My friend Mary from San Diego had met a German women that wanted Mary. to drive her across county. The German women didn't know how to drive herself or didn't have an American license but she told Mary. that she would pay all expenses if Mary would drive her across country. Mary invited me to go along and it sounded like a good opportunity to see the country. I must have been traveling when the downstairs flat on Market street burned up since I don't remember the fire itself. On the trip I was missing Jim and sending him letters.
The German lady was rather strange as she believed in "space people." It seemed that she was a part of some cult that beleived that there were aliens that were watching over us and interacting with our world. I don't know if it was the same cult but years later we would hear of such a cult where several people committed suicide together.
On the trip with the German space lady, we stopped in Salt Lake City and took a tour of some Mormon museum and Mary got into it with the tour guide. The Mormon church was known for it's blatant racism and she rightfully questioned it. In the years since, the church has modified it's stance somewhat, in my opinion to be more politically correct and bring new members money into it's coffers so that it can influence political campaigns such as the notorious proposition 8 campaign against marriage equality in Calfornia.
Whuile in Salt Lake City, the German space lady tried to get Mary to commit a fraudulent act having to do with travelors checks. She wanted Mary to try and cash one of the German space lady's checks and then the German space lady would claim that the check was stolen and would double her money. When I heard of this scam, I argued that it wasn't worth it to get into trouble over something like that. We had gone on the trip expecting that all expenses were paid- not to have to commit crimes to have expenses paid!
We continued after Salt Lake City, driving the German space lady to the Grand Canyon. It was a nice trip but Mary and I were starting to complain that we were not being fed as well as we like to be fed. The space lady was trying to cut corners and save money I guess at our expense. There was eventually an argument over the quality of food and shelter during the trip that came to a head at a rest stop after the Grand Canyon. Mary and I threatened to leave the space lady at the rest stop. I don't think the space lady realized how comfortable we were with hitchhiking and didn't think we would really leave but we had no qualms about leaving at all. As we walked out of the rest stop, the space lady was yelling at us, "that's alright, the space people will help me!" We never saw her again and will never know how she got out of the rest stop and how she got the rest of the way to New York.Mary and I hitch-hiked back to the West Coast. I seem to remember that we went back to San Diego rather than San Francisco initially. Mary's mom still lived in San Diego and I think my sister Darlene might have still been there too. Eventually, I made my way back to San Francisco though.
I'm not sure if it was when I was traveling on this trip that the downstairs flat burned up, but when I got back to San Francisco, Louise was now living in a flat on Castro Street. I don't remember a lot about that flat really. I know we spent a lot of time painting the hallway. I do have a few seconds of super-8 footage from that time period. Jim was still romancing Louise while at the same time, romancing me. I think that it was about this time that Louise realized that Jim and I were having an affair.