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  #51  
Old 06-12-2019, 11:10 PM
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Almost picked up one yesterday, but had The Killers in the truck. No room.

Slight Hijack: Picked up a dude about 25 year ago, and ended up taking him about 400 miles. He had to ride in the back of the '65 Ford Pickup the whole way, but I did buy him lunch.

Last edited by Gatopescado; 06-12-2019 at 11:12 PM.
  #52  
Old 06-12-2019, 11:21 PM
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Just a few weeks ago. Very well-dressed man, appeared to be in his early 60'a, trying to get from Steelville (at the bottom of a mountain) to Cuba (at the top), a distance of about eight miles. I was headed that way anyway, so I took him. Asked me to drop him off at a truck stop where a relative of his worked; it wasn't out of the way, so it was no big deal.

I actually pick up hitchhikers pretty regularly. I figure the day may come when I need to hitch a ride, and so if I put good into the universe it may some day come back for me.
My grandparents lived in Cuba.


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  #53  
Old 06-13-2019, 12:52 AM
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I remember the last hitchhiker I picked up because it scared me so badly that I never picked up another.

The year was 1975, and I was a college student, driving in the vicinity of the university. I approached a guy walking toward me on the sidewalk. He stuck out his thumb, and for some reason I felt compelled to stop. In retrospect, it seemed like he wasn’t hitchhiking until he saw me (single woman) driving toward him. And it really did seem like somehow my mind was being controlled to get me to pull over.

Once he was in the car, I got a creepy vibe. He wouldn’t tell me where he wanted to go. I was starting to freak out and pulled over in a very public place and demanded that he get out, which he finally did.

It was a very bizarre incident.
  #54  
Old 06-13-2019, 09:29 AM
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I used to pick them up all the time when I was young but it would be decades since I did. Until I saw this thread and thought about it I hadn't realized that I haven't seen anyone hitchhiking in a very, very long time. I guess the advent of multi-lane highways that bypass most rural towns has a lot to do with it.
In terms of people trying to get around locally you might be right; but the entrance ramps of such highways used to be full of hitchhikers who wanted to cover longer distances. You'd hitch a local ride to the ramp, or walk there, or take a bus, or get dropped off by a friend; and then generally hold up a sign with your destination city or off-ramp.
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Old 06-13-2019, 09:41 AM
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In the early 90s a guy I eventually became friends with hitchhiked from California to Pennsylvania with his one year old Pit Bull. He ran low on cash before arriving in PA, and for the last few days he skipped eating, choosing to feed his dog instead.
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Old 06-13-2019, 10:15 AM
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In the late 1970's a friend and I once picked up a couple hitchhiking with two kittens. No carrier or anything; just carrying two kittens along with whatever the rest of their gear was.

I have always wondered what happened to those kittens. Didn't see any way at the time to do anything about it, though, beyond giving them that one ride.
  #57  
Old 06-13-2019, 10:16 AM
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2008. Passed a broken down car on the freeway shoulder, a couple hundred yards further I saw two guys trudging down the side of the road. It was a hot day, urban freeway, maybe another half mile until the next exit. I stopped and gave them a lift to the nearest convenience store so they could at least use the phone. I was driving a '87 MR2 at the time, so the two of them (decent-sized guys) had to double up in the cramped front seat, but at least they weren't frying on the roadside. When I got home I'd blown my head gasket (big steamy jet and everything) & the car was dead shortly afterward. I never could decide if I'd overloaded the car of if it was just a coincidence.
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Old 06-13-2019, 10:50 AM
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My grandparents lived in Cuba.


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Shitty little town, I avoid it whenever possible.
  #59  
Old 06-13-2019, 10:55 AM
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In terms of people trying to get around locally you might be right; but the entrance ramps of such highways used to be full of hitchhikers who wanted to cover longer distances. You'd hitch a local ride to the ramp, or walk there, or take a bus, or get dropped off by a friend; and then generally hold up a sign with your destination city or off-ramp.
I remember seeing a bit of this, but only a little.

When do you think this started to decline? Around 1980 due to all the coverage of serial killers?
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  #60  
Old 06-13-2019, 01:03 PM
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Last time I picked someone up- last summer. Gave a gentleman a ride home when he asked from Home Depot. And then I think about hiking/backpacking... And I have been the beneficiary 3x just in the past year in 3 national parks (Rainier, Haleakela, and Jasper) usually in going from my car to the other end of the trail. I similarly stop every time for any hiker (but I agree with the consensus that open-road hitchhiking is very much a thing of the past).

Riding with Junior McGee is still one of my favorite stories. I put it on the playlist for every long drive.

Last edited by Disheavel; 06-13-2019 at 01:07 PM.
  #61  
Old 06-13-2019, 01:17 PM
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Last time I picked up hitchhikers was in 1990 when I was around 18-19. It had just started getting dark and I was leaving my small town heading towards the next slightly larger town, when I saw a group of about 5 teenagers come out onto the shoulder of the road and start waving. When I pulled over, they were desperate to get to the next town, having found out the hard way that the buses quit running between the towns at 6:30pm (it was around 8:00 by this time). Since they were all my age or younger, and I had a station wagon, I let them pile in. As they realized that what they had been facing if they would've walked was 7 miles of dark, no-shoulder highway, they were extremely grateful to me for picking them up. I dropped them at the bus stop in the next town and that was it.

I've never hitchhiked myself. I grew up with the idea that hitchhiking was dangerous (especially if you were a female). Not because of anything I was told, I don't think, just that was the media message in the late 70's, early 80's. I remember seeing something on TV when I was around 7 or 8 that depicted a woman getting a ride while hitchhiking and being assaulted after the driver told her to put on some sunglasses. Then a couple years after that were the I-5 killer and then Green River* in the news, so yeah, in my mind hitchhiking was bad.

I now see college kids on I-5 all the time trying to get between Portland and Eugene. They are usually on an on-ramp or stopped in a shady spot with a sign indicating their destination. Come to think of it, most hitchers I see now use a sign. I saw a guy a month or so ago, as I was leaving a rest stop in southern Oregon, who was headed to Chico according to his cardboard. I still see the occasional hitchhikers who just walk down the road with their thumbs out, but usually only on smaller highways.


*I know now that these guys weren't picking up hitchhikers, but we kids didn't know any of the details, and to us "I5 Killer" or whatever made it sound like he was picking up people off of the freeway.
  #62  
Old 06-13-2019, 01:17 PM
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I've never picked up a hitchhiker or hitched myself when while driving or walking alone. The last time I've hitchhiked was in the mid-90s, for 20 minutes -- literally, I was with friends in Gatlinburg TN when they wanted to hitch from one side of town to the other. I've been in the car with my mom at least twice when she picked up some hitchhikers, last time being the early 90s, and it might be possible that I've been with my mom when we accepted a ride when our car broke down in the 80s but if so I don't remember.
  #63  
Old 06-13-2019, 02:57 PM
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  #64  
Old 06-13-2019, 03:06 PM
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I picked up a few and stuck out my thumb a few times in the late 70's early 80's. But then stopped completely when my fears overtook the thrill. I did offer a ride a few years ago to a young woman who was walking along the highway crying and carrying a baby on a blisteringly hot day she accepted and I took her into town. That was the last time I stopped for anyone on the side of the road.
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  #65  
Old 06-13-2019, 03:07 PM
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I remember seeing a bit of this, but only a little.

When do you think this started to decline? Around 1980 due to all the coverage of serial killers?
I think it (people hitching on freeway onramps) did start to decline in the 80's or maybe even in the late 70's; but am not clear on either the dates or the reasons. It was still common in the mid 70's.
  #66  
Old 06-13-2019, 03:25 PM
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I picked up a few and stuck out my thumb a few times in the late 70's early 80's. But then stopped completely when my fears overtook the thrill. I did offer a ride a few years ago to a young woman who was walking along the highway crying and carrying a baby on a blisteringly hot day she accepted and I took her into town. That was the last time I stopped for anyone on the side of the road.
What could possibly go wrong?


Seriously, thank you for being so nice.
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  #67  
Old 06-13-2019, 05:24 PM
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I've picked up a few in the past but the last one I remember was a few years ago. I asked him where he was coming from and he told me he just got out of prison! That freaked me out a little bit but I did give him a ride to the bus station, he was very thankful so it ended fine.

Now being a little older I don't think I'd pick up a hitchhiker though.
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Old 06-14-2019, 06:48 AM
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Driving to visit my brother in Michigan (near Ann Arbor) there is a stretch of highway with signage warning motorists not to pick up hitchikers due to the nearby prison.
  #69  
Old 06-14-2019, 07:05 AM
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And then I think about hiking/backpacking... And I have been the beneficiary 3x just in the past year in 3 national parks (Rainier, Haleakela, and Jasper) usually in going from my car to the other end of the trail. I similarly stop every time for any hiker (but I agree with the consensus that open-road hitchhiking is very much a thing of the past).
That reminds me, the last actual time I've been in a party that picked up a hitchhiker was in Rocky Mountain National Park when we parked at both ends of a trail and found an elderly couple who had not, so it was simple to ferry them back to their car.
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Old 06-14-2019, 07:08 AM
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Never. In fact, I can't remember the last time I've even seen a hitchhiker. This is an urban region, of course. Things might be different in the vast expanses of the western states.
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  #71  
Old 06-15-2019, 03:06 AM
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Three months ago; before I dropped him off, he warned me about some construction up ahead that my GPS might not know about. It did, but his instructions were clearer than the machine's.
I can now update this to "yesterday" and I'm pleased to report that both of us arrived to our destinations in good health.
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  #72  
Old 06-21-2019, 02:53 PM
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Never. The sensationalist media of the days when I was a child had it pretty firmly drilled into my head that hitchhikers were mostly serial killers or other ne're do wells and picking them up was pretty risky.
"When I pick up hitchhikers I like to let them get settled in and comfortable, and then ask them, 'So, how far did you think you were going?'" - Steven Wright
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Old 06-21-2019, 06:32 PM
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Anyone read John Waters' book about hitching across America. A fun read.
That is one of the funniest books I've ever read! It's in 3 parts: best case scenario, worst case scenario, and what actually happened.

https://www.amazon.com/Carsick-Water...gateway&sr=8-1

I have picked up people I saw walking, but not necessarily hitchhiking, that I knew, and taken them to their destination if it wasn't too far out of my way, both men and women. This was most common when I was in college.

The one time I considered picking up someone who had their thumbs out was when I was a 20-something working in a restaurant, and the hitchhikers were a co-worker and his best friend. To this day, I really don't think they would have harmed me in any way, but something just told me to keep on driving, so I did.
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Old 06-21-2019, 06:41 PM
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I think it (people hitching on freeway onramps) did start to decline in the 80's or maybe even in the late 70's; but am not clear on either the dates or the reasons. It was still common in the mid 70's.
My dad was in college in the late 1950s, and would hitchhike if he wanted to go "home" for the weekend, as did a lot of young men at the time. Even then, there were some well-publicized incidents of people being robbed or worse by those they picked up, or vice versa.

Every few years, Ann Landers would reprint a letter from a man who said that whenever he saw girls hitchhiking, he would pick them up and, while driving them to their destination, tell them about his IIRC niece who was murdered while hitchhiking, and warn them not to do it again. In response, she'd always print a letter or two from someone who said that SHE might be the dangerous one.
  #75  
Old 06-21-2019, 06:52 PM
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At work I’ve given plenty of rides to people who needed to get somewhere. Never outside of work.
By "get somewhere" do you mean jail?

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  #76  
Old 06-21-2019, 07:06 PM
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Man, The Doors ruined hitchhiking for us all. I ain't picking up no toad brain squirming guy. I like my sweet memories.
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  #77  
Old 06-21-2019, 11:24 PM
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Man, The Doors ruined hitchhiking for us all. I ain't picking up no toad brain squirming guy. I like my sweet memories.
If you give this man a ride, sweet family will die.
  #78  
Old 06-22-2019, 12:57 AM
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When a police officer approached him while he was hitchhiking and informed him that hitchhiking was illegal it whatever locality he was in, avoided a ticket by pretending to not speak English. In fact his English is very good; he actually teaches English back in Japan now.
That's a pretty common tactic. My Japanese was fluent, unless talking to the police.
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Old 06-22-2019, 05:08 AM
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Last time (I think the only time) was 15-20 years ago. I was driving down a main suburban Sydney road, about 8 a.m. Three teens by the side of the road were shouting and waving their arms, practically jumping in front of the car. I thought they were in trouble, so I stopped. They turned out to be just very drunk. As soon as I stopped, they piled in. One of them kept leaning forward from the back seat to try to change the radio. I drove them a few kms down the road, to near the shopping centre. They got out with many, shouted thank-yous. It wasn't a scary experience, but it made me realise that when you stop for someone, you have no idea what you are getting into.
  #80  
Old 06-22-2019, 09:23 AM
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If you give this man a ride, sweet family will die.
Have I been hearing that wrong all these years? I always heard it as "sweet Emily will die."

-- Just looked it up. Apparently a whole lot of people heard either Emily or family, but it's supposed to be "memory". How a memory's going to die if a person doesn't -- especially in a song about a killer -- is unclear to me.
  #81  
Old 06-22-2019, 04:17 PM
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Genius.com, the first Google result I found in looking for the lyrics, has it as "sweet family."
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Old 06-22-2019, 10:50 PM
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I have only ever picked up one hitch hiker, but I knew him. Dropped him off at the interstate on-ramp near my destination. He still had an hour's ride to hitch, but that was in the 55 mph limit days.
  #83  
Old 06-22-2019, 11:11 PM
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Hmm, in the late 80s I picked up a teenager who had driven into a flooded section of the road and his car died. I took him home.

More recently, when the commuter train was really late I offered a ride to the nearest subway. I've bummed rides from fellow commuters, too, including into the city, and home when i didn't have a car in the lot. Now it's easy to grab a Lyft, though, so I'm less likely to ask a stranger to drive me home from the train station.
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