What's the furthest you've ever hitchhiked?

Inspired by this thread , I was just thinking back to college in more carefree days. I don’t have any adventures anything like Colibri or Fishbicycle, but my record is 315 miles from Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite to my mom’s work in Mission Hills, California. The awesome thing about my trip was that it was one single ride. Damn, it was a great way to travel if you were young and fearless and had a lot of time.

On the other hand, when trying to go from Yosemite Valley to Los Angeles I got dropped off in the worst part of town in Fresno at 1 in the morning. At about 4 in the morning, I gave up and hiked to the Greyhound station which fortunately is inevitably in the shittiest part of town and not far from where I was. I had to sit on the floor because the remaining seat on the bus was next to some enormously fat dude and there wasn’t enough room for me to sit.

I was in the Algarve in Portugal hanging out with a bunch of students trying to get to Sevilla and we missed the last train so we all split up into groups. I was stuck with a naive sheltered nice young girl from the midwest. We got picked up by a truck driver and we tossed our backpacks in the back. The guy didn’t speak any English and we didn’t speak much Spanish (despite the girl being in a Spanish immersion class in Sevilla). The guy proceeds to start trying to molest the girl and when I stop him he starts going all psycho and getting this glazed look in his eyes. He’s driving around 90mph on these tiny curvy mountain roads. After a while, we force him to stop and miraculously we’re able to retrieve our backpacks. The girl is completely freaking out. It’s about 1 in the morning, pitch black and we can see the lights of a small town twinkling in the far distance. Then yet another miracle happens and a car comes by about an hour later and picks us up and the young kids driving let us crash on their porch. We ended up just catching a bus back to Sevilla. The poor girl was probably traumatized for life and I never saw her again despite several days of serious partying at the Feria de Abril.

So, what’s the furthest, weirdest, or best hitchhiking experience you’ve had?

I’ve never hitchhiked, but when my dad was in the Navy in the 50’s and he got off the ship in San Diego and found out that his mom’s house in Albany, GA had burned down, he managed to get across the country faster than he could have driven himself! Of course, he was a red haired freckled honest faced kid in a Navy uniform. That helps. :wink:

Pittsburgh to K.C., then on to Phoenix and then back to K.C. I also did Jax, Fl. to Akron, Oh. at least 4 times. This was in the fifties and I was in uniform.

Los Alamos NM to New York NY, 1984.

Approx 2000 miles.

When I was 18 in 1980 my parents inexplicably gave me their blessing to go on a trip to Europe. The first leg was three weeks playing tympani for a wind ensemble touring Denmark and Norway. For the next two months I hitch-hiked from northern (then West) Germany over to Oostende, Belgium, then took a ferry to Dover, hitched to London, then out to Cornwall, back to London (I found out Pink Floyd was playing), back out to Bath, Swansea, then started getting burnt out and from then on just did small hops with longer stays - up through Snowdonia, over to Chester, up to Glasgow, Glencoe, Ft. William, along Loch Ness to Inverness, and that was the end of my hitching. From Inverness I took a train to Edinburgh and from Edinburgh I took a train to London, and flew home. I have no idea how many miles. A very formative experience.

I tried doing a little hitchhiking in the states in the early 80’s but it wasn’t a viable mode of transportation. I tried hitchhiking from Boulder to Moab in 1984 or 5 but couldn’t get a ride out of Grand Junction and had to spend the night in the weeds.

I did a bit of hitching in the summer of 1986 as a 20 year-old college Deadhead. The longest leg of the trip was Washington DC to Cape Cod to visit a girl who turned out to be way less interested in me in real life than she had indicated in her letters.

The first day I made it from DC to Lenox, Mass in one ride with a really cool guy whose parents ran a bed and breakfast there. They put me up for the night and then he took me to the Mass Turnpike early the next morning.

I got my next ride from two guys I called Scary and Larry. Scary was driving Larry to his court date for assaulting a cop. Larry was convinced that I should not be hitching without some dope. Scary apparently agreed, though he was not very talkative, and they pulled off the turnpike to try to score me a quarter bag. No bags were available, but they gave me a nice long ride.

Then some Deadheads picked me up and took me to Providence, RI, where I was next picked up by a really nice guy who had run into a friend of mine from Sewanee who had taken a semester off to live with her cousins in Ireland. He had met her at the pub where she was working. Talk about a small world - - hitching through Providence and meeting a guy who had met a friend in Ireland.

A few more rides took me to Chatham, Mass where I got stiff-armed by said young lady. She took some pity on me, though, and let me regroup for a day, then I headed back to Tennessee.

I was unsettled by my poor reception in Chatham and therefore nervous about hitching back down the East Coast, so I cashed in some coupons and was able to get a cheap flight to Virginia. I stayed with friends there for a few days, then got back on the road with my backpack and thumb.

It took three rides to get back to Sewanee, but the final ride scared me off long distance hitching for good. A guy in a motorhome picked me up on I-75. He said he was a graduate student doing research in human sexuality and was headed for Atlanta. He wouldn’t mind giving me a ride, but he would have to drop me in Chattanooga, and would I mind participating in his research survey? I was okay with that.

He spent the whole time trying to convince me to have sex with him. He was rather suave about the pick-up, and I never felt physically threatened, but I was a bit rattled by the whole thing, at this point wanting just to get back home. He wound up detouring from his trip to Atlanta because we hadn’t completed the “survey” and took me all the way to what serves as a downtown in Sewanee. He was bummed that he couldn’t close the seduction, but didn’t get ugly about it.

I left my backpack on the porch of the one bar in town and walked back in roughly 3 weeks after I’d left for DC. My friends were amazed that I wasn’t dead, and I couldn’t buy myself (or anyone else, for that matter) a drink that night.

My 10 miles in college seems like almost nothing compared to these stories. :wink: add to that, I did it in Hawaii where the sanctity of hitchhiking is almost a matter of state pride. You stick your thumb out and you have a ride around the island in under 10 minutes. (you just have to wait for a local with room in the car to show up. Tourists don’t stop.)

Denali National Park to Skagway, Alaska. That was in '91 and I can still vividly remember all 8 people that gave me a ride. One elderly couple, he was dying of cancer and having new ears to hear him eased his pain, put me up in their Winnebago for two days. We all teared up upon seperating, we’d become so close. A halibut fisherman that picked me up in the rain is someone I still go see every time I’m in Homer, Tony Di Michelle. There was a trucker, a Valdez pipeline worker, a Wasilla college student. One kid in a van showed me an 80K check from 6 months on a fishing boat. Another couple in a Winne had sold their house for a 200K profit and were travelling around America to find the perfect place to live. 2 guys took me across the border and when we went through customs all these needles fell out one of em’s backpack. Thank God he was a diabetic. All in all, it was a pretty cool trip.

I didn’t realize how far I had gone until I looked it up just now.

Our trip started out as a driving trip from Mississippi to Los Angeles, but my truck threw a rod in Beaumont, TX and so we hitchiked the rest of the way. Since we went to San Diego then on to LA, the trip was about 1700 miles. :cool:

I don’t remember so much about the people who gave us rides. One old guy said he’d give my b/f some work to do and put us up in a hotel; only to disappear. We had to slip out in the dark of night to avoid the hotel bill.

Another guy was a young fellow driving a UHaul to San Diego. He was grateful for the company and took us on the longest leg of the trip.

Seeing the desert country up close and personal was a breathtaking experience for me. Waking up in Painted Desert country, for example, with the dawn gilding the rocks. I had never seen such.

Philadelphia, PA to Little America, Wyoming, a truck stop along Rt 80 near Green River. In 1976, I was 13.

I hitch-hiked across the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico when I was in college. Some of the smaller Mayan sites are in the jungle and there aren’t too many ways to get there. The longest ride was from Campeche to Chetumal.

I have crossed the country countless times. I spent the main part of my teenage years (early to mid-70s) travelling around the U.S. and Canada, and continued to hitch as my method of long-range travel until my late 20s.There are far too many good times and nice people to start on, and, surprisingly, not too many bad times (at least that weren’t weather related) or bad people. I only got robbed twice. I got held at gunpoint after a high speed chase by the cops in San Luis Obispo after a couple of bank robbers stopped for me while they were fleeing. :eek:

I believe that was my shortest ride. My longest ride, if I recall correctly, was from Springfield, Ohio to Denver.

Brazil - Natal to Salvador, with a brief stay outside of Recife to visit the driver’s relatives. Turns out tourists aren’t usually seen that far outside of the city. Good times, took almost 3 days. I’d say maybe around 1200 kilometers.

Oh, and no shower after day 1.

I like to claim I hitch-hiked around the world. Not true literally, but sort of. I went from my home in Colorado to the West Coast on my thumb then crewed a Trans Pac race boat as far as Hawaii. There I joined the Peace Corps which took me to Micronesia. Climbed on board a Japanese tour flight at the invitation of the Japanese. From there I went up to South Korea. I won a ticket to Indonesia there and then headed up into Thailand by thumb. Actually paid about five dollars to go to Bangladesh on board a rather questionable ferry.

From there into India sitting on top of a truck. I got a job driving the truck in New Deli and drove it to Istambul. From there it was back to the thumb. Fellow gave me a return ticket to the states on Air Icelandic. I hitched from Kennedy back to Colorado. It took me about six years in all.

I didn’t go all that far, but it’s a fun memory…

I went day-hiking with some friends in the Colorado Rockies, up to a place called Electric Pass (so-named because its high iron content attracts lightning during the afternoon storms. It’s at almost 14k feet if I recall :cool: ).

Usually we did loop hikes that returned us to our car. But in this case the guidbook said you could go down the other side of the pass and catch a bus back to wherever you came from. So, thinking that would be fun, I talked a couple of extra people into coming along for a shorter loop hike so that they could take my car back with them. Great plan.

Except that there is no town on the other side of Electric Pass. Nothing. Not only that, but getting “down the other side” would have been challenging for a mountain goat, let alone 3 hikers suffering from mild hypoxia :smack: .

So, we were stranded roughly 20 mountainous miles from the nearest town without transportation.

Luckily we ran into a local couple out for a shorter hike on the way back down that agreed to stuff all three of us and our packs into the backseat of their VW Rabbit convertible and drive us home. It was a tight fit, and the dude drove like a complete maniac, but it was the funnest ride I"ve ever had, since they basically saved our bacon.

I learned not to put so much faith in guidebooks after that.

When my 4Runner blew up in a canyon outside of Moab, UT, I had to hitch two rides. I needed to get back to the campground at Arches National Park. A guy I met in the canyon would only give me a ride to the park’s visitor center. That was actually fortunate. Why? Because the woman I met there gave me a ride gave me more than just a ride to the campground.

Nudge nudge, wink wink.

Merida, Mexico to San Francisco, CA via Chiapas, Mexico. There were a few short bus and train rides in there, but mostly hitching.

Round trip from Sicily to Philadelphia. I was catching rides on everything from KC-10 tankers to chartered military jets.

I’ve got to try this. Do you just stand on the runway with your thumb out?

Milton Keynes (UK) to Barcelona (Spain), summer 1983. It took three days.

Two out of three nights we were given free lodging by people who’d picked us up, the first by a nice chap who let us sleep on the floor of his parents’ amazing house in Kent, the second in an unbelievably chic attic apartment in Fontainbleau, near Paris. The owner just gave us the keys, told us to make ourselves at home, and went off to stay at her boyfriend’s place. The third night was spent with a large bunch of Eurohippies in a service station near Montpelier (south of France) competing for a lift. We eventually got one from a slightly lecherous character but he got us to Barcelona in one piece and that was all that mattered.