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Susie Bright

I want to know about all the trouble you got in when you returned to camp side lockdown.

I wish there was a blog for female hitch hiking adventures... Those movies you mentioned loomed large in my mind, but like you and your girlfriend, I was desperate to escape.



This resonates with me for two reasons:

1) "It Happened One Night" remains on my list of 100 Favorite Films*, where it resides alongside other B&W classics I adore such as "The Thin Man".

2) In my teens & 20's I hitchhiked 100's of times, ranging from local rides to the store & back to cross-country trips that took days or weeks.

Since my hitching days were restricted to the years from 1968-1975, when I was a young, clean cut lad of 15-22 years of age, even though I was at least vaguely aware of the dangers at hand (sorry), I felt reasonably safe riding my thumb from here to there and back again.

I only remember three unpleasant experiences that were due to the circumstances of the rides I accepted. I have many unpleasant memories of hiking in general, mostly because hitching under a blazing hot sun (Arizona), in pouring rainstorms (Iowa) or the occasional blizzard (Michigan) is singularly uncomfortable when combined with the uncertainty of not knowing when you might finally see someone stop for you.

My three sad memories involved sex and politics, two subjects that manage to intrude into every nook and cranny of life -- including hitchhiking.

I was propositioned more than a dozen times over the years by older men, only two of whom did not accept my polite "no" for an answer. One of them shoved me out of his car in a burst of expletives, the other I escaped by jumping from the car when he stopped in traffic. (I always kept a hand on my belongings in such situations.)

The last was when I was hitching from Omaha back to Detroit while on leave from the Air Force. I was in uniform and carrying my USAF duffel bag, both of which I had learned were invaluable for encouraging quick rides, and the semi I was riding in was 2/3 of the way across Iowa when I did something stupid; I argued politics with my ride, a tall fella who I believe was from Illinois, and a man who had little patience with the younger generation and our angst (this being 1974). Things came to a head with his declaration "I'll be damned! A {expletive deleted} hippie in uniform!"

He was silent for some miles, then abruptly pulled over at an exit & ordered me from his truck, leaving me there at roughly 4am on a Sunday, at a lonely exit that only led to a local farm, with little traffic in sight... leading to my curling up in the scrub at the base of the hill until the sun woke me several hours later.

While your sojourn in hitching was much briefer than my own, we share the same happy fate: we both came through alive and unscathed, and unlikely to ever indulge in the pastime again.

Unless, of course, Claudette Colbert (or maybe Myrna Loy) should appear beside me, thumb ready, gorgeous gams available in case of need, ready to join with me and share the exhilaration of a free ride from here to there.

And maybe even back again.

*My 100 Favorite Films is only a title for the sake of convenience. I have no idea how many movies are on my list of favorites; I've never counted. I chose "100" because it is suitably vague, in that no one has ever demanded I list all 100 films... unlike if you refer to your Top Ten, which leads many well-meaning (and obnoxious) people to insist on you delineating them immediately.


I occasionally hitchhiked during the early to mid 1970's, but I'd never hitchhike nowadays. It was already quite risky then, and it's still too risky for my tastes. The same thing is true about picking up hitchhikers. One never knows who they'll encounter, and not everybody out there is so nice, normal and/or honest.


Part of my refusal to hitchhike any longer is due to my having had a couple of creepy experiences myself. In both instances, the guys who gave me a ride started out with benevolent enough conversation, but when their talk slid into sexual innuendos and/or took on sexual overtones, I decided to get out.

Here in the Boston, MA area, a whole slue of young women who ranged in age from their late teens to their early 20's disappeared and turned up dead while hitchhiking to school, work, or wherever. Boston, MA was in the national spotlight for a number of weeks because of all those women who were never seen alive again after hitchhiking.

So saying, I ultimately decided that hitchhiking wasn't worth it, and, happily, I've had my own car for many years, and I now reside in an urban area where I have reasonably easy access to public transit, and hoof it, on occasion, as well.

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