Friday Fives – hitchin’ a ride

1.  Have you ever hailed down a moving cab for a ride?

yeah.  Not often, as you can imagine.  However, in NYC you have to.  Same with Vegas.  it’s easy, I’m white.

2.  Have you ever hitchhiked?

yes.  Of course I have some stories from that.  We’ll just do one.  Wifey and I (dating at this time, in case that is pertinent) were driving down to Phx for a vacation.  Phoenix, of course, was not the vacation.  Phoenix is hell.  The vacation was San Diego.  We lived a few hours North of Phx (Flagstaff) and needed the airport.  We were in the wifey’s absolute piece of shit car.  About 30 minutes north of Phoenix, it broke down (again).  So, we are stuck on the side of the freeway with our luggage in a busted car… and a flight to San Diego in 2 hours.

So, we both have family down there.  We thought we could call family to come grab us and maybe try and re-schedule the flight for the next day.   OR… we could just leave the POS car there and hitchhike to the airport.  We chose that one, quite wisely.  Obviously, we didn’t look too menacing as hitchhikers.  I was even dressed nicely, as I always am for a flight.  So, some lady stops and picks us up and we are off to the airport.  Now, she wasn’t going to the airport, but god bless she changed her plans that day for us.  The funny thing that makes this the story to tell is when we got out.  Since we had been chatting for an hour now we got comfortable in conversation.

So, I asked the lady “why in the world would you pick up hitchhikers”?  She said “I didn’t.  I was going to just offer you water but you both just jumped in the car.”  I still feel kinda bad.  We kinda jumped the nice lady.

Bonus funny story from that same trip.  We got back to Phx from San Diego… excellent trip.  We still had to get home to Flagstaff, though, without a car.  We had class the next day.  So, we hitchiked to Flagstaff.  The first half of the ride was SWEET.  Wonderful rich couple in a Suburban.  But, they could only get us half way there.  The second guy who picked us up was so creepy we had him drop us off at the Fresco mart so that he didn’t know where we lived.  he also made a wise but scary comment.

The wifey and I were taking turns soliciting traffic.  She was the one who got the attention of creepy guy – who said “nice work using the old lady as bait”.  He was right and all, but gross mister!

3.  In reverse, have you ever picked up a hitchhiker?

yes, a few times.  I wish I could do it more.  I totally don’t mind helping people.  I don’t mind skeezy people in my nice truck… none of that.  I am just afraid someone is going to knife me.  It happened to Tim.  Well, he didn’t get knifed, but someone pulled a knife on him.

4.  Ever traveled by train, like Amtrak?

yeah, in Europe.  Everything is train there.  They are cheap and nice and fast.  Planes aren’t practical because each country is only about 60 miles away.  We took an overnight train through Spain and that was cool.  We got our own little bunk room (which cost more, but think of it more as a hotel room).  Since we were going to spend 12 hours on that train, it was WAY worth it to get our own room for an extra $100.

Train is a great way to travel.  You get all the site seeing of driving a car, but none of the work.  I would say only in Europe, though.  Here, they suck.  They are incredibly slow and always late and not that nice inside.  Did you know that Amtrack is a govt program?  They have never made a profit.  The govt owns and funds 100% of Amtrack.  It just isn’t a good investment to travel that way.

let’s say I want to go to Chicago from Denver.  It is $250 and takes a few days.  Gee, thanks.  I can pay that or less for a flight and be there in 2 hours.

5.  Do you have a good “It happened on the bus” story?

Sure do.  I used to travel to Mexico by bus every year.  I have TONS of stories, but here is a story from my first.  We were taking a bus from Mexico City to Oaxaca.  It was 12 hours, I think.  You don’t want a driver driving a bus for 12 hours, that is too long.  They explained that half way there, they would switch out drivers.  Ok, cool.  So, we get to the halfway point and we all get out and stretch our legs.

So, I am thinking that we pick up a fresh and well rested driver in this new town, right?  Nope.  The existing driver goes and knocks on the luggage bay under the bus.  A dude crawls out, and he is our new driver.  He was sleeping in the luggage compartment during our whole 8 hour drive to this point.  Another time, a bus stalled out and we had to push the full greyhound size bus so they could pop the clutch.  That was pretty cool.  Buses are like the trains in Europe – AWESOME.  They are super nice, with curtains and comfy chairs and the play movies and have bathrooms.  Plus, it us super cheap.


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