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hobo_dan

Social climber
Minnesota
Topic Author's Original Post - Feb 16, 2013 - 06:43pm PT
Inspired by the Little Feat thread

Did you ever hit a town or a place, and you had to stop for a moment and let it soak in?

I was trying to cross Nevada on U.S. 6 and I got dropped off in Tonopah by a guy driving retrieval for the hang gliders going off the eastern sierras- first time I ever saw cocaine. Like every other drug scene in the world- he offered me a line but I was too shy.

".........I've driven every kind of rig that.'s ever been made....."

Tonopah the last of the mining towns in the west, and for good measure there was the top secret air force base that was flying strange sh#t overhead.

I hit the town at dinner time, I'm trying to get my act together and no kidding this old timer comes rustling out of the arroyo-he must have been about 140 years old, the only thing he was missing was a burro named # 7, and I ask him whats the best place to eat and of course he tells me it's across town. I'm carrying about 100 pounds of truck and across town aint gonna happen.
I go to the wrong place and order a bowl of chili and it had to be 90% dog food-and this is coming from a broke, eat anything, anywhere, dirty dog. Hunger was a great sauce but that chili needed more sauce- a lot more sauce.
I got dead-headed all night trying to go East. The same 8 teenagers drove by again and again as they cruised Main, up to Fourth, down Southern, and then back to Main up to fourth......and anyway I had to crash in a vacant lot on the edge of town and those teenage sonsobitches sought me out as I was crawling into my bag and flashed their brights and serenaded me in the fading Nevada twilight..........."Good Niiiiight!!......"
Up at 5 A.M. for a walk across town and got a 60 mile ride west to a cross roads but that's another story.

Any other freeze frame moments you'd like to share?
zBrown

Ice climber
chingadero de chula vista
Feb 16, 2013 - 06:55pm PT
poetic license















http://longislandbluesman.tripod.com/
kunlun_shan

Mountain climber
SF, CA
Feb 16, 2013 - 07:21pm PT
Thanks for that, hobo_dan!

I always like going through Tonopah, actually :-)

Brings up memories of the radio station recording Pate posted a few years back. Best recording of "Willin'" i've had the fortune of hearing. Lowell George and Linda Ronstadt. Good soundtrack for this thread: http://tela.sugarmegs.org/_asxtela/lowellgeorge1974-03-19.asx

credit to http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=1232110&msg=1242888#msg1242888
Fish Finder

Social climber
THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART
Feb 16, 2013 - 07:26pm PT


Tonopah, the ghost town that lives.


Once I was coming home from Vegas on the 95 over the Westgard Pass,

Made it allthe way to the border as Neveda had plowed, Ill be damned if California didnt and I had to back track and go up to Tonopah to come down on the 6.

Well the snow storm got more intense and to make it over the pass there you would need chains. Not one pair to be sold in Tonopah.

WTF
Brandon-

climber
The Granite State.
Feb 16, 2013 - 07:30pm PT
I stopped with my then girlfriend at the northern junction of the ET highway, where the abandoned hot spring facility is.

We were swimming in the pool with the dog, naked obviously, for a good half hour, when a lone semi rolls up to the junction.

My lady stands up in the pool, shows the goods, and waves.

We got a honk from the truck, and he went on his way.

Once he finished his way up the grade, it was only us and the wind again..,

Edit; someone else here has posted photos or discussed (can't remember) of the creepy abandoned changing rooms adjacent to the pool. I didn't care to comment at the time, but, yeah, creepy.
The Larry

climber
Moab, UT
Feb 16, 2013 - 08:00pm PT
I've stayed at the clown motel.
BooYah

Social climber
Ely, Nv
Feb 16, 2013 - 08:07pm PT
Rural Nevada ain't creepy, it's just weird. I imagine you all can handle weird. I'm from Ely, so it feels normal. Cities are weird.
Come on back, breaker?
Brandon-

climber
The Granite State.
Feb 16, 2013 - 08:14pm PT
Being there with a woman kept me alert...

You see vehicles coming from miles away and it gives you time to consider your defenses.

Never had to take action, but the isolation and constant wind always kept me alert.

I'm not paranoid normally, but I felt a little paranoid out there.
BooYah

Social climber
Ely, Nv
Feb 16, 2013 - 08:17pm PT
Puss...nothing personal, you understand.
WBraun

climber
Feb 16, 2013 - 08:19pm PT
Me ... somewhere in Nevada 1968

Somewhere in Nevada
Somewhere in Nevada
Credit: WBraun

I'm hitch hiking to the Tetons, summer 1968.

Little old lady stopped for me outside Reno.

She asked if I was a serial killer.

I said; "Yep, that's me".

She said; "Good!!! get in" .....
Brandon-

climber
The Granite State.
Feb 16, 2013 - 08:25pm PT
Puss

No offense taken.

If you were suddenly thrown from Ely to NYC, might it seem a little strange?

I've never been to NYC, but it's a suitable analogy in my opinion.
rottingjohnny

Sport climber
mammoth lakes ca
Feb 16, 2013 - 08:25pm PT
I tried making reservations at the pet friendly Clown Motel once...When i checked in i quickly discovered why they advertised pet friendly when they handed me the key and cowboy boots to kill the cockroaches...Don't pick up hitch-hikers when you drive thru Ely....RJ
hobo_dan

Social climber
Minnesota
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 16, 2013 - 08:35pm PT
Nevada never felt weird to me--just people working hard. Now Utah--that has been weird!

The ride I got going west out of Tonopah was with a surveyor who had no work unless it came from the air base--I think he told me about the stealth fighter? But too long ago.
He drops me off 60 miles west at this cross roads and this is a VERY bad place to try and get away from. Just a building, U.S. 6 and some road going north. You could hear the wheel hiss of the westbound cars for miles and miles--total doppler effect as they busted by you without even a thought of slowing down. And then more wheel hiss.........
I'm there most of the day, and about 2 in the afternoon, the same guy who dropped me off--he shows up because he said he was concerned about me getting home (connection--my Dad was a land surveyor- it was a Sunday and he said he had nothing to do)! The upshot, is this guy gives me a ride back to Lee Vining- must have been 100 miles! It was probably the only time I got a ride where there was NOT a case of beer in the back--I swear every car in the West is drunk.
I've never forgotten that and many times I've picked up hitch hikers and given them some money or clothing, bus fare, whatever. All a spin off from that un-named guy from Tonopah.
BooYah

Social climber
Ely, Nv
Feb 16, 2013 - 08:36pm PT
I respect your point, NH guy. Live Free or Die.
I respect that.
Brandon-

climber
The Granite State.
Feb 16, 2013 - 08:51pm PT
Can we change the topic a bit? Who has picked up strange hitchhiker or been picked up by a strange driver?

Since we're talking about the lonesome west and all...

Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Feb 16, 2013 - 09:21pm PT
Nice, hobo-dan.

I'll give you one back (a moment, frozen in time)

I came of age in Tennessee and after a stint in the military I returned (till I came to my senses and fled home to California, a place I'd never been).

For a few years I ran service calls in middle Tennessee, visiting virtually every small town in a 100 mile radius around Nashville. That being the south and all, there are A LOT of small towns.

I've since been blessed to visit, um, gotta be hundreds, or more than one hundred for sure, small towns (gotta be hundreds though I am a traveler). You know, Anytown USA, places that seem more fitting in a Norman Rockwell painting. While I don't fester on it a lot of those small towns are disappearing (Ringling Ringling, slipping way, only 40 people living, there today, the streets are dusty and the bank has been torn down, its a dying little town).

So, anyway, it was the week before Christmas and the last work day to boot. And a snow storm was coming in from the west, we'd all been tracking it, hoping for a white christmas. I was 26 years old.

A service call came in for a contract maintenance account, broken piece of equipment, contractually obligated to go fix it. No one wanted to go, it was clear out in McMinnville, out near Fall Creek Falls state park. I loved it in that neck of the woods, climbed there in summmer and was willing to go anytime.

"I'll go!"

So I drove, what, 50, 80 miles, hell I forget, with a snow storm on my heels, knowing I'd be driving home in that sh#t later. I lived on the opposite side of Nashville so I was facing 100 storm miles. Didn't care then, wouldn't care now - I'm one of those sick bastards that loves storm riding and I can cut through a storm like the head light on a freight train.

So I get to McMinnville, then as I'm confident it is now, the epitome of Anytown. A central courthouse, a town square, two story brick buildings, lots of neat small wood frame houses, a very nice place. I did my work and had it wrapped up before lunch. As I walked out to my car, the snow started fluttering down. I was hungry and even though I knew I'd pay the price for dawdling, I decided quite randomly to visit the grill in an old fashioned drug store across the square.

This place was a classic American drug store too, selling sundries and such, an ancient pharmacist ran the place and probably knew everyone in town, and all their ancestors and all their ailments. And there was a food counter, with the little red leather stools, a milkshake machine and a hot grill, to boot.

Now anyone who knows me knows I LOVE a good cheeseburger. I've tried em from Tel Aviv to Sao Paulo, NYC to L.A. I had a good cheeseburger today with my kid in fact, down in the barrio on Franklin Blvd, at Scottys. (Scotty makes a mean cheeseburger)

So I went in. The place was warm to the point of being hot, a wood stove in the corner was glowing (Tennesseans are like that). The whole town had their christmas lights up. Shoppers were bustling into stores, Fussels Mens Wear, a nick knack shop, a small grocery, etc. It was snowing pretty good by the time I settled in at the counter. The lady working the counter took my order - cheeseburger, ketchup only, fries and a chocolate milkshake (with vanilla ice cream, please!). Yeah it was winter and cold to boot but how many times do you get to step into a Norman Rockwell painting and have a real milkshake from a soda jerk at a drugstore lunch counter. Me? I can count the times on one hand. This was one of them.

I sat there eating lunch, reading the paper, looking outside as the snow just started dumping! I felt a nostalgia that wasn't my own, as if I was looking out someone else's eyes at a younger McMinnville in a different time. I wouldn't have blinked one of those eyes if suddenly I realized that there was nothing but black Model's As and Ts and a few horses, parked around the square.

There was a small town cheer in the air and with the snow, a subtle shading, a comfortable lack of glare. The snow also lent a quiet to the place and several folks actually went to the window to comment on the scene. Snow is a big deal in Tennessee, especially when it dumps like that.

Well I finished my burger, paid my bill and tipped thelady handsomely, as has always been my habit. I went out into storm and drove home over winding and treacherous roads. Took a long time too, as I had to pass through several ages to get back to the present. When I rolled through Nashville about 4 oclock I was back in the present, and filled with regret. I was myself again, looking through my own eyes. I was looking at a big modern city and I was filled with big modern city concerns.

4 days after the new year I got on a plane and flew to San Francisco. California has been my own ever since, I actually CAME HOME that day. I've not been back to McMinnville since and I'm not so sure I can even get back to that town I visited. It was Twilight Zone in a pleasant way (Willoughby, next stop is Willoughby!).... and as you can see, it stuck with me all these years.

A delightfully greasy burger and a milkshake at a drug store lunch counter in small town usa, during a christmas snowstorm. :-)

DMT
ms55401

Trad climber
minneapolis, mn
Feb 16, 2013 - 09:23pm PT
that's a great song. seriously, what's a better road-trip song than that? Six Days on the Road? On the Road Again? City of New Orleans? Freight Train?

I dunno. I'll go with Willin'.
Brandon-

climber
The Granite State.
Feb 16, 2013 - 09:27pm PT
Just back from a long walk with three hyperactive labs and Little Feat tunes were the soundtrack in my head. Seriously, awesome.

Good thread, thanks.
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Feb 16, 2013 - 09:31pm PT
Just queued up Spanish Moon :-)

DMT
coastal_climber

Trad climber
Squamish, BC
Feb 16, 2013 - 09:33pm PT
Driving somewhere on Interstate 6 at probably 2AM and had taken hits out of a pipe made out of a monster can. We were listening to the radio when it went quiet and after a bit said "Alien radio" freaked the sh#t outta us. I'm assuming it was the station name, but will never forget it. Made it to vegas safe and sound the following evening after a stop at warm springs.
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Feb 16, 2013 - 09:34pm PT
^^^^^

I heard it, I heard it, I heard it on the X.

DMT
hobo_dan

Social climber
Minnesota
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 16, 2013 - 09:34pm PT
DMT: cheeseburger, ketchup only
Nice narrative--I can see the snow out the windows of the diner
coastal_climber

Trad climber
Squamish, BC
Feb 16, 2013 - 09:38pm PT
I must mention how much I love your (americas) highways, they are built for travelling.
Brandon-

climber
The Granite State.
Feb 16, 2013 - 09:39pm PT
I'm gonna delete this soon, a'la DMT, but; there was one time driving across Nevada well dosed and Little Feat was playing for a while. Fifty miles straight ahead, frying balls,smiling my freaking face off. The sun came up and one of us put on some house music. That was the final nail in the coffin. We pulled over and slept beneath these beautiful limestone formations for a few hours, then carried on our merry way to Moab.
Fish Finder

Social climber
THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART
Feb 16, 2013 - 09:41pm PT
Puss
hobo_dan

Social climber
Minnesota
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 16, 2013 - 09:49pm PT
Werner--that pretty much is the image of how I thought a mass murderer would look
Brandon-

climber
The Granite State.
Feb 16, 2013 - 09:53pm PT
Puss

Well, it's still there, right?

Tell some stories, FF, I'm sure you've got some.
Fish Finder

Social climber
THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART
Feb 16, 2013 - 10:02pm PT
So I am on a paid trip to drive to Utah from Mammoth and pick up a boat that a client had purchased.Circa 2004

Most desolate road trip of my life.

Driving through Ely the radio comes on and they start with the divorce report. hahahah

The town isnt even that big but I guess they gotta tell ya who is available .

Also after that they had a tradio of sorts and everyone calling in either had tires or a couch for sale and you could come over and see them on the porch.

Edit: great story Brandon , dont delete but edit the word acid to something more subtle like "window payne" hahahah
Stewart Johnson

climber
lake forest
Feb 16, 2013 - 10:07pm PT
too shy?
zBrown

Ice climber
chingadero de chula vista
Feb 16, 2013 - 10:09pm PT


first heard this near Tonopah


Fish Finder

Social climber
THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART
Feb 16, 2013 - 10:10pm PT
Stewart

What does Kaja Goo Goo have to do with any of this?

► 3:42► 3:42
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nKWbMJOIkUk
Charlie D.

Trad climber
Western Slope, Tahoe Sierra
Feb 16, 2013 - 10:18pm PT
There's some folks on this thread that should write a whole lot more, good reads thanks.
Spider Savage

Mountain climber
The shaggy fringe of Los Angeles
Feb 16, 2013 - 10:18pm PT
SO many stories I could tell. Here's the funniest one.


Hitching out of Kayenta, AZ in the winter of '76. Headed south to find Don Juan.

The curly haired city dude picks me up and we smoke a fat one. Rolling through the beautiful desert on the way to Flagstaff. We are grooving the morning mellow and cranking America on the 8-track, Horse With No Name and all that.

Just when things couldn't get any finer the hood latch fails spectacularly and we are two stoned freaks barreling down the desert highway totally blind. It was like a scene right out of a stoner movie. I think we both screamed.

Got the car under control and over to the side. We got the hood bent half-assed into place and bound it with some wire. The thing was soo fuked up we had about 8 inches of mangled hood to peer over as we continued down the road. I wasn't funny to us at the time but the fact is... that was damn funny.
okie

Trad climber
Feb 16, 2013 - 10:19pm PT
"I swear every car in the west is drunk."
Well, this thread is certainly a slice of Americana.
Here's to all of the dharma bums still out there.
BooYah

Social climber
Ely, Nv
Feb 16, 2013 - 10:21pm PT
You're a suspicious character, Tom Cruise Guy(so-called Spider).
Brandon-

climber
The Granite State.
Feb 16, 2013 - 10:39pm PT
Shoot, I'm only 33, and I've got a ton of crazy hitching stories.

I think it all began when I had my parents drop me off at the bus station in Concord, NH when I was 18.

I had a thousand dollars in my pocket, a backpack, and a skateboard.

Stories ensue...
Stewart Johnson

climber
lake forest
Feb 16, 2013 - 11:06pm PT
the bum said he was "too shy" to do blow. smart kid
Robb

Social climber
It's Ault or Nunn south of Shy Annie
Feb 16, 2013 - 11:10pm PT
Credit: Robb
Thin ties and V8's baby!!!
BooYah

Social climber
Ely, Nv
Feb 16, 2013 - 11:14pm PT
Well, I like your car. Where'd you steal THAT?
Robb

Social climber
It's Ault or Nunn south of Shy Annie
Feb 16, 2013 - 11:19pm PT
Funny you should ask. I bought my '66 for $3k way back when. When I went to look at it the license plate was "911 NUT". Being an EMT at the time I knew it was ment to be.
BooYah

Social climber
Ely, Nv
Feb 16, 2013 - 11:22pm PT
I was kidding, anyway. You drove it like you stole it, right?
wink, wink.
Jebus H Bomz

climber
Peavine
Feb 16, 2013 - 11:48pm PT
There's something about going up (or down) 95 that always leaves me agog. The sterile beauty of a land that doesn't support much more than some sage and scrub trees interspersed with Indian reservations, the almighty military complex, creepy towns with houses that meth built, and a shady or lady or two to salve the pecker for a negotiable price. Tonopah fits tight as a glass eye into that mix.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Feb 16, 2013 - 11:56pm PT
the tread below is a product of driving down that road...
http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=1902097

Jaybro and I traveling from SLC to Bishop...

this was after listening to about 8 versions of Willin' on my iPod
ß Î Ø T Ç H

Boulder climber
bouldering
Feb 17, 2013 - 12:57am PT
U.S. 6
Hwy 6 sign in Bishop today
covelocos

Trad climber
Nor Cal
Feb 17, 2013 - 10:30am PT
I spent 3 days at the entrance ramp east bound in Needles. Only got a ride when my niece drove from Flagstaff and picked me up.
hobo_dan

Social climber
Minnesota
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 17, 2013 - 10:31am PT
Out of cash- out of dope- out of luck
There was always some message written on the backs of the road signs at the entrance ramps.
Fukc George Washington--going East out of George, WA. Complete with anatomically incorrect possibilities drawn in.
In 2012, I stopped to see if the message was still there but time and the Washington state DOT had replaced the sign

I see that U.S. highway sign and I can smell the Sage from here. Nevada has it, but the City of Rocks has the best Sage that I ever hit.

Trying to get to Jackson, WY and I'm stuck in Steamboat Springs. Same as it ever was, so I'm going to walk out of town up Rabbit Ears pass to sleep in the ditch.
Then this white van pulls up very slowly and stops- behind it is the Sheriff escorting them out of town. The door opens and they ask if I know where Glendo Reservoir is- I say "No, but I can find it--and off we go. A long strange night of drunken driving, Viet Nam vet stories and other worldly advice.
Norwegian

Trad climber
Pollock Pines, California
Feb 17, 2013 - 10:44am PT
we were harvesting poppy seeds from
bountiful gardens in the city limits.

our pockets full of seeds,
and our heads devoid of beliefs,

we put up our thumbs
with our sights on nederland.

an older fella in a pimp 70's van
picked us up and we begin
our sputtering journey up the mountain.

"no way this rig is going to pull this grade" i muse within.
sure enough, we break down at a pullout above the river.
some boaters were eyeing the flow below
and i thought,
geez you guys are f*#king crazy.

the old hippy pulls a bag of beef outta the trunk,
with some old homemade grill.
he says we best eat the meat, else it go south, like the geez in winter.

i scramble about finding wood,
and we fire up the que
and it turns into a roadside party.
boaters, hippies, tourists.
the cops even showed at one point, it was then that i stuffed
all my dreams into one brain cell,
once the heat departed my dreams had reproduced
and exploded all about in vivid theatre.

i divulged my udder state to my old and new friends,
and the old hippy handed me a burger with poppy seeds
sprinkled all over.

no cheese. no condiments. no bread. just a grilled-to-perfection
psychedelic hamburger.

bags of wine. boomers. burgers. boaters. a-beliefs.

everything was just fine,
and we eventually made it to nederland in the back
of some truck.
hobo_dan

Social climber
Minnesota
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 17, 2013 - 11:27am PT
Thanks Weej
says it all
Jebus H Bomz

climber
Peavine
Feb 17, 2013 - 11:40am PT
The Weeg in Nederland. Now, that really is a tale.
Brandon-

climber
The Granite State.
Feb 17, 2013 - 01:37pm PT
Tonopah fits tight as a glass eye into that mix.

Good one.
Brandon-

climber
The Granite State.
Feb 17, 2013 - 01:48pm PT
So, eighteen and feeling the need to ditch NH.

I took a bus to South Station in Boston and hopped on a train to Denver. Met some great folks on the train, and promptly got ripped off buying some bunk weed at the RTD terminal in Denver. Hey, I was a young country bumpkin!

Took the bus to Boulder and stayed at a really shitty hostel, poring over the map, trying to decide where to move to. Bombed my skateboard down the hill in boulder, and then started hitching.

I'd never hitched before, and it was nerve wracking and awesome all at the same time. Got a ride up to Nederland from a guy named Peter Korba. To this day, his name sticks with me, because he was my first ride, and because he offered me a job building houses. I declined and moved on. I've always wondered how my life would've gone if I'd accepted the job offer.

Next ride was a woman who was selling crystals. She got me stoned and took me to a monastery. Strange but great ride.

Next, a couple picked me up and threw me in the back of their pickup, took me all the way to Estes. I got a ride, and skated, up to RMNP entrance. The road had closed the day before for the season.

Dejected, I hitched down to Fort Collins and caught a bus to Boulder. The next day I hopped onto a Greyhound to Steamboat Springs and spent the next two years there.

This was in '99.

Then there was my hitching trip in AK...way crazier...
Capt.

climber
some eastside hovel
Feb 17, 2013 - 02:09pm PT
Going to Bozeman from Bishop one year for xmas.It's about mid-december and I'd done this drive(hwy 6)a million times so knew to watch the road for livestock and wild horses,especially at dusk/night.Got a late start from Bishop so had my eyes pealed at the late hour of the day.As I'm coming over one of those "summits" where you can see like 30 miles of the two lane you're about to travel I spot something in the road WAAAYY off.This is somewhere near Black Rock lava flow,basically ninety miles from Tonopah and still ninety miles to Ely.As I get closer I can see it's not the usual suspected livestock as it appears to look blue.When I finally get close enough to identify I realize it's a guy with a manky harness system towing a Radio Flyer wagon with gear stacked like five feet high and lashed down with a blue tarp.When I returned back to Bishop a couple weeks later the guy was still pluggin' along,but didn't seem to be in a real hurry.That's one memorable story I've come away with from my travels on the 6.
Brandon-

climber
The Granite State.
Feb 17, 2013 - 02:14pm PT
Coming back from a trip in the SW, I picked up a couple from Oregon who were riding their bikes. He was hauling all the gear, and a dog, in a small trailer. We gave them a ride for a while, exchanged numbers, and headed off.

Two weeks later, I got a call. They were headed into South Lake. They spent two days at my house and we had a great time. Then they moved on.

Never heard from them again, but they were truly the salt of the earth.

I shared this story here a couple of years ago, and sure enough, a couple of ST'ers are friends with them. Wish I could remember their names...
Psilocyborg

climber
Feb 17, 2013 - 02:57pm PT
A friend of mine picked up a hitchhiker, as soon as the guy got in the car he shot my friend, and put the gun to his head and told him to drive home, he robbed him and took the car.

I hitched a ride on the trail in Mineral King....how can you go wrong hitching a ride from someone you met in the back country? It ended up being a really weird adventure...the one guy was really weird, a little mentally unstable, and was acting all enamored with me, then it came out and he kept trying to get me to "wrestle" him. A lot happened but I don't feel like typing that much right now
drljefe

climber
El Presidio San Augustin del Tucson
Feb 17, 2013 - 03:45pm PT
I hitched a ride from Burlington, VT to New York City.
I was with my big black dog Kaya. The guy that picked us up had bloody knuckles and reeked of alcohol from a weekend bender, but was nice.
He dropped us off at the Hudson River and 57th, a recognizable intersection even to a kid form Arizona.
I asked someone for directions to Central Park, which was pretty close.
My skateboard was strapped to the back of by big 'ol Lowe pack, so I sat on it and had Kaya pull me down the busy Manhattan sidewalks to the park.
Once there, it was a really cool feeling to be all alone, so far from home, in this crowded city with no plan...but not feeling scared and totally at peace with my "predicament". The Park is a special place and kind of reminded me of Yosemite, with massive towers and walls rising up and out of the forest.
I had all kinds of amazing experiences that day before friends from Long Island came to pick me up late that night. One of the most unique days of my life, actually.
Brandon-

climber
The Granite State.
Feb 17, 2013 - 08:48pm PT
So, I decided three days prior to go to Alaska with my boss's girlfriends twin sister. We'd met before, but didn't really know each other.

We met at the airport and when we got to Ancoragua, took a cab to a super sketchy hostel (this seems to be a recurring theme with me). Once the random gunfire subsided, we got some sleep.

The next morning, we caught a bus into town and then another bus to the on ramp of the Kenai highway. We were picked up by a mourning widow in a Volvo wagon. Sad, sad ride, to say the least.She dropped us off in Girdwood. We walked through the rain into town and I tried to locate a friend from NH who coaches the ski team there. He wasn't around, so we settled into the bar in town.

The trip is just begun, but I'm done typing for now.
bvb

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Feb 17, 2013 - 09:22pm PT
I just did some rough math on a few of my longer trips, and I think I've easily got 10,000 miles of bindlestiff travel under my belt. Most of it in the 70's, when hitchiking was still a viable form of transportation. Dosen't include at least 3 or 4 thousand miles of Freight-hopping. So many very wierd stories. One of the weirdest involved getting from Tuolumne to SLC with Off White. We were penniless. Caught a ride across most of Nevada in the pickup truck of this very sketchy character. He had no money so we stopped in wierd little towns not unlike Tonopah to siphon gas out of cars. Our last leg into SLC we were picked up by this very nice Morman gentleman, probably late 60's, when made us ride in the back seat and kept asking us to reassure him that we were not going to hurt him. In SLC we were sleeping under a freeway overpass we we were taken in by "Red", a long-haired hippie with nothing but a giant garbage bag of ragweed in his fridge. Just that one summer (1977) is worth a book, maybe two.
Fritz

Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
Feb 17, 2013 - 09:52pm PT
Out of gas on a March night on Hwy 95 Nevada, 1980.

From North Idaho: the ex-wife and I took a late-March road trip down to Vegas, via the most remote paved-roads I could find.

We were pretty much on main highways, until Elko, where we spent the night, ate Basque food, and sampled the thrills of “down-town” Elko. We then we drove a little west on I-80 and wandered south up the Reese-River, which most would consider a creek in a high-water year. We both liked exploring “back-roads & ghost towns” and expected to find some on our way.

Around Austin, we found more remote roads and trended south to the ghost-towns of Ione & Berlin, visited the state park with Ichthyosaur skeletons, and very late in the afternoon, headed west towards Hawthorne for the closest gas, food, and lodging. I knew Hawthorne was a little redneck shithole and home to a huge anmunition depot, but it was a cold & windy March night and we didn't have the gas to make a more desirable destination.

As darkness crept in, the fuel gauge on our trusty, 1st generation Subaru crept down.

A few miles south of Hawthorne, both intersected at zero: and I coasted our dead Subaru over onto the shoulder of Hwy. 95.

We could see the ammunition bunkers in the last light, and the twinkling lights of nearby, but oh so far-away Hawthorne were beckoning us in. I decided it would be safer to leave my wife (long-since-ex-wife) Jennifer with the car, guarding it and herself, with my trusty Smith & Wesson 22 pistol, while I hitched to Hawthorne for gas.

Nearly the first car by, stopped to pick me up. The driver was a sober businessman, who wanted to know what I was up to. He would not leave without my wife and me both in his car.

He explained: “you just don’t want to leave your woman alone on Highway 95.”

He hauled us into downtown Hawthorne without incident, dropped us at a gas station, and I was able to get a 2 gallon can borrowed and filled with gas, but not a ride back to my car.

We stood out on the street with thumbs-out for quite a while. The ex-wife got irritated and cold. (was that the beginning of the end?)

After a long while, I noticed a car-full of Indians looking us over. No surprise. It had not escaped me that Hawthorne was also adjacent to a Paiute Reservation, and the ex-wife was an anthropologist.

The Indians pulled up on their next pass by us in their 1960’s land-yacht. I trotted over as the passenger side window came down, and noted two men in the front-seat and several older women and some kids in the huge back seat.

They wanted to know where I was hitching to. I explained. The window rolled up, while the men and the women discussed this among themselves.

The window rolled down. The male on my side said:
“We’ll take you out to your car, but we’re thirsty.”

I replied: “Can I buy you good folks something to drink?”

After a pause, they allowed that a couple six-packs of beer would make them less thirsty.

I said: “I’ll buy some right-now for you!” “I am most grateful for you giving us a ride.“ “My name is Ray, and I want you to meet my wife Jennifer!”

I walked over to Jennifer, who was slumped against a light-post, explained the situation to her, barked “go make friends,” and walked back to the service station to buy beer.

All went smoothly. I think between women, kids, and me, there were 9 of us in the back seat for the drive out to our car. One of the women confessed to Jennifer that the only reason they stopped to pick us up, was because they thought she was pregnant. Jennifer had a big down parka on, and was slumped over in misery, when they first drove by.

I’ve never forgotten the debt I owe those folks.
Spider Savage

Mountain climber
The shaggy fringe of Los Angeles
Feb 17, 2013 - 11:24pm PT
Lived in a 1950 Chevy truck for 9 months when I was 19. Built the camper myself for less than $100. Less than $300 in the whole rig. Traveled the Pacific Northwest and had some amazing adventures.

Spider on the road.
Spider on the road.
Credit: Spider Savage
10b4me

Boulder climber
Somewhere on 395
Feb 18, 2013 - 12:48am PT
Tonopah not that bad. Back in the seventies I slept in the dirt behind the rock shop.
Wind? In Tonopah, pfft! Worst wind I've been in Nevada was in Wells.
Word to the wise. Don't pick up people in the white mountains. Especially if they're on a vision quest
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Feb 18, 2013 - 12:50am PT
I got dropped off at the Pasadena bus station with a ticket to Merced while Craig Thomson continued on to LA for a Rolling Stones concert.

Midnight, after the bus arrived, found me innocently hiking to a rest area outside of town, on the way to the Valley, I had seen on a map.

Merced cop pulls up and asks me, what's up ?

I'm going rock climbing in Yosemite, sir!

He tells me to get in and he will drive me to the rest area. "Now you make sure you get to the furthest corner from the restrooms and lay real low, behind a tree"... said he.

So All night long, I tried my best to be a shrub behind a tree with a bunch of large Hexentrics wrapped around my hands in case I needed to defend myself, if found...

All night long, partying, fighting, squealing tires, screaming gangsters and general revelry issued forth from the front of this patch.

I was scared.

In the morning, there was nothing left of anything. I hitched a ride with some locals who looked at me like a space alien who had dodged the nightly apocalypse.

I saved $20.00 not buying the bus ride from Merced to the Valley ! That was like earning 10 days more freedom before going home in a time long ago...
hooblie

climber
from out where the anecdotes roam
Feb 18, 2013 - 06:30am PT
there you go, that's the key ... to occupy the peace within the broader predicament.
too many times through tonopah and the like. can't summon up what's strange
hobo_dan

Social climber
Minnesota
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 18, 2013 - 09:44am PT
Two more anecdotes--probably re-prints from some other thread:

We were going north to Devils Tower and this Rancher picks us up in his Cadillac. We're sitting in the back between two cowboys and he says: "you two boys aint any of them drug using, hoemoesexual, unemployed, communists now are you?" And we both pipe in, in unison: "no sir- We have girlfriends" I read the same line years later in the Monkey Wrench Gang.


Trying to get to the Valley and I catch a ride with some kid into the L. Tahoe area at dusk. I need a place to crash so the high school kid takes me off the road to a housing development that is being bulldozed into the mountains.
I take my stuff and walk into the woods to go to sleep. About 10 P.M. two cars show up and they are calling for me to come on out. Well I didn't say a word, I just moused my way deeper into the woods and they didn't come looking too hard, but it was pretty scary. At 5 AM I was back on the road heading south.

so who can count

In Jackson, Wyo. I'm going west and the local cop- who actually had a pig like demeanor and the soul of a cop-pulls me aside and informs me that the good people of Jackson don't really want my kind around here and so it would be a good idea if you took everything about you and kept on walking. It was super hot, I was harming nothing and that guy just parked there watching me walk up this grade carrying all my gear. Still makes me angry thinking about it.

Never really had any bad things happen to me- pretty lucky- mostly just the funny awkward things that seem to happen to poor people everywhere

Brandon-

climber
The Granite State.
Feb 18, 2013 - 12:55pm PT
I've only had one time when I requested to be let out. The guy was wasted and telling my friend and me how he wanted to kill his old lady.

He complied, but it was a tense moment when I had to explain that we were done riding with him.

People are just a little crazier up in AK.
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Feb 18, 2013 - 01:25pm PT
Stood thumbing at the bridge in Bridgeport at the Walker River, needing to get to South Lake Tahoe. Figuring Id have better chances with 395 traffic I held a cardboard sign reading "Minden."

I stood there for 2 hours, no one would stop. Finally a giant motor home stopped for me. Surprisingly a German couple. They had two adopted kids with them and were touring America. The dad was a hang glider pilot and 20 years prior had soared above the Sierra, all up and down the Owens valley. He was taking his kids back to see 'his America.'

He saw the sign for Minden. That's where he stayed for part of his trip and despite my mountaineering gear and giant pack he hoped I was a fellow hang glider pilot :-)

They treated me like family, fed me and took me all the way to S Lake even though it was out of their way. The kids were from Africa, spoke German and perfect English. Man was that a treat. I'd plum near forgot about those people, thanks for the thread.

DMT
Wayno

Big Wall climber
Seattle, WA
Feb 18, 2013 - 01:43pm PT
Here's one that I posted on Tami's "Alpinist 13" thread:

This one happened in the mid Eighties, when I was still in my twenties. I was a poor student with love in my heart and hope in my soul. My Mother had recently died and my family was bickering, so I decided to head down to Jtree for Xmas to visit with some friends that were climbing there. I didn't own a vehicle at the time and couldn't find anyone to go with. My partner in crime(illicit drugs) was kind enough to lend me his Ford Country Squire station wagon with the fake wood paneling. I threw some gear and some clothes in the back along with a .22 rifle and stuffed my pockets with various herbs and chemical substances and counted my cash and then took a fifty dollar bill and folded it up to the size of a dime and shoved into the corner of my wallet. I filled the tank and then left Santa Cruz and headed south.

Somewhere near Salinas as I got onto the 101 I noticed a guy with his thumb out so I thought I could use a little company and I pulled over and let him in. He seemed like a nice chap at first and we kinda shared stories and drove south down the 101. He said he was heading to someplace near LA and I told him that I could take him at least to I5. Somewhere near Paso Robles we stopped and I bought us a couple of sandwiches and two quarts of beer. We ate and drank and smoked some weed and listened to tapes of Big Country and Bob Marley. My passenger who I will call "J" was decent at conversation and I got a little of his life story. He was a "carny" that had recently lost his parents and he was headed south to see his sister.

I cut east on 198 and hit I5 and as I neared Bakersfield J decided that he would ride some more with me and catch the 14 into LA. I was headed over on 58 towards 395 and then 247. Something started to smell fishy but I was young and gave people the benefit of the doubt. At Mojave he changed his mind again and said he could get the 15 into San B'doo. I was really thinking that I needed to get this f*#ker out of my car. It was between Mojave and 395 that J showed me his tattoos. He rolled up his sleeves and had "white" on the inside of his upper arm and "power" on the other arm. He pulled up his shirt to show a swastika with wings around his belly button. Nice, an Aryan Brotherhood member, and I was playing Bob Marley. My mind was spinning and I was trying to figure a good excuse to get this guy out of my car.

We stopped for gas and a piss run in Victorville and as I was walking to the bathroom I thought I heard glass breaking. I didn't put it all together then, so we proceeded to drive. I made up some excuse that I had to go see a guy in Apple Valley and I would have to let him out soon. It was dark now, and couple miles down the road in Apple Valley we passed a bowling alley and it was shortly after that when the nightmare started.

J faked like he was getting something out of his pack in the back seat. As he came forward he wrapped his left hand around my neck and in his right hand he had a broken quart bottle of beer. He shoved the glass into my neck and held it there with his left as he screamed in my ear not to grab my piece. He thought I might have a handgun beside me. He had me pull over and place my face on the seat. J then dragged me out of the car, screaming the whole time and threatening my life. He then tied my hands behind my back and told me he or his buddies would hunt me down if I ever identified him. He took my wallet and all my stuff and drove off in my car. Oh great, now what do I do?

Now it's really ironic because as a little kid my brother and I would practice tying each others hands and then trying to get free. We learned a few things about tying and getting free. So Mr. Nightmare, left me face down and tied up in the desert at night and as he drove off I had myself untied while the rear lights of my car were still in view. I ran the half mile or so back to the bowling alley and made a little scene trying to get a phone call out to the cops. The shitheads wouldn't let me use their phone and I had to bum a dime for the payphone! Standing in the lobby, I could see the CHP interceptor blast by while I was still on the phone. After I hung up I waited there until all kinds of cops showed up and the next part of my drama unfolded.

J got about two thirds of way to Lucerne Valley before that interceptor caught up with him. He drove off the road trying to get away and bottomed the front end in the desert and made it away on foot. They didn't get him but at least I had my car. Sort of. The wagon wasn't going anywhere soon. The radiator was punctured and the front end was very tweaked. The cops on scene found my wallet and ID in the back and the rifle. The CHP got my wallet back to me while I was still being interviewed by the local cops. There must of been five or so cops of various jurisdictions standing there as I looked through my empty wallet and dug into the corner and pulled out that fifty that I stashed earlier. As I unfolded the bill and they all saw it was a fifty, there was a sweet silence. They liked me.

That all happened the day before Christmas. The cops put me up at the Green Spot Motel in Victorville and my car was towed to Lucerne Valley. I had my wallet and ID and that fifty and some clothes that the cops retrieved from my car. I also had whatever was in my pockets, which just happened to be all my weed, a gram of good flake and about five hits of window pane. I walked down to the liquor store and got a pint of Cuervo Gold and some beers and settled in for the evening. I'm telling you, you got to make the best of a bad situation and I think I did a pretty good job.

The next few days I could do nothing. I eventually got some money and got my car fixed well enough to continue my journey but J was still on the loose. When i got to Jtree I looked around for my buddies but I couldn't find anyone, so I camped by myself in Hidden Valley and waited. I was supposed to check in once in a while with the CHP in case they found the maggot and I needed to id him. So I just sat around, ate some window pane and listened to a lot of Rachmaninov.

A couple days later a ranger came by and said the CHP wanted to see me. They caught a guy they thought might be J. It was. He found some trailers out in the desert there and broke into a couple of them, ate some food, found some guns and even shot someones pet parakeet. He waited for one trailer owner to come home and stole his truck at gunpoint and was soon thereafter apprehended.

I eventually went to the prelims and identified J as the guy that robbed me in front of a judge that turned out to be a black man. Poetic Justice. He then plead guilty to several counts and was sentenced to twelve years and six months in the State Pen. He made it back to his sick buddies.



So there kiddies, don't pick up hitchhikers, especially if you are alone. And young and stupid.

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