The Hitchhiking Lie

A story in the Washington Post, about a group of latter-day hitchhikers meeting in bleak southeastern California, got me thinking: From January 1973 through December 1979, I hitchhiked all over the country. It’s hard to believe now. Everyone then thought the country was dangerous and had lost its innocence, compared to the Kerouac era; but it was a great adventure, in its way, and my brothers started thumbing everywhere, too. I finally quit, in large part because I found myself in one too many stupid, nearly desperate situations (and heard similar stories from my brothers). But today seems so much worse somehow — people seem more isolated from each other than ever, much less willing to trust strangers and maybe wisely so. I hardly ever see hitchhikers anymore, and I haven’t picked one up since 1985. So here’s a guy with a hitch-hiking site , sponsoring gatherings and sort of promoting the culture the way hoboing used to be promoted (and romanticized) as a lifestyle/transportation mode.

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