By Race Bannon
People forget that I first went to Berkeley in the summer of 1974. I visited my brother who was a student at Cal. I drove down the 101 from Olympia with my girlfriend and we stayed at his apartment in Berkeley. We saw all the sites on the hippie tour of Cal Berkley, circa post 60's pre descent into madness Berkeley. Telegraph Avenue was paved with acid burn outs and Star Trek stores.
I was a 60's radical at the age of 12 in 1968. It was June and it was sunny and the morning was warm with the windows open in my bedroom when my Mother called for me to get up. When I went downstairs it was an all too familiar scene as the radio was on and Bobby Kennedy was dead.
Three for three growing up. JFK, MLK, RFK. Gone. No warning. Just gone.
So I embraced the city and Oakland and then headed back up the coast with my girl to Olympia.
Came back again in 1989 when my wife and I flew down for the Cal game and to take the death and destruction tour following the big 89 quake. Saw the collapsed 880 and saw it in my mind every time I drove south on the Viaduct in Seattle. The game was unremarkable as the Huskies won rather easily as was their wont those days playing hapless Cal. I recall a blocked extra point returned for 2 points by our DAWGS. The only one I remember seeing and typical of how we liked to fuck with the Bears. Things like giving them a 27-3 lead in the 2nd half only to come back and win.
And now these many years later I once again find myself on the road to Berkeley to watch the heavily favored and handsome DAWGS take on the Skull Fucks of Cal. I headed out on Monday for a leisurely drive up the coast. Spent the first night in funky Pismo Beach.
Scored big on night two in an oceanfront room in San Simeon across from a little house known as the Hearst Mansion. It's a fixer and might be available at a good price. Traveling this time of year is great. Almost had the hotel to myself which allowed me to enjoy a fresh bowl, a cigar, and plenty of booze while watching the sun set and the crescent moon rise. All to the soundtrack of the ocean waves.
Things took a turn for the worse as I headed out for Monterey and a two night stay in a snazzy suite. Anytime you have to pull over three times on the 1 to puke your guts out is special. Food poisoning. The most scenic drive in America and I'm in survival mode trying to get to my room. Spent my time in Monterey in recovery.
A quick shout out to the fine folks at Hyatt who charged me 30 dollars for a couple of bottles of water that I was in desperate need of to avoid dehydration. The second night when I could eat a little something, I ordered a hamburger that cost less than the water. I mean it was Tuscany water but really, water is fucking water.
Which brings us to today and back to civilization and California traffic as I rolled into Berkeley. Nice room close to the stadium in the Telegraph district. Things have changed over the last 40 years. Female and Asian are the major demographics I saw. The white girls should try a little harder to look attractive and maybe they could find a husband. I kid, I kid. There are no eligible millennial men.
It's a college town with all that means in 2016 which means an old white male feels a bit out of place. How do you like that whitey?! Live and let live. As long as UW and Cal can find enough young men willing to play some form of flag football that we are playing these days it's all good with me.
Tomorrow night is my first live football game since 2007 after regular attendance since 1973. Looking forward to it. We're going to win. A full report to come in Part Two.