Tuesday, July 12, 2022

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 Marie Smith said...

Priceless! How creative! Brilliant!

2:27 PM  
Blogger ApacheDug said...

Ah... youth! I was never that brave though!

4:03 PM  
Blogger Cat Lover said...

Great story! Just act like you belong there and no one will question you. Wonderful memory for your son and his friend.

4:05 AM  
Blogger Arkansas Patti said...

Have to admit those two boys were quite creative. My brothers use to hitchhike all the time. Would be really scary to try that today.

5:49 AM  
Blogger Joared said...

It's so much fun to learn all the things we didn't know from our children they finally share after they become adults. Your son's tale is a wonderful example.

5:02 PM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

What an amazing adventure from more innocent times. I don’t think we would let that happen today.

6:53 AM  

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