Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The last leg of the journey north

I've been meaning to write this for a long time, while the memories were still fresh, but, well, no excuses. Here is the story of our trip from Arcata to Seattle.

Alyssa gave us a ride to a busy 101 entrance in Arcata and we stuck out our thumbs. A passer-by told us we'd have better luck if we had dreads, but I think that would only be true in Humboldt County. Ten minutes later we had a ride with a long-bearded man and his schnauzer, Hagfish. He moved to the area from Illinois, got his medical marijuana card and described life in Humboldt County as "freedom." He dropped us off near McKinleyville, where we wrote and recorded what you've already heard of the hitchhiker's song.

A couple and their 7 kids picked us up next. They saw us and passed us in the first place. We remember them giving us the hand symbol for "little ways" and looking hopefully after them as they drove off. I guess our obvious disappointment that they hadn't stopped paid off, because they turned around and came back for us. Their kids were very well-behaved and the two or so year old sitting beside me adorably showed me her toys and her snacks.

They dropped us off just a couple exits down, at kind of a dead freeway entrance near Trinidad. We decided to walk out and stand on the grassy strip between the entrance and the freeway, so people coming from both directions could see us. About fifteen minutes later we got a ride with guy in a truck with Oregon plates. We were hopeful he might take us far, but it turned out he was just borrowing the truck from his brother and was only going a very short ways. I think it might have been one of our shortest rides, actually. We were only in the car with him for three minutes. His truck rumbled so loudly it was hard to carry on any kind of conversation. By the way, he saw us as he came down the freeway (Brendan isn't sure this is true, though) and pulled over onto the shoulder for us.

Still in the Trinidad area, we walked out again to the grassy strip between the freeway and the entrance. I don't remember if the next person that picked us up was coming from the freeway or from the entrance (entrance again, thinks Brendan), but in any case we got picked up fifteen minutes later by a guy headed to pick up his daughter from her mom's house. He had been out kayaking with a friend in the ocean that morning and had seen whales and dolphins and seals. It made me want to go kayaking so badly! He took us beyond his destination, to a spot where he often drops off hitchhikers.

He dropped us off where 101 reduces to 2 lanes from 4, and told us it's legal for people to walk along the road when it's two lanes. It really looked like an ideal spot. It had a beautiful view, for one, but more importantly there was plenty of room for cars to stop, and they had plenty of time to see us as they rounded a wide curve. Yet this is the spot where we began to record a video about how frustrated we were, because it took us more than an hour to get a ride. We couldn't understand it. Lots of people were passing us, probably 7-10 a minute, and we were in an area where a lot of people hitchhike. But just as we started to record the video, where we were going to say that sometimes there's no way to tell what makes a spot good or not, someone pulled over.

He was a 19 year old from Eureka who was on his way to Oregon to see a friend, a friend-with-benefits type friend. He could take us all the way to Roseburg, Oregon. We talked about a variety of topics with him at first, like what he was doing (trying to find a better job than the retail one he had, thus staying off pot for awhile so he would be clean for drug testing), what kind of music he and we liked (he also grew up listening to oldies and introduced us to the group Cream. I told him he would probably enjoy Three Dog Night), and what he was studying (Math). Somehow the conversation turned to religion, and we found out he was raised Jehovah's Witness and though he doesn't go to meetings anymore, he still believes in everything he was taught, or at least almost everything. He believes in the Bible and said he was staying "on the fence" about issues like evolution, because he doesn't know how that lines up with a literal take on Genesis.

It was a fascinating ride. I feel like I can usually tell pretty quickly when someone is religious or not, and I didn't think this kid was. I guess it's because he was open about how he smokes pot and was getting together with his friend to have sex, and those aren't things I think of Christians doing. But by his own admission, that was one of the problems he had with how he'd been raised--his inability to not have sex.

He was the most metaphorical person we've ever met. When I said I didn't want to get some job I only kind of liked, he said it's like oil and water. Even if you have just a little bit of oil in the water, the water is still not clean. Even if you only hate your commute to work and like your job, you still won't be happy with it because you have to make that commute every day. He had a metaphor answer for everything. Eventually the religion talk ended with him saying that some things just have to be taken on faith, an answer that has never satisfied us in response to the problems we have with Christianity. He said, though, that he expected the elders would have had better answers to our questions.

Along the way to Roseburg we called Brendan's cousins to let them know where we were, and they said they could come to Roseburg to get us. That was over an hour out of their way and so kind of them. If they hadn't, we might not have made it to Florence that day because it was getting dark by the time we got to Roseburg. We got dropped off outside of a Rite Aid and Rita and Richard arrived to pick us up about ten minutes later. They were so hospitable. They have a guest cottage with its own private bathroom and we felt a little like we were at a hotel, but with better conversation. That night they made us quesadillas for dinner and provided all the wine and cookies we could want.

I wish we could have stayed with Rita and Richard longer, and they had hoped we could too, but we made plans to catch a ride from Portland to Seattle with our friends who had been rehearsing their show in Arcata, so we needed to get to Portland the next day. We had time to have a leisurely breakfast with Rita and Richard and for Rita to show us around Florence. Over the course of our visit with them we learned a lot about full-time RVing and about websites where you can find cool jobs, like coolworks.com. After showing us around, Rita drove us all the way out to Mapleton, another cute small town near Florence, but inland.

We got a ride about a half hour later with a middle-aged hippie and his snuggly basset hound, Otto. Our driver told us all about the rainbow gathering, which is a big hippie festival that happens once a year, in a different location each year, around the beginning of July. It sounds cool, kind of like Burning Man, but with less organization. This year's will be somewhere in New Mexico. Our driver took us to Eugene and dropped us off at a busy gas station. We found some cardboard and made a sign that said Portland, and walked to the nearby I-5 north entrance.

It looked like a busy entrance, but it turned out that most people driving past us weren't getting on the freeway. Finally, about 45 minutes later, we got a ride from someone headed to Brownsville. He worked at a factory, boxing briquets. He didn't like his job, but he was happy just to have one. He liked living in the area because he loves the outdoors, and fishing, but he sounded a little wistful about the idea of traveling. He told us hitchhiking is legal in Oregon, and it seems to be true. At least, we never saw any signs prohibiting hitchhiking, or telling pedestrians to keep off the freeway.

From where we got dropped off, we walked out to the side of the freeway and got a ride about fifteen minutes later with a very silent man to Albany. From there a woman in a pickup truck picked us up after 20 minutes, and we rode in the back of her truck. At one point some silly young people in a car driving beside us held up a sign that said "Show us your ya yas!" Does that mean breasts? That's what I figured. I gracefully declined.

The woman dropped us off along the freeway right by an exit, and as we hopped out of her truck we noticed a car pull over a little ways ahead. Could it be for us? We didn't really think that was possible. We've never had a ride waiting for us the moment we got out of another. But we walked up closer and waved at him to see if he wanted us to come over, and he motioned for us to come. It turned out he had seen us waiting on the road earlier, but had been on the phone and couldn't stop. Our driver in the truck was driving faster than him, so when he saw us getting dropped off he pulled over for us. He could take us to Portland!

He was a very informative and interesting person to talk to. He told us all about how he'd been making cider recently and what went into that process. He was as gas conscious as we were when we had a car. His car came equipped with a tool that tells you how many miles you're getting to the gallon, and he never drove more than 55 mph. It was fun to share tips of energy conservation with him. He took us within Portland city limits and dropped us off at a gas station. From there we called my cousin in Portland and he said he could pick us up there. We had made plans to have dinner with him, his housemate, our friend Kaitlin and her boyfriend.

It's become a Portland tradition that as we pass through, we will eat with David and Kaitlin at an Ethiopian restaurant. So we all met there and were sad to see the restaurant was closed. As we milled around outside it, though, someone came out and told us the bar below was open and that they served food from the Ethiopian restaurant. It was short shorts night at the bar, so we didn't quite fit in with our pants attire, but the bartender was forgiving. We had a yummy dinner with great conversation, then David and Britt drove us to a grocery store parking lot where we met Alissa and Claytie, our Seattle friends.

We headed north and it was so great to round that curve and see the Seattle cityscape. It's such a beautiful city! We headed to Alissa and Claytie's house on Beacon Hill (which no longer has a Grocery Outlet, sadly) and my sister Amelie picked us up there. We were going to surprise my parents, but by the time we got to their house they were in bed. It also turned out they already suspected we would be arriving a day early. It was great to see them in the morning, anyway. (Stina's mom even called us stinkers for trying to surprise them.)

We've been here now for two weeks. We were in Everett with my family from the 7th to the 16th, now we're cat-sitting on Capitol Hill until tomorrow, then we'll be apartment-sitting for friends on Lake City Way. The weather was kind of icky for several days, but yesterday and today have made up for it. We've been walking all over Capitol Hill and hanging out at the park, where all the pale Seattlites come out to play.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Settling into Seattle mode

Well, being in Seattle again certainly brings more questions to light, namely, "what do we really want?"

It seems that our adaptability is a bit of a curse. We can see all the options and opportunities out there, and are having a tough time figuring out which path we want to follow next. On the one hand, we're loving the travel. We love meeting new people, seeing new places, and just being free of the stresses that come with obligations.
On the other hand, we've been missing the parts of life that come with being settled. We like having an income and all the security that brings with it. We want a home - a private space that we can invite others into. We miss the long, loving friendships, for which brief hitchhiking interactions cannot substitute.

But addressing this decision brings up a whole host of other questions, chief among them: how should our lives proceed from here? The only certainty is that Stina will definitely go to grad school. Of course, even the when of that becomes uncertain when we address the question of what other education we might prefer. She and I have been talking lately about returning to university for B.S. degrees.
Some days, we are definitely ready to write the book of our travels, and others it seems impossible. We only recently discovered that our visions of the final product are vastly different.
I have a list of aspirations. I don't know when or how they'll all happen, but I want to attempt them all soon.
Gosh. So much!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Three Vlogs and then a break, incl. Top 5 Hitchhiking communications

Since we're here and stable for a little bit, we'll take a little blogging and vlogging break. Check back in about three weeks for new adventures! If you're in the Seattle area and want to know if, where, and when we busk (probably at Pike Place Market or Seattle Center), be sure to subscribe to our Twitter feed.

The Hitchhiker's Theme Song - feat. the incredible Christina "Stina" Ann Pederson

Music by Stina Pederson, Lyrics by Stina Pederson and Brendan Weinhold

Over the course of our trip, Stina has been humming this tune. Over the course of our trip, she occasionally pleads with passersby in song. We wrote the lyrics, recorded the tune, and added a chorus.
Everybody now!:

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

We're in Seattle!

That's right, Seattle folks, we are here. Technically, we're in Everett, but it's not so far away. We're staying with my parents and we'll be in town at least until the 28th of April, possibly a few days more. In about 10 days we'll be housesitting for a friend on Capitol Hill for a few days. Our schedules are pretty much wide open, so if you're in Seattle, let's hang out! More to follow, but I just wanted to share that much for now.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Beach pictures, as promised, and a big update

We had a wonderful time recently staying with Brendan's sister Melina, her husband Ca, and their two kids Tai and Kira. We were in Tulare for a week. It is nice to have an extended stay after several relatively short visits with people. Our last day with them was so much fun. Even though we'd already been in California awhile, we hadn't had many opportunities to visit the beach. But on Sunday we got to play and play and play at the beautiful Avila Beach.



Stina, doing my classic beach pose


The whole family!

Sunday night we stayed with a super nice couchsurfer in San Luis Obispo. I'd like to note here that I've been using the word "super" more since we came to California, and it's because we've both stayed with and been given rides by surfer types who use that word a lot, to mean "really." Anyway, we stayed up late watching a movie with our host, so we slept in the next morning and didn't leave until early afternoon, headed for San Ramon.

We got our first ride within about ten minutes, from two guys going a little ways down the road. They had lived in Washington before, on Whidbey Island. They dropped us off in Atascadero near a Harley Davidson shop and we got our next ride three minutes later. Our driver had been a trucker, but quit that in order to spend more time with his family. His wife recently passed away but he seemed not to want to dwell on that. He shared interesting stories with us. A month or so earlier, he found that some of his wire fence had been cut. He was especially mad about this because where it was cut was very near to a gate that didn't have a lock, so if someone wanted to trespass, they could have done it without damaging his property. He was riding his motorcycle around his property, saw the cut fence, then saw a truck stuck in his creek. There was a note on it, saying that the owner would be back to tow it out. Well, our driver towed it out first, and chained it to a tree by his house. When the kid who owned the truck came back, he was pissed. He got his dad in the mix, saying our driver had stolen his truck. The dad came over and was pissed too. Our driver said "Look, he was trespassing on my property, and my fence has been cut, so somebody's got to take care of that." The dad told the kid he was on his own and left him there. The kid fixed the fence over the course of the next few days.

He dropped us off at a truck stop, which he thought would be a good spot. And normally truck stops are, but this one was different. It was a truck stop graveyard.
A dead trailer

A dead truck stop

Maybe I should say it was dying. The gas pumps still work, so trucks do still stop there. But the store was closed, and the restaurant nearby was only open for breakfast and lunch. There were about four trucks parked there and one living RV trailer. We asked the few people there if they were headed north, but none of them were. So we walked out to the highway, crossed four lanes of traffic, and thumbed along 101 northbound. We got a ride in half an hour from an army man headed to San Miguel. This stop was worse than the truck stop. Almost no one was getting on the highway, and there was a big "Pedestrians Prohibited" sign at the entrance that made us not want to push our luck by walking past it onto the highway. So we waited. And waited.

At least it wasn't as bad as Yuma. We got a ride one hour and 36 minutes later from two army guys headed to the nearby base. They warned us that there was nothing around where they would be dropping us off, but we figured it had to be better than where we were. They were right, there was nothing by where they dropped us, and literally no one getting on the highway. But here we didn't see any signs so we walked up along the side of the highway and stuck out our thumbs. Five minutes later, we had a ride from a 19 year old college student. She had started her spring break two weeks early because she was itching to hit the road, and had been driving up and down the California coast. She was happy to pick us up, she told us, because she was lonely and wanted to someone to talk to. She had had a very interesting life. She'd lived in Hawaii, Alaska, and Washington before her family moved to California. Her family had always kind of roughed it when she was growing up. In Alaska, her dad was a fisherman and they lived in a cabin with few amenities. But when they moved to California, her dad got some kind of regular, well-paying work, and suddenly her family had money. But the work caused her dad to be away a lot, and it put a huge strain on her parents' marriage. They separated, and everything was different for our driver and her family. Her parents talked, though, and they didn't want their lives to be like that. They got back together. I'm not sure if her dad got a different job, or what, but they were able to pull their family together again. She said the money changed her. She said she became a snotty, rich, entitled girl before deciding that it just wasn't her. She's still so young. I think it's cool that she's been able to figure out something about who she is and isn't even though she's quite young.

She dropped us off at a gas station in Salinas because she was headed further west. We walked to the highway entrance and got a ride in five minutes. By this time it was 6:50pm and we had already called my aunt and uncle to let them know we wouldn't be able to make it all the way to San Ramon that day. As long as we had daylight, though, we wanted to keep hitching as far north as possible. The guy that picked us up was just going to the next exit. He was headed to a recording studio to make a rap album. He dropped us off near a mall and we crossed the street to wait at the entrance. Ten minutes later, a taxi cab pulled over and waved to us. We were kind of apprehensive, because we figured he'd want payment. We walked over and told him we didn't have any money, and he said no problem, he was going to Gilroy and could give us a ride.

He told us about how he was going to a ceremony. At some point I made a bit of an ass of myself by responding "neat" when I hadn't completely understood and it turned out he was talking about how his friend's father had passed away. But he didn't seemed offended, he just explained more what he was talking about. He said some of his friends who would be at the ceremony were from San Jose, and they could give us a ride there afterward. We thought that sounded great, so I pulled out one of our business cards so he would have our number. We were going to wait at a truck stop for his friends, and I wanted them to be able to call us. He saw that it says "singing" on our card, and asked me if I like to sing. I told him I do, and he said there would be singing at the ceremony and invited us to come along. We've been trying to make a habit of saying yes when invited to unexpected opportunities, so we said yes. At this point we weren't really sure what we were saying yes to. He said I would have to wear a long dress and Brendan would have to wear short pants. I don't have a long dress with me, but he said he could probably find one for me. He also said it gets very dark, and very hot, but if we put our heads closer to the ground it wouldn't be as hot, and if it got really bad we could always leave. We had more details, but we were still unsure about what exactly he was talking about. He had a pretty thick accent, so I think some things he said were getting lost on me.

We arrived, and there were several people standing outside near a big fire. Two people were beating a drum and singing what sounded like a Native American song. Our driver found a dress for me, and short pants for Brendan (just shorts, really), then introduced us to someone who spoke clearer English and seemed like a leader in the group, and she explained things more. We were going to be attending a sweat lodge ceremony. It was a special ceremony for the man whose father had passed away. It seemed like it was both to help his father's spirit continue on, and to offer support to the grieving man. She told us how things would go, that it would start with singing and prayers, then we would all enter the lodge in a clockwise manner and there would be four parts to the ceremony. If at any point the heat was too overwhelming, we could lean closer to the ground or lie down, and the heat would be less intense. If it really got to be too much, we could step out and either stay out or come back in.

Everyone there was very welcoming. They all greeted us with either a hug or handshake and sometimes a kiss on the cheek. They were also very helpful, and looked out for us because we had never been to a sweat lodge before by making sure we had enough water during the ceremony and offering general tips. The sweat lodge ceremony itself was really cool. It didn't really feel like a spiritual experience to me, but it did feel very cleansing, and it was wonderful to see the support that the grieving man's friends offered him. It felt like an incredibly safe space, where he could let loose all his feelings and no one would judge him, but rather just offer love to him. That aspect of it was most beautiful to me.

Afterward there was a soup meal, then our driver made sure we had someone to go to San Jose with. The man who would be driving us asked where we would be staying and we said we didn't know, but would just try to camp somewhere, and then he offered that we could stay with him. We happily accepted, and then we hit the road. He used to have a roommate, and quite literally a roommate, but that person had left, so he had an extra twin bed in his room, and that is what we slept in. I was pretty blown away by his generosity. It's one thing to be willing to host people through couchsurfing, where you can read people's references and have an idea what they're like before agreeing to host, but he just offered to let two complete strangers sleep in his bedroom.

My mom reminded me that her first husband, whom I fondly know as Papa Bob because I saw him a lot growing up, lives in San Jose. So that morning, Tuesday, I gave him a call to see if we could visit with him before leaving town. He came and picked us up at a shopping center near where our host lived, and we went over to his camera shop, Kamera Korner, to visit with him and his wife, Lu-Ann. We had a great time catching up with him, and for Brendan, meeting them for the first time, and they generously treated us to lunch. We then headed out to hitch along 280 S because that turns into 680 N.

It was 3:19pm when we started hitching in San Jose, and by about 5:45pm we made it directly to my aunt and uncle's home in San Ramon. It took us just two rides to get there, and the second guy lived in San Ramon and was willing to take us right to their house. I hadn't seen my aunt and uncle since my grandfather passed away, and they had never met Brendan, so it was great to see them. They made us a yummy pasta dinner and we had some California wine. The next day we went to San Francisco and Brendan and I fell in love with that city. I took a lot of pictures, but I think I'm going to put them up on Facebook rather than here, under the folder Hitchhiking Adventures on my photos page.

After a full day of sightseeing, Uncle Dale and Aunt Colette dropped us off at my cousin Adam's house. He and his girlfriend Christina just bought a beautiful home in San Francisco. Brendan made one of my birthday dinners for all of us, and we played a rousing game of Settlers of Catan with Adam and my cousin Brian, at whose home in Napa we spent Wednesday night. We want to plan another trip to that area sometime because my cousins are big gamer geeks and we never even had a chance to break out the Magic cards with Brian.

On Thursday Brian drove us two miles to a small highway that would take us in a westerly direction so we could get out to 101 north again and get as close to Manila, where our friend Silas lives, as possible. We weren't sure we'd be able to make it the whole way, but we figured we'd camp somewhere if we didn't make it. We got a ride from a guy who had been in the military and had hitchhiked around that area quite a lot when he was younger. He enjoyed gardening and gave us a good tip about tomato plants. He took us to Sonoma and another guy picked us up and took us to a 101 N entrance. He was the older man who seemed concerned for our safety that we mentioned in one of our recent videos. Our next ride was short, just a couple exits up, from a friendly guy who seemed about to offer me some kind of gift as we were getting out of the car, but then realized it would be too much for us to carry. I wonder what it was, though. Our last ride of the day was supreme.

It was from a couchsurfer, and when he found out we were also couchsurfers, he offered that we could stay the night at his place in Mendocino. Mendocino is right along highway 1, which wasn't the way we had planned to get to Manila, but wasn't necessarily out of the way because the 1 and the 101 connect before Manila. Since we didn't think we would make it all the way that day anyway, we said yes. We had a beautiful drive to Mendocino, along a windy highway surrounded by sheep and vineyards. You can see a bit of that road and meet our driver and host in our most recent video.

He was meeting a friend to go bike riding, so we wandered around Mendocino while he was doing that. We bought some oatmeal, sesame seeds, yogurt and an apple and headed to the beach to watch the sunset and each our granola. It was freezing and windy, but beautiful. Our host picked us up afterward and we headed back to his place along with his friend and partook in a portion of their dinner. Later we watched some Little Britain and then his friend left and we went to bed. He has a lovely cabin in the redwood forest that used to be his father's photography studio. Our host has converted it to a comfortable living space where we had a futon couch thing to sleep on. It was so nice to be comfortable and warm indoors rather than sleeping in our tent somewhere, both that night and our night in San Jose. Again, people who pick up hitchhikers are amazing!

On Friday morning we headed out. Our host gave us a ride to highway 1, and shortly thereafter we were picked up by a guy headed to Ukiah. He offered to take us there so we could catch a ride on the 101 again, but we decided to stay on the 1, so he dropped us off in Fort Bragg. Our next ride came from a guy who leads sweat lodges. We thought that was super cool since we had just participated in our first sweat lodge, and it was neat to find out more about sweat lodges.

Before we had that conversation, though, we were driving along and noticed two dogs on the west (left) side of the road. One was struggling to stand up, and the other was staying nearby the injured one. It was pretty obvious the dog had been hit by a car. Our driver turned around to see if there was anything we could do. When we got out to check on the injured dog, the other ran off down a nearby road. It was as if it had stuck around long enough to make sure its friend was taken care of. Another woman had seen the dog and stopped as well, and she and Brendan and I stayed by the dog while our driver went to call a nearby vet. Unfortunately, there was nothing we could do. The dog couldn't move its hind end at all. She would struggle a bit, then lie still, then struggle again. We tried to keep her calm so she didn't hurt herself more. Within about ten minutes, though, she died. It was really sad to see, but I'm glad we could be there with her.

There wasn't much else we could do, so we set out once more with our driver. He told us that he leads lodges on the Friday before every full moon. He stresses that the inside of the lodge is a safe place where people can share anything that's on their minds. He said he gets around 15 or so people regularly coming to his lodges. I told him that if we ever came through that area again, we'd try to come to one of his lodges. He dropped us off in Westport. There wasn't much traffic at all in Westport, but thankfully one guy that passed us because he didn't think he had enough room turned around. We were able to move his stuff around so there was plenty of room for us and our bags, and he took us directly to the home Silas shares with his partner, Alyssa. Our driver was from Arcata and had been visiting a friend near Fort Bragg to go abalone diving. He had been laid off recently and was going to use the opportunity to get some additional schooling in an employable field.

Now we're in Manila! We've had a wonderful visit with Silas and Alyssa and have been playing games to our hearts' content. We even got a chance today to visit with Seattle friends. Alyssa and Claytie are in the Arcata area right now to workshop and rehearse their newest show with other Nebunele company members. We got to see a stumble-through today and it is a beautiful show with a great storyline. It opens soon in Seattle and we plan to see it opening weekend, so anyone in Seattle should come with us! Good night for now.

Friday, April 3, 2009

3 vlogs, including an interview with a ride

Thumbing it, catching a ride, reducing your carbon footprint - Hitchhiking is all about meeting people and discovering the world. These are posts for www.andjuggling.com

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Budget Travel (Vlog #2)

Please note that in the above movie, Stina and I know how lucky we are to have family in a particular place who drove us from one part of town to the next. We are, however, given to understand that the public transit system is relatively thorough and costs under $2 including transfers from any part of the city to another part of the city.
Also, Chinese donuts are delicious, and my new favorite pastry.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Hitchhiking vlog #1

Hooray! We have a vlog! If you'd like to follow us on YouTube, our username is andjuggling.
A little plug for our camera: It's a Sony Cyber-shot, and it fit within our budget! We got it from the Kamera Korner in San Jose, owned by Stina's Papa Bob.

A follow-up to the video:
We were passed by three police cars total, at least one San Jose City Police and one County Police, and none of them stopped. We waited an hour with the sign with no luck. Then I put the sign down and just held out my thumb and we got a ride within 2 minutes to Fremont. Then in Fremont we tried without the sign for 10 minutes, then 5 with the sign and the man who picked us up said he never picked up hitchhikers, but he saw that the sign said San Ramon and he stopped for us. In which situations a sign may be beneficial vs. counterproductive are still a matter for debate.