June 22nd 1981

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 1

A pretty poor night – sleeping in a tent without sleeping bags is not easy… we were cold.  Got to sleep eventually, waking soon after, and while I was washing, Val was told by a passing Park Ranger that overnight camping wasn’t allowed.  So packed up the tent (along with a quantity of sand) and trotted down to the beach to spend an hour or two there.  In fact, the water was too cold to enjoy properly, tho’ the surf did look very inviting.  We both braved the elements briefly.  Walked back up to the road, and hitched.  Picked up pretty quick by a guy, and taken 3 or 4 miles.  Next lift was with a couple of gays, one 30-ish, one 50-ish, the latter very whining + miserable.  They both wore identical shirts, blue with a chess piece and playing card design – ugh.  But again, it was a short lift, 5 or 6 miles only.  Good job really – they looked rather unpredictable.  Next a young-ish guy in a van, told us about some of the sights around… another 8 or 9 miles.  Next a surfer, coming back from college.  We stopped off at his house, where we picked up his surfboard, and gave us 2 enormous glasses of wine, then went on to the beach, where he donned his wet-suit and went out to catch a wave, while we lay in the sun and watched him.  (Tho’ to be fair, we again leapt in briefly.)  Got a bit red from the sun, or so we thought.  Were also told by another hitch-hiker that he + his companion (+ dog) had been stuck there for two and a half days.  Ho hum.  Anyway, tried our luck, + got a lift quickly.  A good lift too, tho’ very uncomfortable – the guy had all the back of his car loaded with plants, so the 3 of us, plus our bag, were jammed across the front 2 seats.  The guy himself was late 30s, and, it seemed, a fairly ordinary American with, it turned out, some extraordinary opinions.  He was also high on pot, having smoked 4 joints, and sharing one with us, which promptly rendered me incapacitated for the rest of the journey.  Basically, he was a conventional right-wing American.  We went up scenic Rte 1, which at first he loved, then loathed, vowing never to see it again.  However, very helpful to us, first finding us the youth hostel, which was closed, and then a motel.  We booked in, and found ourselves to be severely sunburnt – rum-ti-tum.  Ate Kentucky Fried, showered, bedded.

Apologies for what comes across as mild homophobia.  Otherwise, the joys of hitch-hiking.  The final guy, Rick, really did get very paranoid when Route 1 was taking far longer than he wanted, but then calmed down again; there is a fuller description of our encounter in “Innocence Abroad”, the book which is a distillation of the diaries, but you will have to wait until that comes out.

  1. LOUIS SPITERI

    … jolly good little reads…
    gets betterer and betterer…😊

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