Part II: The Quest by John Vonderlin

email John: [email protected]

Please Read Part I, see below


Hi June,

With my new Quest inspiring me, I began my search to find the site of Ken Kesey’s band of Intrepid Travelers encounter with the Great American Tsunami that was spawned by the Good Friday Alaska Earthquake and their subsequent transmutation to the Merry Pranksters, a ragtag band of apostles who inspired their own culturequake and tsunami. A culturequake that launched a media tsunami of psychedelicism that swept over the public’s imagination and altered the mental landscape of a generation.

I started by using the California Coastal Records Project website to virtually fly down the part of the coast where George Walker’s, vague memories indicated the sacred site might be found, examining the cliffs for any tunnel openings.

Just south of Pomponio Beach, in Picture #6242, I was sure I’d found it. In this picture of a stretch of beach I’d only walked on once in my countless expeditions to gather Marine Debris, I could see there was an opening, halfway up the cliff, its interior in deep shadow, its top a perfect arch. It had to be what I sought.

I was excited.

With a good low tide of minus .6 feet coming up in the late afternoon in just a few days, I was almost there. Sure, I’d have to carry my 20- foot extension ladder on my back a half- mile down the beach from the Pomponio Beach parking lot under the bemused stares of a gauntlet of tourists, or the hostile gaze of khaki-uniformed authorities, but who cares?

My journey of seeking was laid bare before me.

While I waited for my day of reckoning to arrive, I looked at my folders of photos from my previous beachcombing adventures in the general area. I was hoping to have unknowingly captured the opening in one of my many cliff shots. While doing so, I looked at pictures of a small, beach-level cave I only vaguely remembered.

I suddenly noticed that one photo pictured initials scratched into the soft rock of the cave’s side. The foot tall letters seemed to be Z.E.K. Hallelujah.

Could they be Zane Kesey’s, Ken Kesey’s son?

Z.K. is a pretty rare set of initials. Curious, I looked in the White Pages in the “K” section of my phone book to see how rare. By looking for the most common “K” last names, then scanning to the bottom of the first names listed below them, I was able to eliminate them 50 to a 100 at a time. After ten minutes and more then a thousand names I finally found one, Zhilde. I had figured Zeke, Zachary, or Zane, not remembering the changes that have occurred in the Santa Clara Valley lately, but felt I had proved my belief that Z.K. was highly unusual anyway. I just might be on to something.

Getting on the Internet, I returned to Zane Kesey’s, website,, a very colorfully psychedelic and creative website and sent him an email. I related the details of my Quest and the initials in the cave and he replied:

“Hi John
That is a mysterious magical place for my and my childhood…glad it still exists! I hope to visit it someday and take my kid, would love complete directions, as my kid memories are always different from reality!

I was happy to hear from him, but disappointed to see his initials were ZCK.

Knowing his father had been banished into the “Wilderness of Oregon” over 40 years ago by the secular authorities, I clung to the hope his extreme youth or somebody helping him to scratch his initials into the cave wall might have caused a mistake to be made. I know, a faint hope, but I clung to my faith in statistical probability.

The next day while using the “Time Comparison” feature on the CCRP website, I got an even greater jolt to my faith in my conclusions. While the tunnel seemed very obvious in the 2002, 2004, and 2005 pictures, all shot by Ken Adelman, from his helicopter in virtually the same spot with the aid of GPS, it wasn’t really visible in the poorer quality, 1972, 1979, and 1987, shots from an airplane from various vantage points. Had it collapsed in the Sixties, then eroded open in later years? Was I seeing an artifact of the sun’s angle? I was feeling a lot less sure about my quest’s possible success.

More positively, I also noticed on Picture #6243, captioned Long Gulch, that I could avoid the long hike with a 20-foot ladder on my back and the derision I might face from gawkers. By parking along Highway 1 and hiking down through Long Gulch, to the beach, I could avoid paying as well as embarrassing inquiries. In fact, it looked close enough that I could reconnoiter the tunnel area and go back for the ladder if needed.

At this point I was more excited about “The Quest,” then I was about this upcoming Christmas. End Part 2. Enjoy. John Vonderlin.

P.S. Here are all the picture numbers from the tunnel’s putative site. Do you believe?
1972 #7218052
1979 #7928100
1987 #8713139
2002 #6242
2004 #20040091
2005 #200506488

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