Editor’s note: This article was published before the coronavirus pandemic, and may not reflect the current situation on the ground.

From protests and psychedelics to black power and AIDS, Ken Jones—a contender for the world’s most interesting tour guide—reveals the lesser-known history of San Francisco’s Castro District in the ‘70s and ‘80s.

Standing on a street corner, Ken Jones points out the gas station he crashed his car into one day in the ‘70s after having hallucinogens for breakfast. “The day always went well when we took LSD or mescaline,” he explains. “My partner was an acid dealer. We were well-known for our acid punch parties that started on Friday night and ended Monday morning.”

If it wasn’t clear before, it’s very clear to me now that I’m not on your average San Francisco city tour. But then again, Ken Jones isn’t your average tour guide.

I wasn’t looking to join a San Francisco tour, but when a 68-year-old civil rights activist, community organizer, not-for-profit founder and three-tour veteran of the Vietnam War decides to add ‘tour guide’ to his resume, you can bet I’m signing on. That’s how I ended up standing on the corner of Castro and 18th, hearing about the wild parties that made me wish time machines existed.