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Entry date: 3-3-2022 - Disneyland Death Trip - Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,

The spring of 1989 was formative for me in many ways, but to be honest, none of them very good. I was on a path to self-destruction and even today, I’m not exactly sure why. There was fun, though, and I want to put a little bit of good humor into the world today with a memory.

I’m not sure the exact date, but I’m guessing it was at some point in March of that year that I was over at Brian and Michael’s apartment, and we were partying a bit. Beers and bongs were flowing, and music was being played loud. That was a staple at their place. Lots of partying and lots of loud music. It was usually my cue to leave when Motorhead came on because that meant it was powder time and that was not my thing. I liked sleeping a lot in those days, except when I didn’t, which was somewhat rare.

I think about midnight I got a ride home from someone as I knew where things were going, and I probably had class the next day. I really don’t think it was spring break because that would have been too easy. I said my goodnights and went home to get a few hours of sleep before I had to be on campus at Phoenix College. Since I didn’t have a car in those days, only my trusty skateboard and a bike, I would grab any possible ride home from their apartment, so away I went.

Around 2:30am, my phone rang.

“Wake up! We’re going to Disneyland,’ Brian shouted over the phone.

“What? No. I can’t go to Disneyland.”

“Shut the fuck up. We’re going to Disneyland. We’ll be there to pick you up in half an hour.”

“No, really. I can’t go. I’ve got like $30 to my name and I have class tomorrow. No. Sorry. Have fun.”

“You’re not going?” I hear the phone being passed to Michael and Brian said something like, “Reardon is being a fucking pussy. You talk to him.”

“Dude let’s just go. We have mushrooms,” said Michael.

“No man. That sounds amazing, but I can’t go. Have fun. Be careful.” And I hung up the phone and tried to go back to sleep.

It was no use, though. They had planted the seed. I hemmed and hawed about it for about 10 minutes and finally picked up the phone and called them back.

“Pick me up on your way,” I said, and I could hear laughing in the background.

“We were going to come get you anyway, fucker,” and Brian hung up the phone.

A little after 4am we struck out towards California. Those guys had been going pretty hard at that point in our lives and it did cross my mind that this was not the best or safest idea we had ever had. I’ve always had that governor in the back of my mind that tried to talk sense to me. I think we’re all probably better off because of it, but that could easily have been debated on that early morning drive out of Phoenix.

Brian was driving the 280Z he had bought from Michael’s girlfriend, Nora, and I was in the small back seat. It was pitch black outside and it seemed like almost no one was on the road. We got to 365th Avenue, which in 1989 was just a turn off that went who knows where and Brian pulled us off the freeway and told Michael to drive. We did a sort of Chinese fire drill and switched up our spots so Brian could crash out in the back for a bit.

Of course, the car decided to not start.

“Great,” I thought. Three dudes out in the middle of nowhere. Just far enough off the freeway to not get spotted by anyone friendly and a car full of things that could send us all to jail. I suppose it could have been worse, but at that moment, I was regretting my decision a lot.

Eventually the car fired back up. It was full of all kinds of fun little surprises, but we got back on the road and started making good time. Disneyland opened at 10am, so we figured we would get there early, grab some breakfast and head into the park when it opened. We were doing well until we blew a tire somewhere outside of Indio.

Brian had been asleep, if I remember correctly, since we got back on the freeway outside of Buckeye. Michael and I had enjoyed a nice sunrise, smoked a few joints, and were having one of our usual good conversations. I’m sure we were listening to music, as well, probably Jimi Hendrix, Jane’s Addiction, and the Pixies. Danzig was in the mix, too, but that was later. I fucking hated him then, too.

But yes, we blew a tire and didn’t have a spare. Brian woke up and decided he would hitch a ride into the next town, which was about 20 miles away, get a tire as soon as some place was open, and then hitch back. Great plan. This was well before cell phones, so what choice did we have? A bunch of Mexican dudes drove up in a truck and asked if they could help us. They gave Brian a ride to get the tire and left Michael and I with the car.

It seemed like forever before Brian got back, but it was probably just a little over an hour. If I had to guess, I’d say it was about 6:30am when we blew the tire, and he was back around 8. We had two hours to get to Disneyland and if traffic wasn’t too bad going into Anaheim, we’d be all right.

Just as Michael was getting the tire back on (he was always the best at doing that kind of stuff), a highway patrolman pulled up. I thought, “oh fuck…we’re toast” but he was pretty cool about the whole thing. He did advise us to get a spare tire, but we didn’t have time for that. We were on a mission to see a mouse and eat mushrooms.

To be continued.

See you tomorrow.

A 19-year-old Mike getting the flat tire off the Z. Taken by me.

Two-fer Thursday...

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