September 6th 1981

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 1
Joe the truck-driver and his truck

Up early, and back over to the Fire Station for coffee.  Just 2 guys working in this marvellously well-equipped station, + lucky for us they were friendly.  Left there at 8, ate our usual travelling breakfast – bread + jam – before hitching.  We were 400 miles from Terrace, massive amount in English terms, not too bad in Canadian.  But a long day ahead of us – lots of short(ish) rides, often with 1 hr, or even 2hr gaps in between.  Fortunately, it was a good day, + getting better all the time (weather-wise).  (1) First ride, with a guy in a pick-up.  A German girl hitch-hiker had been staying with him, + he’d just taken her back to the bus station.  He was now returning to a 3-day party.  We sort of hoped for an invite, but it was not to be.  40 miles.  (2) A bit of a dum-dum, young, blonde, going to work up north.  Dropped us the wrong side, the far side, of a hitch-hiker, so we had to wait for him to get a ride. 30.  (3) However, a good ride next, with an interesting couple.  We talked a lot about decimalisation(!).  He got a flat tho’, but it didn’t take long to change it, then he took us a bit further.  60 miles.  (4) A pretty nondescript guy picked us up eventually, + took us to Burns Lake.  Didn’t have much to say.  30.  (5)  Lucky tho’, because just as we got out of the car, there was a truck-driver, just getting into his cab.  Val asked him, + he said he’d give us a ride to 50 miles from Terrace.  He’d passed us once, but had been going too fast to stop.  A really nice friendly guy, lots of good stories, blew his horn for any kid he passed.  A really big truck,  but with a small cab – very modern, like an aircraft inside.  Made it an uncomfortable ride, but good.  Dropped us at a big gas station, so called Rick to let him know we’d be there soon – he sounded doubtful.  (6) Got a ride very quick.  A car passed, I started to sing “Me and my shadow” + dance in the road.  We heard the car’s horn then, + when we ran up he told Val that if her husband hadn’t been such of a clown, he wouldn’t have stopped.  Beautiful pick-up + a friendly cowboy, called Braun – tried to get me into country music – unsuccessful.  Gave him our address.  Dropped us right at the door.  Rick {+ Carol) fed us, then 2 new teachers came round,  + we spent the evening talking,  mostly about education.  Then bed.

The troubles, and the joys, of hitch-hiking.  One of the stories our truck-driver told us was of him encountering a moose standing in the middle of the highway.  He had brought the truck to a halt, and then he blew his horn… at which point the moose charged, destroyed the front radiator, and left the truck disabled.

  1. Pamela J Blair

    Yes, it’s like living in dozens of lives, one after the other. I love it. Wonderful feeling, even the uncertainty of not knowing when the next ride will come. But, if you hold your thumb out long enough, someone will surely stop. Requires hope, humor, tenacity, all good qualities!

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