Photo Credit Michael Rauner, in "The Visionary State"
In 1997 Kesey’s La Honda House was a “Fixer-Upper,” accessed only by forest trail or foot bridge across the San Gregorio creek. No bank would lend on it, so Eva & I ‘creatively’ financed the sale directly with the Keseys.
The dedication to “OneFlew Over The Cookoo’s Nest” reads: (to quote Ken Kesey) “To Vic, who told me there were no dragons, then led me to their lairs.” That same Vic Lovell is an old friend of mine and helped negotiate the sale, explaining to Ken that I was not only a poet, but a Masters in literature, a psychedelia aficionado, a General Contractor, and a motorcycle racer to boot! A perfect fit!
The original structure, from the 1940s may have been a hunting cabin. The house is much larger than it appears from the street. On the 'sale closing' day, Ken referred to the house as his "Viking Lodge." The "Great" room is 450 sqft.
The El Nino flood of February 2nd, 1998 almost destroyed the house, but flood insurance and a FEMA Disaster loan allowed us to restore it, lift it above the flood plain, bring it to seismic code, and add a vehicle bridge. The restoration took 18 months to complete.
Both Eva & I are woodworkers and builders, and we preserved the antique aesthetic of the house, removing, numbering, and restoring original interior paneling,
We show the house occasionally to school classes, researchers, and interested folks from all around the world, but it requires a balance since we have no ambition to be a “public” site.
You might say La Honda is one of those Dragon “Lairs,” where a deep cultural curiosity persists, wondering what magic endures from the youthful aura of the 1960s. Folks from all over drive by, and often stop for photos.
The restoration required 18 months of work, with help from Eva's Brother Goettfried (master carpenter from Berlin), mighty "Motley", Bill Crowell, Erik Midstokke and son, from Idaho, and (locally) Turner Construction, and many others. House engineering was by Steve Devich. Bridge engineering was by Terry Sturgis. Yours truly and my wife, Eva Knodt, were the architects and principal woodworkers.
After we moved back in, in 1999 Ken and the Pranksters, including Ken Babbs, Mountain Girl, George Walker, and Roy Sebern, and newer faces, visited us in Furthur, on their way to England to look for Merlin. After a tearful tour of the re-built house – several pranksters were touched to see the old place given new life – Ken brought everybody into the Redwood fairy circle behind the kitchen and held a communal I-Ching throw.
The two hexagrams resulting from our eight throws said: “a good man confronted with a trial by water will prevail if he is true to himself,” and “when a large force is in conflict with a weak force, the result must be handled with great gentleness.” I thought surely Ken rigged that I-Ching reading for me – but according to folks who knew him he never 'Pranked' anything having to do with the I-Ching..
The 50th Anniversary Tour
On the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Furthur tour, chronicled in "The Electric Cool Aid Acid Test," Ken's son Zane and a gaggle of NEW Pranksters re-traced the original cross-country route, finishing at our place, in 2014.
Ken Elton Kesey passed away in 2001. RIP