Reply Thu 26 Dec, 2002 08:46 pm
Have you ever gone over a hundred miles hitch hiking or copping a ride on a freight train? Did you have anyone waiting for you at the end of the line?
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Dec, 2002 09:02 pm
In fact, i've hitched thousands of miles--when i was young, i used that as a principal form of transportation. I'd ridden the bus--nightmarish. I could go on for pages about hitching, sometimes with a purposeful destination, sometimes simply as an adventure. In addition, i had a dog in later years, who hitched thousands of miles with me. Some fond memories, and many strange ones.
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timberlandko
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Dec, 2002 09:07 pm
I've hopped far more than a freight or two, but as I worked for a railroad at the time (Short job, long story), that probably doesn't count. I've done quite a bit of hitch hiking though, and I frequently give them lifts now. In a generation long gone, before Sesame Street, even, I thumbed pretty much from coast to coast with appreciable digression along the way. No one in particular was at either end of the roundabout; I pretty much just did it to see what I would find. I found many things. Some were amazing, many were mudane, I figure I lost nothing and gained much. That would be entirely subjective I suppose.



timber
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Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Dec, 2002 09:28 pm
My best friend from high school and I decided after a year of college in Seattle that we wanted to visit California, but not having any money, we decided to hitchhike. She'd been going to school in Bellingham where hitching was more common. I went along for the ride and what a long, strange trip it was. It took us two days to get to Malibu, where we were planning to stay. Nobody knew where we were though there were people expecting us in LA. They just didn't know we were hitchhiking. Oh, to be young and stupid and immortal. The first guy who picked us up started sharpening a big bowie knife while I was driving his car through Oregon. Scared me to death, but my friend and I just started talking such crazy-stuff that he dropped us off rather than risk our bad vibes.

We stopped in Santa Cruz and stayed in an abandoned car. (Don't ask me why!) We were awakened by fire-fighters as the house in front of the car was on fire. It was, like I said, a long strange trip.

On the way north again, we were picked up by a guy in Berkeley who took us all the way to the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, ten miles from home, where we called her mom who came and picked us up. Never did tell our parents what we did. Some things are better left unsaid, where parents are concerned. Oh, and I picked up a puppy, a half German Shepherd, half Weimeraner in Malibu. She came home with me and lived a long and glorious life.
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Dec, 2002 09:45 pm
It used to also be my principle transportation - both rail and hitching. It began to get a little hairy near the end. I finally lost my nerve after about six years of it. I began riding buses and selecting places to live having good public transportation (Brooklyn and San Francisco, for instance). My last two trips were very dangerous. One of them, I got a presentament about midway between L.A. and San Diego. I desired to turn back, but felt I had already committed, and so went ahead. I caught a ride with a fellow who averaged 110 mph coming out of San Diego. When we got to the high point over the mountain range the wind caught us broadside. The car began hopping sideways. Fortunately we were hopping away from the edge of the cliff. Unfortunately we were about to get smeared like a bug against the side of the mountain. The fellow cooly accelerated from 110 to 120 and we pulled out of it. After I had already given myself up for dead. About parallell with San Luis, Mexico, the engine locked up and we split up to hike on alone. The next driver ran a stop sign and collided with a pick up truck. As I began walking to the edge of town to resume the journey a german shepherd dog came at me. I held my traveling bag between us; it ripped a hole in it with its teeth. What to do? Maybe the dog will back off if I show I am not afraid. I looked into the dog's eyes very sternly and told him to get out of here. This of course stirred the dog to a greater frenzy. Finally the owner came around the corner and called the dog off. I heard two observers comment on my escapade. "I wouldn't give him a ride," one commented. The final trip I was threatened at knife point by one driver and so took to the rail again. I froze my feet so badly in the California mountains I could not walk for a week.
For the most part, however, I had a grand time; I don't regret a minute of it.
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Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Dec, 2002 09:57 pm
Gads, Edgar, that sounds dangerous. I don't remember crazy driving, just crazy drivers. The street going out of Berkeley was cool though... way back then... it was a clearinghouse for hitchhikers and people wanting company.

Hitchhiking would be so cool if it weren't for the crazies. There's nothing like sticking out your thumb and going off, no cares in the world. Lovely. Now, probably everybody carries a gun!
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timberlandko
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Dec, 2002 11:05 pm
Piffka wrote:
The street going out of Berkeley was cool though... way back then... it was a clearinghouse for hitchhikers and people wanting company.


Denim Bellbottoms, leather vests ... tie died serapes and feathered, floppy hats, flowing, unkempt hair, cardboard signs with the names of distant and not so distant locations, fancy backpack rigs and folks in bare feet and empty pockets, sometimes someone playing a flute, often a guitar, and almost always the sound of bells an the smell of smoldering plant matter ...

Been There. Done That.



timber
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Misti26
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Dec, 2002 11:24 pm
I never hitch hiked myself but my older sister did. They biked from London to Germany, they (she and a friend) were 17 and 18 years young ... what nerve that took! They had a fantastic time, worked their way through, got in trouble, got out of trouble, and lived!!!
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Dec, 2002 11:31 pm
It's glorious to be footloose and young......
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Misti26
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Dec, 2002 11:36 pm
Sure is Edgar! What's that saying, "Youth is wasted on the young?"
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Dec, 2002 11:44 pm
For sure.
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timberlandko
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Dec, 2002 11:53 pm
I was young once. Once may well have been more than enough.



timber
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Dec, 2002 12:04 am
Actually, it is not age tying me down, but the nexus and plexus created by years of the settled life. Among many considerations, I would not leave my wife to wander and she would not even consider hitting the road.
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Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Dec, 2002 11:22 am
You can do nearly the same thing by packing up a truck or whatever and hitting the road for a while. Good to get some cobwebs out of the system, I think, even if just for the weekend.

But don't pick up any hitchhikers!!!

Timber -- LOL. My story of hitching is one of the few things I will never tell my own children. There are some things they do not need to know! I sure don't want them trying it for themselves.
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steissd
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Dec, 2002 11:53 am
Hitchhiking once was very popular in the country I live in. But now security constraints made this impossible: there were several occasions when terrorists pretending being Israelis kidnapped hitchhikers and killed them. So, now it is prohibited for the soldiers to travel this way, and those of civilians who do not lack common sense and instinct of survival, avoid such way of transportation without any specific bans.
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timberlandko
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Dec, 2002 12:07 pm
I will often stop for a hitch hiker, remembering my own experiences of the pursuit. There are dangers, I realize, but I make judgement based on assessment of the individual's appearance, with allowance for climatic conditions.

I feel reasonably secure doing so, as a I am a largish person, with a distinctly "Biker-ish" visage ... not exactly conveying a "Victim Persona" to would-be evil-doers. Too, Big Sam, my 150+ pound companion of the Rottweiler persuasion, goes just about everywhere my truck goes. I'm sure his presence has a civilizing influence on casual riders. Finally, I am authorized to, and in fact do, possess a firearm discretely yet conveniently located on my person. Perhaps this last lends me an air of personal confidence not evidenced by others. The matter rarely arises in casual conversation, and is not in any other way ever made public.



timber
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hebba
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Dec, 2002 12:26 pm
I´ve hitched with a former girlfriend from Puttgarden in the North of Germany to Paris which took us over 24 hours due to very bad planning.
i.e. we just jumped in a big Volvo with a Swedish businessman and headed South.We could have stayed with the guy until Sarajevo which would have been an experience.He was fun:had two slabs of Carlsberg in the car and a taste for E.L.O.!!
We left him outside of Ulm....(check your atlas to see how far we´d screwed up)and the next guy who picked us up killed himself laughing when we said we were on our way to Paris from Puttgarden.The whole trip took us 15 lifts in all.
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Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Dec, 2002 12:27 pm
You probably scare the hitchikers! You'd scare me! My SO thinks I should get and learn how to use a small weapon. I think I'd just be even more of a danger on the road.
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mikey
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Dec, 2002 12:28 pm
I've hitch hiked more places than I can count, all around New England, New York, etc. I never had anyone waiting for me, only when I went to the DC area. Just winged it most of the time. That's how I ended up in Provincetown to start, at 15. Moved a few towns away over the years, little by little, town by town and never left.

Empty box cars were a trip, if you could find one and hop on at a crossing when they slowed down. They used to leave the doors open, but not anymore.

"But I was so much older then I'm younger than that now."

wish i was 15 again.....in a way.
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Dec, 2002 12:28 pm
We don't get many hitchers in this area. I picked one up a few years ago. It seemed pretty obvious he was trying to get to his job.
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