Monday, 12 May 2008

Off the Grid (ii)

It was really strange to be able to sail down to the States from Victoria. Kinda reminiscent of all the irish people arriving into Ellis Island all those years ago. Getting into the country was far less arduous than I'd anticipated. Not a rubber glove in sight and a very pleasant immigration officer. All the more surprising given that me and Homeland Security got history !

Having missed the last bus out of Port Angeles, I was once again forced to use the thumb. While everyone had assured me that hitching on Vancouver Island was a doddle, everything i heard about doing it in the States was quite the opposite. Maybe American paranoia, maybe not. Nonetheless, I had no choice in the matter. Once again with despair setting in, and I situated on Highway 101 with cars flaking past, Lady Luck/Karma Police shone down on me as Brian with the dogs rescued me. Not only did he provide great campany, he drove me far past where he was meant to go. I had arrived in Olympic National Park (more on that later).

My next encounter with hitching came on the monday morning. Trying to leave Sol Duc Hot Springs, Chris and Meg took pity on me. Once again a wonderful experience was had. Hoping merely to get to the main road, I ended up spending the entire day with them and they dropped me at the doorstep for the ferry I was to catch to Seattle. They introduced me to their great habit of crashing wine tasting venues. Class.

We then found a nice brewhouse where we filled our empty stomachs. If dropping me direct to the ferry, finding me a place to crash in Chicago and trying to entice me to their place in Olympia wasn't enough, they insisted on paying for my meal. Ridiculous generosity and very humbling.

That summed up my hitching experience. Initial, trepidation replaced by extremely warm experiences and heart lifting generosity. Also a great sense of solidarity and responsibility from other erstwhile hitch hikers. I am not naive enough to expect all hitching experiences to be rosy so I am soon embarking on a new transport option - the train.

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