Hippie Christmas in Madison Wisconsin

The closer Nick and I got to Madison, the heavier the rain, but it was a nice drive down coming from our trip in Michigan. We navigated our way to Kendra's house, a couchsurfing host I'd contacted earlier. She was at her place with her roommate Kate and another friend.

After some talking I was hopping in the car with Nick and Kate, first taking her to make a shady transaction - she was buying what was surely a stolen iPod. Nick then dropped me off at a coffee shop, he was off to drop Kate back off at the apartment and then continue on to Illinois and beyond.

I caught up on things in the coffee shop and later headed back to the apartment. Kendra and Kate came back from work, we talked hitchhiking and train hopping while Kate fiddled with her new iPod. They'd done quite a bit of train hopping, gone to jail overnight several times and mostly got to where they were going in adventurous fashion.

A couple other visitors came later that night, a couple living in their truck traveling around playing music and exploring. The mattress in their truck had gotten a good amount water spilled in it, so this is why they were spending the night there at Kendra's while it aired out. They talked a bit about their travels and bitter feelings towards the travelers they'd helped out with a ride, the ones who'd accidentally spilled the water. They soon shifted to talk of police, laws and how to "beat the system by using it against them". They seemed the type to want to bait a cop into slipping up, willing to put up with much legal nonsense to prove a point, take a stance. "Most people don't even know...", this is how they started many sentences, usually followed with some law or statistic.

The next day I headed to the farmers market with another roommate and her coworker, we wandered the strip munching on samples. We had some great spicy cheesy bread and some squeaky cheese curds, a Wisconsin staple.

They went off in their own directions and I wandered on my own. I went into the capitol building and up to the observation deck where I got a good shot of the city. Later I met up with Kendra and Kate, they were digging around the trash in the city. No normal trash on no normal day, this was "Hippie Christmas" in Madison, the day before anyways. This was the day where all college students' leases were up, people moving in and out and thousands throwing away their junk, accept it wasn't junk to everyone. There was much to be found, from perfectly good electronics to clothing. More than anything else I saw mattresses and TVs, in fact, the couple from the night before ended up scoring a new mattress and a whole slew of other goodness to perk up their truck home.

That night we went to the bar where Kate worked and we listened to some live music. Afterwards it was off to frat row where Hippie Christmas shined the brightest - every block dotted with piles of unwanted things, dumpsters overflowing in the alley ways and other hippie trash hunters on the move. We roamed and dug through things for a couple hours or more, everyone toting around their accumulating booty. There was nothing for me in the piles of junk, just sips from unfinished liquor bottles we passed around here and again.

The next day I'd start my hitch towards Nebraska to see Maggie. Her brother was graduating in Lincoln and she'd be in town a few more days. The hitch there would prove to be just as interesting as anything else, another great trip was ahead.