Not the only one going to Tallahassee

I woke up in Jacksonville, showered, then walked a ways to the freeway munching on a block of cheese with thoughts of New Orleans, although Tallahassee was my next immediate destination. Minutes after getting to the on ramp where I began thumbing cars, a traveling girl came wandering up my way with a cardboard sign that said "Tallahassee". She was around my age, tattooed red dots went across her face from one ear to the other crossing her nose, her pack was light and her story was she'd been on the road five years hopping trains and mostly staying south. She asked if she could hitch with me, I said yes, and sure enough, a girl driving a mustang stopped within just a minute.

That ride only took us about 15 miles to a gas station, but outside of Jacksonville. I sat with the traveling girl at the truck stop for a little while as she held her sign up to passing truckers, she told me stories of her acid trip from the night before, drinking stories, train hopping and rescuing a girl from a potential truckstop hooker lifestyle.

I was done sitting around and figured she may have better luck on her own anyhow, so I parted ways and walked to the onramp, and up on to the freeway. I walked a decent distance down the freeway occasionally thumbing cars, sometimes just walking. After a bit I saw a cop parked down the way in the left shoulder, I assumed looking for speeders, I got closer and closer until I passed him, somewhat surprised he wasn't going to question me. Maybe he just didn't see me at first, or maybe he got bored, but more than 10 minutes after I passed him he came driving over behind me and got out to question me.

He radioed in my drivers license number and waited for the clear, informed me I couldn't walk on the freeway, then gave me a ride a up the road to on ramp where I could wait for a ride, it seemed like a good spot actually. It took quite a while though before getting a ride, close to a couple hours. In this time he waited on the ramp busting truckers mostly, I don't think for speeding, I'm not sure what he was stopping them for. It was a trucker who stopped for me, a guy who used to be a mechanic in the army, Germany being his favorite place to have worked in.

He turned off on I-75 and let me out, about the halfway point from Jacksonville to Tallahassee. The onramp I found myself on was desolate, leaving me with little choice than to walk down the shoulder of the freeway again. A car stopped for me after a bit of walking, luckily before another cop did, as there were lots on the road. It was a younger couple, my "nice backpack" was part of the reason they decided to trust me and pick me up, they were going all the way to Pensacola.

They'd been together a little while, meeting at something like a halfway house after kicking a meth habit, this particular morning they woke up and decided they wanted to go to either to the Keys of Pensacola in search of work or otherwise good times, Pensacola was the choice. Once in Tallahassee they drove the extra few miles off the freeway to drop me off directly at the house I was going to be staying at, that of a couchsurfing host named Karla I'd got in touch with a day or so ago.

Karla's smiling face awaited me at the door, we met and talked for a couple hours, she cooked an incredible curry meal as well. We laughed through what I think was the state of the union, mostly about the amounts of applause going on, eventually she went to sleep and I soon did the same on the couch in the living room of her clean Tallahassee house.

She dropped me off at a coffee shop on her way to work in the morning, I relaxed there for a bit catching up on things before setting out down the road on foot to explore the town. I passed through the university campus a ways down the road, stopped at another local coffee spot a while for a bagel, then wandered to a bench where I watched the wind blow through blades of grass for a while. From there I found a park, a tree caught my eye that looked a bit like an upside down tripod at the bottom, a perfect seat I took advantage of for a rest a while.

Karla picked me up later when she was off work, we met up with a friend of hers at a mexican place for food and a beer. Her friend became interested in my style of living, as she'd been contemplating something along the lines of living out of a car to travel for a bit in the not-so-far future. I shared some advice and fed off her excitement, I could see her dream becoming easily obtainable in her mind.

We had an easy going night and went to sleep relatively early, the morning would have me continuing on towards New Orleans with one more stop beforehand, Alabama.