T Nation

Anybody ever hitchhike much?

I’ve been thinking about taking off on big kerouac-style cross country trip (basically no plans just me and the road for a while), but when i tell people i’m thinking about hitching most of them look at me like i told them i was contemplating slicing my own penis off. I was just wondering if anybody’s ever done it or knows anybody who has (hitchhiked, that is) and had any good or bad experiences? I’m also interested if anyone knows of any police/ legal issues to worry about. Cheers…

Well, I have never hitchhiked, but I sure did hate that Kerouac book, my roommate hyped that sucker up so much and then it was just a fool pickin lettuce and smoking pot, which reminds me, I need to burn that thing. Anyways, laws on hitchin vary state to state, but to be safe, bring a road atlas and if a cop hassles you, put away your thumb, then look in every direction and ask directions to the laundromat, he’ll be confused, but see that you’re carrying clothes and undoubtedly give you the benefit of the doubt. Good luck, doubt this help.

Hey there machine_son. Hitch hiking. A free, fun and relatively quick means of travel in my opinion. I have done it on a few occasions and have never had a bad experience, but I know some friends who have but I`ll get to that later. Here are my hitch hiking rules for you.

#1 You have the right to refuse a ride - this is THE most important rule. If some guy stops and you cant understand him and he looks like hes coming off a 2 day drinking binge - say no thanks - worst thing that will happen is that hell be mad and drive away. Ive been in this situation and waiting an extra hour is waaaay better than driving with some drunk old smelly porker.

#2. Make sure you start at least 2 hours before dark. I have never had to wait more than 1 hour for a ride but if you have to wait an hour and after that hour it is dark - you will be waiting some more. It is way harder to get a ride when its dark - esspecially if you are a guy and alone. I have hitched at night with success but its easier in the day.

#3. Look normal. This might sound a bit ambiguous, but if you look like a freak people will not pick you up. In other works wear clothes that dont have big holes in them. Dont wear a backwards hat and just try to look presentable - you dont need to wear a suit but I think you know what I mean. Also that way you look will make a big difference in who picks you up. If you look like a freak - guess whos gonna pick you up - a freak. But if you look decent then people who might not have picked you up other wise will - and they will be nice normal people.

#4. If you get into a situation that you are uncomfortable with - don`t show it. If someone is trying to make you feel uncomfortable and they are succeeding they will try even harder. Just ask to stop at the next gas station to go piss, and then go out the back door and walk through a field for half an hour or something till your sure the guy has left. Get out before it turns bad.

#5. Dont give too much personal info. Small talk is the essence of hitch hiking. The people who pick you up do so because they need someone to talk to. Be prepared to talk about nothing for a while - but make sure that you dont give too much personal info. You can say where you live etc, if you have a brother, all that is fine - just make sure your not handing out your address and phone number (although I have actually done this you have to judge the people that you are with).

#6. Make sure you can protect yourself. I have never had to use it but when I hitch I have a knife in my bag in a spot that is easily accessible. If I ever got into a position where Buddy the 300 lb asshole with a liking to get his dick sucked by a young boy was threatening me - I would have no reservations pulling a knife and using it to save my skin. Having protection with you means that you have to be ready to use it if need be. Chances are you will never be in such a situation if you follow the other rules because they will keep you from ending up with Buddy.

Now for the horror stories. I have a girl freind who was hitching and got picked up by a nice guy. Only problem was that when he got pulled over for speeding - the cops found $27,000 worth of cocaine in his trunk. She had no way of proving that it was not hers so she too got thrown in jail. Luckly the guy admitted that it was his and she got off - but he could have claimed that it was “theirs” and she would have been fucked. Another girl friend of mine and her friend got picked up by a guy far away from home and they told him too much - like we are away from home - we are 18 and we have no family here or anyone who would notice if we went missing… needless to say this creap decided that he would drive them to the woods rape and kill them - luckly they recognized the situation and got out of his car when he stopped at a mall before driving them out of town. They went back to the highway and the guys showed up again and he was really pissed off, told them to get in but they refused and took the bus instead. But they recognized the situation and got out before it turned bad.

Well I hope this helps you make your choice. I my self have never had a bad experience - only good ones actually. I`ve been a bit uncomfortable a few times but I have never even thought about reaching for my knife. Good luck and let me know how it goes - needless to say you will meet some interesting people.

Thanks a lot for the responses, fellas (esp. cunning linguist).

No problem machine_son - Let me know how it goes if you decide to go through with it. Sounds like a lot of fun I wish I could go as well!! One more tip for you - If you can find a girl that will go with you, you will greatly increase your chances of getting picked up. People seem to like to pick up a girl and guy who are together - and there is safety in numbers for you. Good luck!!