I was listening to a podcast called the KunstlerCast a couple of weeks ago. Writer James Howard Kunstler was talking with Duncan Crary about hitchhiking. Made me all nostalgic, but I thought, “I just talked about the topic a few months ago.” Turns out it was over a year and a half ago. And I didn’t ask YOU any questions.
First hitchhike: in 1970, from Binghamton to New Paltz, NY to visit my girlfriend at the time. One starts on a major highway (Route 17), but then take a series of lesser roads (Route 52, Route 209, Routes 44/55, then finally to Route 299)
Last hitchhike: In 1979, discussed previously. And by 1980, I was working regularly enough to afford the bus.
Hassled by the police: a few times. The one time that sticks in my mind was hitching from New Paltz to Philadelphia, maybe in 1976. I got stopped by the police in New Jersey and they asked me for my ID. As it turned out, and I didn’t know it at the moment, I had lost my wallet in a previous car I had ridden in. The one cop said he could arrest me for not having identification. I repeated that I had had ID but I had evidently left it in someone’s vehicle – even as my inner dialogue was saying, “Gee, officer, What do you want me to DO about it? I don’t have it, dammit!” Naturally, my outer voice was MUCH more polite, and they let me go. BTW, I DID get the wallet, mailed back to me, intact.
Who tended to pick me up: usually guys about 10-20 years older than I was. They often had hitched themselves, and most of them had been in the military, a few from Vietnam, but mostly Korean war and other post-WWII soldiers. Frankly, I was always surprised when women picked me up, at least one with children in the back seat.
Have you ever hitchhiked? What were your experiences in terms of when, where, and why? Did you ever pick up hitchhikers, and what were your experiences?
The aforementioned podcast talked about something called “slugging” which is a current organized hitchhiking experience in the metro Washington, DC area. People need rides because the train stops are too far apart. Car drivers need riders so they can get to work faster, on those lanes designated for cars with multiple passengers. Voila – using GPS and cellphones, people make a mutually beneficial connection. Very civilized.
I used this before, but here again, is Sweet Hitch Hiker – Creedence Clearwater Revival.