Does anyone hitchhike anymore? I can’t remember the last time I saw someone standing on the side of the road. Arm extended. Thumb pointed up. When I was at Augustana College in Rock Island, when I wanted to go home, my options were to take the train (to the tune of twenty bucks) or hitchhike. I nearly always chose the latter option.
My modus operandi was to Magic Marker a sign “Augie Student to Chicago.” And on the back “Augie student to Mt. Prospect.” And I’d stand on the street outside my dorm. Hold up the sign. And stick out my thumb. And always got a ride. And I lived to tell the tale.
The first rides would usually cart me off to Interstate 80 and drop me off. There, I’d stand at the entrance ramp looking forlorn and holding my sign. And I was always picked up.
Once (Scout’s Honor) a big tractor trailer stopped. I hustled up and climbed in. The driver said “I’m sick and need to sleep. If you wanna drive, I’m going to Route 47.” Soooooo I traded places with the driver. He shifted a few of the floor gears and off I went piloting this big rig. The driver conked out instantly leaning against the door. At Rte. 47, I slowed to a stop. The driver took over and I hopped out, walked to the down ramp and held up my sign.
Hitchhiking was so popular back in the day that Marvin Gaye wrote a song with the title “Hitch Hike.” The song was released in 1962 in Gaye’s “That Stubborn Kinda Fellow” album. In 1965 the Rolling Stones released their own version. Listening to this music does bring back memories. . . . . https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNMIkqS688o