was 17 then and my number was 3. I was luckier when I was 18. Like almost everyone there, Vietnam was never far from our minds as were our friends who weren’t there because of it.
Sure would have loved to see Santana, CSNY, and Johnny Winter - still haven’t seen them live.

On the 40th I went to a celebration of Woodstock in Illinois where a bunch of cover bands played - Crosby Stills Nash &Young by a band called Wooden Voices, there was a Joplin cover band, a really good Hendrix cover band (and there aren’t many - Kibby Stowe from Blue Island Ill, if I’m recalling correctly), and a guy I used to play piano with did the Dead cover. (Dead Guise)

Brought to mind the last time I saw Dead live in 89. What the heck -many of us are stuck at home social distancing… Here are a couple vids of that show, which they made a film of, called Downhill From Here. (Rumor was the whole phrase was “You can put the horses in the wagon cuz its downhill from here”…) After that show I had to get back to , of all things, selling tropical fish. Otherwise I’d likely have hit the road after that long weekend, though perhaps that would have alarmed my then future ex-wife.
But what a way to begin a concert…


I think, like Rstevens15, if it didn’t cause paddling, it kept me going. Those guys seemed to “get” the paddling mindset. And not just the song Row Jimmy Row and Weather Report Suite either though, like I now suspect others here, I’ve spent many a day on the water with those tunes running in my head.
Youse guys have heard this, right? Perhaps a song for the times?

I can’t decide if I am going to name the new drift boat Dire Wolf or Terrapin .

was 1A in 1969 when the first lottery came out. I held my breath looking at the printout in the student union building at the Univ of Maryland. 341 was like music. Guys were going with numbers up to around 240 then. I learned from the best how to flunk the physical. I knew I wasn’t going to Nam, because every person I met that came back from there in school was fucked up.

21, and teaching English as a summer gig in Japan. The Japanese went wild about the moon landing, and the normally reticent people when out in public spaces were coming up and congratulating me.


Selective Service was desperate for cannon-fodder bodies by 1967-68, my senior year of HS. They were apparently even scanning the Educational Testing Service enrollments to make sure that no 17 year olds slipped through the cracks on registration. Either one of the ETS data entries (this was pre-computer era) erroneously listed my gender as “male” one of the many times I that I signed up to take the SATs or they saw my unusual Welsh first name and thought I was a registration truant because I got a certified letter from the draft board that year telling me I would be prosecuted if I could not provide a legal reason why I had not registered in advance of my pending 18th birthday. Since Xerox was also not a thing back then I had to request a copy from the State of Maryland for my birth certificate to prove my double X chromosomal status. My parents hung onto the letter for a while for its novelty value but I don’t know what became of it eventually.

Meanwhile, my first boyfriend’s birth date came up 3 in the lottery. His parents immediately moved with him and his brother to Canada and established citizenship to allow him to avoid Viet Nam and he is still up there (in Nova Scotia, I believe.) That was final death blow to that romance. The only other guy I dated in HS joined the Marines to avoid being drafted into the infantry when his number came up in the 20’s in January of 1969. Had not seen or heard from him since my senior prom but he called me just as I was starting second term at college to ask me out just before he reported to boot camp and I declined. I heard that he came back after a couple of tours a shattered alcoholic and drugged out wreck.

I don’t think anyone who was not between 15 and 25 years old at the time of Woodstock can really grasp the significance of intersection of that event and the entrenched war and struggles for social change and justice by that time. The concert turned out to be the apex of our hopes for harmony, peace and brotherhood and the power of music to unite and energize a movement for a better world. That quickly soured in multiple aftermaths ranging from Altamont to the Fall of Saigon and Nixon’s Watergate debacle, not to mention a stagnant economy, continued systemic racism and misogyny and poor job prospects for young people.

By the mid- and late 70’s many of the Flower Child generation lost its idealist goals and had succumbed to Quaaludes and cocaine, disco music (and the reckless cynical hedonism that accompanied that genre), wage slave drudgery and disillusionment. The 80’s put more nails in that coffin with the rise of Reaganism, materialism and the so-called “Religious Right”.

Usually I can pull out the DVD of the first Woodstock documentary and feel happily nostalgic and energized by memories prompted by the performances and the background segments it recorded. But lately I can’t bring myself to watch it – I would have to confront how futile and naive our rising hopes were back then, when I consider where the country, and world, have ended up.


:smile: There was a time, long ago now, when I seriously considered opening a tropical fish oriented pet shop - Named “Box of Rain.” Been considering naming my Grumman “Old and In The Way.”

Just curious: I’ve spent no time around drift boats, and really have no occasion to, but how do they differ from dorys such as are used in the Grand Canyon and other large whitewater rivers? Or do they? Is it a synonym?

PS: If there’s anyone here who hasn’t read “The Emerald Mile” by Kevin Fedarko, now would be a good time. Here’s something of a vaguely tangential introduction to it.

Wow! You sure brought back memories and the mindset of the country back then.
I was called in 1964 before the lottery and when everyone who passed the physical was on their way to Asia.
I failed the physical and received a 4F classification, due to a boat accident that should have killed me, and an occupation deferment was also available. I ended up working with the space program and on many military bases as a civilian contractor.
I have always felt a bit of guilt for not going to Nam as so many of my friends did.

Damn, weren’t we idealistic and optimistic back then.
Makes one want to sing a modified verse of “The Way We Were”.
cloud the corners of my mind
faded San Fransisco Art Nouneau
and the way we were

Its hard these days to look at Woodstock and not eulogize optimism.
But it’s impossible to eulogize it and keep on keeping on.

This is the most interesting thread I’ve read in a while. And it has nothing to do with canoes.


You ask a good question. Drift boats and dories are similar but different. DBs originated in PNW especially in Oregon around the McKenzie River. The most popular size is around 15 feet, 16 feet on the gunwale with an open interior. They were wood at first, but now aluminum and fiberglass boats are most popular. They have always been associated with fishing, especially fly fishing They are commonly used on the rivers in the Northwest. They are rowed from the center seat and can accommodate two fishermen plus a guide. They are all over the West.

Dories made famous by Martin are more specialized and larger boats. There were wood at first, but now mostly they are fiberglass with wood trim. They have sealed compartments for flotation and storage of gear for long overnight trips. A typical dory trip down the GC is 3 weeks or more. They are larger than drift boats, more like 18-20 feet or more and pretty deep. I have never rowed one and have only seen them in the GC.

The Emerald Mile is a great book. Still finishing “River” by C Fletcher.
Now back to Woodstock.

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You left out the part where any guy that got in trouble with the law at the time was given a choice…sign up and go to Nam or go to jail… I knew several that chose Nam over jail. I could go on about friends that did and friends that didn’t come home. And then the ME generation was born.


My kids weren’t raised as ME types, but they tried. If we heard " But xxxxx has a new whatever or yyyyy is going" once it was probably 1000 times.
Didn’t work but it wore on our nerves a bit.

Lessee. My age was still in single digits, so I out playing in the backyard that week…

One of the things I really miss about being on the road in the 1960s and 70s, is that people were very open in those days and easy to meet. We exchanged addresses. People showed up in my driveway. There was a palpable vibe that we are all Brothers under the sun.

Recently I felt the same thing on the Stanislaus NF in California. I look forward to the fall, kids are back in school. I will be out looking for the vibe. I will not park next to people flying American flags, Trump or pro-gun bumper stickers. Some people think the US is great right now. I think we are worse off than the days under Nixon, which was the last time I really hated a prezadint.

thanks! I’m younger, but you are right. People loose perspective of what the world was like at that time. The war and the huge gap it created in society. The first war televised nightly with that days events. I was young and in a very small town without much of what you might call current culture trends around, but the news every night showing the war, showing what was happening in America was amazing. One thing positive about the times, unlike today the counter culture movement made some incredible music!


True enough, but it wasn’t just Vietnam. McCarthyism was still echoing, there were pretty frequent race riots throughout the recent past and in many parts of the country, environmental degradation was rampant and addressing it was still controversial in many quarters, and all this was set in the middle of the “cold war” and its threat of eminent nuclear exchange. All of us, all those folks at Woodstock, had pretty good reason to believe we wouldn’t live to see another decade. Music was a refuge and a temporary respite from some pretty darned unsettling circumstances. The times were nothing to be nostalgic for. The hope, idealism, community, and respite of the music is something we will never forget.

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I was 31 and summering in Mexico with friends, most of whom were into music so we knew about the concert. Years later I got a personal account from my friend whose family’s vacation home was just outside of Hurd Rd. She saw the crews setting up the stage and watched some rehearsals, but when she saw the lines of cars coming in she drove the back roads to Rt 17 towards NYC. She called her brother to tell him about the highway westbound being backed up for miles. Eventually, hungry, wet and thirsty young people were sleeping on his porch, cleaned out his vegetable garden, and made a mess of the property. It took him weeks to clean up. So convinced was he that the concert would be a yearly event, he sold the house.

Yes, PPine, travel was almost magical in that era from the mid 60’s to late 70’s. Hitchhiking and “couch-surfing” were nearly universally accepted routines and largely very safe. I hitched, mostly solo, almost daily from my off-campus apartments to college and my jobs. I regularly let folks I met traveling through my town “crash” with me and would share contact info and they’d return the favor when I was on the road. Even my Dad, who was often on the road for out of town teaching assignments during Summer months, would pick up hitchhikers and let some spell him so he could nap on long drives.

Even international “vagabonding” travel was freewheeling. One of my best friends in 1977 decided to take a year off before she started grad school. She saved a couple thousand dollars from working part time, went to Goodwill and filled a duffel bag with worn Levi jeans for $1 each and flew to Israel to spend a week with friends before hitching rides from Haifa to Katmandu, Nepal. She asked me before leaving if I wanted to join her – I didn’t think I had enough money to begin with and had just started what I thought would be a “career” job. I tracked her progress on a world map as I got postcards from her.

This was before all the conflicts blew up in the Middle East and she was able to connect with other travelers and find rides, shelter and food all across the route. She was savvy about the jeans (cargo she did not have to identify as saleable – one customs agent at the Israel airport questioned why she was traveling with 15 pounds of other personal goods and 40 pounds of pants but she said she liked to have a fresh pair every day.) American blue jeans were the rage in foreign countries then and she was able to sell them for $20 to $50 a pop in markets as she traveled, which were fabulous sums in those days especially for expenses in Third World countries off the conventional tourist paths.

She traversed Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Kashmir, Pakistan and India, over a 5 month period making new friends, both local and other wanderers, staying a week or two in some areas, having adventures and even a couple of romances, before reaching an old friend in Katmandu, where she stayed for 3 months, trekking around into the mountains visiting temples and markets and tutoring English before flying back via Israel.

The only hassles she reported were that she was sometimes spit on by men in Afghanistan and Pakistan for being un-veiled in the street. She eventually bought a hijab which worked in the more moderate countries, and in rougher areas like the hill countries of Afghanistan and Pakistan, stuffed her hair under a traditional wool rolled cap and dressed and swaggered like a young boy. And children often wanted to touch her face because they had never seen someone with as distinctive freckles as this tiny feisty red-haired American displayed.

A couple days after she returned to the States an Indian friend invited her to a welcome home dinner. My friend was dismayed that the proffered dinner was traditional dal bhat (lentil curry) which she tactfully consumed but reported that she had earnestly hoped she would never have to eat it again, since she estimated that dal bhat constituted 90% of her diet during most of her travels. She said the first meal she sought after arriving stateside was a huge double cheeseburger!

As I recall she left the USA with $2000 in traveler’s checks stitched into a money belt and returned 10 months later having spent only around $600 of it. To this day I regret not having joined her on what turned out to be a magical trip that could never be duplicated within our lifetimes, and possible ever.


Times were definitely different back then. From the early 1970 through the mid 1980s I had the month of August off and I would travel cross country solo by motorcycle. I mostly camped and stayed with friends around the country. I traveled mostly on two lane roads through all the small towns.For instance Rt 50 is the old Sacramento Trail and starts in Ocean City MD. It’s been largely merged with interstates now. Met a million friendly people everywhere. In small towns I found the best way to find a place to eat and camp for the night was to stop at the local police dept and ask. Many times they would let me set up in the town park and would often have someone come by to see if I needed anything.

After I got off the East Coast often the biggest holdup was when I stopped for gas. It seemed like half the town would come out to ask me where I was from, where I was going, what I had seen and tell me about their town. Taking an afternoon break and stopping at the local dive bars and talking to the locals was always really entertaining. I have been in every state in the lower 48 but Arkansas, much of Canada near the border, and Baja, Mexico. No passports needed back then.

Never a problem with anyone in spite of long hair and a mustache. Even the West Coast motorcycle gangs gave you a bit of respect when they saw the Virginia tags.

Taking up kayaking and later getting married ended my long distance days after a trip to Sturgis in 1994. Still ride a 1999 Honda Valkyrie, but it’s all local now.

Wow this place becomes more and more Geezer Net, and now I’m a Geezer too. During Woodstock I was at Boy Scout Camp at Camp Hunt at Bear Lake in Utah; I remember watching the aftermath on the News. I was very much into music and later got a hold of albums of most of the best performers at the concert. When I was much older and worked in Princeton I had a good friend who did attend the concert, but like most of the stories here, spent most of his time trying to get into the concert and missed some of the best bands. He did have pictures though, and I enjoyed his stories. We used to play guitars in a group once a month, I moved away and did not hear from him after a while, I tried to reconnect a few years ago, and his wife informed me he died a few months before I emailed him.

I was the first year of 18 year olds that did not have to register for the draft. I can tell you I was greatly relieved as were all of my classmates. On my hometown facebook page, there is a guy who brags about serving in Vietnam, the problem is a lot of us know that he did not get sent overseas and spent his time as a warehouse man at an Air Force base on the East coast. I think it’s funny to hear all the patriots claim how theyvolunteered bravely fought in Viet Nam. Most of my older relatives and friends who got unlucky draft numbers were looking for any way possible to stay out of the war; those who got sent did not come back full of patriotic fervor. My assistant scoutmaster came back with a large piece of flesh missing out of his back. But it seems certain people like to re-write history. Like Shel Silverstein my plan was to go to hell or jail or Canada if I got drafted. The war ended and I ended up living in Norway, when I was about 20 and as fate would have it i got papers telling me to report for Norwegian military duty even though I was not a citizen. It was an administrative mistake, the Norwegian draft enforcers were very amused and friendly about the whole thing, but for a few days I was getting ready to report to defend the Norwegian border against Russia.