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genglandoh
04-17-2017, 12:04 PM
I have a habit of picking up hitch hikers.
Most of the time it is when I am in the country going to a remote plant for work.

Last week I staying in Calais Maine working about 30 mins away in a paper mill.
On Monday at 7:00 AM there was a guy hitch hiking so I picked him up.
On Tuesday the same thing but a different guy.

Both lived in the area of the paper mill and both had lost their drivers licenses because of driving drunk.
They seems like OK guys who just screwed up.

The most interesting story was when I pick up a guy in Ida Louisiana.
He was dressed in all denim like the old Marlboro man, cowboy hat and all.
He was not homeless, he just liked the hobo lifestyle and had been living it for 30 years.
We had a great talk about the best places to camp.
We both liked California because of the lack of bugs but Maine was also on the list because of the cool summer nights.
Just a very interesting gut.

He was heading to Baton Rough to help a friend with a wood working project.
I was going to Shreveport LA so I dropped him off at the south side of Shreveport at a main entrance to I-49.
This way he would have a good chance of getting pick up.

Bob (oh, THAT Bob)
04-17-2017, 12:07 PM
Only if they are sweet.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jEj3OilpsIs

S.V. Airlie
04-17-2017, 12:09 PM
I have! So!

Garret
04-17-2017, 12:16 PM
I do regularly, as I hitched all over the country myself - so it's only fair. I've had a few sketchy ones, but the only time I ever had a problem was when I was hitching.

Chris Coose
04-17-2017, 12:17 PM
I hitch and pick them up.
I hitch mostly to get my car to and from the repair garage up in Damariscotta.

Rural working guys who lose their licenses are kinda screwed for a while. It is expensive to be poor.
Good for you.

Maine is pretty nice in the Spring. You didn't get a chance to see the canoeists crashing down on the Kenduskeag River race, did ya?

genglandoh
04-17-2017, 12:20 PM
I do regularly, as I hitched all over the country myself - so it's only fair. I've had a few sketchy ones, but the only time I ever had a problem was when I was hitching.

When I was young, in the 1970's, I would hitch hike all the time.
I have never had a bad experience both as a hitch hiker or picking one up.

amish rob
04-17-2017, 12:27 PM
When I drive, if I have an empty seat, I do. I often stop at bus stops in town, too.

My deal is handing out bikes. I ride around until somebody comments on it.
"Nice bike."
"You like it?"
"Yeah!"
"Here."
"..."
"Take it."
"..."
"Have fun"
"..."

Then I just walk or run home. Sometimes they catch up to say thanks, sometimes they yell it, sometimes you never get one. :)

Peace,
Robert

Canoeyawl
04-17-2017, 12:29 PM
I was arrested for hitch hiking in Maine...
It was a long time ago, and I wondered if it was still a crime. Seems indeed that it is.

http://legislature.maine.gov/statutes/29-A/title29-Asec2110.html

genglandoh
04-17-2017, 12:33 PM
When I drive, if I have an empty seat, I do. I often stop at bus stops in town, too.

My deal is handing out bikes. I ride around until somebody comments on it.
"Nice bike."
"You like it?"
"Yeah!"
"Here."
"..."
"Take it."
"..."
"Have fun"
"..."

Then I just walk or run home. Sometimes they catch up to say thanks, sometimes they yell it, sometimes you never get one. :)

Peace,
Robert

Please do not take this as any kind of criticism but why do you give out free bikes?

Ian McColgin
04-17-2017, 12:36 PM
I always pick up until the car is full.

One evening leaving Eugene in a snow squall I saw under a light by the on-ramp some guy slumped at the base. So I pulled over to check. He was just dozing. Wanted to go to Portland. Fine. Hop in. After about twenty miles he said, "I don't know if you want to deal with this."

He held out his hands showing the cufflinks.

Seems he was being transported to court earlier and the Lane County Sheriffs neglected to secure the rear of the cruiser. He just stepped out at a light and blended. He'd been in plain sight under the street lamp for an hour or more.

I took him on to Portland, by which time he was ready to surrender so I woke up a defender friend and we worked things out. When I left Oregon a few years later, he was a bit over a year past his sentence, employed, and doing ok.

Breakaway
04-17-2017, 12:41 PM
I used to hitch when when I was a kid. From here on Long Island I hitched to Vermont, Upstate NY, and out to PA. I also hitched "locally," using my skateboard to cover ground between rides.

I don't see too many hitchhikers around here anymore. Or during my travels, do I see as many as I remember used to seeing. But I will pick up a hitcher, usually, when I come across them.

Kevin

amish rob
04-17-2017, 12:42 PM
Please do not take this as any kind of criticism but why do you give out free bikes?
Why not? I get them, rehab them, then distribute them. Bikes are fantastic vehicles.

Peace,
Robert

S.V. Airlie
04-17-2017, 12:42 PM
I do regularly, as I hitched all over the country myself - so it's only fair. I've had a few sketchy ones, but the only time I ever had a problem was when I was hitching.Coming back from the Race to Halifax, I started back by bus. The problem was the bus got to the end of the line at 3AM and there weren't any buses continuing in the direction I was heading.

Quite a sight, hitch hiking in an informal tweed jacket, chords, boat shoes and a button down shirt. Hitched all day without a ride until about 5:30. A Toyota with about 700 lbs. of Mickmack Indians finally stopped, said they had passed me going in the other direction in the early AM, where I was heading and why hadn't I gotten a lift since seeing me earlier (Must have walked about ten miles carrying my boat gear)? I told the Maine, I didn't know why! Anyway, they offered me a ride IF I didn't mind spending the night in the reservation and that they were going to Maine the next day to pick blueberries. I grabbed at the chance and was dumped in the bed of the Truck and was driven to their res. in New Brunswick. Spent the evening eating Lobsters and fighting mosquitoes. Got back in the Truc's bed surrounded by blueberry rakes, chainsaws and clothes to work in the fields. Still wearing the same clothes.Stopped at the border, the Indians had no trouble crossing it but me, in my sports jacket, my boat stuff and riding with 700 lbs. of Native Indians set off flags. As they stood there mumbling and saying they want to get back on the road, I spent about 45 min. getting grilled. Finally, dropped me off in Bangor and found a bus heading to CT but, it was an experience.

Bob (oh, THAT Bob)
04-17-2017, 12:44 PM
Please do not take this as any kind of criticism but why do you give out free bikes?

I'm going to take a guess here, "Because it makes the world a better place." I'm also guessing you rehab thrown out ones, I like I used to.

Garret
04-17-2017, 12:48 PM
When I was young, in the 1970's, I would hitch hike all the time.
I have never had a bad experience both as a hitch hiker or picking one up.

Other than being stuck for hours in driving rain (11 1/2 hours on Interstate 84 in CT for example), I've only had 3 - in at least several hundred thousand miles of hitching. Once was on Comm. Ave in Boston, where I got in the car & noticed that all the door latches except the driver's had been removed. I exited immediately, right over the driver... The other 2 were on the same trip in Hartford CT. A guy picked me up just north of town & as we went through Hartford, he pulled out a pistol, pointed it at me & said "Give me all your money." I replied that he was welcome to it, but that I wasn't hitching because I had a lot of money & gave him the $6.00 I had in my wallet. I had $50 in my boot, but he took the $6, pulled over & told me to get the f out. I did - with alacrity. I started walking up to the next exit, but held my thumb out just in case. Bad move, as 30 seconds later a cop pulled over told me to get in the car & proceeded to take me several miles up into a not nice part of the city. He pulled over to the curb, told me to get out & stand next to the car with my pack (I'd been camping on Moosehead Lake & so had a lot of gear). He then made me unpack the whole thing & spread it on the sidewalk. Thing was I had a film can with a certain herbaceous substance in it in one of the side pockets. I saved that pocket for last hoping he'd get bored - but he didn't. When I got to the pocket, I found the zipper open & nothing in it. Never been so happy to lose some weed in my life! He then wrote me a ticket for soliciting - not "soliciting a ride", but plain soliciting, as in what a prostitute does, and then took off - leaving me miles from the highway in a part of town that (shall we say) I wouldn't have chosen to visit. As I was putting stuff back in the pack, I heard a voice say "Ain't cops a pain in the a...?" & turned around to see one of the biggest men I've ever seen standing on the porch. I said "Sure are" & he laughed. "I noticed you didn't want to open that side pocket & got a look of surprise on your face when it was empty. Didja have something in there you didn't want the cop to see?" "Yep, a film can." He laughed again & said "Now that I can help you with" & pulled out a fat joint. We smoked it, I told him about being held up ("Smart guy expecting hitch-hikers to have any money!") & he then said "It's a long walk back to the highway & you don't want to be walking through most of it. Hop in the car & I'll give you a ride." He drove me back to an entrance & told me to have "a better rest of the trip".

So - It all ended OK - but wasn't fun for a lot of it.

Of course there was one time when I hit the hitch-hiker's dream - she took me home for the night before dropping me off at my destination. :)

I'm sure lots of folks here have some good hitching stories!

amish rob
04-17-2017, 12:48 PM
I'm going to take a guess here, "Because it makes the world a better place." I'm also guessing you rehab thrown out ones, I like I used to.
Truthfully, it is a very selfish motivation.

I feel AWESOME when I do something for somebody, or give something to someone.

I'm not handing out bikes to teens at the mall. I go cruise the hood and give nice bikes to people with cruddy bikes, or no bikes.

People really bug out when you give them stuff. It's funny. I love it.

Peace,
Robert

genglandoh
04-17-2017, 12:50 PM
Why not? I get them, rehab them, then distribute them. Bikes are fantastic vehicles.

Peace,
Robert

I am just interested and I have never heard anyone giving out free bikes.
It sounds like you bike a lot.
Do you bike more then drive a car?

A guy I worked with years ago in Fort Wayne IN would bike to work almost every day.
He was like the mailman, sleet, rain, snow would not stop him.

lupussonic
04-17-2017, 12:55 PM
I pick people up.

I hitched all over Europe in the 80's and 90's, from Sicily to Norway, Portugal to Romania. Me, a few quid and a guitar to feed myself.

Got a lift once through the Mont Blanc tunnel in an estate car with 7 piano tuners. What are the odds of that?

amish rob
04-17-2017, 12:59 PM
I am just interested and I have never heard anyone giving out free bikes.
It sounds like you bike a lot.
Do you bike more then drive a car?

A guy I worked with years ago in Fort Wayne IN would bike to work almost every day.
He was like the mailman, sleet, rain, snow would not stop him.

Oh, yeah. I owned two cars in my life before I got married, deep in my 20s, and one never ran. :) I still ride my bike everywhere within 20-30 miles. Really it is much simpler and easier. I actually love riding in the rain.

I've always been "slow", though. You know, like "island time". I ain't in a hurry too often. :)

Really, the idea started on a whim. I was living in San Francisco and some guy was just bugging out on my bike, so I gave it to him.
I told him to come by the shop I worked in part time if he needed help. Dude came to say hi every single week.

I thought it was one thing I could do to spread joy.

Peace,
Robert

isla
04-17-2017, 01:00 PM
Yes, absolutely. I always hitched around the UK and Europe when I was younger, so I approve of other people doing it.

I have been known to do some crazy pickups. Several years ago, about one o'clock in the morning, New Years Eve/New Years Day, my wife and I were leaving the town of Elgin after playing a Hogmanay gig. It was snowing, and we saw a man and a young child thumbing a ride. We picked them up and found they were headed for Aberdeen. Aberdeen is about 65 miles away from Elgin, and we pass our home about halfway between the two. Nevertheless, we decided to take them all the way to Aberdeen. We were leaving Aberdeen, heading home, about 02:45 in the morning, and we saw two young girls hitching, so we picked them up. They were heading to Elgin, so we drove them home, passing our house again, and dropped each of the girls off outside their homes, then headed back down the road again. Thankfully there was nobody else on the road and we got home about 05:00. Our neighbours had been having a New Year party, and when they saw our house lights go on they came over with a bottle of single malt (first footing) and we sat up drinking until 07:00. That was a Hogmanay to remember.

Nicholas Scheuer
04-17-2017, 01:01 PM
Had an Army buddy who used to hitch cross-country. He'd check out an interstate parking lot looking for a license plate likely heading near where he wanted to go, then look over the car for clues who might be driving it (family, couple, single guy, etc.) then go inside the restaurant to identify them. He'd introduce himself and ask for a ride. He could usually correctly identify the people in the car on the first bounce.

genglandoh
04-17-2017, 01:01 PM
Truthfully, it is a very selfish motivation.

I feel AWESOME when I do something for somebody, or give something to someone.

I'm not handing out bikes to teens at the mall. I go cruise the hood and give nice bikes to people with cruddy bikes, or no bikes.

People really bug out when you give them stuff. It's funny. I love it.

Peace,
Robert

Well I have a guy for you.
A few years ago I was setting up my sailboat in the parking lot at the edgewater boat ramp in downtown Cleveland.
I was up and down the ladder loading the boat.

This very big guy , think football linebacker, was ridding a small girls bike in the parking lot and he offered to help me load the boat.
I took him up on his offer and after everything was loaded I offered him a boat ride.

He took me up on my offer and we sailed for about 1 hour, then I dropped him and then continued my sail.

He was off work, it was a nice day and he liked boat so he took his nieces bike for a ride to the boat ramp.
Yes he knew he looked funny but he didn't care.

JimD
04-17-2017, 01:12 PM
It's illegal here, but I wouldn't anyway. Not worth the risk, however small the risk actually is.

amish rob
04-17-2017, 01:15 PM
Well I have a guy for you.
A few years ago I was setting up my sailboat in the parking lot at the edgewater boat ramp in downtown Cleveland.
I was up and down the ladder loading the boat.

This very big guy , think football linebacker, was ridding a small girls bike in the parking lot and he offered to help me load the boat.
I took him up on his offer and after everything was loaded I offered him a boat ride.

He took me up on my offer and we sailed for about 1 hour, then I dropped him and then continued my sail.

He was off work, it was a nice day and he liked boat so he took his nieces bike for a ride to the boat ramp.
Yes he knew he looked funny but he didn't care.

Yep. That's the guy. A guy like that would get a few targeted "ride bys". :)

Peace,
Robert

P.S. You realize you did the same thing, right? Made dude's day. Maybe his week. Maybe his life.
Thanks for sharing this. It's nice.

S.V. Airlie
04-17-2017, 01:19 PM
Sailing through Scandinavia, a heck of a lot of Scandinavians hitch hike by water. It's what they do best. Coming into Stockholm, there were more Swedes on out boat then Americans. My father just looked at them and said, you all decide where you want to go, take the boat to where you're going and we'll figure out where we are and go where we were heading. Worked more times than not.

Sidebar! About two days later, this beautiful Launch came along side. The driver who was dressed to the nines looking like a chauffeur, handed my father a note inviting us to a huge bash at some estate somewhere. We didn't have a clue and we certainly weren't dressed to go to one. It smelled like MONEY!! But, we did accept out of curiosity having no idea where this invite came from or why.

So, next day, the launch returns, we pile in and are taken to yes, a huge estate where there must have been more than 150 people attending in casual, but nice clothes. And we looked like we had just gotten off the boat! Anyway, long story shortened, two lads approached who looked familiar! Yup, two of those hitch hikers no less. One was the son of the CEO of Saab and the other, the CEO of Volvo and they had invited us to this wingding. Just goes to show what can happen in very unexpected ways.

genglandoh
04-17-2017, 01:24 PM
It's illegal here, but I wouldn't anyway. Not worth the risk, however small the risk actually is.

Please do not take this as any kind of criticism, I am surprised.

My experience is that people in areas with small populations are more likely to pick up hitch hikers.
I would think people in a place like Duncan, BC people would pick up hitch hikers.

genglandoh
04-17-2017, 01:37 PM
Yep. That's the guy. A guy like that would get a few targeted "ride bys". :)

Peace,
Robert

P.S. You realize you did the same thing, right? Made dude's day. Maybe his week. Maybe his life.
Thanks for sharing this. It's nice.


He made my day with helping me, all I did was pay him back with a boat ride.

You on the other hand, are giving away bikes and getting nothing in return.

S.V. Airlie
04-17-2017, 01:46 PM
He made my day with helping me, all I did was pay him back with a boat ride.

You on the other hand, are giving away bikes and getting nothing in return. So, you'd expect a return, a typical republican! Can't just do something for the heck of it or considering it's just good will. You want to be compensated for everything you do or you won't do it. Sad!

Rum_Pirate
04-17-2017, 01:47 PM
No.

Garret
04-17-2017, 01:51 PM
He made my day with helping me, all I did was pay him back with a boat ride.

You on the other hand, are giving away bikes and getting nothing in return.

He got a bunch in return - just nothing tangible.

amish rob
04-17-2017, 01:55 PM
So, you'd expect a return, a typical republican! Can't just do something for the heck of it or considering it's just good will. You want to be compensated for everything you do or you won't do it. Sad!
No. I think he's not giving himself enough credit.

The offer to a boat ride was much more generous and intimate than helping a dude load or unload. I always help load and unload trucks when people are alone. No big. But to take time out of your own enjoyment, to sacrifice a part of your own pleasure by instructing and answering and teaching is a BIG deal.

A simple thanks would have sufficed. Shoot, I get to just walk away, and sometimes I run. ;)

Peace,
Robert

genglandoh
04-17-2017, 01:55 PM
He got a bunch in return - just nothing tangible.

Well I did give him a beer, but on the down side he had to listen to my bad jokes. :)

Garret
04-17-2017, 01:58 PM
Well I did give him a beer, but on the down side he had to listen to my bad jokes. :)

I was referring to what Rob got - but a beer for bad jokes is a fair trade... ;)

S.V. Airlie
04-17-2017, 01:58 PM
No. I think he's not giving himself enough credit.

The offer to a boat ride was much more generous and intimate than helping a dude load or unload. I always help load and unload trucks when people are alone. No big. But to take time out of your own enjoyment, to sacrifice a part of your own pleasure by instructing and answering and teaching is a BIG deal.

A simple thanks would have sufficed. Shoot, I get to just walk away, and sometimes I run. ;)

Peace,
RobertPerhaps he wanted a "free" crew!:(

pcford
04-17-2017, 02:11 PM
I hitchhiked the West Coast US, Europe, Middle East and North Africa. Used to be common. Now rarely if ever see anyone hitching around Seattle. Don't know if it is safety or just growing class consciousness. Probably more the latter.

John of Phoenix
04-17-2017, 02:15 PM
Sailing through Scandinavia, a heck of a lot of Scandinavians hitch hike by water. It's what they do best. Coming into Stockholm, there were more Swedes on out boat then Americans. My father just looked at them and said, you all decide where you want to go, take the boat to where you're going and we'll figure out where we are and go where we were heading. Worked more times than not.

Sidebar! About two days later, this beautiful Launch came along side. The driver who was dressed to the nines looking like a chauffeur, handed my father a note inviting us to a huge bash at some estate somewhere. We didn't have a clue and we certainly weren't dressed to go to one. It smelled like MONEY!! But, we did accept out of curiosity having no idea where this invite came from or why.

So, next day, the launch returns, we pile in and are taken to yes, a huge estate where there must have been more than 150 people attending in casual, but nice clothes. And we looked like we had just gotten off the boat! Anyway, long story shortened, two lads approached who looked familiar! Yup, two of those hitch hikers no less. One was the son of the CEO of Saab and the other, the CEO of Volvo and they had invited us to this wingding. Just goes to show what can happen in very unexpected ways.Great story. Thanks.

genglandoh
04-17-2017, 02:27 PM
Yep. That's the guy. A guy like that would get a few targeted "ride bys". :)

Peace,
Robert

P.S. You realize you did the same thing, right? Made dude's day. Maybe his week. Maybe his life.
Thanks for sharing this. It's nice.

LOL, I just got your joke, "ride-bys"
Sorry I am a little slow.

amish rob
04-17-2017, 02:40 PM
LOL, I just got your joke, "ride-bys"
Sorry I am a little slow.
:d
It is similar to riding by the house of the girl you like, trying to look nonchalant. Popping wheelies helps you get noticed.

And, I am a bit remiss about the drive-by joke, but as I have been witness to and collateral victim (of property damage only, thank goodness) of them, I feel I can joke a bit. Yes, y'all, I have lived in some real rat holes.

Peace,
Robert

skuthorp
04-17-2017, 04:19 PM
If I'm by myself yes, but I don't see too many hitchers these days.
I hitched round a deal of Aus as a young bloke, got a few jobs out of it too. In europe I mostly had a bike but did some. I once got a ride that included a ride in a DC3 carrying live pigs in crates.
The only bad experience was a bloke driving way too fast for safety, I got out when he stopped for petrol.

JimD
04-17-2017, 04:21 PM
Please do not take this as any kind of criticism, I am surprised.

My experience is that people in areas with small populations are more likely to pick up hitch hikers.
I would think people in a place like Duncan, BC people would pick up hitch hikers.So I just did a little reading on the actual law and it's a bit muddled. There are plenty of 'Hitchhiking is Illegal' signs in BC but the law seems to apply only to certain roadways and on many roads as long as the hitcher is not legally on the roadway s/he can hitchhike. So where and how it is illegal seems to depend. The highway through Duncan is a stretch of the Trans Canada Highway and is part of the major route across the country, so it's use is not limited to locals with ties to the community. But even then I'd expect the chances of picking up a psycho killer are very very small. I can't recall any news report of anyone getting killed or robbed by picking up a hitcher in our small town. Maybe I just don't like strangers.

Bobcat
04-17-2017, 04:35 PM
I just don't see many hitchhikers these days. I used to hitch a fair bit. Got rides the easiest when I was hitching with a girlfriend. Hitching alone, I made it a practice never to wear a hat or dark glasses or a leather coat.

When I was 18 I picked up a guy in Mount Vernon Washington. He drank his way to Seattle and passed out a few minutes before we got to the Greyhound Station, his requested destination. And I mean passed out, full-on-dead-to-the-world passed out. I finally pulled up to the curb, heaved him out, cradled the bottle in the crook of his arm and got the hell out of there.

PeterSibley
04-17-2017, 04:47 PM
Yes, I owe the God of Roads thousands of miles of rides from when I was young.

obscured by clouds
04-17-2017, 04:49 PM
Back in the mid-70's, whilst I was still at school I hitched with a friend to the middle of France to meet up with a couple of French friends. When we got there, we found out that they had got their dates wrong and were off in college.
So we turned round and decided to head home, seperately, in order to travel quicker.

We drew straws and my mate went first and picked up a lift in about 10min. I on the other hand waited around 5 hours before a couple of surf doods in a VW combi stopped for me and got me as far as Paris, buying lunch for me on the way [I had about 10 in my pocket, to get me across the channel and home to Wales]. It was dark when I got to Senlis at the start of the road north and no one was stopping. It started to rain so I took shelter for the night under a fallen hoarding in a wooded area. [ the very next week a Turkish airliner crashed on that very same spot].
The next morning I walked down to the road, saw a car coming, stuck out my thumb and a British registered car pulled over:

'where you going lad?'
'London'
'Hop in'

Unbelievable! then I noticed the heavy smell of something. Being an innocent youngster from the wilds of N wales I had never come across weed at that stage of my life, so I thought the driver had been smoking Citanes ;) turned out he was doing a 'run' from Morocco back to blighty, with the car somewhat full of 'stuff'

I managed to lose him on the Ferry, only for him to pick me up again just outside Dover. I can only think that he had an 'arrangement' with someone shoreside. I was dropped off outside Waterloo station, and decided to cut my losses and grab a train home.

My mate ended up in a roadside brothel near Nancy and came back via Holland and Harwich, but still beat me by a full 12 hours.

Never had such a good lift since, although the following year my mate did Edinburgh to his front door in Wales in one lift.

S.V. Airlie
04-17-2017, 05:03 PM
Citanes! Your sniffer must have really been out of whack!:(

PatCassidy
04-17-2017, 05:53 PM
When I was in college in the mid-70s I was hitchhiking through northern Connecticut towards Cape Cod and got picked up by the Connecticut Highway Patrol. They asked me what was going on. I told them I was on spring break and trying to get home. The officer gave me a ride to the Rhode Island border.

Bobcat
04-17-2017, 06:29 PM
In the late '70's I used to hitch from Portland to Seattle. The issue was always whether to turn down a ride out of Stumptown that only took you a bit of the way. It seemed that once you were on an on ramp in one of the little towns along the way, all the rides were short.

Canoeyawl
04-17-2017, 08:56 PM
I once hitchhiked from Lynnfield, Mass to Chicago, then on to Long Beach, Ca. on Rt 66.
Only two rides from coast to coast, 4-1/2 Days! (I drove about half of the second leg, through Tucumcari and points west)

(Back then if you could get a spot at a stop and go light, or near the top of a steep grade, you could run alongside a truck, jump up on the running board and just ask)

StevenBauer
04-17-2017, 09:35 PM
I haven't seen a hitchhiker in ages. I think they all set up their rides ahead of time on craigslist and other ridesharing websites now.
But I used to do it a bit. Once in the fall of 1977 I was hitching from Waterville, Maine to Putney, Vermont and there was a cold drizzly rain falling. I had come down I95 to Portsmouth, NH and had turned West. Unbeknownst to me I was right by the end of one of the runways at Pease Air Force base. I was kind of hunkered down trying to stay warm when a giant Bomber came right over my head about a hundred feet above me. Jesus Frickin' Christmas was that ever LOUD! Just about scared the crap out of me.

Garret
04-17-2017, 09:54 PM
I haven't seen a hitchhiker in ages. I think they all set up their rides ahead of time on craigslist and other ridesharing websites now.
But I used to do it a bit. Once in the fall of 1977 I was hitching from Waterville, Maine to Putney, Vermont and there was a cold drizzly rain falling. I had come down I95 to Portsmouth, NH and had turned West. Unbeknownst to me I was right by the end of one of the runways at Pease Air Force base. I was kind of hunkered down trying to stay warm when a giant Bomber came right over my head about a hundred feet above me. Jesus Frickin' Christmas was that ever LOUD! Just about scared the crap out of me.

I had a flat tire right about there sometime in the late 70's early 80's - I got "strafed" by one too!

Same area: I got picked up at the Portsmouth traffic circle (back when everyone had to go through it. The car was a beat up old Caddy with 2 guys in the front. "Where you going?" the passenger said as I got in the back. "Ellsworth - you?" "We can get you as far as Bucksport, but you'll have to work for it.". I then noticed that there was a beer keg in the seat next to me. The passenger reached into the glovebox, grabbed a glass that had "hitchhiker" painted on it, and handed it to me. "Your job is to keep all 3 glasses full & you're behind so get busy. We've been looking for a hitchhiker since Boston!"

I poured myself out of the car in Bucksport & luckily was able to call friends for a ride to their house. No idea how the driver kept the car on the road - but those were different times!

Nicholas Carey
04-17-2017, 11:11 PM
When I was young, in the 1970's, I would hitch hike all the time.
I have never had a bad experience both as a hitch hiker or picking one up.



My family stopped picking up hitchhikers c. 1980 after my little brother, hitchhiking from Cincinnati, Ohio to Houma, Louisiana, to get to his ship. He got picked up, robbed, and shot for the minimal amount of cash he was carrying.

They picked him up near Franklin, Tennessee something like midnight. Heading down the freeway south of Franklin, the front seat passenger pulled a gun (.32 ACP, as the forensics discovered) and demanded his money.

My brother was sitting in the center of the back seat, with a guy on either side of him. He did the math...

And decided to bail. At 75 miles per hour.

The gunman got off one shot, before he exited, and hit my brother. Punctured his aorta as it happened.

So he's laying there, on the shoulder of the freeway, in the middle of nowhere...at 1 AM. A goner for sure with a hole in his aorta.



A car passed by. Noticed him laying on the shoulder of the road. He didn't stop...but he went one better: he had a [b]car phone (remember those?) Called 911, he did.

Sheriff happened to be near. Came roaring up. Sussed out that he had a gunshot victim and tossed him in the back of the cruiser and called for an ambulance. Medics met him down the road, got some blood into him and hauled him to hospital in Franklin.

As it happened, the attending physician in the Franklin ER that night was a hotshot thoracic surgeon who had recently relocated from Manhattan to Franklin. Tired of the rat race, apparently. He cracked my brother open, patched him up with some Dacron tubing and Bob's-yer-uncle.

Thanks to a whole lot of fortuitous circumstances -- Luck -- my brother is alive today. Amazingly, he grabbed his sea bag on the way out of the car and took it with him.

But that pretty much killed hitchhiking for my family. Too many nutters.

leikec
04-17-2017, 11:39 PM
Other than being stuck for hours in driving rain (11 1/2 hours on Interstate 84 in CT for example), I've only had 3 - in at least several hundred thousand miles of hitching. Once was on Comm. Ave in Boston, where I got in the car & noticed that all the door latches except the driver's had been removed. I exited immediately, right over the driver... The other 2 were on the same trip in Hartford CT. A guy picked me up just north of town & as we went through Hartford, he pulled out a pistol, pointed it at me & said "Give me all your money." I replied that he was welcome to it, but that I wasn't hitching because I had a lot of money & gave him the $6.00 I had in my wallet. I had $50 in my boot, but he took the $6, pulled over & told me to get the f out. I did - with alacrity. I started walking up to the next exit, but held my thumb out just in case. Bad move, as 30 seconds later a cop pulled over told me to get in the car & proceeded to take me several miles up into a not nice part of the city. He pulled over to the curb, told me to get out & stand next to the car with my pack (I'd been camping on Moosehead Lake & so had a lot of gear). He then made me unpack the whole thing & spread it on the sidewalk. Thing was I had a film can with a certain herbaceous substance in it in one of the side pockets. I saved that pocket for last hoping he'd get bored - but he didn't. When I got to the pocket, I found the zipper open & nothing in it. Never been so happy to lose some weed in my life! He then wrote me a ticket for soliciting - not "soliciting a ride", but plain soliciting, as in what a prostitute does, and then took off - leaving me miles from the highway in a part of town that (shall we say) I wouldn't have chosen to visit. As I was putting stuff back in the pack, I heard a voice say "Ain't cops a pain in the a...?" & turned around to see one of the biggest men I've ever seen standing on the porch. I said "Sure are" & he laughed. "I noticed you didn't want to open that side pocket & got a look of surprise on your face when it was empty. Didja have something in there you didn't want the cop to see?" "Yep, a film can." He laughed again & said "Now that I can help you with" & pulled out a fat joint. We smoked it, I told him about being held up ("Smart guy expecting hitch-hikers to have any money!") & he then said "It's a long walk back to the highway & you don't want to be walking through most of it. Hop in the car & I'll give you a ride." He drove me back to an entrance & told me to have "a better rest of the trip".

So - It all ended OK - but wasn't fun for a lot of it.

Of course there was one time when I hit the hitch-hiker's dream - she took me home for the night before dropping me off at my destination. :)

I'm sure lots of folks here have some good hitching stories!

A friend of mine liked to hitchhike every so often, and once got into a similar type of car with no interior handles. After some pleasant, but weird, conversation about my friend doing certain tasks for the driver my friend pulled out his wallet and asked the driver if he wanted the money my friend was carrying.

Well no, was the reply

"How about my identification?"

That was the end of one ride and the beginning of another for that driver...in the back seat of a car with no interior rear door handles.

Jeff C

Ralphie Boy
04-18-2017, 12:41 AM
I hitched from Anchorage AK, to Kenai in 1982, it took 2 days.

After working a while in the "Slime Line" the drivers could tell I worked in a cannery as soon as I got in their cars.

Bob (oh, THAT Bob)
04-18-2017, 12:52 AM
Truthfully, it is a very selfish motivation.

I feel AWESOME when I do something for somebody, or give something to someone.

I'm not handing out bikes to teens at the mall. I go cruise the hood and give nice bikes to people with cruddy bikes, or no bikes.

People really bug out when you give them stuff. It's funny. I love it.

Peace,
Robert

I do the same. Bikes that still have potential (if they still make parts for them). Quality cookware, usually just needs some oven cleaner, bottom flattened on the press, inside polished with scotchbrite on finishing sander. Vintage Coach handbags from full grain leather; a cleaning and redye and they're like new. All are well-appreciated. Sorry, thread drift.

Bob (oh, THAT Bob)
04-18-2017, 01:01 AM
I hitchhiked the West Coast US, Europe, Middle East and North Africa. Used to be common. Now rarely if ever see anyone hitching around Seattle. Don't know if it is safety or just growing class consciousness. Probably more the latter.

Did Seattle always have good public transportation (bus and trolley network)? Where I grew up in a Detroit 'burb, it was non-existent. I was an ambitious biker and could go quite a distance (though not in winter), but I saw other teens my age hitchhiking. I never did, probably from the horror films they showed in elementary school about accepting rides from strangers. In winter, I could walk at least 4-5 miles, more if I needed to, never once thought to put out my thumb.

WszystekPoTrochu
04-18-2017, 04:11 AM
I usually won't take hitchhikers. The reason is that if I do happen to drive my automobile, I do not do it alone. If I drive with my loved ones, that leaves a free seat next to the innocents and behind the beautiful. I do not trust strangers enough to seat them there, and doing a seat switch leaving front passenger seat for the hitchhiker makes them visibly uncomfortable.

If I somehow happen to drive alone, I will be very happy to help. Even offer a ride to people just walking, if they are outside settlements. A good deed and making travel more interesting at the same time, with risk close to none. There were some safety concerns 20 years ago, with robbers using "hitchhiking" girls as a way to stop drivers. Nowadays it's no longer heard of, but damage to mutual trust did not yet fade away. Hitchikers are a rare sight anyway, female hitchhikers being close to nonexistent.



Fun fact time!
Hitchhiking was formally legalized in Poland in the 50s. Not only that - it became encouraged. The state did that by issuing - de iure obligatory - hitchhiker's books. The book provided AD&D for the hitchhiker, but not only that - it had special coupons inside

http://vader.joemonster.org/upload/rat/l_161686770d3c963IMG_2973.jpg
http://vader.joemonster.org/upload/rat/l_161686853a9ed29IMG_2968.jpg

The filled in coupons were given to drivers, and acted as lottery tickets. You could even win a brand new, state of the art, two-stroke "syrenka":

http://vader.joemonster.org/upload/rat/l_16168697bcbb4a6s101_5.jpg

Hitchhikers would typically wave with the book when looking for a ride. This is the reason books have the contrasting red and white circle on their cover.
Then they overregulated it, which - together with growing dislike for the state - killed a really nice idea.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
04-18-2017, 04:47 AM
Yes if I am my myself and if the hitchhiker is standing somewhere sensible (ie somewhere where I can stop!)

The commonest hitchhikers I get are professional delivery drivers.

As a student the working rule was wear your College scarf and if you were with a girlfriend she was the one who flagged down the cars. The last time I did that was when a friend and I flew into Cubi Point, Subic, in a Cessna 172 just after the base was closed and the airfield was unmanned. We parked and found a hole in the fence and she who was to become the mother of my children stepped into the road and flagged down a jeep.

obscured by clouds
04-18-2017, 05:01 AM
I haven't seen a hitchhiker in ages. I think they all set up their rides ahead of time on craigslist and other ridesharing websites now.


Someone did the math [Simon Calder iirc]and it worked out cheaper to cross Europe via one of the cheap air carriers or coaches than to actually hitch, once you had factored in food etc. Ok if you have the time, inclination and want to see various bits on the way, or veer off in another direction, hitching might still be viable, but for getting a long distance A to B, there are actually cheaper alternatives to standing on the side of the road in the hope that you get picked up.

birlinn
04-18-2017, 05:34 AM
In my teens I tried hitchhiking with a pal from Lincoln to London to see the Motor Show.
We got picked up in a Morris Minor pick-up truck driven by a couple of guys. In those days, bits of the A1 were still single carriageway, and our driver was doing the most dangerous overtaking, once even forcing an eight-wheeler on to the verge. We stopped looking forwards after that; sitting in the back we just looked rearwards, observing the odd waving fist going past. All the time our driver had his right indicator going.
After a few more miles, a black Humber with blue lights and a siren appeared behind us. Once we had been stopped, the two guys got out, and the pick-up started rolling back towards the police car. We were still in the back, but a cop rushed over and grabbed the handbrake just in time. I said to the cop "Are we glad to see you!"
We all got taken in to Grantham police station, and we explained why we were in the car. It turned out to have been stolen about 20 miles from where we were picked up.
The police obviously checked who we were, and let the two of us go after a few minutes.
After that, we took the train to London! I never did find out what happened to the two guys.

ETA:
On Mull, I always stop if I have room in the car- there is no public transport on much of the roads. Last year I had three passengers; a couple from France and Spain, and a lady from the Czech republic in the car at once. Nice people, and I stopped to show them some of the sights.

JimD
04-18-2017, 05:40 AM
Someone needs a ride to America

http://www.tvnewscheck.com/marketshare/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Sara-Palin1.jpg

Paul Pless
04-18-2017, 05:44 AM
straight to texas no less

birlinn
04-18-2017, 05:48 AM
Alaska later. Or I'll ask her later.

wizbang 13
04-18-2017, 06:44 AM
The last hitch hiker I picked up smelled. bad. Had to wash the seat with baking soda and peroxide.

SKIP KILPATRICK
04-18-2017, 08:37 AM
The last hitch hiker I picked up smelled. bad. Had to wash the seat with baking soda and peroxide.

Frankly, that is my biggest fear.

I've given rides to strangers many times, like meeting someone at an event. B

ut, stopping by the side of the road. I've only done that a few times and that was when the person seemed to be in some distress. A couple of weeks ago, I picked a stranger up and gave her a ride to a battered women's shelter.

isla
04-18-2017, 09:27 AM
straight to texas no less

Hell more like :d

genglandoh
04-18-2017, 09:57 AM
Many years ago I was driving on Euclid ave in Euclid.
Kind of a business/light industrial area.

A guy in his late 20s was walking down the street with nice pants, wearing no shirt but was carrying a nice office shirt on a hanger.
It was a very hot day and he was sweating.

I picked him up and he told me that he was at a job fair at a hotel and being so hot he did not want to dirty up his shirt.
He walked from Solon in the morning (about 20 miles) and was going home.

I drove him home to Solon (about 30 mins out of my way) but no big deal.
He had a job in a restaurant but wanted an office job that would pay more.

robm
04-18-2017, 11:48 AM
Someone did the math [Simon Calder iirc]and it worked out cheaper to cross Europe via one of the cheap air carriers or coaches than to actually hitch, once you had factored in food etc. Ok if you have the time, inclination and want to see various bits on the way, or veer off in another direction, hitching might still be viable, but for getting a long distance A to B, there are actually cheaper alternatives to standing on the side of the road in the hope that you get picked up.

Hitch hiking is a terrible form of transportation, but a great way to travel. Transportation is what you need when you have to get somewhere, travel is what you are doing when the journey is just as important. It is a great way to meet interesting people, see things you would not see if you were on the bus or train, and hear the stories about the area you are traveling through.

I owe big time, so I usually pick up hitch hikers, but they are getting very rare. The few times I have tried to hitch around here (Highway 16 in Northern BC, the "Highway of Tears"), it has not been easy. Both times, I got picked up by people I know.

The last time I tried hitch hiking overseas was in Scotland in 2003. Shetland wasn't bad, but I expected better. Usually, islanders seem to be in less of a hurry, interested in meeting people from far away, and the relative lack of infrastructure makes it part of the lifestyle anyway, but it seems Shetland is too rich for this effect to still hold.

I next tried hitching in Caithness and Sutherland (northern Highlands). The hitching wasn't bad, but I noticed that few locals were picking up hitch hikers. My rides were either tourists or people from somewhere else, who happened to be be living and working in the area. The one local I got a ride with was probably best described as border-line mentally ill, with severe depression and relationship problems.

Around here, the people I pick up can be really interesting. Often, they are natives, heading to or from a fish camp, or mushroom picking. Chatting with them is a great way to learn about the country.

Many years ago, I picked up this little skinny native guy in Vanderhoof, just as the sun was setting. As he came over to the car, his REALLY BIG, SCARY buddy jumped out of the ditch to join him. "Oh crap!" I said to myself. They were the best. They bought me a Coke in Burns Lake, to help keep me awake, and kept chatting to make sure I didn't fall asleep at the wheel. I dropped them in Smithers, and then headed up a side road to camp rough.

The scariest ride I ever had was with a crazy German guy in a clapped out, rusty Ford Fiesta in Austria. He passed what seemed like the entire Austrian army on a twisty road full of blind corners. I got out when he headed over the hills back into Germany. The next ride I had was with a guy in a Mazda Cosmo, who drove very fast but very well, and was a way more enjoyable ride altogether.

S.V. Airlie
04-18-2017, 11:58 AM
In the highlands, I rarely saw any cars unless they were getting on or off a ferry. I could bike from dawn to dusk (summer around 10pm) and not see any at all. Did see a lot of sheep though!

Syed
04-18-2017, 12:05 PM
I did it occasionally but reluctantly.

Once I picked a young man on my way to Lahore from a town some 50 km away. I asked him from where to where was he going. He pointed to a nearby factory and told that he worked there and was going home after work. Thinking that today might be some emergency and in routine he must be riding on the public transport. I asked him, how do you go regularly? He said, I get a lift easily.

Unfortunately I had a flat tyre after a while. We got out and I headed for the SOP, expecting the chap to extend a helping hand but to my surprise he rushed to the approaching bus and there he went.

That was my last pickup.

Garret
04-18-2017, 12:13 PM
I got a ride on the Merritt Parkway in CT that was not fun. It was raining hard & in the fall so there were lots of leaves on the road. Wet leaves can be like ice. The driver was going very fast with one hand loosely draped over the wheel. & I immediately did up my seatbelt. "Am I making you nervous?" he said with a grin. "Yep - the leaves are slippery.". He told me not to worry, he'd never had an accident... About 2 miles later we went around a curve, he lost control, we went over the curb & the car flipped - but landed on its wheels. We were both OK, but I got out & went through the woods to the nearest road & never looked back.

S.V. Airlie
04-18-2017, 12:17 PM
I got a ride on the Merritt Parkway in CT that was not fun. It was raining hard & in the fall so there were lots of leaves on the road. Wet leaves can be like ice. The driver was going very fast with one hand loosely draped over the wheel. & I immediately did up my seatbelt. "Am I making you nervous?" he said with a grin. "Yep - the leaves are slippery.". He told me not to worry, he'd never had an accident... About 2 miles later we went around a curve, he lost control, we went over the curb & the car flipped - but landed on its wheels. We were both OK, but I got out & went through the woods to the nearest road & never looked back.You don't want to be on THAT road in any weather condition and I certainly won't even stop on the side of the road. It's a nightmare at the best of times.

Garret
04-18-2017, 12:25 PM
You don't want to be on THAT road in any weather condition and I certainly won't even stop on the side of the road. It's a nightmare at the best of times.

It's much better now! So crowded you'd bounce off cars instead of hitting a curb... ;)

I didn't hitch on the road - only on an entrance ramp.

switters
04-18-2017, 12:30 PM
We pick up hitchhikers in the canyon, and hitch for rides. There is a short stretch of river that makes for a nice float without committing an entire day and two vehicles are a hassle. People go up to the take out and drop off their kayaks or rafts or whatever they are floating on and then drive back down to the take out which plenty of parking. Then hitchhike back up a few miles. The local signal is sticking your thumb out holding your PFD.

We took a two man inflatable kayak down last spring and got picked up as soon as we crossed the road, at 6:30 in the morning. Back in the office by 9 with a little class III buzz.

Haven't picked someone up driving cross country in years, but I have not done that solo in many years.

bobbys
04-18-2017, 12:33 PM
When I see a hitchhiker. I like to stop about 100 yards in front of them and just when they get to the truck I speed off.

Or I have them throw their bag in then take off with the bag before they get in..

If it's a nice looking gal and guy I let the girl get in then take off before the guy gets in..

sure i stop after a bit and get the guy, watta tink Im some sorta meanie?

David G
04-18-2017, 12:52 PM
I hitchhiked the West Coast US, Europe, Middle East and North Africa. Used to be common. Now rarely if ever see anyone hitching around Seattle. Don't know if it is safety or just growing class consciousness. Probably more the latter.

Here too. Back in the day, I hitched all over the West. Sometimes with a girlfriend, but mostly alone. Had a wide range of 'interesting' experiences. Some that could have turned dangerous. Some that turned into joy. Lots of substances shared. Some lovely new friends made. Some just plain weird interactions. I even ended up in Ogden once when I thought I was headed for San Francisco. That was a marvelously serendipitous detour!!

One mild but funny one was the old van that picked my up at age 15, headed south on I-5. After a while, he woke me and said he was ready for a nap, and could I drive for a while? I'd been driving locally for a few years by then, so said yes. Turned out the steering gear was so worn that it took almost a 1/4 turn before it would bite. Combine that with crappy tires, and shot shocks, and it was an adventure. Took me quite a while to get used to herding THAT thing. All the while, he slept as if he was perfectly safe <G>

Canoeyawl
04-18-2017, 02:27 PM
I hitchiked all over the country in the 1960's. The recent comments about the Merritt Parkway jogged my memory.

I once got a late night ride at the eastern entrance to the Mass pike at Rt 128. Weston I think, this was years ago, long before 495 was built. As I ran toward the car, which was now backing up, the rear passenger door flew open catching me off guard, a man grabbed me and pulled me into the car damaging my face on the roof/gutter, darn near knocking me out. We took off swerving up the pike towards New York and as my eyes adjusted I gathered my wits and noticed there were three rough looking guys in the car, sounding like Southies.
"Where ya going?" I said DC...

"Perfect!" "We just stole this car and are going to New York and then you can take the car down to DC!" And we were Four... Oh Jesus.

So I did that, not that there was a choice. It was quite a ride... stopping at Sturbridge to rob a gas station the night guy was sound asleep at the desk so they just filled up the tank and peeled out of there. The 2:00 am gas station stop was when they demanded I start driving, there was no escape from these guys.
About daybreak, when we got into the city they gave me driving instructions until finally we got to Greenwich village and then "Stop right here!" They all jumped out, slamed the doors and left me at the wheel of the car in the middle of the street. I drove about six more blocks in this stolen car, frightened out of my wits and looking for a parking spot but I just double parked it right there with the keys in it and walked away.
By then it was rush hour and I walked down to the GW Bridge and started across on foot looking for Virginia plates and asking for a lift. No luck, my face was messed up bloody and most people just looked up with big eyes, rolled up the windows and locked the doors. Finally I jumped up onto the running board of a Baltimore steel company truck headed south and asked. He said "It's a rough ride, but go ahead, climb in through the window" Remember those quirky trucks that had the extra narrow cab to carry long lengths of material on the right side? That one, you can't open the door when the steel is there...

Hitchiking didn't really do it for me after that.
(It was a pale blue 1959 4-door Falcon with beige interior)

David G
04-18-2017, 02:40 PM
c'yawl -- YIKES. That beats my very worst story by a country mile.

Canoeyawl
04-18-2017, 02:56 PM
Saved my butt, that guy did...

*Note the door in the roof


https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/82/39/01/82390117f9ab9e0946eb4c11185553dc.jpg

Garret
04-18-2017, 03:07 PM
c'yawl -- YIKES. That beats my very worst story by a country mile.

Indeed it does (beat my worst one that is)!

ETA: That means we need a good one in response...

I got picked up by a guy driving a 190SL Mercedes near Hartford, CT. "Where you going?" "Deer Isle, ME". "Perfect! I can get you to Bucksport" Yes, I've gotten several rides to that town for some reason. Anyway, we drove for a while, I admired his car, told him I was a mechanic & he said "Great! Drive for a while willya? I need a nap" & pulled over. I got behind the wheel, he said "Keep it under 80" & promptly went to sleep. A couple of hours later he woke up & we started talking. Turned out he had been a narcotics agent in Newark, NJ. One day his son, at college in Colorado, asked him to send him his lacrosse stick. When he got it from the closet, out fell about a half pound of weed. "Well, I figured if my son was smoking the stuff, I should find out what it was like." So he filled his tobacco pipe, fired it up & managed to get thoroughly stoned. The next morning he went in to work & gave his notice. He then took vacation time owed & went to Bucksport & bought a house, then came back home & put his house on the market. This trip was the final trip to ME, as he'd closed on his NJ house a few days before & then went out with a bunch of friends for a farewell barhop. We're talking Newark cop here, so I'm sure he could drink. He had awoken that morning in Nassau. Nope - not Nassau NY, but Nassau, Bahamas. No idea how they got there -0 but very hungover. He'd flown back to NJ, got in his car & had picked my up about 3 hours after arriving back in the states. We had a great ride & that sure was a nice car...

mmd
04-18-2017, 04:00 PM
Way back when, I hitched from Oakville, Ontario to Bridgewater, NS - a distance of about 1200 miles - in three rides totalling an elapsed time of just over 19 hours. Faster than I could have driven it. It made up for all those other times when I stood on the side of the road for hours.

These days I pick up hitch-hikers on two conditions - my wife isn't with me (she is a timid type with no hiking in her past) and they have to look like they are going someplace; i.e., dressed for the road and carrying backpack or baggage. I rarely pick up folks just doing a commute to the next intersection. Breakdown victims excepted.

CK 17
04-18-2017, 04:10 PM
I have, not any more. I drive a pick up now. The passenger seat always has a suitcase, or a dog. Always.

Mike.Higgins.94301
04-18-2017, 06:52 PM
I used to pick of hitchhikers all the time. For some reason, I do it less now. My most interesting experience was in England. I used to travel to Bristol for work. On my first trip, like a typical dumb American, I decided to drive my rental car to London for a day of site seeing (eventually I learned that the train was faster and more convenient).

This was in early January and the temperature was right around freezing. As I left Bristol, I saw a well-dressed elderly man (I was in my 20s and he was probably 10 years younger than I am now) standing at the entrance to the motorway with his thumb out. Therefore, I stopped and gave him a ride. As he eagerly climbed into the car, he reached across and shook my hand with great enthusiasm. His hand felt like cold marble because this nicely dressed man had spent the night sleeping in the rough. As we headed east he told me his story.

It turns out that the day before Christmas he had been released from prison. When I asked why he was in, he responded that, “10 years ago I found my wife in bed with another man who unfortunately died from my blows.” Of course, this wasn’t what I was expecting; however, over the next few hours I learned a lot about what it is like to be a prisoner in England.

Apparently, they will only parole a prisoner under the sponsorship of a family member. My new friend had lived in an orphanage until joining the army in his late teens. He had enjoyed army life, rising to the rank of Master Sargent. Eventually he met his future wife who wouldn’t marry until he left the service. That now ex-wife certainly wasn’t going to be a sponsor, so he had to serve his entire sentence. He claimed that the British penal system has no real transition services for prisoners. Once he completed his sentence, they gave him a new suit and opened the gate. The only money he hadwas a few pounds he had earned while in prison.

It was interesting talking to this fellow. He certainly did not fit my stereotype of an ex-con. I was left with the impression of someone, not unlike myself, except for different family circumstances and a brief moment of uncontrolled anger 10 years earlier.

To his relief, I decided to change my route to go through Cambridge. He heard of a job in that college town, which might be open to him even though he had no address. As we sped across the English countryside I was struck by the beauty of the hills, which now were covered with a picturesque dusting of snow. But then, that new snow probably was where my friend spent his night after I let him out of the car that afternoon.

I’ve often wondered what happened next.

Breakaway
04-22-2017, 12:22 PM
Saw this and thought it would make a nice addition to this thread. The author picks up hitchhikers along the Appalachian Trail. The story is not what I expect, perhaps you will be surprised as well.

http://jalopnik.com/the-summer-i-spent-picking-up-hitchhikers-on-the-appala-1794489178?utm_campaign=socialflow_jalopnik_twitte r&utm_source=jalopnik_twitter&utm_medium=socialflow
https://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/spkojbcwqp1tvgzdn0ap.jpg



Kevin