Thursday, November 12, 2009

Hitchhikers Guide To Tahoe

Hitchhiking is one of those big No No's your mother warned you about. It is akin to eating Halloween candy with an open wrapper. Like Communism the idea is good, but a few bad apples spoils the whole damn bunch. I have to admit I have hitchhiked a few times in my life. The situation were usually rather dire, and the risk in hitchhiking were outweighed by the benefits. In ski resort towns however hitchhiking is much more accepted as a form of reliable transportation. I regularly give hitcher a lift as does the local population.

So why is it now ok to do so in this situation. My primary reason is pity. Ski resorts employ alot of foreigners to work for the seasons on a J-1 work visa. These J-1s are usually upper middle class colledge kids from South American countries (Brazil). Without cars they have to rely on public transportation, which if any of you have used... I'll stop there cause I doubt most that read this have never ridden a bus other than a school bus from your earlier years. So if I see someone standing on the side of t \he road wearing a ski resort jacket and I am heading in that direction, I will usually stop and pick them up. I do not pick up smelly homeless dudes, however ever skiers and boarders are a group of people that I will give rides to.

Seeing hitchhikers often, I can say that some of them do not know how to properly hitch, thus I wanted to write a few guidelines to make it easier and safer to do so.

For the Hitchhiker

-the most important thing is to stand in a spot that a potential ride giver can pull off the road. Do not stand on the side of the a busy highway with no shoulder, or simple walk with your thumb out.

-Know where you are going, and a good location that to be dropped off. Do not make your driver turn off the main road or deviate his course to make the drop off. Drop off locations should be always on the side of the street they are already traveling.

-If hitching at night stand under a street light.

-If the driver can not take you to your final destination, consider waiting for the next driver, or know of a good intermediate location where you might be able to pick up your next ride. Don't be dropped off in the middle of nowhere.

-Be safe. Try hitching in pairs, and it is ok to refuse rides from shady looking drivers in windowless vans.

-As a rider your job is to engage in lively conversation if the driver wishes to do so.

For the Drivers

- No need to go out of your way to give someone a ride. Be it a lack of space in your car, or if you know that you are not going to at least the next major point along the route.

-Do not stop in a dangerous location. Be sure that you are able to pull completely off the roadways when picking someone up.

-First thing to do when approaching a potential rider is to ask where they are going, and is it possible to give them a ride. If not simply move on. There will be someone else.

-Do not expect the rider to pay for gas.

-Be safe. A single woman should not pick up a group of scruffy looking guys!

Both hitchhiking and giving hitchers ride can be DANGEROUS. I can recall several true hitchhiking horror events that have made our local news. I am not trying to influence you to partake in this form of transportation. These are just some guideline if you already do so.

1 comment:

  1. I pick up skier/backpacker type hitchers all the time. Also, one of the local mountain towns has a bus from Boulder. You can always tell who has missed the bus. I'm always willing to pick these folks up. Though some look sketchy, they are almost always very friendly.

    Re: your advice to hitch in pairs, I will almost never pick up a pair unless it is an obvious skier/backpacker situation.