Hitching to Oceanside to see my Brother

I woke up early just outside Phoenix at my friend Larry's place, Keith woke up around the same time and we waited for Molly to arrive. Molly picked us up, her mom was driving, we were heading to a rendezvous spot near the freeway where Keith and Molly would be meeting with a guy for a rideshare to the Joshua Tree music festival. At the time I wasn't sure if I'd be able to ride with them or hitchhike straight away, I was heading past Joshua Tree towards Oceanside, CA to see my brother.

As it turned out, there was room for me in the car, we all squeezed in and started west. They dropped me off in Indio before turning off for Joshua Tree, I said my goodbyes to them, they were off for festival good times. I seemed to have a good deal of walking ahead of me, the road towards Oceanside started through Indio, regular street blocks not very suitable for hitchhiking.

After a decent stint of walking I came up on a group waiting by a bus stop who asked where I was going. They pointed behind them and told me that the church would give me a local bus ticket, and that the bus would go as far as the turn off to the pass, saving me miles of walking. The church, or whatever it was, seemed like a waiting room to a strip mall dentist. They had me fill out a good amount of paper work, then handed me three bus tickets. There was also a table full of food that seemed free, I grabbed a box of pasta on my way out.

I took the bus a ways and started walking once at the turn off, a red SUV picked me up and took me a little ways up near a visitor center and dropped me off at a pull out, he said walking any further past that would be foolish since it was a narrow road twisting up the mountain. I threw my bag down and started thumbing the passing cars.

A car pulled into the parking lot along side another car that had been there all along. After a few minutes it rolled up to me, there were two girls inside, one told me her husband was driving the other car and he'd give me a ride over the pass. He rolled up just after and I hopped in, he had a Nathans hot dog for me, an extra from wherever he'd just gotten them.

He had a restaurant in the small town we were heading to, he'd just been around Indio picking up supplies. We talked rattlesnakes and his restaurant while he sped very quickly around the sharp turns. He dropped me off outside his roadside cafe about an hour later, offering that I come in for a drink and whatnot if I wasn't able to get a ride after a while. I thanked him and he drove down the lot towards his place.

I stood with my thumb out for a bit, a car honked at me heading in the opposite direction, towards Indio, I recognized the car, it turned around and headed back for me. I walked up to the car, it was Kirby, he was heading for Joshua Tree as well. We laughed for a minute and then he got back on the road, I got back to thumbing.

Another red SUV picked me up, taking me as far as the next turn in the road, then a woman picked me up from there and rode me to Temecula while telling me about her home schooled son who recently joined the army. I waited at the ramp there until a van with a couple guys picked me up, they were heading to Escondido, home of Stone Brewing. They dropped me off before there on the road that lead towards Oceanside, they gave me a tuna fish sandwich with chunks of apple in it one of their wives had made, the apples were a nice touch, genius I thought.

I walked down the ramp from the side of the freeway where they dropped me off, first standing in the shade of a tree to finish my sandwich. I was picked up just down the road by a guy with a surfboard he was bringing to a friend. He dropped me off at a gas station offering to drive me a bit further once he dropped the surfboard off, I told him I'd just keep hitching, figuring I could get a ride quicker rather than waiting how ever long it would take him.

I got to walking down the narrow shoulder of the road, eventually staying put in a place where cars could actually pull over. A friendly guy gave me a ride a little further and even gave me a handful of bills as I jumped out at a red light, $16, I was really close to my brother's house by this point.

My final ride was in a van designed to haul wheelchairs around, it was the guys job to transport people around, he said he could fit 5 or 6 wheelchairs in there. I called my brother then and he came and scooped me up, we headed back to his place. I threw some laundry in and played video games with him for a while, eventually he realized he had to go to a paddle party, a tradition among Marines, then he was gone for the night. I relaxed and eventually passed out, it had been a long day with an early start.

We started the next day with a great IHOP breakfast. Later we went to the theater, Iron Man 2, then went to a restaurant he likes where I had some great pineapple duck curry. We relaxed at his place a while until night when his girlfriend came over, the three of us headed for town. We went to a place called Breakwater where we had a couple good beers, including one called Walkabout Stout. Next was place called Miso Harney where we had Alesmith Brown ales and I had a sushi concoction they called monkey brains, tasty stuff. We ended our night at a packed place with slow service, but had a couple car bombs there and some beer before heading home.

The next day I thought about where to go next. Molly and company would be finishing up with the Joshua Tree festival and would want to meet up, but I wasn't sure where, she got in touch with me talking about San Diego. I relaxed the day away, watching the basketball game at one point, later enjoying some food with my brother at the nearby Italian place. I headed to sleep eventually, my brother would be working the next week in Coronado, so he'd be able to drop me off in San Diego in the morning for me to await the next adventure.

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