By on December 9, 2016

Promo photo for "Into The Wild"

A few weeks ago, I finally got around to watching Into The Wild. I’d read Jon Krakauer’s book a while ago; although it was, and is, brilliant work, I have much less respect for the author after finding out that he agreed to whitewash the abuse that Chris McCandless suffered as a child. Everything that Chris did makes much more sense after you understand what happened to him, and his sister, in their youth.

It’s been nearly twenty-five years since the adventures were recounted in the book and movie. If you have even a bit of wanderlust in your heart, it’s likely hearing about Chris’s trip will make you at least consider a trip to “The Slabs,” Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, or the “Magic Bus” on the Stampede Trail.

But there’s one big difference between a would-be Supertramp’s life in 1992 and 2016: hitching.

Hitching ain’t what it used to be. Years ago, one of my uncles hitched to Woodstock, as did many others — and he almost made it there in time. You’d be harder-pressed now to hitch on a schedule. Some people say that hitching isn’t safe for anyone now, and certainly not for [women/PoC/gay people/trans people/endangered owls/your name here].

So I ask you, B&B? Ever hitched a ride? Ever given a ride to a hitchhiker? Would you do either today? Why or why not?

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99 Comments on “QOTD: Hitchin’ A Ride?...”


  • avatar

    I’ve been waiting all day for this QOTD to come up so I could comment.

    Keep in mind, I am only 32, which means I was born in 1984.

    My formative years were spent living in a town of ~800 people. Everyone knew everyone. However, because we lived in such a rural locale, we had to drive everywhere — which sucks when you’re 14 and none of your friends have their driving licenses.

    We used to hitchhike pretty much everywhere, and we were completely content doing it because the likelihood of being picked up by someone we didn’t know was minuscule.

    The best part about this: my parents were usually gone from the house by the time our school bus would make its rounds. If I didn’t make it to the bus in time, I’d call my parents, and the conversation would go something like this:

    Me: “So I missed the bus. Can you take me to school?”
    Mom/Dad: “I’m already at work. Find your own way to school.”
    Me: “How? There’s nobody.”
    M/D: “Hitch it, then.”
    Me: “But it’s -15 degrees out.”
    M/D: “Take a hat and wear gloves so people can see your thumb.”

    • 0 avatar
      JustPassinThru

      I’m guessing, based on background snippets, Mark, that you’re Canadian.

      Canada really is a different world. Maybe not so much today; but even just twenty years ago it was two decades behind the States in terms of social ills and random crime and violence.

      I have hitchiked…a number of times over two periods in my life. When I was young and stupid and with friends trying to prove something…age 13. And when I was a bit older and living in a rural area and stranded by a sick Chevette…age 20.

      Looking back, it doesn’t seem so smart even then…although understandable after your car is dead with a dropped rod, and it’s snowing and the cell phone won’t be invented for another fifteen years. Today…between the various hatreds harbored stranger on stranger for dress or gender or skin hue…plus the complete moral bankruptcy and lack of inhibition shown by so many persons, seen in so many regions…NO. WAY.

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle

        re: “just twenty years ago it was two decades behind the States in terms of social ills and random crime and violence.”

        Which means that Canada in the mid-90s was the equivalent of the worse the US has ever been, in terms of crime rate (mid-1970s)?
        I doubt that’s what you were trying to express. People are so quick to remind us that things were better “back in the day,” they forget that the crime rate has been dropping for 40 years.

        • 0 avatar
          JustPassinThru

          No, I meant “behind” as in LESS social disorder, random (and other) violence and chaos.

          Not that there aren’t, or weren’t, social problems in Canada, as there always are, everywhere. But far-less so. I’ve been to Toronto hundreds of times from 1985, the last time being ten years ago; and never had I felt overly threatened on the street. Sure, there was trouble to be had; but it didn’t come spilling out to strangers the way it might in Compton or hundreds of other ugly neighborhoods.

          I have lived in rough parts of Cleveland, Houston and Indianapolis and I think I’ve got an ear for danger…but Canada was a different world. Improved.

          Probably now, not so much. These things seem to move only one way.

      • 0 avatar
        don1967

        “Canada really is a different world. Maybe not so much today; but even just twenty years ago it was two decades behind the States in terms of social ills and random crime and violence.”

        Bear in mind Canada’s small population, 1/10th the size of the U.S. And yet we still have people like Clifford Olson, Robert Pickton and Paul Bernardo in our modern history. Human depravity knows no political boundaries.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          There are those that argue rural is better than metropolitan but many of the First Nation’s Reserves are plagued by alcohol and drug addiction along with abnormally high suicide, murder and assault rates. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is also epidemic. They still have to sort out the ills of the reserve system and come to terms with a post-colonial world.

          Some of the larger northern communities also have been a hotbed of gang war over drug turf. It pales in comparison to larger US centres but per capita is a huge local problem.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Only -15? What sort of Canadian are you, eh? Its -3 Celsius right now here in Pittsburgh and the windchill is prob ten degrees less.

      • 0 avatar
        -Nate

        When I went to the World’s Fair in Canada in 1967 it was amazing how nice clean and tidy the whole country was .

        At one point our driver said ” these are our slums, sorry ” and they were IMO really nice .

        -Nate

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    Never hitched. Only gave a hitchhiker a ride once but there were several of us in vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      zipster

      Hitched to Vancouver in ’63 from Michigan. Still hitchhike back to my car when I do multi-day back packing trips, but that’s within national parks. During the last several decades hitchhiking has become very rare and the people I see do not convey the appearance of affluent innocence I attempted to convey during the 20,000 miles I did back in the 60’s.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Never hitched; I’ve always been in places where there’s some other way to get there.

    Did give a ride once, when I was on a solo trip to New Zealand. I had a rental car and the hitchhiker was a female German tourist with a backpack. She looked harmless and was half my size so not a lot of fear. Took her from Wanaka to Greymouth and had an interesting conversation in her stilted English and my even more broken German (but no more; get your mind out of the gutter). No problems, and got my gas for that day paid for.

  • avatar
    ziprage

    Never hitched or carried, never would. But I would argue that while probably not the safest choice, it’s probably safer now than ever. Violent crime in the U.S. is at historical lows, so I wouldn’t buy the “good ole days” argument of hitching.

  • avatar
    tonyola

    When I was in college in the early 1970s, I would fairly often hitch my way from Gainesville, FL to the beach, which was around 70 miles away. I worked in Glacier Park in the summer of 1973 and employee hitching around the park or in the surrounding areas (including jaunts up to Canada) was tacitly encouraged at that time. Never had any real problems. I haven’t hitched since 1975 or so, and I wouldn’t do it again except for the most pressing emergencies.

  • avatar
    mikey

    I turned 16 in late 69 . Hitch hiking was a way of life. Myself , and my buddies , preferred , biting the bullet , and driving your own wheels. Yes, we would pickup hitch hikers. The old adage was ” a$$ , gas , or grass . No one rides for free. We drove across Canada in the spring / summer of 1970 . With 3 of us in the car, we vetted every hitch hiker. One young couple , she was , pretty but no raving beauty . He was big , and tough looking. They did, however have Daddy’s Esso card.. …I could write a book on that journey. Suffice to say “it was good times.”

    Today ? I haven’t seen a hitch hiker in 20 years, I wouldn’t dream of letting a stranger into my car.

  • avatar
    SnarkyRichard

    I used to hitchhike all the time in the 70s . Miss the school bus ? Just stick out your thumb and someone I knew driving to school would stop and take me right there . As sophomores in HS every Friday night my friend and I would supposedly “camp out” and hitch into the nearby town for the weekly party in a nearby quarry. We walked for miles in those days , but usually would have no problem hitching a ride if walking alongside the highway.

    We also had 100cc enduro (now called dual sport)bikes on which we went almost anywhere on via the back roads , trails , fields , and power line dirt roads . When I worked on a sod farm all summer at age 15 in 1973 and used my savings to buy a brand new 1973 Honda CR250M Elsinore in the fall and rode it to work the next summer (which started at 7am-fired that loud screaming bad boy up at 6:30am) pretty much two townships hated my guts !

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    To quote Detroit Rock City: “You know how many horror movies start that way?”

    “You know how many porno movies start this way?”

    • 0 avatar
      JustPassinThru

      You’ll never know, Dan.

      Most of those movies were private and were kept private. Although I’ve seen a few…the few, I guess, where the star wasn’t screaming, begging for her life.

      In the Cleveland area in the mid-1970s, that sort of thing, although not commonplace, was not unknown.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    I hitched in rural New Zealand.

    I hitched and picked one up in Samoa. (It is normal there and common courtesy; many people can’t afford cars, and there is no public transportation to be found after early afternoon.)

    I picked up a hitchhiker in rural Australia. In the outback, people tend to help each other out.

    I once gave a short ride to a hitchhiking nun in Ireland who didn’t say a word and barely acknowledged that I was there, which was odd.

    I would do all of those things again in those places, with the possible exception of the nun.

    I would never even dream of doing any of that in the US, except under very limited circumstances.

    • 0 avatar
      shaker

      “hitchhiking nun in Ireland who didn’t say a word and barely acknowledged that I was there, which was odd.”

      Maybe she had taken a vow of silence?

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        She may have taken a vow of silence, but I doubt that she took a vow of rudeness.

        She was capable of indicating that she wanted a lift and where she wanted to get out. It wouldn’t have taken much to have indicated that she appreciated the favor.

        • 0 avatar
          shaker

          It’s difficult to know what motivates people to voluntarily enter into the priesthood or nunnery, but I’m sure there are factors that go beyond the simple “Wishes to serve God”.

          • 0 avatar
            -Nate

            ” I’m sure there are factors that go beyond the simple “Wishes to serve God”.”
            .
            SJW comes immediately to mind as one of those types recently decided to go all postal on me for trying to be helpful .
            .
            My experience with the ‘penguins’ led me to believe they’re mostly on power trips and get off in a big way on telling others what to do regardless of actual need or out come .
            .
            -Nate

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      You’ve just been everywhere haven’t you?

  • avatar
    Russycle

    I’ve never hitched, but have picked up a few. One was in Nevada, a black guy heading from San Francisco to New Orleans. I was going to Los Angeles, took him as far as I could, bought him lunch, and left him in a small town in the middle of the desert. I hope he made it.

    When I lived on Maui 20 years ago hitching was pretty common, for a lot of locals it was their primary mode of transport.

  • avatar
    hgrunt

    Last time I saw a hitchhiker, aside from on the way to or from Burning Man, was in the Humboldt County area. I’ve thought about picking up hitchhikers, but I have no idea what to look for, or whether it’s safe or not.

  • avatar
    DougD

    Last time I seriously hitched was a trip to a friend’s house around 1990. The 50 mile trip took about 4 hours, during which I was picked up by a gentleman in an Alfa Romeo, a kid like me, and a long haired scary guy who gave me a ride much like the movie Thunderbolt and Lightfoot without the shooting of rabbits.

    I never tried again, if for no other reason than it took so darn long.

  • avatar
    jimble

    Krakauer left the abuse out of the book at the request of McCandless’s sister, who was one of the most valuable sources in telling the story. I’m sure it was a difficult decision for him to make, but doing otherwise would have violated a trust. I have only the deepest respect for Krakauer, who cared deeply about his subject and has since helped McCandless’s sister tell the full story.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      The problem is that a lot of people read the book and concluded that Chris was a spoiled brat and a fool to boot. Even today that’s the impression that many have.

      • 0 avatar
        Ihatejalops

        You can hitch hike in ski towns in the US quite easily and have done it myself and have picked up a few. It’s quite common. Plus people in ski boots can’t run.

        As far as the book is concerned, I (and many others who are outdoor enthusiasts) know that he was an idiot as civilization wasn’t far away from his bus (I think less than 10 miles) and he was woefully ill-prepared for what he was trying to do. I totally get his reasons and can never question that. I don’t know too many that do.

  • avatar
    Truckducken

    Haven’t hitched since college decades ago. Have given the occasional ride over the years, including a woman in labor and a kid fresh out of the state pen. No issues to date.

  • avatar
    scuzimi

    Now that’s what I’ve been asking for a very fine SHORT to the point article. Nice, thanks.

    OK.. as a hippie I hitched a ton, picked folks up also. Now, NEVER! Though there were crazies back in the day I felt I could pick out a fellow peace and love person easy enough. I don’t see much peace and love these days.

  • avatar
    scuzimi

    BTW, loved the movie and book, didn’t know about the abuse stuff.

  • avatar
    Middle-Aged Miata Man

    Just once, while driving home from [a failed relationship in] central California back in July 1998.

    All my worldly possessions that I could fit were crammed into the Chrysler Sebring JX convertible that the rental car company had helpfully “upgraded” for my friend and me after our requested minivan failed to arrive back in time.

    Anyway, about 30 miles west of Albuquerque (near the exit for To’hajiilee, which may ring a bell with “Breaking Bad” fans; back in 1998 it was known as Cañoncito) the Sebring ran completely dry, not five minutes after the low fuel light flickered on. I was angry at myself, desperate, and more than a little uneasy (ALL my worldly possessions…) as my friend and I decided we’d take our chances on hitching a ride to Rio Puerco to find a gas can.

    Not 30 seconds after we started walking, an immaculate early-90s Crown Victoria pulled over, and the driver – a kindly older gentleman – offered us a lift. He took us to the gas station, and even offered to drive us back to the car. Once we had the Sebring started up again, he said goodbye after inviting us to come by a small westside community church where he was the pastor. No hard sell, zero proselytizing.

    That ride restored some of my faith in humanity at a time when I really needed it. Unfortunately, I doubt I’d do it again today; for that matter, I’d discourage that man from stopping, too. It’s a different, much harsher, world.

  • avatar
    LTDwedge

    Never hitched a ride until after I got my first car. Then only when “Old Faithful” wasn’t. Thats when I packed a full compliment of tools for the inevitable breakdown. I usually picked up hitchers unless they were 2 healthy looking young men, I rationalized that 2 of them and only 1 of me were bad odds. Couples ok, single guys ok, single girls or a pair ok, then I picked a single whacked female. Nightmareville ! I had to threaten her with bodily harm to get her out of my car. That was it for me, the good ole times were gone, never again…

  • avatar
    djoelt1

    Parked in Yosemite and hiked the John Muir Trail to Mt Whitney about 10 years ago. I was planning to hitch hike back to the start, about 200 miles, anticipating the need for several transfers. I sent some nice clothes to a motel in Independence, CA, along with a sign that said “Yosemite”. I figured it would take me all day.

    So about 1 week into the 2 week trip, I met a kid between high school and college who was doing the same trip. His dad was picking him up at the end. We were going about the same pace. His dad took me all the way to my car, despite being about 50 miles out of his way. So I never had to actually hitchhike that time.

  • avatar
    Dirty Dingus McGee

    I haven’t hitched in 40 years. I will however on occasion pick up a hitchhiker. I like to think I’m a decent judge of character, and so far I haven’t been wrong. Ii also helps me feel more comfortable knowing that I have Colt National Match 1911 .45 cal holstered under the center console of my dually.

  • avatar
    orenwolf

    Never hitchhiked myself, but I know lots of folks who did, I was just lucky enough to have never been without a ride.

    I’ve picked up hitchhikers, as recently as on my birthday about 4 years ago. I’d do so again in a heartbeat, but there are pretty much zero hitchhikers anymore, thanks to 1) living in a large urban city with reasonably priced transit and 2) most of my travels on highways being on roads with no pedestrian access.

  • avatar
    Kenn

    ‘Volumes of stories to tell from the early ’70s. Once, hitching south from Detroit to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, I got stuck at a freeway entrance near Toledo, Ohio. After maybe 4 hours of middle fingers and horns expressing displeasure toward me, a Ford Pinto pulled over, I hopped inside, saw what looked like a pound of pot in an open bag between the seats, and heard: “Start rolling!” Which I did.
    Later that same day, still going south on I-75 in Ohio, a small, bright green fire truck passed by, then pulled over for me. I grabbed my pack, ran to it, and learned it was brand new and being delivered to a small town in Louisiana by a guy who told me to climb up onto the roof. From that point, he began picking up more hitchhikers till there were probably a half-dozen of us on the roof, all looking happily amazed while tightly grabbing the railing. ‘Many memorable (sometimes scary) times hitching, mostly across the American West. But that was a long, long time ago, of course, when there was an instant, automatic bond between “counter-culture” anti-war/rock ‘n roll (Hendrix- not Elvis) types everywhere you’d go.

  • avatar
    Dave W

    On our wedding day (28 years ago) I wound up with the keys to the maid of honors van in my pocket delivering the beer to the reception site while my bride and MoH were to meet me at the church. Fortunately they had hitchhiked around HI together 5 years before that and the guy they found, hitching in the condo parking lot, was tickled pink to deliver Bride and Bridesmaids in full regalia to the church.

    I pick up hitchers periodically. My rule is, if I’ve seen them hitching before, and I’m more then a mile from my destination, I’ll pick them up.

  • avatar
    stevelyon

    I don’t have much need for hitchhiking today, but I give rides to hitchhikers all the time. I live in Yosemite National Park, and there are always cute girls looking for rides near Camp 4, in Tuolumne Meadows, at Glacier Point, etc. etc.

    I’ve even given rides while driving the company vehicles and have met many cool and interesting people that way.

  • avatar
    Nostrathomas

    Closest thing to a hitch I ever took was from a random New York citizen, and it only lasted about 2 minutes at most.

    I used to work in an industrial part of Brooklyn and took the bus from the same place every day. One day on a particularly cold and rainy night, I was running to catch a bus that had just stopped about half a block away. The driver let me get within 5 feet of the door, and then hit the gas and peeled out. He had no doubt seen me and just decided to be a dick about it.

    2 seconds later, a little Tercel screeches to a halt, the passenger door swings open, and a booming voice from inside yells, “Get in, we’re gonna catch that asshole!”. Without even questioning who this guy was, I jumped in, and we go off chasing the bus like we’re trying to recreate a scene from Ronin. A few blocks later we catch the bus, and pull into the next bus stop right in front of him. I get out, thank my driver, and board the bus with what can only be described as a shit-eating grin.

  • avatar
    ruckover

    Used to hitchhike when I was a broke undergrad in the early 80s, and I never had any problems. When I was an first-year student, an upperclassman told me his 3 secrets to get rides:
    Fresh haircut and shave.
    Wear nice clothes when weather permits–white cotton oxfords were his shirts of choice
    Carry a sign the says “College student now accepting rides to ________.”
    His advice worked really well, and I enjoyed amazing experiences.

    If I am not with my family, I do still give rides to people.

  • avatar
    skitter

    Every time I’ve run my car out of gas, someone has always stopped to help me. I try to pay that forward to anyone I see with a gas can.

    One time, there was a guy thumbing on the first on-ramp of my commute. It was long drive to work, so I was able to get him a good leg up the highway. Then I realized we could use the carpool lane. I ran it up through the gears, and soon we’re screaming past six lanes of bumper to bumper traffic. He said, ‘This is great! People are going to be like, hey, that’s the same dude that was hitchiking ten exits back!’

  • avatar
    ajla

    No, never. I don’t trust strangers.

  • avatar
    Charliej

    As a college student in the mid sixties, I hitched home from school every day. It was ten miles from home to school. I had a ride to school but they left school an hour before I was through. I could always catch a ride as far as the interstate, sometimes all the way home. Once on the interstate, I would always catch a ride to my exit. Many times the local police would stop and give me a ride to my exit, although it was two towns up the interstate.

    Today, I don’t hitch any more but I do still stop and offer a ride. Of course I am no longer in the US. I now live in Mexico and I do not feel threatened in giving rides to locals. My wife and I go far off the beaten path on many occasions. When we are stopped to take pictures in some remote location, many times local people will stop and ask if we need help or if the car has broken down. Outside the US, many people are still helpful and trustworthy.

  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    I did most of my hitching in high school, one week in particular. I was at high school graduation week at Virginia Beach, and many of my friends were spread out from one end of the boardwalk to the other. Some even rented houses further north than that. We were pretty much drunk from sun up until sun up, so driving in a cop and pedestrian riddled environment wasn’t particularly tempting. On the other hand, the streets were teeming with good old boys driving pickup trucks. About the second day I was there, it dawned on me that I should ask a pickup driver for a ride in the back to whichever block I was hiking towards. Most said yes, and by the end of the week the practice was almost universal. Pickups would fill up with hitchhikers, and we’d share party stories and redneck witticisms about the people we saw during our rides. Good times.

    I think the last time I picked up a hitch hiker may have been in the mid ’90s. A train-wreck of a trashy hot chick was on the shoulder of a freeway in a nasty part of Norfolk. I had a buddy, and the two of us were fearless together. We stopped to offer assistance, and it turned out that she’d already used up her spare tire and was on the way to a job interview at an airport. We listened to her chaos on the way to the airport and then dropped her off and never looked back. That was probably my best hitchhiking stranger experience. I recall a time in high school where a friend and I stopped to ask for directions to a party only to have the pedestrian say he was headed there himself and he’d show us the way. Next thing you know, he’s asking us about our views of the afterlife and other off-putting ice-breakers. When we got where he was going, he said, “where did you say that party was again?”

  • avatar
    whisperquiet

    Early 80’s and finalizing a divorce with my ex found me in the Chicago area without a ride back to the St Louis area…….. So, I hitchhiked to the St Louis area with a trusting soul who would have never guessed I was an active duty Illinois State Trooper with a concealed pistol at my side.

    We BS’ed the whole time and what each of of did for a living never came up…..simpler times they were, and I would not recommend hitchhiking today.

  • avatar
    TDIandThen....

    Have hitchhiked thousands of kms like many folks here. My big trips were in the 90s, best was probably Brindisi (Italy) to Krakow (Poland). First was as a 13 year-old on Cape Cod with a friend, last was trying to go to aikido camp in NJ…where nobody would stop because a lot of places in the US are now hateful. I last gave a ride here in Canada to a young couple going from Ottawa to Sault-Ste Marie, MI. Most fun was probably getting picked up outside Budapest by a kid in a Trabant, going 100 meters and the car quits. Kid shrugs, ride over, we go drink schnapps.

    I’d definitely give a ride to anyone who looks safe – brings back the old days. However the only folks I see hitching these days in the US look like convicts or the desperately poor.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      That’s pretty funny! I have never hitched in the US, though I did pick up a couple of hitchhikers in college – I’ve always had a car. But I hitched all over Hungary the summer I spent there in ’91. My friend and I owned a Trabbi, but when the other was using it we would just hitch rides without a thought about it, and of course returned the favor all the time. Especially to and from Balaton on the weekends – saved the train fare. Mine never broke, so it wasn’t me you were drinking schnapps with.

  • avatar
    JaySeis

    Fall of ’73…three rides from Oly to Seattle…seventeen rides back… Then there are my buds who lit out from Oly one fine Friday afternoon to see how far south they could get to and back before Monday morning class. The very first ride that stopped was a Microbus driven by a couple of Canadians. When my friends inquired how far south they were going the reply was “Mexico”.

    Picked up a lot of hitch hikers 73-78. None after about ’80.

  • avatar
    Syke

    Late sixties/early seventies: Hitching was my secondary way of getting around after my bicycle. And anything over ten miles one way, hitching was the main alternative.

    Did lots of long distance hitching. One run into New York City, walked thru Times Square at the age of 19 (and looked all of 14, at best), ended up at Andy Warhol’s Factory. Unfortunately, on a very quiet, off day. Hitched with a buddy from Erie up to Boston to see his girlfriend, who repaid the favor by dumping him. Noteworthy for two things: Discovering that cemeteries were excellent for overnight accommodations, and learning to travel in pairs, the guy with the thumb out on the road, the second a few feet back, holding the dope, just in case of a cop bust. Which happened a couple of times. Always managed to dump the weed in time.

    Got my first modern car in ’73. Haven’t hitched since.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    I haven’t hitched a ride nor picked up a hitchhiker in forever.

    For a brief stint I had an open bed pickup truck in Texas in the mid-90s, and I would be more open to pickup hitchhikers. Crack the window, where you going, get in the bed if you want in.

    Those days are over – Millenials today are too much of a special flower to ride in the bed, the law largely doesn’t allow it anyway, and soggy Seattle isn’t exactly the best place on the planet for an open bed pickup as a daily.

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    I don’t remember when the last time was that I even saw a hitchhiker.

  • avatar
    Detroit-Iron

    In Wyoming my wife and I ran out of gas once. We got picked up by an older couple (probably younger than I am now) from my town on the east coast. The wife was embarrassed because the husband kept going on about fly fishing, “A River Runs Through It” had recently come out, but they were cool in my book. The couple that gave us a ride back was from the town on the west coast that we were moving to for college. Funny coincidence. If my family is not in my car and my gun is I will try to pick up anyone I can. The last was probably 5 years ago, punk rocker girl standing in the rain by the on-ramp. The town she was trying to get to was hell and gone from where she was. She said she hopped trains too, which seems like a great way to get murdered.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    In the 60’s & ’70’s whenever I didn’t have a car/Moto I’d hitch, got some really hairy rides from perverts .
    .
    I used to always pick up hitchers too until one too many was rude or just plain crazy, no more .
    .
    -Nate

  • avatar
    grinchsmate

    As kids we would catch a bus to the beach then bum rides up the coast to surf braeks.

    Worst that ever happened was getting roped into some guys domestic. We were on the way up the coast when he got a phone call to come home. He assured us it would only take a minute then he would take us to the beach. When we got to his place we were treated to a very loud discussion of his infidelities before our driver took of leaving us with his lovely girlfriend. She called us a pair of faggots and we walked 5km to the nearest bus stop.

  • avatar
    Whittaker

    Fresh out of high school, I’d wait for my dad to get home from his 3rd shift job about 6:00 AM and I’d take his car to my day shift job.
    One morning I picked up a hitchhiker at the entrance to the 4-lane. He was a nice guy but he kept looking from the floor to the dash and back. Puzzled, he finally said “I just got out of this car about ten minutes ago”.
    Dad had given the same guy a ride to where I picked him up.

  • avatar
    7402

    Used to both hitch and give rides back in the 1970s-1980s. That ended in the summer of ’82 when I got picked up on PCH by 3 guys and a girl in an old Dodge station wagon. They had me sit in the middle of the back. Illegal substances were inhaled accompanied by beverages for which I had not reached the legal age. After a while they took out guns and knives and informed me that I had been chosen to do a hand off in a drug deal. We drove to a sketchy part of Salinas where I exchanged a bag for another bag in a dirty gas station restroom with a guy I hope never to see again. We drove back to the coast and I was unceremoniously left by the side of the road near the Bixby Creek Bridge north of Big Sur. Unwilling to hitch again I walked several miles in the dark before getting picked up by a Monterey County Sheriff. I told him the story, we went back to Salinas where an investigation was started. I spent the night on a hard but welcome bench at the Sheriff’s office and rode Greyhound the rest of the trip.

    Haven’t hitch-hiked since.

  • avatar
    mshenzi

    Hitchiked a ton in the early 1980s, during 18 months of bumming around East, Central and Southern Africa. Got picked up by all kinds of folks– local Africans and Indians, Western and Asian expats, some tourists in rental vehicles, the occasional colonial settler (or child of one). Everyone from long-haul truckers to people on motorbikes who had no problem sharing the saddle with a stranger wearing a very large backpack. I was usually alone, but, at least as a guy, I never felt unsafe, and I often ended up in homes, local restaurants, and sometimes at memorable parties. It even twice led to odd jobs that way that helped me lengthen out the trip and travels. I returned to East Africa to work in the late 1980s, had a vehicle for that stretch, and always picked up people who were hitching. It’s been a few decades since I’ve last been there, and I often wonder if that’s still the way of things or if it’s changed.

    Also in the ’80’s, I hitchhiked around Ireland for a few weeks, which was the easiest experience of it I ever had– I was once picked up by a young mother with her two little kids. Often, people who picked you up would invite you to stay over, with only G-rated intentions.

  • avatar
    mikein541

    I’m 70 years old. As a young teenager growing up just outside Washington DC, my buddies and I hitched everywhere, when we weren’t riding our bicycles. We never had problems of any kind. When I got my first car
    at age 16, I’d pickup hitchers occasionally, but not often. When I was in the Navy, stationed in Charleston, SC, and living in suburban Atlanta, GA, I hitched from Charleston to Atlanta regularly, and always wore my uniform. I never had trouble getting rides, and rarely had to wait more than 5 minutes between rides. I did meet some interesting people. Since
    then (1973), I’ve never hitched again, and very rarely picked up hitchers.
    I will always, however, pick up hitchers who have been hiking the Pacific Crest Trail and need a ride to the nearest town. You can easily distinguish the hikers because they always carry a big pack, have hiking poles, are unshaven, and usually are a tad ripe. But they’re always appreciative.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

    I have never set out with the intention of hitching a ride.

    I have accepted rides from strangers, like a young woman in an Omnrizon with two little boys in the car. One in the back with me said “I think you’re too tall for this car.” My head was pressed firmly into the ceiling lol all I could do was just smile. It was a short trip. A short trip with two speed bumps that hurt my dome! Haha she was sweet and I appreciated it anyway.

    Another time, a faulty fuel gauge left me walking, I accepted a ride from a young couple in a late 90s/00s Buick Regal LS (cloth seats IIRC). Certainly wasn’t a GS. It was a much longer walk I was looking at, so I very much appreciated it that time.

    I have given rides more often than I should. I usually don’t mind helping someone, but it has put me in a few situations I wasn’t safe in.

    Once I was approached by a young black female while filling up, said her boyfriend left with her phone in their car and bla-bla-bla, some stupid $hiГ I found plausible enough at the time. We didn’t hardly get out of Exxon parking lot before she stated that she was looking to make $20. I explained she picked the wrong dude for that (reduced to PG13 so it won’t get stuck in awaiting moderation purgatory).
    The Saturn’s stick shift was the only instrument in any shape that she could work with in that car, the other equipment wasn’t having it.
    I took her to this apartment complex and she left her bags in the car. I should have dumped them out and took off, because then I gotta take her to her freakin trashy hotel and along the way she asked have I ever smoked crack. No lie.

    “No.”

    “You want to?”

    “No.”

    I prayed under my breath (concealed by the raspy 1.9L OHC I-4 and Little Tykes plastic interior buzzing and crackling away) that if He let me out of this in one piece, I would be much more careful about who I let in my car.

    I dropped her off, she invited me in, I declined.

    That was the worst experience, but I have stopped at a broken down vehicle more than once to give the person a ride to the next populated exit at least. I have been rewarded for my trouble both with something for my wallet, and/or something to warm my heart.

    This lady had spun out in a ditch/median in a bad deep-south thunderstorm, I couldn’t believe as a cop car I was following simply drove on by!

    I didn’t. I stopped, and hit the hazards and walked to her. She was having something like an anxiety attack, but was stable enough, just very upset. She had been sitting there a while she said, and when I mentioned the state cop not even slowing down, she said “yeah. I’ve seen two or three go by, no lights/siren but didn’t stop”. She said another car hydroplaning came into her lane, and as she avoided it, her tires left the pavement and she lost it from there. I got the distinct impression that she was at least somewhat socially challenged, and had as little contact with others as possible in her daily life. I got it out of her that she lived at the next exit and she needed her medicine which was there. Tried as I might, I discovered that her purple ’98/9 Taurus SE (it was only a year or two old at the time) was undamaged but was most certainly stuck in the grassy/muddy median far beyond the help of me, or the brand new 2wd Silverado base model r/c I was driving (belonged to the dealer I worked for).

    Neither of us had a cell phone. I told her I would drive her home and she could get her medicine and when she “felt like it” (calmed down or whatever), she could simply call a tow truck out of the phone book, tell them where her car is and let them bring her Taurus home to her. She was soaked, in tears and shivering, and so she agreed. I cranked up the heat in that Silverado, and being a regular cab, it was toasty in no time.
    “You just buy this?”
    “no ma’am, it belongs to the dealership I work for.”
    “and they let you give rides to people?”
    “not exactly”
    lol
    She was already calming down enough to make some attempt at small talk. Sure enough, very next exit, less than 1/4 mile down the road was the nicest, well-kept trailer park you’ll find, nice yards, old growth trees abound, carport for every unit, paved road. She was very grateful, I could tell, but said little at that time. It was like she was fighting to say what she did say sometimes. I could almost feel her inner struggle. As Mr. Spock would say, I was probably “insufferably pleased with [myself] for at least a month, sir!” after dropping her off. :D

    Maybe that’s what He thought about the night I ended up with a real, live, 100% genuine crack whore in my ’99 Saturno (as my Mexican and Puerto Rican co-workers called it lol) 9 years later.

    • 0 avatar
      AJ

      Nice stories… thanks for sharing. Your story about the lady that ran off the road reminds me of years ago out in BFE when I witnessed a single car accident. The lady was okay. It was in the days that cell phones were rare but I had one and of course we had no reception as she attempted to call her husband.

      While I was looking over her car, a scary *** guy also stopped to check out the situation. I immediately got a bad feeling that we all needed to leave. I quickly determined that her car could be driven to the next town and told her that I’d follow her to make sure the got there. I don’t know what his intentions were but he was not going to offer a helping hand. Being a good law abiding gun owner, my handgun was unloaded and locked in the trunk as that was also the days before CC permits. There are good, helpful people out there, but also an enough bad people along our roadways that I’d never hitchhike.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

        Thanks AJ.

        I had a similar situation, I was on my way to Montgomery, Al in a 1995 Taurus also owned by the GM dealer (it was a paperwork misson, I could choose what I wanted to drive off the used lot, and it should surprise none of you what I chose, LOL).

        It was another thunderstorm and another car was in the median. I stopped, hit the hazards, walked down. It was a black guy in a first gen Kia Sephia.

        There were these hillbillies also there, but they were keeping their distance, standing by their beat up Chevy pickups with their arms crossed.

        I noticed there were freshly purchased Christmas presents in the back. The guy said he was on his way to see his kids for the first time in a long time.

        Well, I wasn’t going to try to yank him out with the Taurus, we would’ve just ended up being two stuck cars instead of one.

        I told him to attempt to drive forward. The front wheels spun and the car barely moved. I got behind and actually pushed as he kept the throttle enough for the car to move but not spin crazy. I guess the momentum of me pushing was all the Kia needed, he started moving at a decent rate so I let go, and he made it up the median and onto the shoulder.

        The look of relief and gratitude on his face was priceless. The hillbillies looked irritated, but got in their trucks and left. I think they were waiting for him to abandon the car so they could get what they wanted out of it (the Christmas gifts).

  • avatar
    la834

    The first time I ever heard the word “hitchhike” was when a third-grade teacher told us on the first day of school that year of his summer adventures, which included several stints of hitching. I didn’t know what he meant by “hitchhiked” having never heard of it. The next time I heard of hitching was in the same school about a year later, when we were shown a film called “Hitchhiking” that was intented to scare us from doing so. It featured a hitcher that accepts a ride and endures lots of scary things, mainly an awful speeding driver, though not *too* scary or violent since they didn’t show such things to 4th-graders back then. I didn’t hitchhike myself until college a few times, and also gave my first rides around that time – mostly college students giving other college students rides. I gave my last ride about 15 years ago, and only picked up people who obviously had nursed a broken car to a gas station or some such.

    I’m a bit uncomfortable about only giving rides to people who “look” safe, since I realize looking safe draws upon all sorts of stereotypes that the person in question may not have any choice of belonging to. However, if someone has t-shirts or tattoos with gang symbols or the like, or anything other visual cue that they do out of choice, they’re not getting a ride from me. A moot point, since I haven’t even seen anyone hitching for over ten years (Maryland). And even when I was a teenager, I was already hearing about how hitchhiking was much less common than it used to be, at least in the States. Some of this was due to the replacement of local routes with the continuous-high-speed Interstates, where hitching is prohibited (there used to be signs stating this, though I haven’t seen one of those for a long time either).

  • avatar
    Jeff Zekas

    Last time I hitched was in the late 70’s. Only one bad ride, a gay guy making passes. After the killing of the nurse in Santa Barbara, lots of folks stopped hitching or picking up hitch hikers. Nowadays, the folks hitching are either bedraggled homeless dudes, or unwashed hippy types (this is Oregon), so I have no urge to give rides.

  • avatar
    Funky

    I have not hitched a ride nor have I picked up a hitch hiker. I had a relative (I’m choosing not to be specific) who was adamant about picking up hitch hikers. This individual also insisted upon feeding the hobos / traveling homeless (in my relative’s own home) when these folks traveled through our community (they didn’t stay for long in the area since most folks did not make them feel welcome). My relative never adequately explained for what reason he did this. He also never (or, almost never) talked about what he experienced when he fought in one of our country’s wars (again, I’m choosing not to be specific). Although, I always had the impression that the reason for his silence on both matters was somehow related. The only thing he did say in regard to his actions was (I will paraphrase since my memory isn’t as good as it used to be and since I don’t have his journal handy): All of us, at some point during our lifetime, will need a little help and a little compassion from others. All of us, due to the nature of our existence (in this case, by existence, he referred to our need to work for an income which, in turn, provides us with our basic needs like food, shelter, clothing, and medical care), will find ourselves in need. It is human nature to believe that “it” will never happen to us (“it”, of course, being bad luck). But, rest assured, it can, and it will.

    My paraphrasing probably doesn’t do justice to his real words. He was much more eloquent and much better at speaking and writing than I. But, I think I’ve gotten his point across.

  • avatar
    JimZ

    nope. no way in hell am I picking up some rando in my car.

    and I’d rather freeze to death than get into some serial killer’s car.

  • avatar
    jeoff

    Never hitched, but given too many rides–some pretty stupid unstable folks in the 90s in Atlanta. Now I occasionally give an old person a ride. More afraid of bug infestation than anything. (I’ve spent thousands getting rid of bedbugs from one of my rental properties).

  • avatar
    SWA737

    Never and Never.
    Modern day (millennial) hippies just Uber. The Uber app is right next to the Starbucks app on their iPhone43, both linked to their parents’ credit card.

  • avatar
    Compaq Deskpro

    I have never hitched. I wuld happily pick up a hitchhiker, but I have never seen one in my life.

  • avatar
    JuniperBug

    It wasn’t quite hitchhiking, as it was a guy who was friends with a girl who I chatted with online (but never met), but when I was about 20, I agreed to take a complete stranger with me when I drove to the Albany area from Montreal. The dude barely talked to me, slept for most of the ride, and gave me about $8 worth of change for gas money after I drove him more than 250 miles. I’ve taken a bus to go the same route and it was over $150 and took nearly twice as long.

    He then emailed me repeatedly hoping that I go out of my way to pick him back up on the way home, too. I then discovered that he’d left his passport in my car (kind of hard to cross the border without it). Annoyed, I put it in a Ziplock bag and nailed it to the door of a barn on the rural property I was staying at, told him to come get it. I never heard from him again and the passport disappeared, so I guess he figured it out.

    A more pleasant experience was when I was 23 and had just started a gig guiding bicycle tours in Switzerland. I had never been alone in Europe and was trying to find where things were before my first clients arrived. As I was driving the company van up a steep hill outside of Lausanne, there was a couple walking by the side of the road. I figured I could give them a lift and maybe they could give me directions, so I offered them a ride. It turned out that where they were going was on the way to where I needed to go. As we chatted, they told me they were on their way to a dinner party, and invited me to come along. The host welcomed me like family to his beautiful home overlooking Lake Geneva, and I ate and drank like a king among pleasant company.

    Another time, I was up in rural ski country, and I picked up a sliver of metal in the back tire of my motorcycle just after I got on the highway. As I was contemplating my options, a guy in a pickup truck with a trailer stopped for me. He strapped my bike onto his trailer and gave me a lift to a powersports shop 5 or 10 miles down the road. Saved me probably $100 in towing and a good bit of wait time.

    Another time I was a few blocks away from home at night in the rain in my Miata, and there was a guy pushing his Aveo out of the road. I stopped, and obviously his car had died. It was clear he wasn’t in a position to pay to get the thing towed. We got it to where it was parked legally, and I offered to drive him home, about 10 miles away. The funny thing about it was that he was a bigger guy, and had a bigger dog with him – something like a labrador. Both were perfectly pleasant and the guy was clearly grateful, but 2 dudes plus a wet dog in a Miata with the top up in the rain and no A/C isn’t the most comfortable thing in the world.

    • 0 avatar
      la834

      Wow, that just reminded me of a similar trip I took about ten years ago I had completely forgotten about, where I somehow convinced a guy I knew only online to drive me for 10 hours to see two women either of us only knew online and some of their friends, and was a great time for all. Didn’t think of it as “hitching” since it was arranged online rather than roadside. Also, the driver who gave me a ride fancied another woman who wandered in the last day we were at our destination. They were married a year later….

  • avatar
    desertwanderer

    “Fun” times…

    Once back in the 70’s my younger brother and I decided to hitchhike into he nearest city (about 70 miles away) from the dairy farming community where I was working – to see a movie. I was recently out of high school at the time, and going hitching to go see “The Three Musketeers (1973)” seemed like a good idea at the time. We had no trouble getting all the way downtown at all.

    Coming home was a different story. It was late afternoon when we started, and evening by the time we finally got picked up. This ride got us as far as the city airport. Looking around us in the brightly lit building and the cold darkness outside we decided it would be a brilliant plan to spend the night on the comfortable seats in the waiting areas. Unfortunately the presiding RCMP officer had a different viewpoint on this and “encouraged” us to vacate the premises, so back on the road we went.

    We walked for miles, got one short ride into the countryside, and walked some more. Rested under some bushes for a while, moved on and eventually slipped into a barn and slept in the hay for the rest of the night. We awoke to a brilliant sunny morning and got a ride very quickly that took us home. Not sure the movie was worth it!

    Another memorable hitching “adventure” comes to mind. This was in India a few months earlier. Our family grew up in India as our parents were missionaries. I had gone back alone “to find myself” after the family had moved back to Canada. I had met a lovely lady from Brazil while hanging around Delhi and she had expressed interest in continuing her exploration of the sub-continent with me as her guide. Having spent most of my life there already I had a pretty good fluency in Hindi, so with an abundance of confidence and little caution I agreed to the arrangement.

    I was very pleased when almost the first truck that saw us pulled over and offered us a ride. “This is going to be easier than I thought!” the wanderer opines to himself. The fact that my companion was a beautiful young woman might have helped our cause – do you suppose?
    Anyways, there were three men in the cab already and we squeezed in beside them. Jovial good wishes all around. Some time after they picked us our “hosts” started passing a bottle of native hooch around. At this point I realized where some of their joviality was coming from. I declined their offer to partake, as did Maria Augusta. Alarm bells are ringing in my brain, and panic station all hands on deck arrives when they suggest to me that we pull over and all have a go at my companion on top of the tarpaulin covered load of the truck! This is all in Hindi mind you. Trying to share this with Maria she was not convinced and suggested that I was just paranoid, these gentle Indian men couldn’t possibly be thinking such thoughts – and how dare I!? Talk about a culture gap…

    Fortunately somebody was watching over us that night as not long after my denouncement of their plan it was time to stop at a roadside tea shop. I wasted no time in getting us out of that truck and quietly shared my story with other truck drivers out of sight and hearing of our crew. I was very grateful to be offered the use of a cab of a truck for the night – just Maria and I – and allowed to lock the door from the inside. I was told by our benefactor that the guys we had been picked up with were notorious “badmash aadmi” – bad men – and we were lucky things hadn’t gone a lot worse.

    I’ve got more where these came from…

  • avatar
    bunkie

    My high school (sometimes) girlfriend was, foolishly, hitchhiking alone on Long Island near where she lived and was brutally raped. That did it for me. I’ve never done either.

  • avatar
    AoLetsGo

    I hitched a few times way back in college and never had a problem. Then I was hitchiking again this past summer. However, it was a special situation because I spent a month section hiking the Applachian Trail. Local people near the trail are used to grungy hikers with their thumbs out where the trail crosses the road. I did find it easier to just go to the trail head where day hikers were parked and start talking with them and getting a ride that way. I met some really nice people that way. I would try to pay them for gas and they would not take it and they would even give me things like food and water!

  • avatar
    kmoney

    I’ve picked a couple people up. I’ve also given rides to tourists/backpackers I’ve met on the ferry. We have a place on Vancouver Island with poor bus service between cities, and tons of tourists (read: broke hippies trying to get to Tofino) in summer, so it’s pretty common for people to hitch… I wouldn’t do it in a place and city I didn’t know.

    I’ve honestly never had a bad experience and met some pretty interesting people…

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    People still hitchhike, the difference is they find rides online.

    A friend recently hitched the last five miles to a gas station (almost made it!). Got picked-up by a very lovely college student. He kept in touch with her for a bit, but nothing came of it in the end. The trick is to find a decent-looking car to stand next to.

  • avatar
    tresmonos

    Never hitched, but have given many rides from my old mill town neighbor hood to the walking distance Dollar General and gas station.

    The impoverished south still exists on the same small mill town economics. In place of low paying textile jobs is the ‘government draw.’ They still walk to get sustenance and tobacco.

    When it was below freezing, I’d leave for work early so I can give rides to my neighbors to and from the convenience store for their pack of Seneca’s. Didn’t cost me anything and gave me all kinds of neighborhood good will. Nobody f*cked with my project car or boat that were sitting in my drive way and everyone knew me and waved. I miss the west mill village of Easley, SC. I miss it a lot.

  • avatar
    FuzzyPlushroom

    I’ve never had to hitch, though friends have (and report broadly positive experiences).

    I’ve picked up a few hitchhikers, and never really regretted it. The best was either the lady in her 30s who lived a town over and was enthusiastic about my controlled sliding on icy roads (no, Jack, nothing came of it!) or the college professor who’d come the wrong way down our regionally-famous mountain and needed to get around the long way.

    “So,” I asked once we got to the lot and seeing three Prii and one Civic, “which Prius is yours?”

    “The one facing outward,” he replied.

    I’m in New Hampshire, for what it’s worth.

  • avatar

    Hitchhiking has declined markedly. Explained nicely by the Freakonomics team if you’re interested.

    http://freakonomics.com/podcast/where-have-all-the-hitchhikers-gone-a-new-freakonomics-radio-podcast/

    • 0 avatar
      Jeff Weimer

      When I was growing up in the 70s and 80s, hitchhiking was broadly condemned because of the general “stranger danger” fear – there was a lot of bad things being reported in the news and it was considered dangerous to do it anymore. So I’ve never done it as a passenger or driver.

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    I will just paste the link. I don’t offer strangers rides anymore.

    http://www.coldblackeyes.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=1719&p=32495#p32495

  • avatar
    ptschett

    Giving a ride: 10 years ago I was driving from Duluth across central Minnesota on MN-210 back to where I lived in North Dakota and gave a guy a ride from Crosby to Brainerd.

    Getting a ride: I’ve never intentionally solicited one, but passers-by have taken pity on me. Two memorable ones were when 1) my motorcycle broke down one July evening about 5 miles west of where I live in Fargo, I started walking home wearing full gear & carrying my helmet to get my pickup and a fellow in a minivan stopped for me in West Fargo when I was about halfway home; and 2) when I skidded off an icy curve into the ditch in my parents’ ’98 Cadillac STS (stupid wrong-wheel-drive!), their deputy sheriff neighbor was going the other way in her Crown Vic patrol car and saw the Caddy in the ditch after seeing me walking, and she turned around to catch back up to me and gave me a ride to my parents’ house.

  • avatar
    tinman93

    I had an ’80 Mustang notchback with a 4 cylinder (definitely not the cool one). That’s the car that taught me how to hitch.
    Worst POS I ever owned.

  • avatar
    Jeff Weimer

    In DC, they call it “slugging”. It’s a way for drivers to get the HOV lanes and the riders to get a free ride to and from work.

    It’s a surprisingly robust system.

  • avatar
    toxicroach

    I picked up a hitchhiker. Once. He kept saying stuff like “I haven’t shot you yet”. Ended up kind of robbing me, yet also leaving his phone number in case I heard of any good jobs. I was so confused by the end I didn’t call the cops, but my mom always told me to never pick up hitchhikers, and I followed her advice ever since. Still feel like a bit of a dick sometimes, but fool me once and all that.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    Growing up in the ’70s in a little cow town on the east coast, hitchhiking wasn’t unheard of until we got our license and had a set of wheels available.

    Two most memorable times included skipping school the first time ever as a sophomore and our principal picked me up but never asked a question as to why I was out of school. He must of thought I was an early-release senior, which is odd since I was tiny for my age and looked no more than 12 at the time. Or he didn’t care…

    The second time was from my summer job near Brattleboro, Vermont all the way to southern Connecticut. The N.Y. Giants had their summer camp up that way that year and one of them gave me and my buddy a ride to a town nears ours where the interstate passed through. Sadly I don’t recall which Giant was that kind.

    I’ve given my fair share of rides on occasion, but it’s very rare to see hitchhikers these days…I see them occasionally on the far outskirts of Houston heading towards San Antonio or Austin….have never been in the position to stop and render a ride for numerous reasons, but rarely because they look seedy….

  • avatar
    Pete Skimmel

    Four words:
    Texas Chainsaw Massacre

    Oh, I guess that is 3 words.

  • avatar
    Fordson

    Yes – used to hitch quite a bit when I was a teenager in the 70s…that was how you got around.

    Yes – did pick up hitchhikers, but have not seen one in probably 10 years…the result of the stranger-danger hype and associated crap.

    I do, however, stop to help people having car trouble of one kind or another. Always.

    The exception to the no-more-hitchhiker syndrome, as others have noted, is wherever there is a heavily-used backpacking trail – you always see backpackers, they are easily identified, can always use the ride into or out of town, and they are always appreciative and have no motive over and above just getting the ride.

  • avatar
    DirtRoads

    My first wife hitch hiked out from LA to the ranch I was working on in the middle of Montana. That was 1978. Not something I would’ve advised even then, for a girl by herself. *shrug* She was 18 at the time.

    Two friends and I hitched a ride out of the Anaconda Pintlar Wilderness in early September when we started on a four day hiking trip and on the first night we were surprised by four inches of snow, for which we were completely unprepared. I was 17 that year. And I think that was the last time I hitch hiked.

    When I was 18 I picked up a hitch hiker just outside of Warm Springs, MT. So what? Warm Springs is where the state mental hospital is, and the guy mentioned to me how difficult it had been to get a ride. He didn’t try to hurt me, so I guess he was sane enough.

    No way today would I pick up any hitch hiker.

  • avatar

    Hitchhiking is a great way to wind up sex-butchered.


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