weed, whites, and wine


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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...

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

Social climber
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


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.


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.


Social climber
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 2, 2015 - 05:38pm PT
Bump--- and this still makes me smile


Sport climber
Yakima, WA
Nov 2, 2015 - 07:27pm PT
Hitch hiking? I was at Michigan State and the family was in Huntsville, Al with Boeing. Christmas was coming. A friend and I got a ride to near Nashville where we split. I decided I would hitch to Nashville and catch a bus. It was about 10:00 at night, so getting a ride was iffy. Some dude in a beat up POS car stops and asks where I’m going. Nashville. Okay, I’ll take you says he. The signals were going off of course, 50 year old redneck, drunk on his ass, but I decided to take the chance. As soon as we drove off I observed a couple of things: he was smashed, really really smashed; the oil pressure light was on; no good vibes here, but what the hell.

We got on the interstate and the first thing he said was “You got real purtty hair” and reached over to touch my hair. I said ‘Maybe you should let me drive”. He agreed and, in the middle of nowhere we switched places; at least I was in control now. At the first exit with a gas station I pulled off, stopped the car and jumped out, grabbing my bag. He was pissed and told me he was going to call the cops. I told him I was going to call the cops. Drunk on his ass, the oil pressure near zero and the engine making odd noises he drove off. F*#king redneck. Shades of Deliverance.

Social climber
Hell is empty and all the devils are here
Nov 2, 2015 - 07:53pm PT
I've stayed at the clown motel.

Man, you've got nerve.

Ice climber
Nov 2, 2015 - 08:11pm PT
Poetic learner's permit
Gnome Ofthe Diabase

Out Of Bed
Nov 2, 2015 - 08:35pm PT

Well that sure did not work! And I did not work much either, I just climbed.
I climbed on the walls of three schools, inside and out . When I climbed in and out of windows, I got tossed from each.

I went on to climb on bridges using that to work out. From having met and watched as gill preformed I started calling the hardest traverse across scabs of failing concrete facing, the ripper treverse.

Then it was that I met some kid who climbed better than me. He was a legacy. His folks did more than climb to ski, they climbed rocks just like me!

It was hard face climbing and made me a very strong kid.
So much so that KB made me an apprentice. Then things fell into place as I learned that neither climber must ever fall from the greatest ole' Dad of all. After fixing that as the mind set
And embracing what is now What jstan taught. I went as far as I could until me feet nearly dropped off.

When I die some will say I wasted a good life. Not because I climbed so much but because I did not climb more, higher farther off more . . .staying close to my routes and roots only making forays out west every other year for twenty felt like enough but it was not.
All of the climbing hiking hitching and bus stop drive by sex, got old as I left my 30s
That was when these confounding climbing gyms came to the US shores. I had climbed indoors in Britain and in France, before there was any more than peg boards in a gym around here.
As I said I climbed very thing I could from the end of the sixties on. But the stench of indoor gym was nauseating to me I had been to France twice and England much more . The score was about to change - I knew it and got married to a wholesome corn fed lass of stature to breed in some height. She had short legs and a long strong back, still does in-fact. . . .

So as the wave of first gen gym climbers looked to go outdoors, I was in a good place to get paid to show some the ropes. Then it started pouring no0bs and holds got greased by the years of chalk, ruining what had been. The old men died off and one or two giants to me too.
I did not join the human race the damn cluster-in-Flux joined me. I went farther into the woods to get away and thought so loudly STAY AWAY, that for the most part all have .
A good thing really as I am happier being sad that no one climbs the old ways any more .
And those that know the old ways see that good or bad things change and youth has no rival.

Too long ? Well then I might find just the right length song
But which one Down On The Farm?- the song or the whole album? Spanish Moon?
Time Loves A Hero?
that's still a bit to long a version and besides it is a bit of a stretch anyone up for the Triple Face Boogie? Speak in' of a fitting boogie

Thank you for this HDan! I'm sure that we who hid in the dirt and ran from other responsibilities in the now grey days. So black and white, have many of the same regrets .
But as to live music and hard livin' so that we could climb farther, higher, more, to climb rocks was what I feel the songs of Little feat are all about.

Mountain climber
Olympia, WA
Nov 2, 2015 - 09:23pm PT
Country Joe McDonald - Hold On It's Coming - 10/27/1973 - Winterland (Official)

In 1972, I hitchhiked down Hwy 1 over Christmas Break from SF; I was 15. Somewhere outside of Monterey, after getting dropped off by some gay/hustler dude who was polite enough to just let us out of his car, it started raining and we were beneath a grove of eucalyptus trees. Even though it was totally dark.some guy in a really old (like 1963) chevy pick-up picked us up. The guy drove Hwy 1 like a horse headed for the barn. Only song remember blaring out of the radio was "rider's on the storm." ended up camping in a gulch, keeping a little dry with a "tube tent." The next morning, some guy in a Porsche picked us up; as I recall, he looked like Dustin Hoffman. (no, it wasn't an Alfa Romeo). A risky trip, no doubt; but over the years it has provided me a realtime playbook of yesteryear. Finally, our last stop was on Hwy 41 where James Dean crashed.

Social climber
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 10, 2017 - 06:22pm PT
Up in Alaska we pick up a lone lady hitch hiker. She introduces herself as the "bush bunny". Seems she made her living by staying with some man in his cabin for as long as either could stand it- usually about 6 months- and then she moved up or down river to the next vacancy. Hit run repeat and then move down river
A funny aspect of this scene, was that she had these sort of fashionable high heeled shoes on with no socks and her toes were really, really, dirty and in my mid western hopelessness I couldn't help but keep on staring at her grimy feet.

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Jan 11, 2017 - 03:35am PT
While in school in the mid-70s after returning from Vietnam I used to hitchhike across I-70 between Southern Illinois and Eldo a couple of times a year to climb. It was always an adventure. Sometimes the hardest part of the trip was just getting a ride from Carbondale, Ill up to St. Louis to catch I-70 as you had to pass through a stretch where folks weren't overly friendly towards those filthy longhairs. In fact, some trips seemed like I almost walked to St. Louis, but once you did make I-70 it was always 18 hours of clear sailing through the Great Plains to Eldo. Kind of always liked that trip. Except for once...

I was living in Glenwood Springs for the winter at the time and confluence of really bad juju required I hitchhike back to Illinois at the end of January in a brutal storm. After some ado, I made it through the mountains to Denver and was standing on I-70 out just east of the Stapleton and the 270 interchange. I'd been there for what seemed like an eternity, with basically no cars or trucks going by and getting colder with even more snow, when I finally realize through the blinding wind that the oddly shaped snowdrift behind is a frozen cow leaning up against the fence and drifted over. It suddenly dawned on me that I may have underestimated the endeavor and was beginning to wonder why it wasn't named Shackleton Airport.

Maybe another hour or so passed of zero cars. But then I spy one a long way off, or at least as far as I could see, though as it neared I could tell something was off. When it did finally roll up next to me it's Colorado State Police car going the wrong way down the freeway. The trooper rolls down the window and yells, "kid, get in the car, don't you know the interstate is closed?". Well, no sir, I didn't, but I was pretty sure that cow was going to have some company if that trooper hadn't rolled up when he did and taken me back into town.

That night I found somewhere warmish to crash and checked the freeway report the next afternoon and, finding it open, set out again with a bit better luck this time. Made it to the Topeka Bypass interchange late at night and am freezing my ass off again when after an hour or so a white, ragtop Dodge pulls to a stop. A big, lyrical black guy slides over to unlock the door. I get in, but am so chilled to the bone that I'm a bit disoriented for a few minutes by which time we're back on the road. When I finally come to my senses and can feel again a couple of minutes later I realize my new friend never slid back behind the wheel and has his hand on my thigh. Ok, remain calm, pull my knife and explain I'd really like to get out of the car. After a terse, but brief, negotiation I was deposited back on the road and eventually finished the trip with all my fingers, toes and that certain virginity intact.

The epilog to the tale a year later is I'm back living in SoIll and decide it's Eldo-time again and find myself back out on the road hitting all the good interchanges like the one in Lawrence, Kansas (always a black hole) which I finally escape only to be deposited late at night at - wait for it - the Topeka Bypass interchange. And who rolls up to a stop just like clockwork a year later? You guessed it, my friend in the white Dodge convertible. Talking through the window he doesn't remember me and I explain that, why yes, we'd met before and pull my knife for emphasis which suddenly jogs his memory. So, saying our goodbyes and he departs into the night with a shower of gravel never to be seen again.

Such is the story of how I came to stop hitchhiking...

Jan 11, 2017 - 05:06am PT
...in my mid western hopelessness I couldn't help but keep on staring at her grimy feet.
I love this line, practically poetry.

Great bump and great stories. Thanks!

Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
Jan 11, 2017 - 05:17am PT
What a trip for this thread to be bumped now. Just tonight (late one for me) I was listening to the song referenced in the title of this thread, for the first time (I was born in 70s so wasn't exposed when it was new), a Linda Ronstadt version. I was thinking how I've been to Tehachapi and Tonopah (home of the Stealth Fighter and a great used book store).

Social climber
Desolation Basin, Calif.
Jan 11, 2017 - 08:16pm PT
This is a good thread. There's much to be said about lonely basin and range highways.

Any of you boys ever been to Rock Springs?

I woke up as the sun was reddening; and that was the one distinct time in my life, the strangest moment of all, when I didn’t know who I was – I was far away from home, haunted and tired with travel, in a cheap hotel room I’d never seen, hearing the hiss of steam outside, and the creak of the old wood of the hotel, and footsteps upstairs, and all the sad sounds, and I looked at the cracked high ceiling and really didn’t know who I was for about fifteen strange seconds. I wasn’t scared; I was just somebody else, some stranger, and my whole life was a haunted life, the life of a ghost.
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