Tuesday, January 3, 2017


When I was a "young man" I used to hitchhike back and forth from my boyhood home to my college.

It was about 225 miles and I usually had pretty good luck.

But I can remember a few scary times.

Once I was traveling with one of my college dorm mates and we were picked up by a young couple.

The guy driving kept looking back at us in the back seat and chattering away while steering the car with one hand as he drove at what were very high speeds for the time and the two-lane roads.

When he stopped for gas, we bailed out, thanked him for the ride and congratulated ourselves on still being alive.

Another time I was dropped off on a country road far off my normal route and everyone else's, judging by the lack of traffic.

Then it started to rain.

Then it started to pour.

I had no protection and was soon soaking wet.

Finally a car stopped and a kindly couple of older women told me to get in.

I protested (a little), telling them I was very wet but they told me to never mind that.

I think they were school teachers and they got me back to my normal route and drier weather.

Then there was the man who picked me up on another trip and chatted amiably.

I was feeling good about this ride until he said he was headed for Albuquerque and invited me to come along.

We were in North Dakota at the time so I got a creepy feeling and nervously declined the opportunity to visit the Southwest.

It was a few decades before the gay era, when homosexuality was still mostly in the closet but I knew enough to be glad the man was a gentleman who let me out of his car near my college.

Times have changed since those carefree days of the 50's.


joeh said...

And the 60's. We hitched a lot to high school and then to college (50 miles). Almost always got a ride from someone we knew in High School, and former college graduates or just nice people. Did get a ride with a drunk once who stopped at a bar for another drink and we stayed in the car (stupid much?)hey, a rides is a ride. Have not seen a hitcher since those days. Good times, but probably scarier than we realized.

Lowell said...

I remember hitchhiking in the 50s but even then it wasn't very smart. I would never ever think of doing such a thing again! We were lucky. A friend of our family was killed by a man who picked him up hitchhiking.

Anyway, keep your thumb in your belt where it belongs and saunter on over to the local saloon and have yourself a draft (or two); that's what I would do if I were you. I think. Maybe. Or not. What the heck, do whatever you so desire. 🤠

Catalyst said...

It may have been, Joe.

Catalyst said...

Good advice, Lowell. Of course, in the 50's we were all immortal, right?

Silver Willow said...

wow, you certainly used a few of the 'cats have nine lives'...lives with a couple of those hitchhiking tales!

Stephen Hayes said...

I've never hitched a ride anywhere, but I did pick up a hitchhiker once. He was a nice fellow.

Zhoen said...

My parents would occasionally drive a hitchhiker across the Ambassador Bridge*, but even that stopped after I was teenaged. Just too risky for all concerned.

*Between Detroit MI, and Windsor Ont. A good five miles from apron to apron.

Val said...

Times have definitely changed. I drove past a student in a pouring rain, when I could have given him a lift about a half mile to his house. Even though my son was with me, I knew better. Something that simple can ruin a teacher's life these days.

William Kendall said...

I've done ride sharing with people, but you set that up by computer. Never tried hitchhiking.

Red said...

I did the hitch hiking thing and like you had a few scares but there were also great rides with unbelievable people. It was a bit of a challenge.

Tom Cochrun said...

It was a safer place back in those days. More friendly too.