The Merry Pranksters and "Further"
Writer Ken Kesey wanted to celebrate the success of his novel "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," and perhaps gather some material for another book. So he and his friends acquired a 1934 International Harvester school bus, named it "Further," painted it in a mess of wild colors, dropped some acid and hit the road. Although they may have taken the drugs while painting the bus, too, come to think of it.
So that's how Kesey and his friends, known as the Merry Pranksters, spent a mind-altering chunk of 1964 traveling across the country, inspired in part by another novel, Jack Kerouac's "On the Road." At the wheel for most of the trip was Neal Cassady (who allegedly didn't even have a driver's license at the time, but that was okay, because Cassady was legendary [source: Kerr]. He'd inspired one of the characters in "On the Road." And the Pranksters actually encountered Jack Kerouac en route, but it didn't go too well. As if the Pranksters' journey wasn't meta enough, what with the authors and subjects gleefully and hazily swapping roles, Further's journey was published a few years later in a book by journalist Tom Wolfe. "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test" captures a moment in American history nearly as much as its inspiration, "On the Road."