Leaving Europe for California

The seemingly arbitrary pricing of flights remains a mystery to me, there's really no explanation why the cheapest flight I could find from Europe to the United States was from Copenhagen to Los Angeles.

New York is where my friend's wedding would be, the whole reason for my heading to the US, but I'd have a month to hitch across the country and get my kicks along the way.

To catch that flight I had just under a week to hitchhike on up to Denmark from where I was in Italy. If not for that flight I would have kept going south or surely spent some more time with Ophelia, a girl I'd met in France a few weeks earlier. Instead I kissed her goodbye in a Milan train station as we went our separate ways, her back to France with a rideshare, myself walking to the highway to stick my thumb out.

By nightfall I'd made it through Switzerland and into Freiburg in Germany; of the five rides I got all day the longest came from a Polish truck driver who was excited about getting back to Ukraine later that week. He was sure to tell me about the parking areas there where he could pay fifty euros for "two of the most beautiful girls in the world," besides the sex he seemed more excited about their cooking, which was included in the fee.

The next day I got a ride from a cool group of travel-minded guys and girl my age in a van. We paused at one of their parent's place where I was showered with generosity in the form of treats from the garden and snacks from the fridge before they shuttled me up to a gas station to catch my next ride.

As we pulled up they noticed a car with Hamburg licence plates, a city right on the way to Denmark, they got out themselves and started pitching to them to give me a ride. The car was pretty packed and one of the guys in the family said they couldn't fit me in, but gave me his number and an offer to host me in Hamburg if I got there.

Fifteen later, after the van group left and I was posted up by the exit, the same guy came over and said they'd made room for me. Happy days.

I squeezed in and we got just as far as Darmstadt where they were staying with friends for the night, this left me to city wandering and finding a place to camp, meeting back up with them in the morning to continue to Hamburg. I stayed with them for the night, after a dinner at the house Justin (the first guy I'd interacted with, my age), took me on foot around the city like a mini-tour, ending up in the bar district for a few before heading back for the night.

I was on my own, casually meandering out of the city, pausing at a beer garden on the way, then finally getting a ride from a software engineer all the way to the ferry area. I waited a while there until a couple twins turning 30 on an alcohol run (much cheaper in Germany than Denmark) picked me up. We drove on the ferry, hung out and crossed the water, then I drove up with them all the way to Copenhagen where they dropped me near my hosts house.

I spent my days in Copenhagen biking around the city, poking around and sipping as much Mikkeller beer as I could afford.

At last I got myself to the airport and caught the uneventful flight to Los Angeles, arriving at night, prepared for a bit of walking and scrounging for a place to camp before hitching south the next day through the sludge of the metropolis.

Instead, as I walked out of the airport with a habitual thumb out despite the darkness and congestion of the situation, a girl came running towards me from up ahead.

"You made me run so far!" she smiled as I noticed her. She'd just flown in from Wisconsin, her friend had picked her up and after passing me it took a bit of time to find a place to pull over. Suddenly I not only had a ride, all the way down to Long Beach, but also a couch to crash on for the night. Not only that, but I joined them for a night out at the local bar. Welcome back to the United States.

To top things off they gave me a ride further south to Newport Beach in the morning, so after hitching just one more ride I was easily in Oceanside where my brother lived.

California kicked off from there, spending a couple days with my brother and friends before hitching a few rides on up to Sacramento to see my good friends there for a few days of good beer drinking and catching up. A few more rides hitching got me up to familiar Chico to catch up with even more friends.

After a week of sipping and brewing good beer, I finally had to get moving. Eastbound next, ultimately to NYC for my friend's wedding with a few adventures on the way. Good times always ahead.

August 20, 2015 to September 11, 2015