The Vanishing Art Of Hitchhiking – When It All Comes Off Without A Hitch!

November 8, 2006

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The first time I hitchhiked was back in 1969 at Woodstock…not to get there, but to escape! I rode up from Manhattan to the event in a big Buick Cutlass with my friend Allan Rinde, a writer for Cashbox, a groupie and a couple of rock magazine writers. Although we had warm, dry accomodations, food, water and plenty of intoxicants, most of the half a million other people who were there had to rough it through the mud and the rain! The crowds were still pouring in after midnight and I warned my friends that we were probably going to be in the middle of a riot between the eat and drink “haves” and the eat and drink “have nots!”

I knew that this whole “Peace and Love” thing could blowup in a minute…but no one was listening as they slowly passed the bong around. I don’t know if it was my paranoia of “Drug Crazed Hippies” rushing the motel or my fear of getting my new Fry boots dirty…I just knew I had to get the hell outa’ there!

After being at Woodstock less than 24 hours, I say goodbye to my friends and decided to hitchhike back to the city. I’m 27 yeas old but, hitchhicking is something I never tried before. At the side of an on ramp, I see Vince Aletti, writer for the Village Voice, who I know from the press parties I crash. He has his thumb out and looks pretty discouraged. This is his first time hitchhiking too…but I act like a veteran and convince him that if we put on great big smiles, and act sincere…we’re bound to get a ride! In less than 10 minutes we’re picked up by a guy in an old Chevy wagon, who happens to be going all the way into the city! Just like the guys who rode the rails and became “Boxcar Buddies”, Vince and I had a shared experience that went “without a hitch”, so to speak, “Hitchhiking pals”for the rest of our lives!

Finally, I’m back in my apartment, thankful to be away from all of those people…I don’t believe all those people…Shit! It’s still early, so I pack my duffel bag and grab a subway out to Coney Island, stopping only long enough to swallow a little capsule someone had given me up at Woodstock! I don’t know why, but the rest of the day is magical! I feel so much love for Everyone I run into. I don’t even notice that I’m surrounded by a million people on the the beach…twice as many as there was at Woodstock…but now… somehow I don’t care!

Copyright 2006 by Artie Wayne

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One Response to “The Vanishing Art Of Hitchhiking – When It All Comes Off Without A Hitch!”

  1. John X Says:

    I have hitched all the way across the US 3 times. I also used to hitch all over LA, back in the early 80’s. I certainly wish I had all of THAT on film, except maybe for the hours of waiting. There were so many amazing, colorful characters and adventures.
    I will share my very first.
    Was on my way home from a Carnegie-Mellon party (Pittsburgh) and only needed to go a few blocks. 2 girls in a packed car stopped for me. They were both cute and blonde, so I really had no choice. They were moving and I ended up in Dallas for a week. There was alot of drunk driving and sex involved, so naturally, I was hooked (at the time)…Hey! It was the 80’s.
    There were MANY more..


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