A Vortex I Story

(I received the following email from a reader not too long and thought it might interest those who know the incredible story of Vortex I.)

I just found your book, The Far Out Story of Vortex I, and bought it. I wish I had known about the first book,I would love to see the pictures. I was at Vortex and stayed for 5 days. If this is no believable so be it. I was on a Honda CL350, which was the last motorcycle allowed onto the main grounds, not the parking lot, and I had to agree to take people to and from the medical area in exchange for getting in. My memories are no longer as sharp as they used to be, I am now 77 years old, but I have often spoke about my first impression.

I was a graduate student at Purdue in Industrial Psychology, and had become a tourist hippie (grubby clothes, long hair, some pot, but with a job and every intent to have a career). I had been riding a bike for about a year, saw Easy Rider, and said to myself, “I can do that.”

I heard about Vortex while traveling north on the California coast. I had never before (or since) been to a music festival. When Woodstock happened the year before, I had just returned from Europe, and was too tired to go.

I was told the requirement to get the bike in (ride medical people around), and so I first went in and pitched my small tent. Then I returned to the entry area, and said to the young lady that let me in that I was ready to ferry anyone to the medical area. She said something like (I cannot remember anything exactly enough to quote it) ‘Oh, here comes ………. now!’ I looked up and saw a lovely young lady wearing a colorful print skirt and a hair garland; that’s it. I thought to myself, ‘Well, this is going to be a fun adventure. She climbed on the back of the bike and I took her over there.

We went straight to the LSD bad trip tent, and I found out that most of the problems were traceable to the fact that much of the LSD was laced with strychnine. This meant that many first LSD trips were accompanied by terrible stomach pains.

During Vortex I took part in the “wet sauna” and watched the Army Reserve helicopters overhead, with soldiers hanging out yelling to the naked hippie girls in the lake, who yelled back (we jumped in the lake after the sauna and the chanting of OM. The soldiers were basically hippie guys who dodged the draft by joining the reserves.

If you are interested in whatever else I can remember, prompt me, otherwise, thank you for this book.

Jan Ditzian