Why I thought it would be a good idea to hitchike to California . . . from Michigan . . . in late December . . . . I don't really know. But I was prepared. Had my bright orange official Air Force survival jumpsuit, with 101 pockets, each with heavy zippers. Had my Herman Survivor hiking boots that would keep your feet warm to zero degrees Farenheit. Had my Artic thermal sleeping bag that would keep me warm WAY below zero degrees Farenheit. A backpack with my blank journal to write down all my experiences. Heading West. Had me a plastic margarine bowl filled with home made sugar cookes. To share with my 'rides'. The nice folks who would pick up this neon bright orange aberration against the dirty white Michigan snowplowed banks of ice with his thumb out. Heading South.
Seemed like a good idea.
Two years in University just wasn't fulfilling that 'spiritual need'. The need to 'find yourself'. So let's take the winter break and go find . . . something . . . . out on the road. Let's head towards California. From Michigan. In December.
South from Central Michigan. A ride here. A ride there. "Have a cookie". Some did. Some didn't. Got left off at a truck stop. Truckers. Hey, they go long distances. This 20 mile, 30 mile, 40 mile per ride thing wasn't making much progress. Let's try the truckers.
You don't have to worry about sneaking up and startling someone when you're wearing a bright survival orange jumpsuit with 101 zippered pockets and a green backpack with a brown Artic survival sleeping back on top. Kind of obvious that you don't mean any harm. You're carrying good stuff so your not a bum. Your as subtle as a neon sign at 3am so you're not trying to hide from anyone. And you've got sugar cookies.
Truckers are great. Not only do you get a ride, but when the trucker heads East and you want to go West they'll call ahead. "Got a hitchiker named Sugar Cookie heading West, anyone got a seat?". Let you off at milepost 198, 10 minutes later another trucker comes along "you must be Sugar Cookie". No need to ask how they could tell. You ARE wearing a bright orange Air Force survival jumpsuit.
Now we're making progress. Just South of Chicago. And then it starts to rain. A cold sleeting December rain. Didn't prepare for that one. Huddle in a junkyard in an old shell of what use to be an Oldsmobile. Nice and warm as long as I stay dry. But I'm not moving. Not making progress. Sitting still. Pretty boring. Write in the Journal. Haven't found any great Truths yet. Eat my sugar cookies. Still raining.
The Artic survival sleeping bag works well. Too well. Even in 10 degree Illinois weather wearing jeans and socks and a shirt the sleeping bag is too well insulated. Snake out of your jeans and shirt. That'll work. And still it's raining and I'm stuck inside an abandoned Oldsmobile in an old junkyard.
Sun comes up . . . somewhere . . . behind the steel gray clouds. And the sleet. It's a new day but not much better. Gotta get moving, because what I'm looking for isn't here. Isn't in this junkyard in this old broken down Oldsmobile.
Somewhere at the intersection of Interstate 80 heading West and Interstate 55 heading South I make a decision. I'm tired of the rain and tired of the sleet. Let's head South.
South to St Louis and the Church of Scientology. But that's another chapter.