[cdt-l] Hitchhike to columbus

Jonathan Ley jonathan at phlumf.com
Tue Apr 17 20:59:45 CDT 2007

I always have had better luck keeping my hat on. It makes me look more like
a hiker, and can hide unsightly hair (or in my case, an increasing lack of
it). If you flip the front bill up a bit, you can still make good eye
contact, and might look like a bit of a nerd - a completely harmless and
friendly one.  


Further to that point, my opinion is that sunglasses will hurt your odds.
since you can't make eye contact with the drivers. I had a debate with a
fellow hiker on the CDT who's philosophy was "they're either going to pick
you up or they're not". Anyway, we all managed to get rides - sunglasses or


Anyway, I know the original question had nothing to do with hitching
strategies, but what the heck. I think  most CDT hikers have done quite a
bit of hitching, and have a plethora of opinions and strategies. It's a good
topic for discussion anyway.


Good luck out there!




-----Original Message-----
From: cdt-l-bounces at backcountry.net [mailto:cdt-l-bounces at backcountry.net]
On Behalf Of Trekker4 at aol.com
Sent: Tuesday, April 17, 2007 6:45 AM
To: cdt-l at backcountry.net
Subject: Re: [cdt-l] Hitchhike to columbus


NM-11 is the only state highway going south from I-10 between TX & AZ, to my
surprise; there traffic on it, because it goes to a Border town. I assume
you have to go east or west (not familiar with the CDT yet) on NM-9; that
road will probably have less traffic. I assume you're hitching with packs
and with someone else, so:


1. USE A SIGN or SIGNS. One should say "Columbus" and, if with someone else,
perhaps a second sign saying "CDT trailhead" or something like that. No,
most of them don't know what the CDT is; some of them don't even know where
Columbus is; but you're looking for the 1 person that knows exactly where
you're going, or that changes their mind about helping because the sign made
you look legit. 

2. If you have patches on your pack(s), turn those towards traffic.

3. Leave your hat off, if possible, so drivers can see your face; look
interested; don't be sitting down, looking disinterested, etc. 

4. You have to look legit and safe; I fully believe a sign is more than half
of that; I use white 5.5x8.5 cards and a black marker (small, yes, but I
can't carry letter size cards easily). Make your letter strokes wide and
readable; use a chisel point marker, not a round point one. Make sure you
hold your sign at an angle so the drivers can read it.

5. For your safety, pay attention, I've had one driver swerve at me very
slightly (out of thousands of miles of hitching); keep a very small pepper
spray in your pocket (Mine's a 2 oz, which is probably now half empty from
once a year testing, and carried mainly for animals that walk on two legs.) 

6. Never accept a ride that your gut warns you about, and TURN THAT RIDE
DOWN. If you get uncomfortable while riding, tell them to stop, and GET OUT.
I personally would wreck someone's car if push came to shove. As you
approach a potential ride, make note of the make, model, color, license
plate, etc of the car; write it down if possible. Never just get in the back
seat of a ride, without going to the front window to look the driver in the
eyes and make your judgement; I just make sure they know where I'm going
while I'm looking right at them. Always carry a highway map; mine stays
right there in my hand or lap a lot of the time; if a driver deviates from
the obvious route, alarm bells should be going off and your mouth should be
asking questions immediately - see GET OUT, above. 

7. Be very careful about rides where you're outnumbered.

8. Be very careful about getting in and out and turning your back on your
pack; I try to get in, then lift my pack in; I try to get out after my pack;
I leave their doors hanging open until I'm safely in or out. If your pack is
in someone's trunk, as them to help you get it into and out of the trunk.
(My brother had a drive off in Europe once; he was out of the back seat; the
door was still open; but the two guys drove off anyhow, with his stuff still
locked in the trunk.)


A poor redo of Bob's 10 Rules for Hitchiking, 

Bob "Trekker"
Big Bend Desert Denizen
Naturalized Citizen - Republic of Texas


See what's free at AOL.com <http://www.aol.com?ncid=AOLAOF00020000000503> . 

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