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View Poll Results: Have You Ever Done Any Of These?
Hitchhiked 48 76.19%
Hopped a Freight Train 7 11.11%
Runaway from Home 15 23.81%
Been Homeless by Choice 5 7.94%
None Of The Above, but Thought About It. 13 20.63%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 63. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 10-12-2014, 06:58 AM
 
Location: Purgatory
6,322 posts, read 4,755,905 times
Reputation: 9765

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Hitchhiking was normal in Martha's Vinyard up until the early 2000s. I would work there in the summers from age 18-22 and hitch alone as a female no problem.

The only one unsafe experience involved a guy w a thick Texas accent. He obviously thought wrongly that he was picking up a prostitute and had no understanding of the local culture. He was about as aggressive as one can be while driving and finally dropped me off before he met up w his family because he didn't want them to know he picked up a hitchhiker. "Imagine me, picking up a hitchhiker, how stupid of me, blah blah blah."

Very uncool and unsettling.

But all other trips were great and I was very grateful to not have to pay for (or wait for) the bus.

Conversely, whenever I had a car w friends, we picked up hitchhikers. The best one was at 7am when we were off on some adventure. We picked up this older Brazilian guy who had been "drinking all night" and told us his boss sent him home because he was drunk. I admired his work ethic for trying to go in anyways!
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Old 10-12-2014, 07:00 AM
 
26,590 posts, read 54,571,346 times
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I chose none of the above, although when we were kids a million years ago we would sometimes hitch rides in our small town. We pretty much always were in pairs and knew (or our parents knew) the person who would stop and tell us to climb into the truck bed. Different times for sure.
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Old 10-12-2014, 07:06 AM
 
Location: Purgatory
6,322 posts, read 4,755,905 times
Reputation: 9765
Ps- I also got 2 babysitting jobs this way. One paid $16hr in 2000. We didn't discuss pay before that so can you imagine how long my jaw dropped open when dad came home and said, "how's $16 an hour?" And then he rounded 10 minutes into a whole hour!

Much more per hour than my summer job.

I can't imagine picking up a teenager hitchhiker today and asking them to watch your kids! And this was only 14yrs ago. (Maybe sounds like a lot of years, but still this millennium.)
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Old 10-12-2014, 07:25 AM
 
Location: Purgatory
6,322 posts, read 4,755,905 times
Reputation: 9765
Quote:
Originally Posted by annerk View Post
I chose none of the above, although when we were kids a million years ago we would sometimes hitch rides in our small town. We pretty much always were in pairs and knew (or our parents knew) the person who would stop and tell us to climb into the truck bed. Different times for sure.
I would hitch around the same time through a few towns. From my boyfriend's to mom's. She would not have been happy if she knew it but would say things like " if you can get here and you fill it w gas, you can borrow my car." If i had access to a car, we wouldn't need to borrow hers! There was no bus to connect the towns so what did she think we were gonna do!

The most memorable trip during those times was with a nice black couple who picked us up. They stuck out because they told us they actually saw us then *turned around* up the road to go back and get us. Plus there were not many black people in our area.

My bf had an afro and it always took us at least twice as long to get picked up vs just me alone.

One more story, (i promise! )

I was about 25 and getting out of a doc apt. This elderly woman hailed me down to " wait! " I thought she was gonna ask me something but instead she just jumped in my car! She asked me or "told me" to just drive to this place up town so I did. I wasn't in a rush and was kinda stunned by her forwardness

Thinking back, a kind and "safe looking" twenty something female with a semi-nice cars was probably her M.O.! She kept talking swiftly, was definitely sane and sober and probably did this all the time and saved a lot on bus fare! Who's gonna throw grandma out the car??!
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Old 10-12-2014, 10:12 AM
 
Location: Twin Cities, Minnesota
642 posts, read 490,811 times
Reputation: 546
Quote:
Originally Posted by Utopian Slums View Post
I would hitch around the same time through a few towns. From my boyfriend's to mom's. She would not have been happy if she knew it but would say things like " if you can get here and you fill it w gas, you can borrow my car." If i had access to a car, we wouldn't need to borrow hers! There was no bus to connect the towns so what did she think we were gonna do!

The most memorable trip during those times was with a nice black couple who picked us up. They stuck out because they told us they actually saw us then *turned around* up the road to go back and get us. Plus there were not many black people in our area.

My bf had an afro and it always took us at least twice as long to get picked up vs just me alone.

One more story, (i promise! )

I was about 25 and getting out of a doc apt. This elderly woman hailed me down to " wait! " I thought she was gonna ask me something but instead she just jumped in my car! She asked me or "told me" to just drive to this place up town so I did. I wasn't in a rush and was kinda stunned by her forwardness

Thinking back, a kind and "safe looking" twenty something female with a semi-nice cars was probably her M.O.! She kept talking swiftly, was definitely sane and sober and probably did this all the time and saved a lot on bus fare! Who's gonna throw grandma out the car??!
No, actually I posted this topic because I WANT to read about people's stories. Here's a good one:

It was 1974, and a buddy of mine decided to run away from home. He was 16 at the time and had his own car, so when he ran away, he drove. He learned a VERY important lesson while on the run; "NEVER pick up a beautiful blond girl who's hitchhiking all by herself in the middle of Death Valley, CA.

He had been driving through Death Valley for over two hours and hadn't seen another car on the road, when up ahead there was this stunningly pretty young blond girl just standing there with her thumb out. He thought it was his lucky day! He pulled over and she ran up to his car window. He asked her if she needed a lift? She said, "Yes," then asked, "You don't mind if a few of my friends come along too, do you?"

Just as she said that four guys leaped out of the ditch and piled into the back seat of his 74 Dodge Dart. As he began to drive, the guys said, "Take us to Santa Monica, CA, or we'll slit your throat!" Then they pulled out a knife and started doing drugs. They forced him at knife point to also do drugs. That's when he did Cocaine, ACID, Speed, Etc. for the first time. Finally they wanted him to shoot Heroin, at which point he said, "I will not inject anything into myself. You can slit my throat if you want to, but I'm not shooting Heroin!" They quit pressuring him after that.

He arrived in Santa Monica, CA, and dropped them off and went on his way unharmed, but still high from all the drugs.
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Old 10-12-2014, 01:34 PM
 
418 posts, read 520,794 times
Reputation: 581
My sister and I hitchhiked in rural France once in the 90s, because we wanted to watch the Tour de France. We spoke almost no French, and most the people who picked us up spoke almost no English. One guy was a little creepy, the same guy stopped for coffee while driving us, and we had to wait about 15 minutes while he drank it. To be honest, given that he was creepy, I don't know why we stayed through the coffee.

Anyway, we were in our early 20s at this point. I'd never hitchhiked in the US, but it worked great for us.

I think the French were pleased we wanted to see the race.

I've never hitchhiked again. As a single woman, I'd never feel safe picking someone up. I'm sure 99 times out of 100 it's fine, but that 1 out of 100. eek.
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Old 10-12-2014, 01:55 PM
 
Location: Myrtle Creek, Oregon
12,223 posts, read 12,487,684 times
Reputation: 19364
I went to school at Oregon State. There was a freight train through town on Friday afternoon that would get you to the coast in about 4 hours. I only rode it once, because hitching was faster.
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Old 10-12-2014, 02:23 PM
 
Location: Cambridge, MA
4,748 posts, read 11,359,823 times
Reputation: 6484
Default Rambling, though not on foot or by thumb

Similar to the above: Once while thumbing around the Berkshire Hills of Western Massachusetts, I was picked up by a man who was soon on the turnpike driving at close to 100 MPH. Having buckled my seat belt the moment I sat down in the car, I could only hope nothing would happen. While flying along the guy kept clumsily sniffing a "white powdery substance" (wasn't necessarily cocaine, although since this was in the mid-80's it's likely.) At a graveled patch across the grassy median of the highway he suddenly decided to reverse course, and we were barreling off in the opposite direction. His sexual propositioning started around this time. Luckily this was all taking place on the turnpike - toll booths for which everyone has to stop eventually appeared. My driver/abductor rolled down his window, blurted out some excuse for not having a toll ticket with him (because of the U-turn), and for some reason was asked his name and address by the attendant. While he provided his driver's license and the info, I climbed out of the car. In those days a Howard Johnson's restaurant was reliably at nearly every interchange in New England, and one was at this one. Due to wanting to make a clean getaway I decided against going inside and speed-walked around back instead. As luck would have it, the property was fenced. So he was able to trail me and "innocently" yell out, "What's the problem?" I claimed a need to pee and said I could hold it for a while (the last thing I wanted to do was have this character follow me into the HoJo's men's room.)
Back onto the turnpike we went, headed in our original direction again. Into his nose went more powder, out of his mouth came more propositions. Then he started cursing that the car's tank was running low and he'd have to get back off the road for gas. I knew I'd have to make a clean break for it that time. When he rolled up to the pumps at a service station he was OK with my saying I had to "excuse myself." The place had rest rooms accessed from outside the building, but I waited 'til his attention was on fueling the vehicle and raced into the station's convenience store instead. Ducking down an aisle away from the doors, I motioned the clerk over and told him what was going on. He was cool with letting me stay hidden until the guy drove away. As coked up as my driver/abductor was, it didn't occur to him to check inside the store for me. (WHEW!!!) The clerk, from behind the counter, and I crouched in the aisle, watched him swiveling his head around outside before visibly shrugging and driving away.
Not a month after that, a man by the same name as that given by my driver/abductor made the local papers as the victim in a fatal car accident.

The above sounds like a lecture against hitchhiking, which is most unfortunate. For as a rule, that was a fun and convenient AND safe way to get from place to place back in the day. I lived in Massachusetts' Pioneer Valley (north of Springfield, east of the Berkshires) for two years, during which in the center of Amherst there was a "merging lane" from the main north-south street through town to the one running east-west. On the other side of the sidewalk there, a large shade tree stood. Everybody called that corner of that intersection the "hitching corner." Along the road between Amherst and Northampton, students and other mostly young adults looking to travel by thumb were an everyday sight. Since the '90s one never sees this any more. And the hitching corner has been obliterated by street widening and tree removal.

As a child of the '60s and '70s growing up in southwest Ohio, I glimpsed hitchers along the main drag through my native suburb all the time, to say nothing of along I-75 (the main route between Michigan and Florida.) Along the expressway, the thumb travelers would hold up handmade signs announcing their destinations and which sometimes carried clever messages. ("The Beach or Bust!") While I attended a college in eastern Indiana, I scored many a free ride locally and also went on a couple of adventures to more distant destinations - Fort Wayne, and a concert on the other side of Dayton. Nice and interesting people provided lifts. And the younger drivers freely shared smoking materials. Only once did something remotely shady occur. That was when a factory worker in his 20's on the way home from a shift abruptly turned off the road and started down a bumpy lane into the woods. Ready to bolt, I kept my voice calm and asked him where we were going. "I gotta take a p!$$!" LOL The guy just needed to find a tree, and quick.

On three occasions while thumbing in Massachusetts, I even had "six degrees of separation" moments where my ride providers and I both knew someone through having met them outside the state. This gets to the heart of what we've lost with the demise of hitchhiking. Random acts of kindness (I also gave many a lift when I was the one behind the wheel) were repaid by friendly conversation that would often lead to interesting stories and sometimes uncanny coincidences. Plus, not infrequently, there arose the opportunity for some quick partying. Now casual chats with strangers happen online and usually sight unseen - though of course there are still numerous ways of meeting others in "real time." The highways and byways of America are lonelier for hitchers' having vanished, even if you're the type to just keep going, and it's another symptom of a divided and untrusting society.

Last edited by goyguy; 10-12-2014 at 02:31 PM..
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Old 10-12-2014, 02:55 PM
 
Location: Gatineau, QC, Canada
3,402 posts, read 4,443,775 times
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I hitchhike pretty often, but I have never hopped a freight train. Hitchhiking has always been pretty fun and rewarding. You meet the whole spectrum of people.
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Old 10-12-2014, 04:31 PM
 
Location: in the miseries
3,302 posts, read 3,577,670 times
Reputation: 3810
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doctor Z View Post
One of my friends once hopped a freight out of the yard with a buddy when they were 13. They rode from North Minneapolis to the East Side of St. Paul. They decided to hop off before they got too far out of the cities.

Having no other options, they started walking back towards home and were picked up by a Highway Patrol while walking along the I-94 Freeway at 2am! The cop gave them a ride the rest of the way home.

That was back in 1973.
Yes, that was life then
Not now.
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