Oregon author Ken Kesey plans to deliver his magic bus, an icon of the 1960s psychedelic era, to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland as the centerpiece of a new exhibit.
Dubbed “Further II,” the 1947 International is the successor to the 1939 school bus used by the Merry Pranksters in a 1964 cross-country odyssey immortalized in Tom Wolfe’s “Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.”
The colorfully painted bus will be among more than 500 artifacts assembled by the Rock and Roll Hall for its exhibit, “I Want to Take You Higher: The Psychedelic Era 1965-69,” opening May 10. Kesey said it will sit between Beatle John Lennon’s Rolls-Royce and the late singer Janis Joplin’s Porsche.
“I kind of feel bad about it, because it’s going to be so much more beautiful than any of these other rock ‘n’ roll cars,” Kesey said.
Kesey plans what he calls the “Grandfurthur Tour,” named for the grandchildren who will join in. He and surviving members of the original crew, friends and family leave Eugene on Saturday for San Francisco, where they plan appearances on Sunday.
They ship the bus from there to Chicago, where it will embark May 7 for a four-day ride through Ann Arbor, Mich., and Columbus, Ohio, on the way to Cleveland.
“One of the things I like best is the bus itself is being inducted, which includes a lot of other people,” Kesey said while taking a break from putting some finishing touches on the bus at his Pleasant Hill farm.
The original bus is moldering in the woods behind Kesey’s home, but some pieces of it have been incorporated in the new one, such as light fixtures and a support bar by the door.
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