Hitching from Indiana to Jackson Hole, "How 'bout some sex?"
I got a ride quickly from a truck driver, driving his regular car at the moment, another quick ride after that, then a third short ride a little further. A cowboy picked me up next, he said he owner 97 horses and 36 bulls, he was on his way to pick up 15 more bulls. A girl on route to Lafayette gave me my next ride up to interstate 74. From there a mumbling Mexican got me a bit further, then a ride with a guy with some much needed air conditioning.
Another short ride after that, I was moving along pretty steady. A guy fresh out of prison scooped me up next and we reached speeds of 150 mph. Next was a guy with a gruff voice who gave me ice water, he got me past Springfield. A few constructions guys scooped me up there, filling me with mountain dew and stories.
I stopped for a bite at the Wendy's where they dropped me off, less than half an hour later I got picked up by a woman who'd seen me eating in there. She unfortunately got me off course by a good ways when she took me up to Quincy while I wasn't paying great attention, it was now well dark.
Luckily I got a ride back to the road I was meant to be on my an independent mailman type, his car had gas and brakes on my side as well, he also gave driving lessons. I was now just barely into Missouri, I made camp in the bushes by the noisy road for the night.
I walked a bit in the early morning until a volunteer fireman picked me up. That was a short ride, but next I was picked up by a guy in a red convertible on route to Kansas City. We cruised in the open air and eventually I hopped out before he turned south to the city. An older man gave me a short ride next telling me about his house in the area, then a cute girl picked me up with her two kids in the backseat. I went with her to drop them off in town, then she got be back to the main road further up.
I walked for a long ways along the freeway, a couple hours I'd say, finally a cop pulled over to talk to me. "Are you OK?", he asked me. I told him I was good, hitchhiking to Wyoming. "Hitchhiking and walking is perfectly legal here he said, we just got several calls from drivers so I had to drop in on you", I was glad to hear that from him.
"Do you want a ride to a gas station to get some water or something?", he asked, so I agreed. I figured it would be a gas station just up the road, but he ended up taking me to one about a mile or so off the main road, so I had to walk the ways back after filling up on water.
I walked for a while longer under the brutal sun until finally a car pulled into the shoulder ahead. I happily ran up ahead to the car and ducked my head down to the rolled down passenger side window to see the driver inside.
The big round guy looked over at me and in a high pitched squeak of a southern accent he said, "How 'bout some sex?"
Ah, I let out a sigh that had been reserved for relief and now was instead for dismay. "No", I let out.
"No way?", he countered.
"No", and I walked away and let him drive off. I'd been getting beaten by the sun and walking with pack for hours and this was the only sort of potential ride I could come up with, that and the cop who'd driven me off course mistakenly.
My luck turned around quickly and sharply, along came Tom. He picked me up in his truck, on route to Lincoln Nebraska. He was in the business of golf landscaping, quite successfully and happily so. I was happy as could be, enjoying the air conditioning and the long ride after the long walk. He'd done quite a bit of traveling himself, for work and otherwise. Conversation was good, he also got us a couple sub sandwiches along the way.
Before reaching Lincoln he offered to let me stay with him and his family in Lincoln for the night, I happily accepted. He had some kids from high school age and up. His son and wife didn't flinch at the sight of a hitchhiker being brought back home. He also told me about his much older mom who, despite her age, was hiking high summits along the world, the likes of which most people will never do, at any age or condition.
I enjoyed the night sharing my stories and hearing his and his families, sipping beers and sleeping in a nice bed for the night.
We got up very early the next morning, he let me make up some sandwiches and then drove me west of the city to the freeway for a jump start on the day. I thanked him and took down his information, it was an amazing thing that happened there.
I got a ride almost immediately, and another great one. This guy was heading to California, a very long ways. All of the sudden it seemed possible to get to Jackson before nightfall. We cruised and cruised, he even got us burgers along the way. After a good long day on the road we hit Rock Springs in Wyoming where I hopped out, that was my turn up to Jackson.
Still with daylight left I was determined to reached Jackson by night. I got a 30 mile ride from a local guy, then kept walking, wide open spaces with mountains far in the distance at this point. Then I got the great ride, an RV with two finance guys from Denver heading up to Jackson, not only that, but towards Teton Village where my mom was staying. Beer, a excellent bonus, flowed from the fridge in the back as we talked and cruised a few hours on up towards the Tetons.
They pulled into a campground just less than ten miles from where my mom was staying, still another twenty minutes of usable daylight to spare. I happily marched down the road, thumb out to traffic looking for that final ride. A car pulled into the should 30 or 40 yards ahead, now just barely dark. A woman popped out of the passenger seat and screamed in joy with her hands up. Someone was really excited to pick me up I figured, I smiled and ran up towards the car quickly realizing why this woman was so happy. It was my mom.
Hugs and the rest of it, I hopped in and was introduced to her new boyfriend and we cruised up to the village. I'd made it to Jackson! It's a place I still consider one of the most beautiful in the world, I was looking forward to relaxing, hiking and soaking in the mountain air for a while.
July 31, 2012 to August 2, 2012