Riding with Strangers: A Hitchhiker's Journey

Riding with Strangers: A Hitchhiker's Journey

Elijah Wald

Language: English

Pages: 240

ISBN: 1556526059

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


This fascinating tale of the author's cross-country hitchhiking journey is a captivating look into the pleasures and challenges of the open road. As the miles roll by he meets businessmen, missionaries, conspiracy theorists, and truck drivers from all ages and ethnicities who are eager to open their car doors to a wandering stranger. This memoir uncovers the hidden reality that the United States remains hospitable, quirky, and as ready as ever to offer help to a curious traveler. Demonstrating how hitchhiking can be the ultimate in adventure travel—a thrilling exploration of both people and scenery—this guide also serves as a hitchhiker's reference, sharing the history behind this communal form of travel while touching on roadside lore and philosophy.

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pleasure of our company, chooses to pick us up. When proud Odysseus was cast on Phaeacia’s shores, and only for the beauty of his countenance and his nobility of bearing was taken in and carried by ship to Ithaca, what was he but a hitchhiker?  Riding with Strangers Likewise Sinbad the Sailor, who setting forth each voyage a rich merchant was oft-times forced to stand at length on some strange strand and hitch a vessel home to Baghdad. How many castaways, famous or unknown, have chosen to do

ten-minute walk might put me in a much better spot, but it was equally possible that I might waste twenty minutes walking, unable to hitch, without improving my situation. At least it would be a change. I don’t mind waiting for an hour or two on a quiet country road, but it gets annoying when you are at a gas station in an urban business strip, watching a constant stream of useless local traffic. I had been there forty-five minutes by now. Let the gods decide: at one hour, if I was still there,

whizzed by in their cars and I met with barely a half dozen people in my monthlong trek.  Riding with Strangers Contrast that experience with a day’s hitchhiking: Anywhere in the world, you get into a car and you meet with a companion. Often the driver is acquainted with the region and can point out sights or suggest diversions, but more to the point, he or she becomes part of your experience, an unbreakable human link to those particular miles. You travel with the natives, and are treated as

is proof that your body can take the life, and given the right attitude, hunger can be invigorating. The next town was seven miles down the road, so if no one picked me up I could walk there in less than two hours. It was the first time this trip that I was somewhere I could walk. For a hitchhiker, that’s a pretty fair definition of “country”: a stretch of road where you might as well be walking as standing in a good spot. This was not a particularly scenic bit of country. It was flat and

the floor in the middle of the cab, and sometimes scrunched on my side with my feet up on the dashboard. The heater was on, which combined with the long day’s travel to make me drowsy, and I had the satisfying reassurance of many hundreds of miles behind me. I was aware that it would make a racier story if I were back in the bed with Martina, but literary fillips aren’t everything. The romance of this trip was truck cabs and the gentle hum of diesel engines in the Wyoming darkness, with a third

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