Sunday, April 21, 2019

Hitchhiking to North Carolina 1977

In the summer of 1977 my 17 yr. old son and a friend were hot and restless and looking for an adventure. They came to me with a plan and, after a lengthy discussion, I reluctantly agreed.   They had decided to hitchhike from Dutchess County, New York to Pinehurst, North Carolina … a distance of approximately 750 miles. My Husband and our younger son were already there working on a small building project and the boys couldn't wait to surprise them.

As I watched them trek down the highway the next day I wondered if I was crazy to let them go. They looked 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 ! 

They had a little money with them but even that was rarely spent. They concentrated on getting rides to big cities along the route.   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, after lounging for a bit, they’d wander to the lobby and check out the billboards. 

There was always an eating event of one sort or another listed and if not they'd check out other hotels until they found what they were looking for.  Then, with the hubris of youth, they'd wander in and eat to their heart's consent. The amazing thing was that they were never questioned, not even once.  

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 a deserted corridor.  So the only expense they incurred was for food and I’ll bet that wasn't much either. I'm sure they weren’t shy taking  “doggie bags” from those free dinners they attended. 

So, that’s the “rest of the story” and when I think of the “what if’s” I can only agree with the old adage … IGNORANCE IS BLISS ! 


Blogger Anvilcloud said...

What a great story!

7:00 AM  
Blogger Marie Smith said...

How true. The boys were ingenious in their handling of the situation!

10:01 AM  
Blogger Arkansas Patti said...

My goodness were they clever lads. I wouldn't have even known about such possibilities. I am sure learning about that later was much better for you though you might have relaxed more if you had known how resourceful they were. They remained well fed, clean and mostly dry.

11:53 AM  
Blogger Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Glad they made it safely to NC and i agree that they were clever in getting food and shelter.

12:06 PM  
Blogger Joared said...

The stories we learn years later as parents can be fascinating — enjoyed this one.

1:05 AM  
Blogger NCmountainwoman said...

I remember when hitch-hiking was an acceptable way for young men to travel. More often than not, that was how my brother went to and from college to home. What a great adventure for your son.

5:57 AM  
Blogger troutbirder said...

A the risk taking Mom indeed! Mrs. T was also very skeptical about her risk taking husband venturing off into the wilderness north of Yellowstone Park bringing our two high school age sons trout fishing in grizzly bear country. We survived for two weeks and on a couple of occasions returning to civilization and the telephone I called Mrs. T to assure her that we were safe and doing well. Troutbirder/Ray

9:26 AM  

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