Setting off on a cross-country motoring trip, Bob Dylan‘s entourage drove through the Holland Tunnel and onto the New Jersey Turnpike on the morning of February 2nd, 1964 — Dylan himself, Daily Mirror writer Pete Karman, mindguards Paul Clayton and Victor Maimudes, the latter behind the wheel. Dylan had put his three companions on the books of Ashes & Sand, the holding company Albert Grossman had set up to protect the newly-successful singer’s financial interests. All expenses were to be paid but apparently only Maimudes, who was officially Dylan’s road manager, was on salary.
The car was filled with used clothing that Dylan had collected for the striking miners in Kentucky. And Dylan’s typewriter. “Gonna write all along the way,” he said.
That first night they stopped in Charlottesville, Virginia, where Clayton had a house. The drive down had been uneventful, which is surprising considering that they were all stoned. Clayton high on pills, Dylan and others on grass. As soon as they arrived Dylan called Suze back in New York, then he and his companions spent the night playing Monopoly, drinking wine, smoking to maintain the high edge of psychic excitement.
They went into town the next day, wandering the streets in the downtown area, dropping into a bar for a couple of drinks and moving on again. “Hey, man,” Dylan shouted as they passed a record shop. “Gotta see if the new album’s out yet. Wanna pass ’em around to people.” They shuffled into the shop. “Got the new Dylan album?” Dylan asked. The girl behind the counter looked up. Lord help her, that’s Bob Dylan, that man there with the funny cap, surrounded by a bunch of freaks. She stumbled out into the aisle, to a bin labeled “Dylan” and pulled out a copy of The Times They Are A-Changin’. “How many you got?” Dylan asked. The girl counted them out, ten of them. “I’ll take them all,” Dylan said.
He leaned against the counter, under a large poster with his picture on it, signing traveler’s checks, and the word flashed through the store. “That’s Bob Dylan.” “Where?” “Over there.” Four or five kids moved closer, suppressing moans and squeals. Dylan looked around at them, and his guard moved in around him. “Man,” Dylan said, “there’s a lot of people in here. Let’s split.” He hustled out to the street, followed by several of the customers. “They’re closin’ in on us.” Dylan said. “Let’s move.” They began to trot, the kids catching up, then to gallop, into the car, roll up the windows, race away. “Man, that was close,” Dylan said. “They almost got me.”