Couchsurfing Settled, Group Hitchhike through Bakersfield to Vegas
I stayed at BaseCamp, Couchsurfing's headquarters in Berkeley, for a few more nights after Halloween night. By the end it was decided I wouldn't be working for Couchsurfing directly, but we left it open for Couchsurfing and Trip Hopping to potentially work together in the future with some specific ideas.
The night before I planned to hitchhike to Vegas with Mandie, things changed a bit. I went on to the porch to find her with Kelly and Charish, two girls volunteering for Couchsurfing, they were none too happy with their situations working and living here. The organization and communication amongst CS employees and volunteers is not the best, they had their own complaints and concerns, they were airing them out. "Why not come to Vegas?" was my thought, and they were on board.
In the morning we were good to go, Kelly wasn't ready in time, but had found a cheap plane ticket and planned to fly, so Charish, Mandie and I got a ride to the I-5 to start hitching. Vegas is a 9 hour drive from Berkeley, so we were aiming for Bakersfield for the first night where we could stay with my friend Kindra for the night.
We never split up, we just hitched as three, we got a short ride to a place called Patterson, and then got a longer ride from Joe the Drummer, just a cool guy who pulled up with a Corona in his lap, "Don't mind the beer do ya?", not at all. He had a blunt ready to go, and took us as far as he was going.
Our next ride was a trucker, a generous guy headed to San Diego. We traded taking turns in the back and catching some Zs, he bought us food at one of the truck stops where he took a shower. He decided to go out of his way a pinch and take us directly to Bakersfield, we jumped out of the truck and headed to the bar closest. We had drinks and watched Obama be elected president while we waited for Kindra to get off work, she met us there while McCain admitted defeat.
We had some pizza, beer and wine with Kindra back at the place catching up. Kindra made us a great breakfast in the morning, I watched her dog Igby kick the soccer ball around a bit and we all hopped in the car. We picked up Mandie phone at the bar she'd forgot, then Kindra dropped us at the on ramp headed east to Vegas.
It took a little while until our thumbs brought in a ride, while we waited a car broke down and we helped push it to the gas station, and finally a truck headed through Barstow stopped. We piled in and plowed down the road, I caught an intermittent nap on the bed in the back. He dropped us in Barstow, we stopped at the starbucks there and hit the on ramp again, the sun was on the downturn. We weren't having much luck, and headed down to the freeway itself, before long a car was pulling into the shoulder and we ran for it.
Tommy was the driver, Eric the passenger, the three of us hitchhikers in the back barrelling towards Las Vegas where they lived and we wanted to be. Tommy used to be in the military and was now in real estate, he offered to buy us a buffet dinner when we arrived, he was awesome. We rolled into Vegas, my sixth time, and went into the South Point casino where he first led us to the bar and bought us drinks. We then went to the great buffet there, we were shortly joined by Kelly who'd flown in, Nick who just moved to Vegas, and Elvire, a short term CS volunteer we'd met in Alaska.
After we feasted and parted ways with Tommy, Elvire decided to buy a room, we already had a couchsurfer who was to pick us up after she got off work. We hung out in the casino playing the penny slots getting free drinks until Linsey called, our couchsurfing host. We met her at the door and the 4 of us piled in her car and headed to her place.
Once there we settled in, she asked if we minded that she smoked a little before sleep, so I offered up my jar of greatness, we all smoked and the other girls faded into their sleeping bags, Linsey and I sat talking and keeping them awake as our conversation tilted towards the outer reaches of the universe until we hit the wall of space, wondering where it all ends, wondering who has $100 million to afford a commercial flight to the moon, things that two high strangers-no-more would talk about at 3 in the morning.
The girls went to the Grand Canyon today in a rent a car, I figured I'd be rolling by it again soon and passed, slept in. Linsey went to work and dropped me at the UNLV campus where I write this. I'll be in Vegas about a week seeing various people living here and passing through, I'm sure my fair share of partying and gambling is coming. Some of my money from trimming will be going towards getting my brother flown in for the christmas holiday, some may go to a camera to replace the one lost on the northern california roads. Vegas, round 6, go!