On hitchhiking, circa 1969, from the comments

I hitchhiked across the U.S. twice in 1969. Here’s what my 18-year-old white, male, hippie self learned:
1. Expect to get picked up and propositioned by homosexuals.
2. Everybody is really interested in drugs and wants to get their hands on some.
3. Drugs quickly went from being the pastime of a small, hip elite, to becoming the obsession of trashy, low-class types.
4. Cowboys or anyone who identified with them wants to kill hippies.
5. Mexicans want to kill hippies.
6. It’s possible to sleep in an empty lot in Seattle or Portland, but in L.A., you will be harassed.
6. Panhandling is the world’s most humiliating activity.
7. Day labor is shockingly arduous.
8. America’s roadsides are a continuous scroll of accidental beauty, dramatic vignettes, and surreal occurrences.
9. Even a single night in a small town jail is awful enough to dissuade any sane person from ever committing or coming close to committing an imprisonable offense.
10. Jesus communes and Hare Krishna people will take you in and feed you when no one else will. But they have their own problems.
11. Iowa is surprisingly beautiful.
12. We thought because we all had long hair, we were all on the same wavelength – we weren’t.
12. There are lots of smart, interesting normal people out there, and from them you learn that the best thing in life is to follow the straight and narrow, observe social conventions, work a steady job, and avoid extremes.

That is from Faze.


Ditto. Except Mexicans were nice to me.

I was pointedly hollered at by Altadena sheriffs to "get out of the road" when crossing the street in a crosswalk, at a stop sign. I was pretty dumb, but not dumb enough to debate the circumstances.

No jails for me.

Also, middle-aged ladies in Zions National Park will take pity on skinny boys camping.

Ditto but cowboys were nice to me. And I'm not a girl.

Most of what he wrote fits with what I experienced, I hitched from Seattle to LA and from Miami to NYC but I did not experience 4 & 5.
Many people picked me up to talk to keep them awake on a long drive.
Related to 10 I bicycled across the country and older people in small towns would invite us to stay in the church and would feed us. Some people are amazingly kind.

P.S. My hitchhiking and biking was between 1777 and 1981.

I know that's a typo but it would be awesome if it wasn't.

+1 bicentennial

@Floccina I also bicycled across the country, but in 2009. I was also amazed at the generosity of those in small towns who let us stay in their churches, and went out of their way to provide for total strangers. I did the trip through an Outward Bound type group who does the trip every year, and there is a big binder full of contacts made along the journey. We were stuck in Montgomery, AL after one of our bikes broke, and called the number of one of the people in the book. This stranger came and picked up the bike to take it to a shop, cooked dinner for a dozen or so of us teenagers, and let us stay in his house for the night. That man and his kindness really stuck with me. I met several other equally generous people on this trip, who have inspired me to pay it forward.

Stories like this should remind the grumpier alarmist posters here that in the real world things are pretty good.

I wonder if 12b would still be true, had one never hitchhiked the US twice in 1969.

I've seen maybe 1 hitchhiker in the past, oh, 20 years.

Eta - in the US.

Still quite a few hitch-hikers in and around National Parks -- generally looking for a ride either back to where they left the car or onto the next wilderness destination.

Passenger transportation has gotten so much cheaper that hitchhiking is basically now a signal that you're someone whose life is seriously disordered in some way. Most drivers, operating on this assumption, won't pick anyone up from the side of the road.

You've never been to Kauai

He's never been to Baltimore. Though I think that's more of an Uber before Uber thing not actually hitchhiking.

That was beautiful (and kind of Tyleresque).
Unfortunately we live all over the place, but it would have been nice to have a convention of MR readers. It’d be a pleasure to meet some of you.

This is one of the very few forums where I might actually follow that up. Even the people I disagree with here are interesting.

But by its nature we have a fairly globally distributed commentariat...

You’re an idiot.

I've mostly abandoned MR for clearer-thinking waters (sorry, you're all smart but still stuck in the matrix) but this warrants comment. I did LA-to-DC as a 21-year-old in 2000. My reactions to the list:

1. Correct. Couple real uncomfortable spots that made me appreciate the shit women go through regularly.
3. Another of life's u-shaped curves. Lawyers and bankers don't fear drug prosecution; nor do the artists or riffraff. It's the working stiffs who have to play by the rules.
4. Not being long-haired, the cowboys treated me fine.
6. Cops hate drifters in any city.
7. Recalls Kerouac's attempt at picking fruit. Not all of us hit the road fresh from poetry readings at Columbia.
10. The kindest people, hands down, were devout Christians.
11. In Iowa they'll let you sit in the rain for hours to appreciate all that beauty.

It's a pity no one does it anymore. With current phones the security element is pretty much solved. I view the whole enterprise as a strike by the individual against statist conformity; the shooter at the end of "Easy Rider" seems to have won the war.

Best wishes to all.

Where do you now hang out, Mother Jones website?

A good book on a modern "hippie" is the travelogue "Ghost Riders: Travels with American Nomads" (2002) by UK writer Richard Grant, a good writer who you see even writing for the conservative WSJ. In a nutshell, he fell in love with America as seen on TV, and apparently (reading it now) still loved it despite being hit over the head and knocked out by a black in New Orleans who had befriended him a few days, stealing all his clothes and his money.

Bonus trivia: they still hitchhike in Moscow, as of ten years ago when I was there, and beautiful girls getting into the cars of dirty old men. At least I think they were hitchhiking...

>knocked out by a black in New Orleans

I also stopped coming to the comments here but wanted to pop in for anecdotes related to this post. The mix of unabashed racism and goofy redpill stuff here makes me not regret my original choice. (cf. "No, women-qua-women don't. Attractive women do, and most of them are pretty crestfallen when they get to the age where it stops happening.")

Is it racist to be knocked out by a black person?

Not if it's black-on-black violence, apparently. That's why rappers of the same color are allowed to use the N-word but if a white uses it, in a clearly friendly manner, he's ostracized, they even stop the concert to shame him I've read a while ago. Not cool in my book.

@Leroy Brown - I date interracially and am engaged to a girl who's not white; how about you bro? Yeah I thought so.

It is racist to say 'a black' rather than 'a black person', at the very least.

The Bible may not be infallible, but #10 surely is. Last year visiting foreigners, a young couple, attended my friends' evangelical church close to the university a couple of times, not out of any desire to become Christians, but simply out of thoroughness - they (mistakenly) thought it would be another avenue to learn about Western thought, beyond their year's academic fellowships. My friends invited this couple to dinner at their home as they do all newcomers, and dined at their home in turn. When a crisis struck, suddenly, it was not his university colleagues that the young man called, frantic, with his limited English - but my friends, based on that slim acquaintance and exchange of hospitality. And they did not disappoint, devoting several months to their aid, on call daily.

This is absolutely of a pattern with my friends. I could relate many such stories of their kindness, whether to strangers, friends, or distant relations bereft of any closer kin - well beyond what most of us would consider sufficient. Indeed, I am sometimes exasperated by it. When they commit to help people, even house them, they do so without regard to their own convenience, and pretty much open-endedly.

Sure, I have observed this behavior in non-Christians - but principally for the benefit of dogs.

Christians were and still are the West's original virtue-signalers. Look at me, I'm so morally superior because I act like a white knight. These cucks need to take the Red Pill to learn the real Truth, the Light, and The Way.

1. Correct. Couple real uncomfortable spots that made me appreciate the shit women go through regularly.

No, women-qua-women don't. Attractive women do, and most of them are pretty crestfallen when they get to the age where it stops happening.

Speaking in all your extensive experience as a woman? As an attractive woman? Do tell.

He's a misogynist. Don't waste your time.

You're far too snotty and rude to make a credible white knight.

I found his comment witty and insightful. Yours not so much.

Speaking in all your extensive experience as a woman? As an attractive woman? Do tell.

Speaking of having a family full of women and women in my circle of friends. The only one who ever complained about men hitting on her spent her youth in bars and lived the life of a drunken slut until the liquor and drugs finally caught up with her.

Cool story, bro!

TttP is speaking a little crudely, but he has a point. This going against my usual socially-liberal thinking, but I've noticed that women who have had a lot of sex with many different men were truly enraged by the Kanavaugh affair, while women with more conservative sexual values who have spent most of their lives in an exclusive (usually married) relationship with one man view men as partners, not enemies, and were much more sympathetic to Kavanaugh.

Despite the correct-thinkers hassling you here, you're not wrong. Nonetheless, if you had a beautiful wife or daughter you might not deride the concern.

A year ago I'd have responded with some anti-feminist quip like you did. Then I saw what was happening in Sweden, France, Germany, South Africa. No, the press won't tell you, and no, Tyler and Alex won't tell you. Globalists are globalists from left to right.

Perhaps there is something of horseshoe theory here. The left isn't insane to fear for women, though they unwittingly gas the throttle as the cliff nears.

People who spend a lot of time in government, academia, hollywood, the media, all have a twisted view of sexual harassment and how people with power behave. Their experience somewhat matches the environment they exist in, but they tend to project it elsewhere and are _sure_ it must be much worse in the social circles where all the conservatives hang out. The professional and blue collar conservatives tend to have a very different lived experience of how people behave, so the two groups talk past each other much of the time.

Can you imagine someone who believes Bill Clinton's escapades are normal male behavior discussing sexual harassment with someone who is afraid they'd be fired for complimenting a woman the wrong way who isn't interested?

Not quite a hitchhiking story but close, this story originally from reddit and reprinted in the NY Times rings true for me: who will stop and help a stranger? An immigrant Latino family, that's who. At least in So Calif, and evidently in Oregon too based on this story.

Thought this comment was excellent (or at least an interesting view), glad it was highlighted.

Did the author actually hitchhike across America or did he watch the film Easy Rider (1969). If you have not seen the film, it's a must, if for no other reason than to see young Jack Nicholson's short but unforgettable performance.

also an excellent film soundtrack
including Мистер Clarence White

I suspect that a woman's experiences, then or now, would be quite different.

Do women ever hitch-hike solo?

I did for the last time in 1969. When (to mix up a few of the cautions listed above) I was offered money, by a Mexican truckdriver, to put out and then left in the middle of nowhere when I declined. Women hitchhiked frequently back then, but with a lot of thought put into how to stay safe.

I've both hitched and picked up hitchers, but never outside urban areas, my milieu. You can always turn down a ride in a populous area. Abundance.

What struck me most about the original post was that, if you get picked up you have to talk (emotional work in the coffee tea or me sense). It's true. The whole traction is risky for both parties, but the person picking you up is making the second move. They gotta do something to get control rather than simply respond. They may or may not be lonely, but they are gonna try to get a handle on you, they have to. And so we dance. TANSTAAFL.

I haven't picked up someone in 4 years and haven't thumbed a ride in probably 14, because I have reliable transportation. But the first mover (the hitcher) always has an advantage. They made the situation afterall.

With friends I hitchhiked out of Paris 1969, on route to Pamplona. Given a lift we immediately started sweating, as the man’s driving on small French roads was insane. He felt our nervousness so, without slowing down, he turned around to us sitting in the backseat and said: “Don’t you worry boys, my insurance covers my passengers too”. From there on, it was only bus and train for us.

For decades we read stories from tourists as well as articles by travel writers about the seeming recklessness of their taxi drivers or hired drivers or host drivers in countries all over the world. Speeding, crossing the center line, passing slow vehicles while on a blind curve or blind hill, etc. etc.

But the driving style seemed to work for them.

Over the years I've gradually concluded that it's not seeming recklessness, it's actual recklessness, and that sort of driving is as stupid and dangerous in those countries as it would be in the US. It's not a different style of driving, it's them being idiots. With resulting accidents and fatalities.

I took a night shuttle from Sarajevo to Belgrade and it was like one long game of Russian roulette.

"Give your enemy a motorcycle" is apparently a saying in Greece.

My sense is that it is more dangerous, but not as much as the same behavior would be in the U.S. In South America, in the mountains, passing on blind curves was almost routine (there was virtually nowhere else to pass) but drivers coming from the other way expected it and squeezed over to make room.

" In South America, in the mountains, passing on blind curves was almost routine (there was virtually nowhere else to pass) ..."

This is true in Mexico. And when you get behind a convoy of trucks going upgrade at 20 mph, you quickly decide to join them. But harrowing. On one such pass, I ran into an oncoming car, and there wasn't room for both of us. I squeezed in between two truck that had a car and a half between them. I expected the truck behind me to blow the horn, but he just continued on as if nothing happened. But he didn't slow down either. I quickly got out from between the two trucks.

Surprised you didn't highlight this comment instead:

Conservative defends pederast child molester because of me too movement. Truly conservatism has become the swamp.

Fallacy of composition.

The definition of 'conservative' and 'pederast' seems to elude Benny Lava.

The venn diagram of 'conservative' and 'pederast' seems to elude Tabarrok to the Pillory.

Sounds like the script for Easy Rider minus the homosexual part.

Growing up in West Texas about that time, yes, there was an issue with "cowboys" in 1969. In high school the next year, we were divided visably into "ropers", goat ropers or cowboys, and "dopers", short hair and boots versus long hair and tie-dyed shirts.

By the time I graduated in 1973 with Watergate and the Vietnam War in its final stages, you couldn't tell the difference, we were all long hairs and bell bottoms. On my road trip across the South the summer after, we ran into a couple of problems, but far more often kind people I'll always remember. There was that time in a diner near Little Rock where several large men came through the door and the leader yelled, "Well look at the goddamned hippies!" We got ready to fight only to see him walk over and hug his full grown, long haired sons.

Oh and yeah, day labor is why I went back home and on to college.

>Panhandling is the world’s most humiliating activity.

Oh, I don't know, I bet Liz Warren's PR people have something to say about that.

OK, that was funny.

I did it in 67, but not with long hair. Experienced much of what is listed there, although treated well by the cowboys.

I rode a bicycle from the east coast to the west coast and tried to hitchhike back east in the summer of 1971. It seemed like all of America’s youth were on the road, either driving VW vans or hitching rides with said vans. A great experience.
1. Drugs were everywhere (pot and LSD, mostly)
2. Like Floccina, farmers offered us their barns for shelter. In the morning the farmers’ wives would send us off with bags of food. Amazingly kind.
3. I had long hair but encountered zero hostility.
4. Re 12, no, no, no! The most interesting people deviated from the straight and narrow, shook off social conventions and embraced extremes.
5. It was dangerous, but as an 18-year old kid I didn’t perceive the danger. Pretty sure I was picked up by a serial killer who began his 12-year killing spree 2 weeks after my encounter with him. I didn’t realize it until 45 years later, when I read an article about the guy and saw his picture (but might be a false memory and we all know about false memories these days).
My hitchhiking days ended when the car I was in went over a cliff in Colorado. Spent a week in the hospital and never thumbed for a ride again.

I experienced #1, several times.

My experiences:
1. You can get stranded for 6 hours with your thumb out in Wyoming
2. Never was threatened or bothered but didn't sleep in vacant lots either
3. Glad I stayed at some communes to have some perspective on life. In other words, wow, my boring friends sure are great and dependable.
4. If driving cross-country and you are sick and broke, it can be rough. Tried to pass out under an overpass and cops rousted me out (no jail).

More: I haven't seen a hitch-hiker in years. Perhaps people just have more money these days.
I have picked up hitchers back in the day (30 yrs ago) because bored and to help stay awake. They were in all cases young men my age who did not look dangerous. Never had trouble.
I also notice fewer cars broken down on the side of the road which I attribute to better cars (esp tires) and cell phones.
I cannot remember ever seeing a woman hitching but did not travel in Cali back in the day.

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