• Turns out, I just might be a serial killer

    https://www.rootstockpublishing.com/rootstock-books/nobody-hitchhikes-anymore Before social distancing became our national religion, I had planned to spend the spring of 2020 hitchhiking backroads south toward Key West. I love to travel with strangers and write about it. That’s what this book, Nobody Hitchhikes Anymore, is all about (you can get a copy at https://www.rootstockpublishing.com/rootstock-books/nobody-hitchhikes-anymore). It’s being released on September 22. Yeah!!! Instead of hitchhiking, my life has become confined to the place I live, to smaller circles of safe friends. Talk of the open road has been replaced by words like pod and bubble. Instead of carrying a backpack I make sure I have my mask. The COVID-19 pandemic alters the calculus of hitchhiking just…

  • One of Twelve

    We pulled our pickup over at the Sebaco junction of the Pan American Highway. Hundreds of people swarmed the little truck. This was routine. It was Nicaragua, 1986, and the country had been knocked on its ass by a US blockade and the insidious slow drip terrorist assault that came to be known as the contra war. It was a cruel formula – the contras ambushed and blew up buses and trucks; economic sanctions kept the vehicles from being fixed or replaced. A proud and happy people turned mendicant. Standing beneath monster billboards challenging the children of Sandino to defend the people’s revolution, dozens of men and women, along with…

  • The Nobody Hitchhikes Anymore Guide to Holiday Shopping

    When I set out to cross the country by thumb earlier this year, almost everyone I know was convinced that harm would find me out there on the road. One dear friend followed up on every post before I left by pleading with me not to go. He was certain that I would be assaulted, probably killed, maybe dismembered. So pervasive is our fear of the unknown. What, you may wonder, does this have to do with holiday shopping? Lately I’ve been bombarded with ads for a device that promises to assist me in escaping from a car before it sinks in a pond (this scenario presumes I have recently…

  • Close to Home

    John held on to the grocery cart with both hands. He stood by the automatic exit door at Wegmans Onondaga Blvd, off to one side. He spoke in a voice barely above a whisper, so softly that I was out in the parking lot before I realized what he was saying. “Can you give me a ride home? I’m right nearby.” I must have heard him because I heard myself, saying, automatically, accurately, but not truthfully, that I had to get back to work. Before I reached the car, I started to ask myself if I really was in such a hurry. As I unloaded my necessary but certainly not…

  • Some People Pick you up Without Giving you a Ride

    June 1, 2018 After you spend enough hours on the roadside, you can start to feel a need to shake it up a little. You can start to get superstitious, like a gambler who fingers a button on his sports jacket or a ballplayer who circles the plate before stepping into the batter’s box. You start to glorify rituals. Posture. Positioning. The angle of the hat. Am I squinting? Why do they keep driving right past me? If I can just figure out what’s in the mind of each of those drivers passing by, maybe I can alter my routine and magically, the next car will stop. And if that…

  • With a Little Help from my Friends

    May 18, 2018   A Little Help From My Friends   When you’re at the edge of Omaha watching the parade of cars go by or standing by the ramp in Peoria as a thunderstorm approaches, you realize something. You were dumped here by chance. In those towns where I had friends, I had an advantage. Not just a warm shower and a cold beer, but knowledge of the territory. In Buffalo, in Cleveland, Lexington, and now in Fort Collins, I’m able to rely on friends or family who can get me from the highway when I arrive and drop me off at a good hitching location when it’s time…

  • Steamboat to Craig

    May 31, 2018 One way to look at this day is to say that I covered 41.7 miles from the time I woke up in Steamboat Springs at 4:30 AM until the time I gave up on the side of the road on Rt. 40 West, in Craig, CO, a coal and ranching community of about 8900 souls, and called it a night. I’m still 120 miles from Vernal, Utah, which is 172 miles east of Salt Lake City. Once I reach Salt Lake I’d kinda like to truck on to San Francisco, a mere 735 miles further along. And I’ve got a sunburn. And I ate potato chips and…