1977 … Hitching to North Carolina
In the summer of 1977 my 17 yr. old son and his friend were restless and looking for an adventure. They came to me with a plan and, after a lengthy discussion, I agreed.
They had decided to hitchhike from Dutchess County, New York to Pinehurst, North Carolina … a distance of approximately 750 miles. His Dad and younger brother were already there working on a small building project and this would be a complete surprise for them.
The boys were short on money but they insisted they’d be fine. I wondered if I was crazy to let them go as I watched them trek down the highway looking like Mutt and Jeff… my son being 6’3” and his friend barely 5’ 10”. With tears in my eyes and trepidation in my heart I drove home and waited for their call.
Of course I was a nervous wreck but that call did come 4 days later and they were fine. They’d completely surprised my husband and younger son and the plan was for them to stay for the next two weeks and then they’d all drive home together.
I remember being so happy that it was a tame adventure and that my fears were boundless … they were safe and sound. It would be years before they shared the actual facts of the trip !
No wonder they weren’t worried about money. They rarely had to spend any. They’d get a ride from one big city to another and always planned it so they'd get there late in the afternoon. Then they’d find the busiest hotel in the vicinity and pretend to be registered there. They’d swim in the pool, which cooled them off as well as acted as a shower and then they’d wander to the lobby and check out the billboards. There was always an eating event of one sort or another listed and they’d just wander in. I guess being young and nice looking didn’t hurt since they said they were never questioned. Isn’t that amazing?
Then, to add insult to injury, they’d take the elevator to the top floor and bed down on the roof !! One night it rained and they settled for the corridor. So the only expense they incurred was for food and I’ll bet they weren’t shy about “doggie bags” from those free dinners they attended either.
So, that’s the “rest of the story” and all I can say is thank goodness I wasn’t aware of it then. It still gives me chills when I think of the “what if’s”. That old adage Ignorance is bliss is surely true in my case.