Thursday, March 12, 2009

From a few days ago

Awesome! Here we are in Pecos. We got a ride from a cowboy with two sons in the army who just wants them to come home (“’cause war is breaking other people’s things and killing them, and we’re being kind over there, so if it’s not war they should just come home” excuse my misquote, but I thought it was profound, and wanted to preserve what he said as best I could remember). He was very nice, and said he picks up hitchhikers a lot and he hitchhikes himself, too. In fact, he said he chewed out a 24-year-old woman who picked him up for picking up a man his age.

Mr. Crow dropped us off just about 15 miles down the road near a town called Mineral Wells. We asked around the Shell station there for a few minutes, then hiked out to the onramp to try our luck. Finding the traffic super-sparse, we stood in the grassy angle where the onramp meets the freeway and held our arms out like wings with thumbs.
After about an hour, during which Stina and I took turns standing and thumbing while the other sat on our packs and took notes, thought deep thoughts, or nodded off (Stina), “Call me Blade” picked us up. He drove a big rig hauling copper wire. He told us he had seen us as he passed on the freeway, and he got off at the next exit and came around to pick us up. Blade was the best ride we’ve ever had. He was always respectful, even when correcting our behavior. He gave us the most useful information we’ve ever been given, and was outgoing and complimentray as he pursued getting us a second ride from another trucker. Stina and I are seriously considering becoming truckers after this trip. Blade is going to send us information.

Here are some of his valuable tips:
Pilot (the truck stop chain) doesn’t tolerate hitchhikers. Be especially discreet there or they may call the cops. TA and Flying J are okay. He doesn’t know about Love’s.
If camping in the desert, beware rattlesnakes. When you wake up in the morning feel around in your sleeping bag with your feet. If you open your bag to the sunlight, a rattler will bite you, but they are less likely to bite something they can’t see.
The Flying J has a TV lounge. Tell a nice, soft-spoken lady that you’re getting a ride out in the morning, and ask if you can doze in the chairs in the TV lounge. (That’s where we are tonight!)
Sit back in the seats of a rig. The driver needs to be able to see all his mirrors all the time.
Men, take off your hat when you meet strangers. (While I’m aware of this mannerly principle, I don’t think it applies in most places nowadays, but in Texas, it seems to.)

Blade’s whole family consists of truckers, it seems: his father, his wife, he, his daughter, and his son-in-law are all truckers. He has a son, too, but I don’t know if he’s a trucker.
Blade took us 300-some miles. Now we’re just a few dozen miles south of Carlsbad. Blade found us a ride north that leaves in the morning (he described us as a nice, clean couple over the radio). We’re not entirely sure where it goes. I said the name of the town out loud to myself a couple times, and then said it to Stina, but we can’t find it on a map, and it’s not familiar enough to remember. I hope it’s right!

2 comments:

Anim Cara said...

So were you just napping in the canyon? Did you get to a good spot before the ice storm?

Elizabeth said...

I miss you guys. Have fun and stay safe.