Hitchhiking: The Greatest Game I've Ever Played
When we awoke, we found an unlocked refrigerator in the back and we stocked our bags with a pudding, a can of soda, a roll with some mustard and a fruit cup. We walked back to the truck stop and spent the next 2 hours trying to get a ride. After we thought we'd lost all hope, a nurse pulls up and asks us where we're going. We tell her "West" and she tells us to get in. She drives us up the road to the nearest large interstate and all the way tells us about what it was like to hitchhike in Mexico when she was younger. She drops us off at Route 80 and we start walking. This road is almost deserted and there's just about no way we're getting picked up. We decide to walk and end up walking for about 4 hours. We decide to take a break for a while and sit with our sign and almost as soon as we get our bags down, a small u-haul-like truck pulls over.
Inside, we meed a man who goes by the name of Daffydd. Apparently he's a part of the Society for Creative Anachronism. For those not in the know (and I sure a fuck was one of them, though Bryan seemed quite informed), these people have guilds all around the US and they organize and hold events entirely in the midevil period, holding mock battles and things of that nature. He was late, heading to their big yearly feastival "Pennsic" all the way in Pittsburg and he was glad to have company during his ride. He tells us all about the SCA, Pennsic and other large "underground" events like Rainbow Gatherings and Burning Man, which seem a bit like excuses to do drugs, sleep around and listen to music, but I'll be damned if I haven't looked into them since I've gotten back.
We arrive in an outskirt of Pittsburg and Daffydd gives us one of his cards and lets us out. He also tells us that we might have better luck on Rt. 90 and he drops us off at the intersection of 80 and the road that will take us to 90 which is only about 20 miles up the road. Since our west sign is no longer effective heading north, we spent about a half hour thumbing it. We're already farther than anyone thought we'd get so anything from here is a bonus. After a while, we see an 18 wheeler stop in the distance and at first we don't walk up to him. There's no way he stopped that semi for us. Then he beeps his horn and we see him jump out of the truck. He shouts "Come on, I got places to be."
I'd never been inside an 18-wheeler before. There's actually a lot more room in there than I thought. I always assumed it was just a straight bench across. Turns out there's a twin bed in the back. This truck also had a TV and VCR. We discuss the trucker lifestyle with the driver, Frank for a while. He tells us how much he hates it and about all the hassles it is working independently. Truckers get paid by the mile, so if they spend 4 hours in traffic and only drive 20 miles, they only get paid 20 miles times something like 30 cents a minute. On top of this, they can only legally drive for 11 hours a day, so if theyre in the middle of their trip and their 11 hours is up, legally they have to stop driving and sleep. He drops us off at Rt. 90, wishes us luck and we get back to our good ole' WEST sign. After about 20 minutes we see a truck stop on the other side of the road and a man who looks like a 6'2 Ron White if he rode motorcycles. He waits for a slight break in traffic and walks to the median, calling us over. We grab our bags and gives us the usual "Where you headed?" We tell him our typical response and he says to hurry up and get in.