Little Hitches And Family Time Before The Next Adventure

I split with Kasey in the Vegas morning, he was northbound by thumb, I was southbound. Thanksgiving was just a couple days away and I had family gathering in Orange County at my brother’s place.

As many times as I’d been to Vegas, I’d never hitchhiked in this direction, it had always been in the Utah or Arizona direction. Whenever I’d left Vegas towards California I’d had some ride already setup or otherwise worked it out before it came to a thumb.

I stood at an on ramp close to the strip, but after less than an hour a cop buzzed by, without stopping he shouted, “You in the white shirt, leave!”, a funny thing to say I thought, since that was clearly what I was attempting to do with my thumb out there.

No splitting hairs though, I walked the city streets staying as close to the freeway as possible looking to get to the next exit. I walked close to a truck stop a good ways away and found a new place I could hitch, out of range from that previous cop I hoped. Another hitchhiker walked by me, Joe was his the old guy’s name, he said he’d been standing where I now was for the past three hours with hopes of getting to Barstow.

I had about the same luck he had, I took off after an hour or more of no luck, still marching south on foot in search of a better spot. At this next ramp I was approached by a man with a long gray beard who said he knew everything about Vegas. He pointed to a bridge I could sleep under and told me about a $25 bus that would get me out of town, also telling me about other people who’d tried hitchhiking out of there, some people who decided never to leave and lived on the streets. He seemed to be one of them, but I wasn’t aiming to join the ranks, nor did I have the cash for the bus and this bridge seemed a bit too central for my taste.

I walked the side road again heading further south still, I actually managed to get a ride there from a nice guy who drove me to the last exit in town. At this point it was getting later, I decided to risk walking on the freeway now that I was clear past the city. I walked right through sunset without a ride though, eventually having to sleep off the side of the road with a sparse bush as my only cover in the desert of Vegas.

I woke at the first hint of light in the morning, getting moving quickly in the cool air, trying to warm up. The sun finally peeked over and glared at me, warming me up a bit more. Before long I got my ride, a guy named Paul pulled over for me. “Ah, fuck those cars!”, he said as I got in, people speeding by the side of him very closely.

We got moving, Paul had come up to Vegas from Los Angeles for a bachelor party. He and some friends had driven through the night, only to arrive with the realization that he’d forgotten his ID back home. His friends had suggested that they would just take it easy, do the spa thing and that it was “no big deal”.

“Fuck that!”, Paul told me, “I’m turning right back around to go get my ID, this is a bachelor party, not a bachelorette party”, there’d be no sleep for him for a while. So as it turned out, this worked well for both of us, I got my ride to California and he got to get some unexpected sleep while I drove his car. He got us a good meal in Baker and then I kept us speeding forward.

Even more conveniently, he was going near Hollywood where my sister was now living and going to school, I’d be able to get there before she herself was driving down to Orange County for Thanksgiving as well.

I did just that, dropping myself off near her school and parting ways with Paul, who still had the road back to Vegas ahead of him, after a few hours of keeping myself entertained I was in a car again, now with my sister and her friend southbound. The fireworks from Disneyland went off over the freeway as we got close, soon enough we were relaxing at my brother’s place and catching up.

The next day was Thanksgiving. More family arrived and friends, a full house with more food and beer than could possibly be consumed by all, good times all around. I spent a couple more days in town enjoying the company of family, checking out town and enjoying more feasts all around.

I got word from Molly that she was in the area and doing some hiking, so being that I had a short window of time until Bridget touched down in Los Angeles coming from Australia for the next score of adventures, I decided I’d come up to try join her.

She loosely told me where she’d be at, a trail north of Los Angeles. I hitchhiked the first little way to get up to Hollywood where my sister had driven back after Thanksgiving, she was going to let me borrow her car to pick Bridget up at the airport. The hitch up to her place took a little bit of time, a short ride from a guy picking up his son, then a ride from a shopping mall from an older guy who was just playing some golf.

“It’s a dead...”, he chuckled without making a sound, “dead deal, it’s a dead deal”, he told me speaking of hitchhiking. It was as dead to me at living breathing moment. He dropped me in LA where I was able to catch a short subway ride to my sister’s school and pick up her car.

I burned up the 101, cruising through sunset as I got off the main road and winded my to the trail head. I got to hiking right away, in the dark in no time, hoping I’d be able to catch up to wherever Molly had set up camp. I passed some people going the opposite direction, they told me they’d passed a tall blonde guy and a brunette girl not to long ago, so I thought I might be close.

Eventually I passed that blonde and brunette, wrong couple. I kept cruising by the light of the sky and a flashlight, crossing a river a couple times with some confusion in the dark, and eventually having to call it a night, setting up camp on a high rise.

The morning came and I got to hiking again, figuring I must be close. After an hour or so of moving I started doing some of the math. I had to pick up Bridget in less than twenty four hours from LAX, I realized if I got too much further, camped out for the night, I’d be hard pressed to hike all the way out and make it to the airport in time to scoop her up.

After some more moving and contemplation, I had to turn around, spelling out “Molly” in pebbles on the trail. I hiked back and got to the car, cruising out and getting some rest at a pullout down the road, catching up on some sleep I’d gotten little of camping in the wind the night before. I kept it moving after that, deciding where I may sleep for the night.

I got myself a big bottle of local beer and grabbed a hamburger thinking more, finally deciding that I’d sleep somewhere along the PCH in the car. I at last found a big pullout, now in the dark, parked and made myself comfortable as possible. I wasn’t there even for an hour when the red and blue lights started flashing.

I spoke with the cop who informed me that I was too close to government land and it was not allowed to park there after sunset. He suggested some pay campsites further down which I paid no mind to. I kept driving, the ocean massive to my right and my eyes wandering looking for somewhere I could tuck the car away for some sleep. I spied a side road heading up to who knows where, I made the turn and then flipped around, tucking myself away facing the ocean still where I thought I was more hidden.

I’d end up getting some uninterrupted sleep, excited for the day and months ahead of me. Traveling with Bridget would be an adventure, and it would all begin tomorrow.

November 22, 2011 to November 28, 2011