"Roads Taken: Hitching Home"

A prompt for my writing group was to recall a road trip and write about some aspect of it.  One trip in particular stood out for me.  The following is the collected Facebook/Blog posts from January 20-February 14, 2014, that resulted from that prompt. “Pt. I: Choices”  Newly graduated mid-year with my bachelor’s degree (December 1971), I couldn’t find a job.  My fiancée had decided we weren’t meant to be, so I returned the rings to the jeweler to have some spending money.  I celebrated my 21st birthday just before Christmas curled up in the bedroom I was using in my parents’ home.  Probably goes without saying that I needed a change of scenery.  When I told my mother I was going to hitch to Georgia to see an old friend, she looked out the...

The Atomic Cafe in Tallahassee FL

We made it to Tallahassee a few days ago.  We got stuck for a day or so in a place called “White House” (it may be all one word), and then in Glen St. Mary.  We were not having a very good time in northern FL.  However, then our luck changed and we got past Lake City on highway 90 and then got a ride all the way to Tallahassee from a guy in the Air force.  He was super nice and bought us army surplus rain ponchos! 625 W Tennessee St, Tallahassee, FL 32304 He also told us about a cafe in Tallahassee called the Atomic Cafe that he use to go to when his girl friend went to school here.  It seems like a pretty nice cafe.  Lots of college students.  They have free wifi with no password, free bathrooms, and lots of power outlets. ...

A Mad Man Tries To Kill Me

The lamppost I was leaning against to read was uncomfortable. On The Road was stale. The Walmart lot was empty of shoppers, composed of travelers sleeping, and employees rattling carts. “I can’t sleep. Want to go for a walk?” she said, pulling her van’s keys round her neck. I looked up to Captain getting out of her van. Drew was sleeping, sprawled out. He had claimed my usual nesting place for the night, and I was to sleep with Screw, his cat. (Screw the Cat was his full name.) “I’m down.” I stood up. We set off with no particular destination, talking. Just talking. It is these nights, these moments of conversational labyrinths we all get lost in from time to time. Those moments where calamity is at bay by forces of what? Forces of...

Граница Украины с Румынией

В последний по этой дороге украинский город Рени приехал вчера в десять вечера и пошел пешком в сторону границы под целый оркестр собачьего лая. Было довольно страшно, серая грязная деревня, полная луна и собаки, либо злые, либо дикие. Но, чем дальше от центра, тем становилось тише, размеренное шагание согрело, а на выезде из города меня подобрали два абсолютно невменяемо трезвых молдованина и, даже не пытаясь держаться на прямой линии, кое как довезли до самого поста, где я им дал сто рублей, а они справили нужду прямо на машину. Украинско-Молдавсий пост прошел сразу, даже рюкзак не снимал, а в Румынию пешком не пустили. Все утверждали что ждать попутку можно долго, никому не хочется проблем, которые возникают часто. Мне повезло, минут...

On The Road #13, Liberty Overpass Sleep

A freeway overpass has its advantages when looking for a place to sleep on a rainy spring night in the hills of New York state. First, it is dry under there. And there is a nice flat space just under the bridge, comfortable to lay on and safely out of sight from the road. It turns out the overpass just out of Liberty, New York, was the first and last such accommodation I have enjoyed the comforts of. All in all I was set for the night just as the night gathered and my tired body was welcoming sleep. I snuggled as best I could in my inadequate war surplus cotton sleeping bag covered with my wool coat for an extra layer against the chilly evening, my head supported by my wooden box of paints. I felt lovely sleep gathering and gave myself up...

RV Campgrounds, Burning Wind, The Hoover Dam, and the MGM Grand: Love, Dislike, Dismiss, Abhor

Day 31, Part 1 – Kingman, AZ to Las Vegas, NV (102mi/164km) To be honest, I loved the KOA motor-campground in Kingman, AZ. The pool water was crystal clear, the campground store sold three different brands of chocolate-marshamallow sweets, and the wifi was strongest between the foosball table and the laundry machines. A gentleman with a moustache on the first-floor patio spent ten minutes looking at whoever graced the jacuzzi, and the campground attendant happily kept your white wine and watermelon in the store fridge (next to the gallon-jugs of milk) because he knew (and told you, several times) that French people are totally into that stuff. If you looked carefully you could spot the plastic flamingo eternally angled towards the...

Kill the Lights

A friend has shared some fantasies, involving risk, exposure and interaction between strangers… I dared him to play out one of those scenes for me, and let me register. Here’s some of it.

February 12 - My Personal Year Of Gratitude, Day 43 - Nutella

Today, I am grateful for Nutella. If you’ve had it, you know.  If you haven’t, OMG!  (Just look into that baby’s eyes! She knows.) I had the good fortune of running into it over 40 years ago. At the end of October, in 1972, my buddy, Jim McNealon, and I headed off to Europe for an adventure.  Jim and I made an interesting pair.  Both of us had long hair (well past our shoulders), long beards (approaching our navels) and were each carrying a backpack and a guitar.  We both wore jeans, flannel “lumberjack” shirts and hiking boots.  People thought we were brothers. Anyway, after a week at my cousin’s in Heidelberg, it had started to get cold. Being from Florida, we headed south.  After a week or so in Switzerland, with stops in Basel,...

Hitchhike By Myself: Dago Pakar Atas to UPI

(doc by Erick Samuel) Hitchhiking tak selalu harus menempuh jarak yang panjang. Belajar memberanikan diri mengambil jarak pendek, bisa dijadikan ajang mengulik penasaran, rasa ingin mencoba untuk berhitchhike. So, i’ll tried this one for my soul. How’s you? *** Ayeee… dapat tumpangan gratis ke kolam UPI, Setiabudi (doc pribadi) Tahura, Bandung January 19th, 2014 Puas menikmati keindahan alam Taman Hutan Raya yang berlokasi di Dago Pakar Atas, Selly, Ramdan juga aku, memutuskan pindah lokasi jalan-jalan. Tiba di parkiran, agak bingung dengan kendaraan apa yang akan kami naiki. Masalahnya, Ramdan tadi diantar Yudhis yang sekalian mau berangkat kerja lepas. Sedangkan aku bareng Selly karena malamnya bermalam di rumah...

A day as a carpinter in Lyon.

Sami, Chloe and I were suddenly a team. As free-spirited as the Supremes, as courageous as Charlie’s Angels, and as powerful as the PowerPuff Girls. While Sami drove us into Lyon, Chloe explained the chain of events that she had planned for us before we went to the vineyard. Given that I was going to be working with them the next day in the vineyard, they invited me to stay and dine with them. Sami, the carpenter, had to do some work in a house that he was remodeling, and till then they gave me some time to go see Lyon. We would then reconvene at the house where Sami was working, have dinner nearby and head over to the vineyard after that. Instead of going to see Lyon, I found a cyber-café and went to inform my family of where I was and...

I saw the sign and it opened up my eyes

I saw the sign and it opened up my eyes I saw the sign Life is demanding without understanding I saw the si-ign and it opened up my eyes Ace of Base This is a blogpost for nerds only. If you are not a nerd (or a sign geek perhaps), don’t bother to read any further! The thing is – when you travel a country for three weeks, you pick up on some signs. And some of them are funnier than others, saying something about the mentality of the people living there (or the tourists visiting). And some of them are just plain confusing. I hereby bring you a compilation of the signs that opened up my eyes during our trip: Doesn’t need a comment, does it? In South Africa, you want to stop and take a photo many places because of the...

How Not To Hitchhike In Germany

On the morning we left Munich, we got up quietly so as not to wake our hosts.  They’d left some lye pretzels and bread on the table for us, so we wrote a thank you note and left it with the key.  We jumped on the 6 line to Studentenstadt and walked ten or fifteen minutes to the autobahn.  We’d woken up a little later than we’d planned, and it was already almost noon.  The drive from Munich to Berlin was about 600 km, so we were hoping to make the entire trip in under 8 hours.  When we got to the A9, we found an on-ramp which was less than perfect, but the best we were going to get.  We stood there for half an hour, when somebody pulled over.  It was a single man, which it almost always is. We’d hitched from...

Are you kind people? Dag 7: Stockholm

Stockholm leek wel een sprookje. De rivier in het midden van de stad was proper genoeg om in te zwemmen. Hier en daar lag een blikje op straat, daklozen of bedelaars waren nergens te bespeuren. Iedereen liep er van ‘s morgens vroeg al bij alsof ze op het punt stonden te vertrekken naar een hip designerfeestje. Ik vroeg me af waar de donkere kant van de stad heen was. Hoogstwaarschijnlijk was ze veilig weggestopt in anonieme appartementsblokken buiten het centrum. Of ze zat – even onzichtbaar – in de hoofden van al die gelukkige mensen hier die niemand meer nodig hadden. De laatste avond in Stockholm sliepen we bij Jacques, een Franse student aeronautica. Zijn studentenhome stond in Bergshamra, een heel eind buiten het peperkoeken...

THANK YOU

I am grateful to so many people. To InterExchange, for the support they lent during trying times as an au pair. For the grant and blogging opportunity. To my Dutch host families for the experience abroad, from which I’ve learned so many valuable lessons. To everyone who kept in touch with me through facebook, email, and skype. To everyone who has taken the time to read this blog. To all the people I’ve met along the way, locals and travelers alike, for sharing a meal or conversation with me. To all my wonderful hosts, who showed me such hospitality, and inspire to me give whenever possible. To my drivers, for the company and conversation, sometimes going out of their way to help me reach my destination. To those who kindly bought me dinner...

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