School Bus to Vancouver
Staying with TJ in Kamloops was a good time, we relaxed a lot, and spent the better part of one of the days on her university campus messing around while she was in class. After three nights we were set on hitching to Vancouver.
TJ dropped us off at the truck top on the edge of town, Walter and Mandie waited at the onramp for rides while I walked on the highway itself ahead of them. Shortly after passing a sign reading "No Hitchhiking, Pick Up is Illegal", I was picked up by a 56 year old in a pickup truck, a great grandfather as of a few days ago. He worked safety and rescue for mining companies, he enjoyed life. He drove me about an hour down the road to Cache Creek, from there I started walking and thumbing as cars came.
I walked for quite a while, it seems most of the traffic was turning off in a town just ahead, so I kept walking until I was past that town and threw my bag down, standing stationary thumbing the occasional cars that would pass. I saw a custom school bus roll past me, I dreamed of having a sweet ride like that, as I watched it roll by, it slowed and pulled over 100 yards down the road. Awesome, I ran for it, arriving at the opening school bus door almost out of breath.
Inside were two young guys, one probably my age and the other 18. They'd gutted the bus and set up bunk beds, tables, thrown some couches in there, even a big screen TV and a stove were inside. They said they were headed just south of Vancouver, their plans were loose, they were just tooling around Canada without any set destinations. Before long I had a beer in my hand from the cooler, we inched down the highway towards Vancouver, they liked driving slow to get better gas mileage, I liked drinking beer in a school bus looking out on rivers, mountains, and lakes.
They dropped me off on the side of the highway about 70km from Vancouver hours later. The traffic was heavy and steady, I walked backwards watching the traffic with my thumb out. I found a bottle of rum on the side of the road, still half full, I pocketed it for later. A pickup truck pulled into the shoulder and I ran to it, I think he stopped just to look at directions, not for me, but had no problem with me hopping in. He only took me a couple exits down and had to head towards the airport where he planned to go to a collectible car convention, he was towing a trailer in anticipation of buying one for his own collection.
My next ride was a woman and her son in a truck, they took me another 20km and dropped off on the side of the highway again. I walked longer this time, the traffic was still heavy and steady, no one was stopping and the sun was actually going down at this point. I finally sensed headlights pulling in behind me, I turned to see what ride I'd be scoring just to discover it was actually a cop car with his lights flashing.
He rolled the passenger side window down, I stuck my head in and said hi to my first Canadian cop. He told me hitchhiking was illegal, he checked my license, minutes later I was in the back of the car joking around with him as he gave me a ride right into Vancouver. He dropped me off at McDonalds where I called Patricia, a couchsurfer living in Vancouver who I met in Alaska at the collective. Walter and Mandie had already got to town, I found out where they were and hopped a bus to Broadway and Commercial.
After dropping my stuff off at her place, we were headed to a random party in town another surfer was hosting. I drank the rum I'd found earlier and met some interesting folks, everyone was having a good relaxing time, I was enjoying snacking on all the food there, I'd forgotten to eat all day. We took the long way walking home and got in pretty late, but once there Patricia made my one of the better sandwiches I've ever eaten, and we all fell asleep on our respective beds, futons, and sections of the floor.
The vibe in Vancouver's a good one, there's still a lot to explore. I haven't a plan as to where I'll spend each night or how long I'll stay in town, but I'm up for staying for a little while. Good times a rolling.