George Walker is not a man who stays still. His life embodies the call of the unknown—the drive to seek out what feels authentic and to forge a new path rather than get stuck in the well-worn rut of a traditional lifestyle.
As a member of Ken Kesey’s Merry Pranksters in the 1960s, he was part of a cross-country bus trip whose goal was to experience reality through an expanded lens. The counterculture he participated in broke the mold that dictated what a flourishing life should be.
His life was changed by this journey. But that’s not all. The book detailing his adventures with Ken Kesey and the rest of the Pranksters changed the course of history in the United States.
Author Tom Wolfe’s book The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test narrated the Merry Prankster lifestyle. This book manifested a sea change that would shake the foundations of our buttoned-up culture. It described an alternative way of living that challenged norms and helped us each delve deeper into our own psyches. But this story isn’t just about George Walker. It’s about a bus.
“Furthur” was the name of the bus. It was misspelled in paint across the vehicle. “Furthur” became the motto of this journey. Each Prankster was headed towards his or her vision of what that means. The trip was ostensibly aimed at the World’s Fair in New York, but in fact, the Pranksters were headed towards enlightenment, and going “Furthur”.
Painted inside and out with psychedelic colors and adorned with a court jester hood ornament, the bus was purchased by Ken Kesey to load his fellow Pranksters all together on the road trip of a lifetime. Because the trip began in California, the Pranksters aimed their expedition in the opposite direction from the “westward expansion” of the 1800s.
The Merry Pranksters wore patriotic colors, including red, white, and blue stripes. George Walker was among them, adding his enthusiastic presence to their company despite his misleading moniker “Hardly Visible”.
At the time, LSD was legal, and experimentation led to internal revelation. George Walker has emphasized the importance of mind expansion, “Becoming more aware of our subconscious in ways that we could become different from ordinary, mundane human beings.”
He described the scene as the bus finally rolled into New York, “For the little kids, it was like the circus coming to town. When we hit New York, we drove around the city, and the traffic was slow. We looked like the pied piper, with maybe 100 kids running along behind us. Adults were perplexed by it. Kids got it.”
While Furthur was the vehicle that took them on a journey through the country, psychedelics were the vehicle that took them on an inward journey. Part of the newly forged pathway in the 1960s meant experimentation and indulgence in ways that opened the mind.
But the cultural impact made by this bus and George Walker’s journey is continuing to be felt, and for some, the journey is not over. Many are still inspired to “go Furthur” in the experiential realm. George himself wishes to continue this journey on a new bus he is calling “Farthur”.
This bus will be the third of its kind. The original bus “Furthur” was retired in a swamp at Ken Kesey’s son Zane’s house. Zane himself had a second bus he named “Further”, and he sought the same world-changing journey his father had been on. Finally, the original bus is being refurbished as well, but this is a continuation of Zane’s journey in his father’s memory.
The third bus in the series is George Walker’s “Farthur”, which is an art project, a tribute, and a trust that the love generation is alive and well in 2021. We are honored to welcome him to southern Indiana for one night only to share his magical stories of the past and his loving vision for the future.
George Walker Comes to Town
You’re invited to this leg of his tour, promoting and fundraising for the refurbishment of this new bus “Farthur”. This new bus is a 1937 International Harvester D-30 model chassis with a Gillig school bus body.
You’ll even get a chance to be a part of the rekindled magic, with “Farthur”’s fenders coming along to Nashville for the ride.
Listen to spoken word poetry by Karen Nelson Mangold and funky music by James D. Booth, Phree a Phish Tribute Band, and Normal Bean & the Universal Love Family. This will truly be a night to remember, so join us and let’s go “Farthur” together.
A Night to go Farthur
Calling on all you happy, kind, loving, freaky, funky, and fun people… George Walker is Going Farthur in his bus adventures and needs help raising funds to set FARTHUR on her maiden voyage.