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Taco Mike’s kitchen started as a single coffee pot over a small fire at the 1989 Mid-Atlantic regional gathering, and grew into a structure with several large tarps by the 1991 Vermont annual. “The Hobo Hilton” may have been the name he wanted people to call it, but everybody went on calling it Taco Mike’s because, like Rainbow Crystal, it revolved around one strong personality.
Taco Mike was a middle aged man with long brown hair and a mustache over a stubbled chin that that was shaved only occasionally. He wore jeans, a denim vest and a cowboy hat, and he could have acted in a western movie if he hadn’t had a Maine accent. He wasn’t shy about expressing his annoyances with people if they did things he didn’t like in his kitchen, but most of the time he was easy to get along with. He earned the approval of many people with the food he was able to turn out, and that made other gatherers tolerate his sometimes abrasive personality.
Sometimes he could get comical. “What’s for dinner tonight?” “Your dog if it doesn’t get out of my kitchen!” He was a person who was easy to imagine actually doing this. He wasn’t against serving meat, tho he always made sure there were vegetarian alternatives. If something came in off the trail, he’d figure out a way to serve it, whatever it was.