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Ken Kesey Bus and Mammatus Clouds at Roosevelt Center

posted in: Fun Stuff | 1

Wednesday, August 20 was an amazing night in the Roosevelt Center parking lot, where the gang from the New Deal Cafe b1awaited the arrival of Ken Kesey’s Magic Bus.  It was made famous by Kesey’s Merry Pranksters and then chronicled by Tom Wolfe in The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.  We all read or at least watched the movie of Kesey’s “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” right?

Well, the bus came out of storage in 2005 when Kesey’s son Zane started restoring it and now it’s back on the road touring again. It made a stop in Greenbelt on a night when Grateful Dead songs were wafting out of the the New Deal.

Photo by Jeff Pitot de la Beaujardiere
Photo by Jeff Pitot de la Beaujardiere


Photo via Katy Gaughan


Photo via Katy Gaughan

Thanks to Jeff and Katy for their terrific photos, which I wasn’t there to take myself because I had to leave, missing the arrival of the bus by five fricking minutes! But at least I was there long enough to see and capture the amazing sky over the Center that night. 



Fortunately, among the local Merry Pranksters were a few scientists, like Goddard’s Dave Short and Raven Eyes Cagle, who identified the clouds for us. (Not sure Raven Eyes is a meteorologist like Dave but she sure knows her clouds.)  They’re called Mammatus clouds, from the root word  mammary.

Awesome night, huh?

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Susan has been blogging about Greenbelt since she moved here in 2012. Retired from garden writing and teaching, she continues to blog at GardenRant.com and direct Good Gardening Videos.org, a nonprofit, ad-free educational campaign.

One Response

  1. Amethyst Dwyer
    | Reply

    It was an historic night in Old Greenbelt and I’m so glad you’ve documented it on your blog, Susan! I studied Ken Kesey, The Merry Pranksters and Furthur in college in my American Studies courses and so it was particularly amazing for me to see them pull up behind The New Deal Cafe!! Earlier in the day they were on a VIP Congressional & Smithsonian tour of D.C. with their congressman and so were able to pay us a visit afterwards. This is the official, nation wide 50th Anniversary Furthur Bus Tour and it was incredibly fortuitous that they chose The New Deal & Greenbelt as a destination point because there were other venues vying for them. The beautiful mammatus clouds hovering over Old Greenbelt was indeed an auspicious presage of what was to come…….:)

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