Posts Tagged ‘hitchhike’

They stopped on top a hill just outside Espanola. The car was packed with stuff but they squeezed me in anyway. They had started at Wisconsin and had just been hitchhiking themselves, across Newfoundland.  Apparently they acquired a car (I didn’t inquire) and were headed for Winnipeg.

The girl seemed tired but they guy was really friendly. Maybe too friendly, were they fighting?

There was a lot of stops at construction sites and I nodded off a few times.  The radio was droning away in a monotone, half AM talk-show half static, that no one was paying attention to, so I offered some tapes for them to choose from.  The girl chose my Mr. Bungle tape because the other side of it was labeled “Make Your Momma Puke Mix”, a mix tape a friend had made for me back in Barrie.  We listened to the whole Mr. Bungle side and they decided it was too weird for them.  I tried to explain the other side was a completely different style but they weren’t really listening due to their stop and go construction malaise.

As the grateful passenger I offered up full control of the music, my scissored and taped Pot o’ Gold chocolate box I’d fashioned into a compact, space efficient tape case and packed with used cassettes at a hock shop in Sudbury (I discovered I could fit in more by crammin them in upside down on the rightside up ones).  They chose Cypress Hill and played it side to side about five times until the machine inevitably ate the tape as we rolled into Sault Ste. Marie.  They apologized profusely but I didn’t really care.  I still had Billy Idol.  I offered the silver lining “Hey, now I got room for a NEW tape”.  They dropped me downtown Sault where I walked to a hostel as they went for dinner.  I ran into them leaving town as I strolled out of the hostel, baggage free-what a luxury.  Maybe I’ll run into them in Winnipeg……

This I wrote in Sault Ste. Marie:

Walkin down the Street

in my bare feet

Left my boots at home to cool down ’cause they were hurtin’ me

Hope you caught the irony

it’s what inspired me

To write a song about

the walk down to the

beach and back in agony


I found that hitchhiking out here by myself really taught me was how to be myself.  No one who picks you up knows what your normally like, leaving you free to be whoever you like and ultimately leading to learning how you act when not obligated to fit into someone’s perception of you.

He picked me up on the entrance to the 400 as I sat playing guitar with a sheet of paper saying ‘Perry Sound’.  The conversation flowed steady for a good hour or two.  He was headed to the Yukon to hold an Indie Film presentation.  He recommended some good indie movies I said I’d check out but forgot about.  He also played in a punk band in T.O.  He gave me some tips having hitchhiked himself.  He dropped me off at the YMCA in Sudbury.  He even got out and made sure I got in alright.

As I wandered around in Sudbury I came to a park on a hill looking over the town.  I’m always writing lyrics to make into songs and this is what I wrote there:

On a road in nowhere

I sit and stare

to catch a glimpse of what I missed and come to grips

that I don’t care

I was so sad to let it go

but here with open hands I know

the sweetness wasn’t having it held

It was breathing it in a blowing it out

Perfected a futilely flawless routine

inevitably becoming monotony

Had no idea what to do, to do better

so I started my story on a fresh piece of paper

Now following the flow

in the unknown

I listen to the rhythms I’m given

to guide, to decide my direction

The passion is pursuit, not possession, of perfection

I spent the whole weekend, my bags already packed, everything I owned on my back, at Freedomfest, a festival near Barrie for local bands.  My old band Settle For Less had played there previous years but we were defunct now.  That was one reason not to stay.

Also I’d moved so many times in the past year that my belongings had been whittled down to just a few things anyway so fitting everything I need in a backpack, rucksack and guitar case wasn’t too difficult.  People think freedom is being able to buy everything but it’s actually not owning anything.

Everyone was there, it was perfect.  It was very sneaky of me to make it my goodbye party.  It was a weekend long party with lots of great bands, some of which I knew and some not.  It was a great time for music in Barrie.

I got a ride from my old guitarist Dave’s drummer from his new band Junior (later to be renamed Fight Like Gentlemen).  They dropped me off on the TransCanada highway, said goodbye and drove off.  I wonder if everyone was expecting to see me back in town the next week.  I sat there, not even accustomed to hitchhiking at all, wondering if I’d get picked up and thinking about this being my last opportunity to waffle and just go back to Barrie.  But I couldn’t.  There was nothing left for me there…

We were at Stricklers Grape Orchard in Penticton hoping to make some money for the weekend but apparently the checks don’t get cut until Monday and a $30 advance is out of the question.

So me and this guy Peter who I walked up to the Orchard with were offered a ride to Kelowna from an old guy named Brian (different Brian, different Peter.  Strange patterns of names on this trip:  I met two Eleanors and a Rebecca in Regina and two Lauras and a Rebecca in Calgary and now another set of Brian and Peter.  I wonder what that’s supposed to mean)

Brian was a ‘you should’ve been there’ smoker.  An old hippie with some traveling stories of his own.  He told me how he got stuck in the rain hitchhiking one night so he went off the side of the road to sleep, wrapped in a few garbage bags to stay dry, and woke up to an ambulance and some guys coming down with a stretcher.  Apparently there had been about 4 calls that night about a dead body stashed on the side of the road.

Brian and Peter were both very eccentric, going off on individual tangents that would end them up talking about completely different things by time the listened to each other, frustrating and confusing both of them and thoroughly entertaining me.

We picked apples in Kelowna for a middle eastern family who didn’t speak english very well, frustrating and aggravating Brian to no end.  I refered him to an apple farmer I had worked for earlier in the week who was very friendly and white and didn’t pay as much but is probably who Brian will go work for on Mon.  He’d been off the sauce for 10 days and counting and was very indecisive causing Peter, who was very opinionated and outspoken, to lose it at every snap decision.

Another night a the Kelown hostel..

It started pouring so Brian and I took shelter under an overpass.  The wind was cold so we made a small fire between the lanes.

A lady and her quiet mother stopped way down the road and reversed back to us, to our relief.  We dashed through the downpour and hopped in.  She recommended the  llama ranch for work if the firefighting didn’t work out.

I wouldn’t recommend going to Merritt but I also wouldn’t miss the mad adventures I was thrust into there.

I was headed towards a division in the highway, pondering which way I’d end up taking, when a truck stopped and reversed back to me.  He was headed to Red Deer which is dead center between Edmonton and Calgary.  So I’m half way..(I’m fixin to make it to Calgary tonight)

He was running trucks from Red Deer to Edmonton and back.  Pickup trucks, not the big ones.  $5 an hour or something but he says it’s good work just driving around.

He was interested in motorcycle repair which I dig ever since reading Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance.  I’d originally thought of motorbiking this trip but couldn’t afford it (and I don’t really know how to ride a bike (motorbike that is…well I guess I’m not great at either).  This way’s more interesting anyway.  He tells me I should check out Adrenaline Crew on the internet, stunts on bikes.  He was rhyming off brands and models which makes me feel like I should bone up on my brand knowledge but I don’t need to and I won’t anyway.

He told me a disturbing story (not ghost story disturbing but unsettling) about how he was at a bar in Red Deer and he had 2 drinks and wound up in the drunk tank when the cops found him passed out at a stop light with his foot on the brake.  He had bruises from the bouncers kicking him out but doesn’t remember anything and figures he ended up with a drink with something slipped in it.  Tough Break.  It screws his insurance/suspends his license.  He pleaded not guilty but they can’t prove drugs so they’re gonna stick it to him.  I’m sure he’ll be fine.  He, evidently, still has a job.

So here I am at a diner on Gasoline Alley in Red Deer sippin coffee and writing away.  Guess I should get movin…

Alright!  3 rides before noon!  Well here’s the first..

Hoofin down the street in Edmonton, stoked to be moving forward again after a 4 day stay (Edmonton’s a pretty hep burg but I don’t think it’d ever be worth it to stick out a winter there) I walked it almost right out of town.  Well that’s not really true; I was still on the bus route so I stopped on a bench to catch a ride to the outskirts.

Waiting there, a guy came up to me and asked what it was like hitchin’.  He was headed to Peterborough tomorrow and was thinking of hitchhiking there.  We shot the shit for a while and as he got up to leave he offered me a ride to the outskirts (getting that karma collected).  He was doing about the same thing I was except in the opposite direction.

He was headed to meet a girl on a kind of open ended invite and to then prospectively head on afterwards.  It didn’t sound too promising for him.  I wished him luck although luck’s probably not the right word..

So he dropped me off on the ‘skirts and down the highway I walked…

… perspicacity?

This one was an intentional bus ride, for the sake of getting from Saskatoon on to Edmonton.  It makes me appreciate having hitched the rest of the way.  The country looks a lot better through the front windshield than from the side.  After reading for a bit from Hunter Thompson’s “The Great Shark Hunt” I listened to the rest of the Faith No More tape I picked up yesterday with the refund of some crap headphones I had bought.  Now I’m listening to Mars Volta and writing this.  I guess it’s a little useless to report on a ride that not finished yet…….

The fidgety girls beside me just puked in a bag to my surprise, not noticing ’til her heaves turned to coughs.  Now I’m sitting where the mother was, on the opposite side to let a couple sit together where I was.  The mother and the heaving little girl are now at the front.  The seat here is much more declined than I dared in my other chair.

Before I even got bored of standing there:  I saw a wave from another hitchhiker – headed the other ways toward a funeral – toward the top of the on ramp to the TransCanada, where I was considering to be a better vantage for hitching.  I nodded, “Yeah, I probably will have a better chance there” and turned, only to find a truck already stopped.



Now conversation.  I was pretty beat from being up all night fending off the wind and rain at the Regina drive-in I slept at.  I woke up in the middle of the night (relatively speaking.  A few hours after the movies)  to thunder and lightning and I whipped the tarp out of my backpack and tied it to the fence before it started to pour.  It was then I realized I was in a patch of thistles.

I stayed on the ball with him, if not contributing much to the conversation, I was at least able to follow what he was saying and he was in no way short on filling the space I left him.  He had a fairly confusing web of ex-wives, girl-friends and “future” wives.  He was headed to Malta at some point, either to see his daughter  or ex or with his girlfriend or to meet a girl or something like that.  He had a daughter my age but his hair was still fully red.

I told him how I spent my time in Regina with these two English chicks and an Aussie girl and he was shocked and saddened that I didn’t sleep with any of them.  Making these fleeting acquaintances more intimate seems a little pointless and inappropriate.  I’m just having a good time.

I almost forgot!  Limping down Alberta St. “downtown;-)” Regina, carrying all my stuff, a girl named Ivy gave me a ride saying, “I’ll give you a ride if you promise not to hurt me or anything.” I thanked her profusely, having kinda been staring around helplessly hoping someone would help me out.

I had gotten off the bus at nowhere and started backtracking.  My foot’s been killing me and I’m walking with a pretty noticeable limp.  It’s been a long couple of past days…  Sweet pity’s carrying me across Canada when I’m too tired to walk.

She drove me to the Regina hostel while I regaled her with my story.  Even though I’m shuffling around in pain I can tell this is a beautiful town.  It’s all city like but sometimes it’s dead silent.

Dumb luck is the purest form of luck.  Getting good at life has something to do with paying attention to the rhythms your given.  The key is predicting where the rhythm will modify.

Very hard to define, but easy to recognize….