Hooniverse Asks- Have You Ever Hitchhiked? How'd it go?


You know, not everybody has a car. Still, pretty much everybody likes riding in them, and that means that for many, when the wanderlust strikes it’s time to ride the thumb. Steinbeck, Kerouac, and that guy you once saw on the roadside with an axe and the pillow case full of – oh I don’t know -broken catsup bottles and watermelons, they’ve all traveled by way of hitchhiking, and I’ll bet some of you have too.

Thumbing a ride is about as historic a transportation method as hoofing it in sandals or mounted on an ass. In some countries its even encouraged as a form of impromptu ride-sharing. Of course in the US we don’t put up with that kind of socialist malarky, but even here – thanks to a 1946 case argued by the ACLU – even Americans are free to stick a thumb out.

What about you, have you ever plied the highways and byways solely on the kindness, and boredom, of strangers? If you have ever raised a thumb as a means of getting somewhere, or perhaps away from somewhere, how did that work out for you? Do you think hitchhiking is a viable means of transportation for the automotively bereft? What is your personal experience with hitchhiking?

Image source: youthpaper

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 64 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop files here

59 responses to “Hooniverse Asks- Have You Ever Hitchhiked? How'd it go?”

  1. muthalovin Avatar

    I forgot my towel, and it did not go very well.

  2. IronBallsMcG Avatar

    I, um…, don't look like the kind of person you would want to pick up along the road…

  3. smalleyxb122 Avatar

    I’ve never hitch hiked, per se, but I have accepted a ride from a stranger when my car broke down. I was, perhaps, a half mile from my vehicle, walking to find a pay phone (remember those?), and a van (a van!) pulled to the shoulder in front of me. He offered me a lift to the gas station, and I accepted. This was years ago, so I don’t recall all of the particulars. I don’t even know what car I was driving at the time. Everything either worked out fine, or I have managed to block it out (pretty sure it was the former).

  4. JayP2112 Avatar

    Despite driving British cars and a SuperBeetle for many years, I've only had to thumb once.
    My brother had a real issue with gauging fuel economy in the 'B (fuel gauge never worked) and ended up hitchin' a ride a few times.

  5. Alff Avatar

    I have hitchhiked a few times, most notably in East Berlin on the last Saturday before it ceased to be a separate entity from West Berlin. I'd gotten off the train and was walking toward Brandenburg Gate to catch the beginning of the Berlin Marathon. An East German TV crew picked me up in their funky Barkas van. It was a great time to hitchhike, as everyone was captured by the spirit of the moment.

    1. Vairship Avatar

      When you say "everyone was captured by the spirit of the moment", do you mean they had lots of Gewurztraminer?

  6. $kaycog Avatar

    I've never hitchhiked. I'd be afraid of picking up an axe murderer, and I don't want my axe murdered.

    1. Alff Avatar

      You have a nice axe.

      1. $kaycog Avatar

        Thank you! I haul it wherever I go.

    2. dukeisduke Avatar

      Yeah, you wouldn't want to pick up this guy:
      <img src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-KqrhqSFHEPo/TdMJWqtOF_I/AAAAAAAAArc/TDZJMVyoJvw/s1600/The+Hitcher3.jpg"&gt;

  7. racer139 Avatar

    I have hitch hiked from Halifax Nova Scotia to the Oakanagon valley in B.C. It took four and a half days and seven rides to cover around 8000 km. I met some great folk and one lady even let me crash on her couch for the night. I dont think I would attempt this today as people dont seem to be as willing to pick hitchers up.

  8. Irishzombieman Avatar

    Recent hitchhiker in the news here in my neck of the woods. If you've not seen this, holy crap, this is an amazing bit of television.
    Smash! Smash! SUMASH!
    NSFW Language
    [youtube ckfBGdZoR_0 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckfBGdZoR_0 youtube]

    1. dukeisduke Avatar

      He's been picked up as a roving reporter on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

      1. Alff Avatar

        He sidelines as the newest Jalopnik columnist.

    2. danleym Avatar

      That dude is awesome.

  9. P161911 Avatar

    No,for all of my adult life that has to rank slightly below the idea of eating 3rd world street food on the good idea chart. But the idea of hopping a freight train does offer a certain appeal. But that is probably just from listening to too many Merle Haggard train songs as a kid.

    1. MVEilenstein Avatar

      There's no such thing as too much Merle.

      1. IronBallsMcG Avatar
    2. Mike England Avatar
      Mike England

      I have eaten street food in several 3rd world countries, and picked up a few hitchhikers, but never hitchhiked. God Bless Merle.

  10. calzonegolem Avatar

    I've never hitchhiked but I've picked up a couple. Some cute girls which did not murder or have sex with me despite what tv/movies/porn has told me and one super tall drunk dude who had me drive all around Salem because he was drunk and we ended up about a 3 minute walk from where he was hitching from.
    One time I was coming home from a party at my friend's college. It was 3am and I was in rural Maine. Some dude who had to be 6'-6" &gt; 300lbs with a huge beard, overalls and no shirt was hitchhiking. That seemed pretty optimistic to me.

  11. krazykarguy Avatar

    I had the extreme displeasure of the oil drain plug vibrating itself loose on my first bike, a Yamaha XS400R Seca. This, of course, happened just as I was accelerating down an onramp, and the issue was discovered by a sudden, and very noticeable loss of traction. Luckily, I realized what had happened (the red oil pressure light was also a pretty good clue) and made no attempt to alter the course of the motorcycle buy doing something silly, like turning.
    I pulled over to the breakdown lane to see the very last of the oil pouring out the bottom of the motor, and a gaping hole where the plug used to reside. Knowing full well that I would NEVER find it again, I began the push to get it to the nearest safe-haven, the car dealership I worked for at the time, about 3 miles away. The bike was pretty light, but it was about 90 degrees out.
    The first leg of the journey was about 1/2 a mile down a gentle grade, and I was not about to push the bike DOWN a hill. I secured my helmet to the lock, hopped on, and coasted. Well, about halfway through that 1/2 mile journey, I was pulled over by a cop for not wearing my helmet. Luckily, he let me go with a warning (Gee, I'm already having a bad day, and you hold me up to write me a written warning for riding a dead bike in the breakdown lane without a helmet on? Thanks.)
    Anyways, I finally get the bike to the destination, and leave it behind one of the sheds out back. I'll deal with it on Monday. I begin the long walk home, another 6 miles back to the house. I am already REALLY tired and hot at this point, and hitchhiking is becoming more and more of an awesome idea.
    So out goes the thumb – hundreds of cars pass me, and I walk over a mile before a nice guy in a blue Cavalier wagon (longroof!) finally stops. I sprint up to the rolled down passenger window and am greeted by an Arctic blast of A/C that only can come from a GM vehicle. I tell him my saga, and he volunteers to drive me the rest of the way home, despite the fact that it's 2 miles past his destination. The A/C feels amazing, and I am certain that I smell like a hitchhiker.
    The other time I had to hitchhike was when the rotor inside the distributor of my CRX fell off (dad didn't tighten the set screw). The subsequent un-ignited raw fuel that was being injected into the hot catalytic converter nearly burned the car to the ground. Me and my friend were picked up by a couple of hippies in a VW bus from Minnesota. We didn't take the candy they offered us.

  12. chrystlubitshi Avatar

    I've never hitchhiked, but I've picked up a few. The last one I drove for an hour and a half in the direction he needed to go and bought him food for the next day. It cost me a total of 25 bucks and I helped him out a lot. He now has a weird story to tell people about the crazy guy driving a modded VW tdi who drove him 90 miles in Nebraska.

  13. jeepjeff Avatar

    I've only ever picked up hitcher hikers. In Truckee during the winter, a lot of hitch hiking happens. There are a lot of people all trying to get to the same places (from town to one of the resorts), those places are well beyond walking distance and many of the people starting in town don't have cars. So, lots of thumbs out. The other interesting thing is the new place where the ski industry is booming is South America, so there's a ton of people chasing winter who move up from Argentina and Chile for the season (and a handful of Brazilians).
    Anyway, I picked up one guy, and we got to talking about skiing and boarding, and stuff like that. He was an Argentinian instructor from the resort across the street. We're chatting about normal stuff, and then after a minute or two, he pauses for a moment and exclaims, "You're driving a manual!" This was well into the season (mid- to late-January probably), and everyone else who had given him rides had automatics. He'd almost stopped noticing. We spent the rest of the drive talking about cars and how much better manuals are.
    The one I'm proud of happened near the end of the season. The resort had a lighter than expected day, and the ski school only needed me for the morning, so they cut me loose after lunch. So, it's a little after 2pm, and I decided to just head home for the afternoon. At the end of the access road was a dude with his thumb out. At 2pm, I'm quite possibly the only one who is going to pass him that hour, so I pull over and pick him up. He was trying to get to the other side of town, I tell him I can get him into Truckee, but there would be more traffic down there. We get to talking (always the fun part), and eventually, it comes out that he'd stuck his thumb out in Nevada City early that morning, made it down to the resort in one or two hops and was trying to get to the memorial service for a friend (an accomplished snowboarder). We were almost to my turn off when he mentioned that. I probably asked him why he didn't say that earlier and then drove him across town. It wasn't that far, and I wasn't going to do anything for the afternoon.
    Man, I miss Truckee. That's where all my best stories are from.

    1. Guillaume Avatar

      I liked your "You're driving a manual!" part.
      It actually happend to me the exact opposite. Few years back, bought a bargain Clio automatic when I was leaving in France. Driving it back home on the lovely road along the Loire, seeing all the chateaux. Picked up a guy, tell me "It's an automatic ? but why you're not old ?" (I was in my 20's). Cause in France if you have an automatic, you either have a physical disability or are old.
      My parents (French) both drove their first automatic in their 60's, always refused before, caused of that negative image driving an automatic brings (and they are not pilots, just your average suburban middle/upper class driver).
      And teaching a senior what PRND means is kinda priceless.

      1. 1slowvw Avatar

        I was once driving a French foreign student from one city to another in eastern Canada after a business presentation down in Boston. Having gone to French high school she preferred to get a ride with me compared to the bus option. My now wife came to pick me up from our home city and we all hopped in my Saab 9-3. The exchange student was amazed, she had been in the country for about two years and it was the first time she had been in a manual since she had arrived in Canada. She said she didn't even thing they sold them here.

  14. OA5599 Avatar

    In high school, a buddy of mine used to work at a restaurant where he had a co-worker who did not live in a permanent structure or own any automotive transportation. The co-worker got a 5-gallon gas can, cut a hole in the bottom and made a "trap door" to cover it. Each morning, he would put his possessions into the can and start walking toward work. Invariably, someone would see the guy, assume his car broke down, and offer him a lift.
    I used to work in a building located next to a busy freeway. For about a two month span, every morning around 10 am after traffic had settled somewhat, a prostitute would hitchhike from the shoulder on the opposite side of the road from us. We used to make bets on how long it would take for someone to pick her up, which was seldom more than about 5 minutes.

    1. Will Avatar

      Re: gas can "briefcase." That's genius.

  15. Devin Avatar

    Not by choice, though I did get a ride from a stranger when I broke down in the middle of nowhere one day, after my car ran out of electricity (serpentine belt snapped at some point between my house and where I was going). He seemed nice, nobody was murdered or bummed.

    1. pj134 Avatar

      Yet, he's still waiting for you to show up wherever he dropped you off.
      EDIT: For bumming, not murdering.

      1. Devin Avatar

        While I'm flattered, you're just not my type.

    2. BlackIce_GTS Avatar

      That's the first time I've heard buttseks called that since grade 5. Kind of like 'nards', except somebody said that on Malcolm in the Middle once and a laughed for five minutes.

      1. HycoSpeed Avatar

        Why doesn't anyone say 'nards' anymore?

  16. Maxichamp Avatar

    I hitched a ride once, on Lanai. Here is the story:

  17. alex hofstetter Avatar
    alex hofstetter

    I'm an old man. Far older than the average here, and I have had extensive experience both hitching and picking up riders. I've been picked up by drunks, semi drivers, people who asked me to drive while they slept in the back seat, drunk semi drivers, perverts, Christians, and all sorts of folks I can't even remember. Hitched from Providence to Baltimore one weekend to see a girlfriend. Hitched back and forth from Providence to Pittsburgh on several occasions.
    I had a system. I would plot out the routes that someone might logically take to drive from where I was to where I wanted to go. Then, I'd make a series of folding horizontal signs with successive destinations on them. At the beginning, I'd show all my destinations and hope that someone from the closest to where I was going would stop. Worked once. All the way one ride. Once I got along on my trip, I'd tear off the destinations I didn't need any more and throw them away.
    Always tried to look neat and clean, too. I often would wear a jacket and tie.
    Craziest one was the time I waled out of a bar in Georgetown DC at around 10PM, quite tipsy, with a lacrosse stick in my hand, and decided I'd hitch back to McKeesport Pennsylvania. Made it just as the sun was coming up. A nice pervert picked me up about 25 miles from home and was starting to proposition me when we were less than a mile from my home. I thanked him for his interest, told him I liked only women, and got out of his car and walked the rest of the way.
    Always picked up hitchers, too, right up until about 1980. Got a couple of aggressive types that didn't like it that I wouldn't take them all the way where they wanted to go. That was it.
    Back then, it was a hippie thing, a young person thing. Probably hitched 200+ rides in my life and only the drunk driving 125 on the Pennsylvania Turnpike at 3AM scared me. And then, I was young. It really didn't scare me that much. I was happy to be going somewhere fast.

  18. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
    Peter Tanshanomi

    I've accepted rides from people who spontaneously pulled over while I was walking along the roadside, but I've never stuck my thumb out. Never had a problem.
    Back in the day, I gave a number of hickhikers rides in my pickup, but not in the cab. The deal was they either rode in the bed or kept walking. Never had a problem.

  19. JamesJamerson Avatar

    I've hitched a couple of times – never had a problem. Your usual mix of middle-aged to older gentleman, plus a young single mother (who it turns out used to hitchhike and felt sorry for me). My advice is to look nice. Don't wear your old ratty coat, and shave before you set out.
    I've picked up hitchhikers twice. The first was almost-forest gump like in his simplicity and his ability to remember everywhere he ate meals for the last 2 years. With the other we talked for 5 minutes before he told me he just got out of prison on rape charges. Apparently it was a statutory age-difference thing, but still…. that's not the sort of thing you tell a stranger giving you a ride.

  20. Irishzombieman Avatar

    I worked with a guy in Alaska who told me about this hitchiking trip he planned his first summer out of high school, from Seattle to San Fransisco via the coast highway to see some friends. Everything went great until he got dropped off in Crescent City, CA.
    "Two days!" he raged. "Two damned days I spent standing in the rain and nobody even slowed down! Screw that damned town!" He finally bought a bus ticket.
    I asked him if he knew about Pelican Bay prison. He did not.
    I told him Pelican Bay prison was located in Crescent City, that it was California's super-max prison, that no one in their right mind would pick up a hitchhiker in Crescent City.
    The look on his face. . . one I'd never seen before and really hard to describe. A mystery of years suddenly solved. Almost a minute of sheer shock and amazement.
    Then he started laughing and didn't stop for an hour. Might've been the beer.

    1. pj134 Avatar

      I think you actually witnessed elation. All those years hating that town because no one picked him up and finally he was free. I don't know, I wouldn't need beer to get giddy after something like that.

      1. Irishzombieman Avatar

        You nailed it. Exactly that.

  21. Fred Avatar

    I used to pick up hitchhikers when I was in college and grad school back in the late '70's/early 80's. My rule of thumb (pun intended) was "no pack, no sign, no ride". I figured if someone had a pack, and a sign that indicated a destination in the general direction I was headed, he (it never seemed to be a she, unfortuately) was just trying to get somewhere and not looking for trouble. It seemed to work as I never had a problem with anyone that I picked up. I don't think I've picked up a hitchhiker since the mid-'80's. Now that I'm older (and have a nicer car and credit cards in my wallet), it just doesn't seem worth the risk.
    I didn't hitchhike much myself back in the day, but in college before got a car, I once hitchhiked to visit some friends at another college and was picked up by a very stoned guy in a huge bright blue early 1970's Dodge station wagon. We had a nice mellow ride and he went out of his way to take me right to the front door of the dorm I was visting.

  22. karmatose Avatar

    Yes, I've "hitchhiked". It didn't go well. No one picked me up and I ended up walking 40KM over 8hrs to make it to an ex girlfriend's birthday party (which was over by the time I got there). Will never do it again.

  23. BobWellington Avatar

    Never done it, never will. I like to help out, but there are too many crazies these days.

    1. Vairship Avatar

      There have always been too many crazies, now you just know about them…

  24. topdeadcentre Avatar

    Long long ago in the late 70's, my family spent a year in Israel. Many people didn't have cars, and hitchhiking was very common. I'd hitch rides across the town we were staying in. Soldiers hitched rides everywhere.
    In the mid-late 1980's, I hitched rides back and forth from the Boston area to UMass Amherst and Great Barrington. It wasn't hard at all to get to UMass, as there were students going back and forth at all times, and if you looked like a student of the same sort who had a car and was driving, then a ride would be pretty easy to get. Great Barrington I only did a few times, and it was more accepted then to plonk yourself outside the tollbooths and hitch (dropoff/pickup) from outside the tollbooths only) across the state. Never had a problem.
    I haven't seen anyone hitching in Massachusetts in at least 15 years.

  25. XRSevin Avatar

    I used to hitchhike all the time in the '70s, pre-driver's license. Straight down Beach Blvd. to the pier to bodysurf. I hitchhiked all over Germany when my railpass was stolen.
    In '95 I picked up a hitchhiker was south of Flaming Gorge, Utah…I saw a sign for a lake and decided to check it out. The road turned to gravel, I pressed on until I met a guy with a gas can coming the other way, waving. I stopped, he got in, and told me he'd been camping but ran out of gas. We headed back towards the highway, made some small talk, and then he said, "You know, they found a body at the lake last week." Not what I wanted to hear from a shirtless stranger when I'm a thousand miles from home and 35 miles north of the thriving metropolis of Vernal, Utah and no one knows where I am.
    I left him at a gas station and haven't picked up a hitcher since.

  26. danleym Avatar

    Never hitchhiked, but I have been given a ride in a college's drunk taxi once. That was amusing.
    I've stopped to give a couple a ride once- their car was on the side of the road and they were maybe 50 feet away from it walking away with a gas can. It was 100 degrees out and they were older. I drove them to the nearest gas station and then drove them back, it was only a mile or so of driving total, cost me ten minutes and $0.30 in gas, but saved them a half hour or so of walking around in 100 degree temperatures. Seemed like the right thing to do. They didn't try to rob me, actually they tried to give me 20 bucks.

  27. Sjalabais Avatar

    In school I hitchhiked home a lot, because the busses left so long after school finished. I have also picked up a lot of people, much of it is boring. But I remember I once picked up an Israelin hiker deep in the Norwegian mountains. It was a rainy day and he had walked along the road for hours, very happy to be picked up. What I didn't know: The Volvo I had borrowed had a back bench soaked in gasoline because of some idiots mishap. Obviously, I had smelled it, but I'd never thought about the gasoline being inside the car proper. I still feel bad for this guy, halfway around the world, sleeping in a tent in the middle of nowhere and probably smelling gasoline for the rest of his trip…

  28. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
    Peter Tanshanomi

    Is that lead image deliberately intended to be creepy, eerie and vaguely perverse? Because it certainly is the opposite of erotic. It's as if it's harkening to my inner axe murderer. I can't imagine anyone even halfway normal choosing that overly harsh, disjointed lighting and those surreal details, then standing back and thinking "yea buddy, that's sexy!"

    1. pj134 Avatar

      The image is kind of McFarlane-esque to me. To someone obtuse or just not paying detailed attention to it, it shows some skin and that's all they need. Little touches like the lighting, the driver's face, the angle of his eye all make it darker. I think its goal was to make the viewer think about the possible directions that image can take and the repercussions that will be faced because of them.
      In my experience, McFarlane captures that "here's the light, but the story is in the dark" better than most.

      1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
        Peter Tanshanomi

        Is McFarlane an artist? Not someone I am familiar with.
        My overwhelming reaction is that it's a surreal melding of Art Frahm and Thomas Hart Benton.
        Evidently this is actually by some Russian artist, which doesn't surprise me.

        1. pj134 Avatar

          I can definitely see where you're coming from.
          McFarlane is the guy behind Spawn. Here's a pretty good example of his works in rapid succession.
          [youtube aDaOgu2CQtI http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aDaOgu2CQtI youtube]

        2. pj134 Avatar

          And another… Probably not so much the composition, just the feel of it.
          [youtube jRGrNDV2mKc http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jRGrNDV2mKc youtube]

    2. BlackIce_GTS Avatar

      I would imagine in a less subversively/strangely executed version of this picture, all the photos posted in the cab… maybe wouldn't be there, but also would all be of the girly-pinup variety. There's a few girls, a nondescript middle aged dude, and another guy wearing what appears to be a military uniform. And an east European dictator stuck to the windshield.

  29. MrHowser Avatar

    I've got a few of these.
    The best one is the most recent. My dad and I were hauling butt from Boise to Pendleton to pick up my dead Civic on a dolly. About ten miles out of Baker City, there's an Explorer on the side of the road, and a tall guy with long hair and a beard with his thumb out. Now, Baker is the only town of consequence for 50 miles in any direction, and it's July, so he's gonna have an unpleasant walk. I pulled over and Dad hopped out, and we let the guy in the backseat of the Ram.
    The guy was born and raised in Hawaii, and is a total beach bum – bro, this, dude that, etc. He was one of the most chill people I've ever met. He was trying to get to Bend – his girlfriend had gone into labor early, and he wanted to be there for his son's birth. His rig had run out of electricity, and he needed to get a new battery. As we were going to be back through the area in a few hours, Honda in tow, I told him to find a place I could reach him and I'd call when we were headed east through town again.
    We picked him up at the CarQuest, dropped him back at the Explorer, and headed on down the road. My dad said that he was proud that I'd stop and help a stranger in need. I said "Well, when he looks that much like Jesus, how could I leave him on the side of the road?"
    A few years ago, we left my Audi in Portland when we moved to Arizona, because we were short a driver. I flew back up around the time Burning Man was going on, and decided to post on Craigslist rideshare to help pay for the gas. My wife and friends all thought I was nuts, but the dude who answered the post just wanted a ride to Sacramento, to go hiking at Yosemite. I let him drive halfway there, because I'd be driving all the way to Phoenix alone once I dropped him off. He made hummus and turkey wraps, which were actually really good travel food.
    Another one, I stopped to help a couple old ladies and an old gentleman with a flat tire on the side of I-10 in Phoenix. They were trying to get to a doctor's appointment, but their spare was flat too. I crammed the ladies in the cab of my Comanche and took them to the hospital, while the guy stayed to wait for AAA.

  30. Roberto G. Avatar
    Roberto G.

    I'll never forget that only time in my life that I picked two hitchhiking girls. Two blonde, cute, German teens that stopped me at the bar of a highway rest stop. I was with a Company car and was not allowed to pick passengers, but they were not on a curbside… they were looking at me in the eyes and they were so cute…
    Then I said yes. it was full summer and very hot, so we were traveling with the open windows (no AC for the poor me, in those times) and I was enjoying the company and the conversation… all well and nice, till the moment a VERY nasty smell arrived to my nostrils: I can only describe it as the smell of a rotten hobo, multiplied per ten!
    Something so strong that almost made me puke. And that smell was coming from the two cute ladies. I swear to God that if in the beginning I was getting some romantic ideas, they disappeared immediately. Afterwards, it took two days of wide opened windows traveling and a full bottle of deodorant, to remove the smell from the car!
    Some time later, a lady friend of mine confirmed that the trick of not washing themselves as long as they're on the road, was a well known stint for all the backpacking ladies of those times. That to prevent any unwanted sexual advances. I can confirm that at least with me, it worked.

  31. fhrblig Avatar

    Ha, yes.
    Back in December of 1998, I had just bought a 1988 Chevy Sprint for $1200. I'd previously had a 1987 Sprint that I loved, so when I found this one I jumped on it. They were getting rare on the roads even then. This one, hilariously, was LOADED. I mean, it had A/C and (aftermarket) cruise control even! It still had manual windows, locks, and a 5-speed manual transmission.
    I decided to drive it down to Alamosa (in southern Colorado) to visit my parents for Christmas, and it made the trip in decent shape. I did have to pull over a few times on La Veta Pass to let traffic go by, but that's how it is traveling in the mountains when you only have 48 bhp under your right foot. The visit was great, and the day after Christmas I loaded everything up to head back. I checked the oil before I headed out of town, and was on my way. I go through Walsenburg, and get back onto I-25 to head north to Denver. I'd like to take a moment to emphasize that the oil light NEVER once came on. That should be a clue to where this story is headed.
    About 10 miles north of Walsenburg, I'm climbing a hill, going about 75 MPH. I crest the hill and start down it, and I feel some vibrating. It quickly gets stronger and stronger, and then (without a loud noise or anything) the engine dies, and all the dash lights are on. Bringing a dead car to a stop while it is going 75 MPH is not something I ever want to do again, the clenching was extreme. I stop, and I do see some smoke from the hood, and it smells like burning oil. I open the hood, but I'm not seeing much, no obvious leaks, and the smoke is just sort of ambient. It didn't seem to be coming from a specific area, it was just there. I tried to restart it, but it sounded like when you accidentally drop a butter knife in the garbage disposal and turn it on. Not pretty.
    Now, this was before I ever had a cell phone. I'm 10 miles away from the nearest town, and it's 3 PM on the day after Christmas. I start walking, since 10 miles isn't that terrible and I wanted to try to get to town before dark. I cross the mostly empty freeway, and I'm headed south. A car passes me, and I realize, "Duh. I could totally hitchhike." It actually hadn't occurred to me that that was an option open to me. Problem is, to be able to hitchhike successfully, there kind of has to be other cars on the road.
    I make it about a mile when I hear the sound of a car approaching. I turn around and stick my thumb out, and a guy driving a white Geo Tracker with New Mexico plates drives past, then starts to pull over. I run up to him, he asks me where I need to go, and I tell him I'm just trying to get back to Walsenburg. He says, "Hop in." While he is driving me there, I notice he's accelerating kind of slowly. He then mentions that he's had some engine problems, and it's currently running on 3 cylinders. We laughed about that, both of us trying to drive broken rebadged Suzukis home.
    He dropped me off at a gas station in town, and I call my parents to let them know that I'm ok and that they didn't need to come get me, I would just figure a way back to Denver and stay the night if I had to. I decided to go ahead and see if I could locate a tow truck that wouldn't gouge me or take forever, though I expected to not have any luck. I was in the middle of a tiny town on Saturday, and it also happened to be the day after Christmas. No chance, right? Surprise! First one I called said "I'll pick you up in 5 minutes!" He takes me to the car, and has me try to start it while the hood is up. Same thumbtacks-in-a-blender noises as before. He chains it up and brings it to his shop. I let him know it'll have to stay there until my stepdad could come and get it the next Monday and tow it back to their house. I managed to get a friend of mine in Denver to come and pick me up, and we go back.
    That Monday, the tow truck driver calls me back and says he suspects he may have found the problem. There was about a 50-cent-piece sized chunk of the engine block just gone. Apparently, there was NO oil in it. I still have no idea how that happened. I checked the oil before I left and it was full, and the oil light never came on. I lucked out, though, as my stepdad managed to find a used Sprint engine in the valley for only $500, and he was nice enough to put it in for me.
    I never did even catch the guy's name who gave me the ride, but in case by some weird twist of fate he's reading this I'd like to say thanks… and did you ever make it back to Santa Fe?

  32. BlackIce_GTS Avatar

    75% of the way home from buying my reasonably-terrible '84 Supra, the gnome in my left rear tire decided he'd had enough, and blasted his way out with a shotgun.
    (this is my reconstruction of the events, he was long gone by the time I pulled over and had a look. It might have been a goblin with a very small directed explosive charge).
    I found that while my car had a full size spare in quite good condition, it had no jack*. This wasn't before everyone had cell phones, but it was before I had one, so it was time to walk.
    Some time further down the highway, somebody pulled over to give me a ride. However, between me and where they stopped was a short bridge across a creek, which was not designed to accommodate pedestrians in any way. I didn't feel like I could get across without getting my shoulder taken off by a truck's wing mirror**, so I crossed over the median to the walker-friendlier bridge used by a parallel road. It was just 10-15 meters away, but they got tired of waiting out my self-preservative antics and took off.
    Yes the first line of this story was the highlight, sorry if you read the rest.
    *I later grabbed the one out of my mom's first generation Camry before she junked it, both cars had the same very-precisely-engineered jack bracket in a hidden compartment behind the rear wheel well.
    **I'm not the only one who assumes cars either can't see or give zero shits about me while I'm walking, right?
    Answer to tomorrow's question if Rob is feeling lazy:
    I've never picked up a hitch hiker, technically. I saw a guy in a park trying to get his car started. I tried to give him a jump start but it didn't work, so I gave him a ride to a pay phone instead.
    Another time I saw a girl trying to catch a ride on an on ramp. She was cute in a vegan-eco-hippie sort of way, but I didn't stop because I'm a jerk and/or not a sleaze or whatever. Fifty meters further down the on ramp crouched on the other side of the Jersey barrier was a dreadlocked vegan-eco-hippie looking guy with two backpacks and two large dogs. Take that, every other time I've been suckered by my own heterosexuality!

  33. Will Avatar

    Hitchhiking is common in Mongolia, even in the national capitol. Contribute gas money. A decade ago, a 2 liter soda pop was good for a countryside ride.

  34. webpage Avatar

    Humana People to People generates the objective to advance under-developed nations around the world through presenting education to primary
    school tutors and artisans, helping to recommend health
    and deliver knowledge about HIV and to help out with additional improving areas agriculture.
    Humana People to People runs numerous different plans and duties
    around poor regions of countries around the world. By working together with the nearby folks and also their government, there’re able to support individuals
    who’re in need of help with their non-profit assistance institutions.
    China is one kind of many nations this non-profit
    institution visits to deal with the driving problems which they deal with now.
    The Humana People to People Activity works jointly with
    The Federation for Organizations from the Yunnan area in China.
    This work first commenced in 2005 and goes on over
    today. The Humana People to People Association Work
    Department from the Yunnan Province functions to improve finances to help run a
    variety of plans all through the region around poor locations.
    Some activities that Humana People to People attempts to
    take to the area of China consist of professional coaching centers in which there’re able
    to expand their education and learning, preparing them to get work opportunities, providing information on infected sicknesses and many more.