Memorial Day Weekend party


The Mother Lode Episode is an annual party held at the cabin on Memorial Day weekend. It has antecedents harking back many decades.

Special thanks to Linda for keeping this Mother Lode Episode ticket from 1978 as an historical document of feckless seventies youth. If anybody can remember who “DW” was, please contact me with the info.

The first knowledge of PiPi is lost in the mists of time. It sounds like the kind of thing Borthwick would have discovered and transmitted back to the tribe.  PiPi was at the bottom of a 7 mile long unpaved forest service road which back then, in the latter part of the seventies, was mostly qualified either for 4 wheeled drive or idiots.

I was one of the latter. The driver side door latch of my Chevy Vega hatchback did not fully engage and when turning the sharp bends afforded by the dusty, deeply rutted tracks down to the valley, the door would suddenly pop open and swing wide at inopportune moments and cause me to extend perhaps farther than was wise to recover the door handle and bring the door back  home in the hopes it would stay closed while otherwise operating the apparatus of the car necessary to survive the moment.

It was so bad I had drilled a hole in the door and through to the door frame into which I inserted a stout length of metal coat hanger to pin the driver side door shut. As brilliant as this solution was, it was not perfect, and the coat hanger wire was susceptible to vibrating out and the door would still unlatch and swing wide open every now and then, just not as frequently as before, though it took both hands to secure the door and ram the wire home while who knows what else was happening but that is something which the reader need not contemplate.

Crazy days, crazy days.


Imagine a valley in the Mother Lode with the Consumes River running through it, heavily forested in shady pines, and seemingly purpose built for teens to congregate and acquit themselves in a manner which would make their parents blush and the county sheriff quiver with rage. Yes, that place.

It required a lot of effort to get there. The sight of the sun glinting off the river in the meadow, and the silhouetted figures of early arrived friends waving to greet you and your passengers at the end of the drive, was always very sweet.

By 1978, the PiPi dealio had grown to the extent that we secured a generator, a band, and a keg of beer and were asking participants to cough up $3 apiece to cover costs. And somehow, that last party in June 1978 acquired a name, the Mother Lode Episode.


It was an excellent gathering of The People. There was food and beer and dancing and waters mingling and becoming one. The rangers came because of the amplified music echoing and rebounding along the valley walls.

We had a frying pan but no dishes or other utensils so ate off the hubcaps of a Ford Rambler. We didn’t have enough gas for the return trip so cruised the dirt forest roads and found the ranger outpost and begged their help. They were not friendly but we got a couple gallons, and then we drove back home.