Through Adelaide Towards the Outback - Australian Hitchhiking Loop (Part 3)
Ben dropped me off on the road after having had a great adventure with him and friends the day before when he'd picked me up hitchhiking, now I was continuing on my loop, next up was Adelaide. I meandered down the long long road thumbing the few cars that passed, still buzzing from the night before, full of life and eased with a gentle hangover.
A guy towing a boat gave me a lift a short way up the road telling me about how much he hated cats, he was happy to hear that a couple nights back I'd watched one run in front of the car I was in getting a good smash.
I continued my walk up the road, enjoying the sun and the wide open space all around me. Two girls pulled over with their dog in the back, Bron and Liv were their names, on their way to Adelaide where they were roommates, Patches was the dog. Bron was the traveler of the two, a free spirit and the spark behind pulling over to pick me up. She turned back from the passenger seat talking to me with behind big sun glasses and a constant smile, seemingly inspired by her own memories that I was conjuring up just by being a traveler in front of her.
Liv was a bit more reserved, openly afraid of hitchhiking strangers and the trusting traveling lifestyle. All this even though she'd excitedly put her own foot on the brake to pull over and pick me up, she'd never actually seen a hitchhiker before. She said Patches would attack me if I was a badie, and he didn't seem too concerned with me, so I must be ok.
We cruised along, stopping to walk with Patches in the park and stretch the legs. Later down the road we stopped again, beforehand I'd mentioned I may opt to get out somewhere before the city since we'd be getting in around dark and I had nowhere to stay, so I may be better off sticking to the countryside to camp the night. I sat in the backseat as we were getting ready to continue on, the two of them quietly whispered across the top of the car to each other before getting in, I was able to make out Liv say, "I wouldn't feel comfortable with that", I was able to guess that Bron was asking her if they could just put me up for the night and Liv wasn't having it, but as always I was fine with camping.
They hopped back in and we kept cruising, soon getting closer to the city and got stuck in some pretty slow traffic. Liv got extremely irritated, admitting that patience is not a trait she possesses, working herself into a delirium with a nervous big angry smile, lighting a cigarette on Bron's suggestion. In the midst of this, as the traffic began to near it's end, she looked back at me, "If you stay at our place tonight you're not gonna go murdering or raping us or anything?", she smiled at the same time taking in a deep breath with an eye back on the traffic.
"That would be awesome, to stay with you guys, I'm not much into the raping murdering scene, we should be all good there", with this assurance Bron looked back at me with a smile that represents a wink, travel magic as usual.
We got to their place and were quickly out the door again with hunger on the mind, we tried one place known for a cheap and cheerful menu, it was closed, so then on to a hotel restaurant. They shouted me a burger and a Coopers Pale Ale, a nice big meal and first really good beer in the country.
We landed back in their house, a friend came over as well as their other roommate, we sat out back on the porch passing a joint, sipping coffee and swapping some stories before heading to bed.
I had a coffee and a shower in the morning before heading out, saying bye and thanks and catching the train to downtown Adelaide. I marched around quickly exploring, knowing that I had two hours on my ticket and could use it again without paying anymore to get further north. In this couple hours I peeked through the town center and a ways from there found a hotel pub serving just Coopers beer. They had an aged stout on cask, the obvious choice, I enjoyed a glass in the empty pub, even the bartender disappeared after setting my glass down.
I made my way back to the train with a good feeling about Adelaide, it seemed like a quiet city with some character, a festival destination I later found out as well. I made the train before my ticket expired, saving myself a couple more bucks and taking it as far north and close to the motorway as I could. I hopped off and started heading towards the main road which was still a couple kilometers away.
A car stopped and picked me up while I was walking, a nice surprise being that I was throwing my thumb out and hadn't been thinking I'd get a ride until I made it to the motorway. The guy said he just figured I was a hitchhiker being that I had the big pack and all and that he'd take me up to the motorway to a good spot up the road.
Before he dropped me off he had a favor, "Would you do me a favor? You have an American accent, I want to make a call to this sheila and all you have to say is 'Gee Debbie, you sure have nice tits', she'll never know who it is, it'll be perfect!", a simple favor in return for the good ride, I agreed. We stopped at a gas station where he dialed the number on a payphone, saying we were calling her work and I'd need to talk to the receptionist first.
"Hi, Can I talk to Debbie", I told her.
"Yes, may I ask who's calling"
"Jack", I said.
"Just a moment", and in a moment Debbie was on the line.
"Gee Debbie, you sure have nice tits", I delivered the line as instructed, the guy smiled.
Debbie paused, we all did, "Who is this?", she didn't sound particularly happy. I sort of looked at the guy, then the phone, then hung it up. He was happy, I grabbed my pack and we parted ways from there.
I walked down the road thinking about busty Debbie scratching her head in an office somewhere, distracted from her work wondering who had just called her and why. I wondered who the man was, a boyfriend maybe, maybe he dreamed he was, I didn't know.
I got my next ride, a German woman who said the name of the town she was heading, I didn't know the town but figured she was heading the right way. This soon proved wrong as she turned off the motorway forking on to another. We spent the next twenty minutes cruising around neighborhoods getting lost as she tried to get me back on track, but neither of us really knew the right way, but I was pretty certain that her idea of the right way was wrong, soon I was dropped at a petrol station far from the road I needed to be at. I got myself oriented and realized I had several kilometers of walking along city roads with no shoulder, so no where for cars to pull over, so the long walk was all but certain. Debbie must have been thinking about karma in that office of hers.
After an hour or two I was back to the main road, just about the same spot where the German woman had picked me up, now much later in the day. I was picked up fairly quickly though, a girl named Camile with a tiny dog. She was a skier and traveled the world with that as her motivation. At one point she stopped and got us some chips (fries), a welcome treat for my empty stomach.
A cop stopped us at a checkpoint, giving her a breathalyzer, a common practice in the country. She passed and we rolled on, the sunset a deep red, I had my eyes locked on the ruby sky to our right as we continued. Soon we reached the town where she lived, Port Piere, she took me to a park she said I could probably camp in without a problem.
After she drove off I walked around the park. It seemed there may have been a place or two to tuck away, but it was early still despite the darkness, I decided I'd keep walking. Down the road on foot a way I was picked up again, a guy in his pickup truck. He took me just up several kilometers to the next petrol station and dropped me off. I kept walking from there, into the darkness for a few kilometers, headlights passing me without any slowing in them.
At last I decided to call it a night and tucked away behind some bush off the road. I was at the edge of things now, the next day I'd be getting into the outback, continuing my mission through the country and back to Mandie's forest.