weed, whites, and wine


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The Granite State.
Feb 17, 2013 - 05:48pm 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.

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Feb 17, 2013 - 06:22pm 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.

Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
Feb 17, 2013 - 06:52pm 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 - 08:24pm 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

Boulder climber
Somewhere on 395
Feb 17, 2013 - 09:48pm 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 17, 2013 - 09:50pm 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...

from out where the anecdotes roam
Feb 18, 2013 - 03:30am 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

Social climber
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 18, 2013 - 06:44am 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


The Granite State.
Feb 18, 2013 - 09:55am 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 - 10:25am 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.


Big Wall climber
Seattle, WA
Feb 18, 2013 - 10:43am 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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