So after a very sad goodbye I was left stranded on the side of the road with nothing but what was in my backpack. I wasn’t really scared at this point. The fear was just about the entire trip itself. Now that I’ve started, I don’t feel a single twinge of fear, and the experiences I’ve had in just the last 24 hours are worth every risk.
My original plan was to go through Yosemite Nation Park. The 204 shoots straaaight through it. Convenient, if it wasn’t closed. So I had to think on my feet and start in San Andreas. I don’t regret a thing. Picked up by a fella named Fernando. Works the glass delivery type shindig, delivering all sorts of glass and glass accessories to people who require said glass and glass accessories. Neat fella. Funny, though. He never actually planned on picking me up. He stopped right by me in order to take a whizz, and I was just standing there watching. So he went ahead and invited me. He never even picked up a hitchhiker before, so that was neat. His first hitchhiker, my first hitchikee on my adventure.
Altogether he was a pretty neat guy. Didn’t talk about himself too much, though. So I did most of the talking. He dropped me off right on the 88, and we said our farewells and thank yous and welcomes and whatever else.
Sitting there in Jackson on the 88, it was a real nice little place to stop. Right at an intersection so I had a good chance. Everyone was going nice and slow so they could check me out, decide if they like the shape and form of my butt, and pick me up. Someone did, and his namy was Andy.
Andy was at first a little scary. Being my second ride, I was still a little on edge and he wanted me to put my stuff in the trunk. I wasn’t too sure, but I got an alright vibe so I went along with it. And boy am I glad I did. He was older, coming back from a doctors appointment for carpal tunnel. Very bald, and a bit witty, we talked about all sorts of things. Nothing real interesting in general, but it was nice to have a conversation that wasn’t the least bit strained. He dropped me off in a little shanty town that probably had a population of about 8.
In good spirits, I stopped inside of a Burger Joint. The kind that you’d look at and be like “It’s either gonna be absolutely delicious or have roaches infesting everything.” I was very surprised. The place was called Lil’ Beefy’s. It was named after the owner’s son. Now at first it was basic conversation with a couple of the people working there. Telling them where I was going, what I was doing. They seemed very interested. Then out comes the food. It wasn’t just some regular ol’ burgers and some reheated fries. We had a goddamn mountain of home-made fries sided with a burger the size of my head and dripping with every last flavour I could imagine. I actually slowed down to eat and enjoy every last bite, and saved the fries for later. I got a picture, but I can’t post it right now. Soon, though.
The owner then sat in a seat next to me and we began to talk. He was pretty interesting, having lived quite a colorful life. Had 3 previous burger joints, all that were screwed out of him by banks. We got to talking about how the credit system in America is practically a scam. How nobody is really taught how it works and is easily taken advantage of by those who control it. Real intellectual-type stuff. He then got up and handed me a 20 dollar bill. Told me to keep it in case of emergencies. People sure are helpful.
My next ride came about an hour later, a fella by the name of scott. I have a feeling there was a lot to this guy, but he wasn’t much of a talker. Took me up about 10-15 miles. Had about 10 tires in the back of his truck and invited me to stay the night at his place if I couldn’t find a ride. He also gave me 2 frozen burritos. Man, people are really helpful.
So after about another 2 hours, I’m sitting waiting for a ride and it isn’t looking good. I”m thinking about going down to the Scott’s house when bam! A wild ride appears!
Real nice, older looking lady who said I had a nice face and that God told her to pick me up. Alright, I think, I owe you one God. She happened to be going all the way to Nevada, and we chatted the whole way. She was even nice enough to stop at a couple of the scenic views and let me get pictures. She had 5 kids and 3 Grandkids. Amazing lady, seen and been through it all. Her name was Debbie.
So she takes me all the way to Grovesburg, which is conveniently closer to my goal than my original target. She dropped me off at a little intersection right on Hwy 395, we say our goodbyes, I give her a big hug, and I go on my way.
I stop at a little house with an older lady and her daughter moving some stuff and ask if she could refill my canteen. I talk to the lady for a little while, and she gives me a fiver and tells me good luck. Hot damn, I have more money now than when I started off with. People are super helpful. It was amazing.
I start hitchhiking again and get picked up real quick. An older fella by the name of Dave. Dave was going all the way to Mammoth, and he took me with him. Now Dave was no doubt unique. His taste in music, his hobbies, the way he composed himself, it was all inexplicable. He also enjoyed driving very fast. We averaged about 80, passing almost everyone along the road. That is, until we did about 85 around a corner and saw a cop coming the other way. We were screwed. The cop pulled up behind us pretty quick, flashed his lights, and Dave got a speeding ticket. My goofy sense of humor wasn’t helping a lot, but I did get a chuckle out of him. We shared a couple hours, then split up outside of mammoth.
It was getting dark, windy, and cold. And I was looking around for a place to camp. Luckily, a nice lady by the name of Elizabeth picked me up and took me about halfway to Bishop. Dropped me off at the Crowley Lake Resort where I camped for the night. First thing I did was cook those burritos, and they were beyond delicious. <Picture coming soon>
Sleep did not come easy. The first half of the night was tough because of a heavy cough and a series of nightmares. I wasn’t sure if I was awake or asleep when this happened, but I heard footsteps coming up to my campsite, and an elderly voice saying “Won’t you come home now?” Scared the shit out of me. I took some medicine, and the next 6 hours were decent dreams and light coughing. So I woke up feeling somewhat refreshed. Stopped at the resort, got some Biscuits and Gravy and Coffee, and so starts Day 2.