Riding with Strangers originally opened with about a dozen pages of quotations about hitchhiking, which my editor wisely requested that I cut down to one. That left me with all these quotations I liked, and I had to put them somewhere . . . Most are gleaned from the internet, including about a dozen from other hitchhiking web sites, of which I especially recommend Digihitch and Bernd Wechner's pages.
When I was a girl at camp in northern Michigan I hitchhiked short distances.
I may add that those in West Virginia are very good about picking up one
on the highway.”
Reagan ... stood on the corner of routes 26 and 29 in Ohio while thumbing
a ride to Dixon.
You may call him a tramp, but I know it goes a little deeper than that.
He’s a -- highway chile.
summer of 1974 was brutally hot in New York and I had kept thinking about
how nice and icy it must be at the North Pole and then I thought: wait
a second, why not go? You know, like in cartoons where they just hang
"Gone to the North Pole" on their doorknobs and just take off.
. . . I had decided to hitchhike so one day I just walked out to Houston
Street, weighted down with seventy pounds of gear, and stuck out my thumb.
"Going north?" I asked the driver, as I struggled into his station
wagon. After I got out of New York, most of the rides were trucks until
I reached the Hudson Bay and began to hitch in small mail planes.
The hitch-hiker stood up and looked across through the windows. “Could
ya give me a lift, mister?”
built that highway, and they can put you in jail for thumbing a ride on
I will hail them, my brothers of the wheel, and pitch them a yarn, of
the sort that has been so successful hitherto; and they will give me a
lift, of course....
[Archbishop Dell’Acqua’s] car had broken down en route to
Monte Cassino and he had had to “hitchhike” in order to get
there in advance of the Pope, whose speech he was carrying.
When my curacy was finished I had three months free and decided to hitchhike
car broke down . . . however we flagged a passing lorry . . . and whirled
You grab a plane or get on your thumb and hitchhike to the other side
of the continent for good and all.
How many times I've
‘My proposal is: To set off walking this afternoon. To stop when
we are tired. To get a lift when we can. To walk when we can't. To do
it at once, and do it cheap.’
Holly came from Miami, FLA,
an extremely successful double-header concert at Carnegie Hall in 1969,
I chartered a plane to fly us to and from Boston for a concert the next
night. Artie decided he would pursue a favorite hobby and hitchhike to
Boston instead of taking the plane. A young couple picked him up because
he 'looked like one of those two guys, Simon and Garfunkel.' Even after
producing his driver's license, the couple refused to believe that the
real Art Garfunkel would be hitchhiking! Artie arrived on time for the
concert, but the kind couple never picked up the two complimentary tickets
that were left at the box office for them...just as the hitchhiker had
It took me four days to hitchhike from Saginaw
I was hitch-hiking, people had to follow me, 'cause I didn't stay long.
That's what I liked about hitch-hiking. If a crowd wasn't big enough,
I kept walkin.'
I was hitchhiking in California and was picked up by my history professor,
and he said he was so glad to see me. And I said "why?" And
he said, "Well, all the more interesting students have dropped out
I hitchhiked about five thousand miles in six weeks . . . Part of the
way I got a lift with a retired Sydney bus driver called Dusty Ploughman
(this was really his name); he was towing an eight-birth caravan just
for himself and a white cockatoo known as Charlie, which swore like trooper.
. . Another lift I had was in a police car - they had no objection to
giving a lift to a hitchhiker, and actually took me several hundred miles,
onto the next one-horse town. Sometimes I managed to hitchhike as much
as 500 miles in a day.
said I, “I’ll just hitchhike on that highway . . .”
'[I] went away through France.'
I hitched through Texas when the sun was beatin' down
“Dear Mom, I've hitchhiked to San Francisco. Don't be mad.”
Bobbie thumbed a diesel down, just before it rained,
a boyfriend for a while who worried about me hitchhiking, because I'm
from Alaska and you hitchhike everywhere, but he was from California.
When Cass was a sophomore, planned to go to Swarthmore,
The act-symbol dichotomy refers to the notion that some gestures are
pure actions, while others are intended as symbols. For instance, an action
gesture occurs when a person chops wood or counts money, while a symbolic
gesture occurs when a person makes the “okay” sign or puts
their thumb out to hitchhike.
hitchhiking from the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean with a guy who
had just graduated from Harvard, who happened to have been a white guy
named Lawrence Biddle Weeks, who’s now an Episcopal priest, having
been a lawyer. We had run into each other by accident at the dock in Dar
es Salaam. He said his fantasy was to go from the Cape to Cairo. Mine
was to cross the Equator. We flipped a coin and the Equator won. We went
from the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean without ever leaving the ground.
Reasons for making hitchhiking a crime should be obvious. There are a
lot of crazies out there. You climb into their car and heavens only knows
what they might try to do to you. Illegal or not I believe that hitchhiking
is something that everyone, in order to live a full life, should do at
least once. I did it one time and I highly recommend it. Picking up hitchhikers,
on the other hand, I have never done and don’t recommend.
we tramped gaily out at the gate of the town, we overtook a peasant's
cart, partly laden with odds and ends of cabbages and similar vegetable
rubbish, and drawn by a small cow and a smaller donkey yoked together.
It was a pretty slow concern, but it got us into Heilbronn before dark
– five miles, or possibly it was seven.
If you’s a hitchhikin’ woman
I broke down in Louisiana
Auto, Auto, may I have a ride?
Thumbs up, meaning “everything is great” or “I’m
Okay” to the West can be equated to the “middle finger”
by Middle Easterners. Of note: hitch-hikers do not “thumb a ride”,
rather they hold their hand horizontal to the road and wave it up and
down as though telling motorists to “reduce speed”.
I abode a long while by the sea, pondering my case, till one day I caught
sight of a ship passing in the midst of the clashing sea, swollen with
dashing billows. So I took a piece of a white shroud I had with me and,
tying it to a staff, ran along the sea-shore, making signals therewith
and calling to the people in the ship, till they espied me and hearing
my shouts, sent a boat to fetch me off.
going to St. Louis but my next stop just might be L.A.
-- that’s what I say.
Having seen a hitchhiker thumbing a ride while towing a fridge along
behind him, this image imprints itself on Tony Hawks’ brain. He
tells friends of the sight for years, only to awaken after a night of
indulgence to find a bet scrawled on a cocktail napkin challenging him
to attempt to hitchhike Ireland’s perimeter with his own fridge.
I’m walking down the highway,
hitchhiked across this country five or six times. I rode the rails. I
lived in hobo camps. Those things don't exist anymore. What exists now
is a very mechanized, technocratic world in which there are rules and
regulations at every stop. I suppose that's why a lot of people find adventure
on the Internet. That's their idea of being interactive. My idea of being
interactive is going on out and doing it on the street. Anybody who would
do it [hitchhike today] would be remarkable kind of person with a great
flair for life and would be somebody I would love to meet.
I hitchhiked up to Sam Houston State Teacher's College, which was on
the Dallas Highway, 70-some odd miles north of Houston.
. . And I hitchhiked back home. I recognize hitchhiking has gone out of
fashion, but in that time it was very common for people to , and for people
to give hitchhikers rides. A different era.
When I was fourteen, I had already hitchhiked with no money whatsoever
from Central Pennsylvania down to Florida. I didn't get into Florida;
the police stopped me. . . . In Georgia, they turned us back. They said
you shouldn't be on the road. They were very good. I am very grateful
to those police in Georgia. They took me in; I slept in their jail; they
fed me; they gave me fifty cents, I think, and sent me back home.
I hightailed it and buried all the hash out in the woods. Went to Jerusalem
for awhile - about a week. Came and hitchhiked back up in the dead of
night, dug it up, took it down to Jerusalem and was selling it in a hotel
room when the police walked in.
I hitchhiked around Europe and fell in love with Europe.
I hitchhiked around the country when I was younger
I hitchhiked across America more than once, and have more than once been
a thousand miles from home with less than a dollar in my pocket.
to New York. Please – do not put me in any category with fucking
The hitchhiking part came after I ran away from a couple of foster homes,
but yeah, there were a few jail experiences as well, all of which were
for being underage and on the road.
I left school and ended up grabbing a guitar and a suitcase and a dream,
and I hitchhiked around the country for close to five years. I’d
go to a town, find the best band, ask to sit in, and kind of like a gunslinger,
smoke the band’s guitarist and a couple of
days later I’d have his gig.
I hitchhiked all around the country. I went out West and visited the
Hopi Indian Reservation and found that very exciting. Quite by chance,
I was privileged to see a rain dance at Oraibi. I guess I was about eighteen
to hitchhike a lot, all over the country. At the time I never met anybody
who hitchhiked more . . . and I saw a lot of accidents. And sometimes
the car or the truck I was in would get there first. So it piqued my interest
. . .
William Carlos Williams was the one who meant the most to me, so I hitchhiked
to see him, from Cambridge to Paterson, wearing my chino pants, and I
called him from a bar nearby. "Could I come to see you?" "Sure,
come on, kid." So he let me in, and said, "Sit down over there.
Do you write poetry?" "Well, yeah, I guess so. . .I suppose."
He went about his business, planning his deliveries, and typing something.
He glanced at me from time to time. After fifteen minutes or so, he said,
"OK, kid, you can go now." He understood that I just wanted
to look at him.
I was doing acid one night and it started to get light out and I was
hitch-hiking and got as far as Junction City, Kansas. At that time my
hair was down to here and I had a permanent. I just turned 17. I guess
hitch-hiking was against the law in that state. The cop said to show him
some I.D. I had eight I.D.s. This was four days after the other bust.
We were sleeping under bridges. So I was down at the station for three
I eventually dropped out of college, but before that I hitchhiked across
hitchhiked here at the end of '76, but I didn't officially move to New
York until January '77.
I was 16 in the summer of love. One sunny morning I left home in Levittown,
PA (where all the houses look the same) with a backpack and thirty dollars,
to hitchhike to CA. Ended up in jail three times, saw a lot of the country
and didn't come home all summer. When cops would call my mother and tell
her, "We have your son," she'd just ask them how I was doing.
"He's a runaway, right?" they'd assume. "Oh no, he's on
vacation," she'd assure them. When they'd threaten to incarcerate
me for three days for hitchhiking on the turnpike, she'd say okay, I'd
probably consider that a part of the total experience (which I did).
I hitched all over the place, down as far as Kerry and up as far as Belfast.
But it got to the stage where I was usually confident of coming first
or second in the competitions, and there was often good prize money that
came in very handy at the time! I didn't mind the hitching at all, and
I enjoyed myself everywhere I went.
known the US for a long time. I visit often, I’ve studied there,
worked as a forklift operator for Anheuser-Busch in St. Louis and as a
soda jerk at Howard Johnson’s. I’ve hitchhiked across the
whole United States
I, with some friends in 1961 or 62, drove an old ambulance to Baghdad.
We didn't actually reach Baghdad - it finally broke down on the road to
Damascus outside Beirut. But I hitchhiked home from Beirut on my own.
I was on my way to Bosnia, with a group of five or six people, to travel
through that country. I had not been there since I was a teen-ager, when
I'd hitchhiked through Yugoslavia
It's the same kind of drive that makes you want to do it when you're
a kid, and struggling on with no money ... and hitchhiking with your guitar,
which is what I used to do all the time
we were 18 years old she and I hitchhiked from Maine to L.A. together,
she sporting a hot pink Mohawk and me blue and purple dreadlocks. We hitchhiked
all around for about three months. It was just like looking at the bloodstream
of America. We only had one problem the entire trip: when we got surrounded
by a gang under the Arch in St. Louis, Missouri after a July 4th fireworks
celebration, she pulled out some mace and maced the men and we ran away
I was about 20, hitchhiking through California and Oregon and Washington,
riding freight trains, sleeping under bridges and viaducts. I didn't like
that at all. . . It's like picking cotton. It's something you did, but
never want to do again.
I went to Kent State University. They said they would pay my room and
board if I had a paraplegic roommate. So I had this woman with tredrixahxia,
which is a debilitating nerve disease. She could drink a cup of coffee,
but then it might fly out of her hand, and she tahk rike thisssshhh. She
was so much fun; she was great. . . . [W]e hitchhiked from Ohio to North
Carolina, and the trip took four days. People would stop and we would
say, "We just got married and then this had to happen." And
they would give us money, feed us, pay our way into hotels. For her, after
being patronized all her life, it felt so good to take advantage of people,
and abuse their good nature. And it was fun for me too. She's died since
then. But we had a lot of fun for a while, there.
I used to hitchhike around, up to South Carolina, or over to Daytona,
so I could sit at the rest stops and have time to write songs. I thought
I was trying to relive the Jack Kerouac days. The whole hitchhiking thing
was just too damn scary after a while… But it builds a certain character
that you don't get from playing Little League.
mother and I hitchhiked to see the Rolling Stones. Both of my parents
were pretty far out.
I hitchhiked to Morocco all the way through the Sahara and that was exciting
I spent about eight months, hitchhiking around the country, actually
it was four months hitchhiking in the south. And those four months in
the south, hitchhiking around, every time I wandered into a banjo picker,
I'd watch closely to see what he was doing.
I had just gotten back from a hitch hiking trip through Mexico –
after quitting my job at a health food store – and needed a new
kind of way to make money.
I hitchhiked into Lhasa with another American woman I met in China.
I hitchhiked Route 22, the William Penn Highway, to Chicago and then
took Route 66 through Illinois, Missouri and Oklahoma down to the Texas
Panhandle. When I got into Arizona and New Mexico there were so few cars
that I had no choice but to ride freight trains to travel further west.
tell our art teacher we weren't going to class, and that we needed to
borrow markers to make hitchhiking signs. He'd go, “Oh, don't tell
me this. The world's not as nice a place as you think.” And you're
that age where you're just thinking, “Oh, please.”
I love to [hitchhike] in some of the smaller communities. That’s
one of the upsides of celebrity. Generally people recognize me right away
and I get a good ratio of pick-ups. It works in Baltimore in the snow.
I used to hitchhike everywhere, holding on to the belief that if you're
not afraid of anything, nothing bad can happen to you because you're not
attracting those dark forces. I still like to believe that's true in theory,
but I don't hitchhike anymore. At least, I haven't in a long time. I suppose
if circumstances were right, I'd still hitchhike with a friend and in
countries where it's not dangerous. Also, yes, I think it is a matter
of gut instinct. I think I had so many positive experiences traveling
and hitchhiking on my own because I expected to have them. I believed
people were good and they were good, usually. It sounds terribly naive,
but I also believe there's truth to it. Of course, there has to be caution
and you have to know how to trust your instincts.
few days later, I hitchhiked back to Switzerland, because I was very sick.
I was near death. I never made it. They found me unconscious in a forest
in Germany, with typhoid.
One time I was involved in a sort of "sudden-onset" threesome
with a male partner and a guy he'd picked up hitchhiking, and when the
guy took his pants off, he was wearing lacy pink panties. It's such a
simple thing, but what a charge! It represented to me that I couldn't
rest on my ordinary gender expectations.
I met this blind chick from Montreal on the road in the States. She was
going to every Stones gig, hitchhiking blind as a bat to get to the next
concert. I said, "This is not safe," so I would fix her up a
ride with the truckers; I thought, She's going to do it anyway, and I
didn't want her to get run over.
hitchhiked, took trucks 'n' trains--anything that would pick me up.
I was hitch-hiking across the country to go to New York with this thing.
I knew three or four chords. People would give me rides, and I really
didn't know much about what I was doing. It was in the middle of Kansas
somewhere. Anytime guys saw a guitar, they usually pulled up and asked
you to sing for your ride. I wasn't really any good then. I couldn't play
the damn thing, really. So I sold them the guitar and wrote them out a
few chords...your basic three-chord progressions. I gave them the guitar
for fifty cents...that's how hungry I was. I took off down the road to
the nearest beanery.
My brother and I hitchhiked to Milwaukee, went to Orth's Music Store
there, and asked the guy who was really great, and he played Eddie Lang
There were times I'd get out there and hitch hike. Maybe I shouldn't
tell it now, but just get out on the road and hitch hike. . . Never a
problem. I would hitch hike all the way to Norfolk. . .Yes, and you find
out how nice—people are really nice. You may find one or two, but
generally people, I believe, are kind hearted. Unfortunately, that one
or two can run havoc, you know.. . And it runs across color lines, you
[My father and mother] immediately hit it off. Went on the road. Back
in those days when you were in love you had a road trip together. So they
went hitchhiking to Miami Beach through the south. But she couldn't do
it in green hair. She tried dying her hair brown but it turned bright
purple. She went on the road with purple hair.
When I was 19-20 I travelled overland, mostly hitchhiking, through South
I hitchhiked around Europe, sang in the streets, collected money. I lived
a week under a bridge once, the Pont Neuf.
hitchhiked with a Canadian named Bill from Aix, all the way down the boot
of Italy, over to Corfu, through Greece, and on to Crete where I lived
in a Minoan cave near a town called Matala on the South side of the island
with a bunch of hippies and drop-outs from the states.
Myself, a girlfriend and just another friend of ours who was a guy but
not a boyfriend well we got together and hitchhiked across Canada. . .
We were sixteen or seventeen. Our parents to this day had no idea. I told
my mom I was just going to my friend's house. . . Oh, we had a ball and
remember there was a guy with us so I think we were safe but we were nuts
and I would never do that today and if I had a daughter I would be terrified
by this. We just went right up to Canada and hitchhiked right through
the country to Montreal and my friend had a brother living in Toronto
so we visited him and we went to Calgary but we didn't get to Vancouver.
I think we ran out of money . . .
[John and I] slept together as teenagers, top-and-tailed in millions
of hitch-hiking places.
I arrived in San Francisco in l952, hitchhiking from Chicago.
Thirty years ago, I spent a year and a half hitchhiking throughout Africa.
In many places, the people I met thought I was African, but not from their
country. I was Nubian, I was Yoruba, I was Ibo. No one thought that I
was American. Obviously, there was something connecting me to the continent,
but not to any particular country. Though I did not set out to trace my
roots as many people were doing 30 years ago, I began to focus more and
more on my identity. I became aware that I was an African American, not
left home when I was 15 and hitchhiked across the country, and I've been
on my own ever since.
When I hitchhiked from Buffalo to New York when I was 16 years old, I
didn’t bring any food or clothes, I didn’t bring my football
trophies or a pair of my girlfriend’s underpants. Instead, I dragged
700 record albums in wooden milk crates. You try
hitchhiking with 700 record albums, and then you tell me what bands you
Sometimes I'd stick up a thumb just to hitchhike
I was about 18 years when I started to realise that you have to deal
with other people. I bought a tent and a sleeping bag and hitchhiked away.
Failing to pick up someone with his thumb was antisocial. Passing up
one in uniform was akin to treason. . . Hitchhiking was easy, orthodox,
sometimes exciting. Exciting? On my way back to camp after this very leave
a LaSalle limo driven by a middle-aged woman and already occupied by three
girls and a private with red artillery braid on his cap stopped to pick
me up. The young ladies said the driver was the madam of the place where
they worked in Tulsa-- moving them to Dallas where business was brisker.
Why didn't I come along?