Austin – Lubbock pt.1 – How the Universe saved me

As a break from my 2016 hitch stories, I’ll tell you about the most cliche-American thing that has ever happened to me (and about the Universe taking care of me everywhere I go).

Before that though, I’d like to mention something that probably a lot of bloggers struggle with – the fact that a blog is very very very public (unless you want to secure it with a password, but then it all depends on your target for readers, I want a wide range of strangers to read my crazy amazing stories and therefore can not block them with a secret code). Fact: people I do and don’t know can read this. Fact: there’s my mom and potential employers among them; ergo = some stories will never be published.

Like this one. I was very close to deciding not to share it. I just thought that’s such a shame, I love this story, I love it so much – I’ll just skip parts. Oh, also I think these two stories are really one – it’s quite a long one though, so I’ll just cut it into pieces: How the Universe saved me and The most American nigh of all.

I was hitching from Austin to Lubbock. Tyler gave me a ride to Lampasas, dropped me there on a gas station and left me feeling happy about not committing to others and free flowing.Seriously, I was celebrating having these feelings and I guess that is why I was enjoying myself so much on that tour.

Here’s Tyler feeling zajebiscie:

The first car that stopped for me offered me sex for money. I said thank you and they went away. Same happened with the second car. The third one wasn’t even a car, just some cowboy coming out of the bushes and trying to convince me to just give him a blowjob, really nothing else. Oh great, that sounds so much better than the other two offers! [joke; really: joke.]

I looked at the road, said to myself: if I don’t stop anybody during that wave of cars, I’ll go to the toilet and right after a pickup truck stopped by me. The guy inside seemed weird, not scary though; as in: he was a little bit off, yet I did not feel the threat of him hurting me in any way. We chatted for two minutes and I asked if I could send his place to my mom [to Josh], as I still got a weird vibe from him. He wasn’t too happy, he agreed though. I took my time, waiting for him to react, making sure I press ‘send’ before I get into the car. I was hesitating for a little bit too long, so I decided to just shut the phone and step into the vehicle quickly.

‘Wait’ he says, ‘there’s a police car behind us’.

And indeed there was.

The cop came to us, and started asking questions about the situation. He was very obviously checking, if I wasn’t a prostitute and I didn’t take that as an insult, more as him knowing his area (‘mind you the three cowboys). In the end he asked us to present our documents, he took them away and wasn’t coming for a while.

Me and the weird guy in a cowboy hut (somebody told me in Mississippi: never trust a guy in a hut and yet I ignored – not forgot – it, as it was damn hot and I wanted to get to Lubbock sooner than later) started chatting, my feeling about him was not changing and really, just for a moment, I didn’t even care about it. I started panicking about my passport, my visa, something was taking that cop a long time, something wasn’t right.

Finally the policeman comes back, gives the guy his driver’s license back and when I want to reach for my papers, he asks me to step out of the vehicle. My heart’s beating even faster. I follow the cop to his car, he’s in front of me, very serious and silent. For a few seconds there I am panicking about getting deported. Once we’re by the car, he turns around, looks at me and asks:

‘What makes you trust that man?’

‘I don’t trust him’ I answer straight away, ‘I can’t trust him, I have just met him. And he’s weird but I don’t think he would hurt me’.

The policemen looks at me (now I see: his face says WORRIED), ‘I don’t want to tell you to do or not to do anything, but I have a piece of information I have to share with you and you will decide whether you want to go with that men or not’.

I agree, relieved it’s not about my documents.

‘That guy has spent 5 years in jail’ starts the cop and my mouth opens immediately, ‘for sexual harassment’ he continues, my jaw goes lower, ‘on a 6 years old boy’ he finishes – my chin goes even lower.

‘Fuck! I knew he was weird!’ I say in theatrical yelling sort of whisper, ‘but it’s very hot, I’m very late and I need to keep on going…’ I see in the guy’s eyes he won’t just leave me there, so I play it cool, ‘I guess I’m outside of his age or gender preference’ I joke. The cop doesn’t smile. ‘…I guess I will not go with him though, I’m a chick, I need to play it safe’.

The policemen offers to get my things, tell the guy off and then help me with my travel. After he brings my backpack and the guitar, we hit the road. He calls somebody and tells them I’m with him, going to Lubbock. He can only take me to the end of the county, as he’s on shift here, so he needs somebody else to take me further away. We talk a bit, he turns out to be actually a laid back dude.

He brought me to another policeman, who turned out to be his dad. Another great ride, he was so sweet. Then he got me another police car for another county. The last cop dropped me off on a gas station, insisted on me accepting some lunch money and gave me a Lampasas police pen which disappeared very soon. Aaargh, that would be such a cool souvenir!

That day the universe fell on my head to save me.
I was so close to making my first mistake about whom to get into a car with.
You may say  I have made that mistake, I was already in the vehicle. Yes, and no. I took his plates, I was watching his every move, I knew he had an off vibe and I had my hand on the knife for all the time that I was in his car.
Also maybe I wasn’t wrong – maybe he would not hurt me. He didn’t seem as if he’d wanted to. Again: I might have just not be in his type – a girl, and such an old one… Come on, it is a little bit funny!

Anyway. Thank you, Universe.

From there I’ve got a direct ride to Lubbock, where I was staying with Tyler’s friend Schmoo). My last lift was a guy whose name I’ve already forgotten (it’s not my most popular story), he was going to visit his son in College in Colorado. He told me about a 19 years old boy called Jacob Lavaro, a friend of his son’s. Lavaro used to bake hash brownies for him and his friends until one April day that the cops got him and now they’re pressing charges against him for the entire weight of brownies (400 instead of just weed’s worth. He was facing 10 years to lifetime in jail. Apparently a nice guy, good student, polite kid with a lot of friends. Not a dealer, just a user; facing mandatory minimum of 10 years for really just getting stoned with buddies; by eating cake. That’s the least gangsta use of drugs anybody has ever heard of and yet they were treating him like a criminal.

I followed the story. Attorney Mark Brunner said ‘As prosecutors we are bound by what the law is, not what the law should be or could be.’ and the law says that adulterants and diluents count as the drug mixture; luckily Brunner changed his mind about that later on and dropped the charges for a first-degree felony; Lavaro was being charged with two lesser felonies: marijuana buds + hash oil (the latest much more serious in Texas).

In the end it wasn’t that bad. In October Jacob pleaded guilty to second-degree felony in exchange for 7 years of probation.

How can one get into so much trouble for something which is a fully legal business in other parts of the same country? Alaska, Oregon, Colorado, Washington, D.C. Look at Texas! Houston and Dallas decriminalized possession of weed.

Oh, have I just fit in a third story here? Yes, I have. If you’ve made it that far, you deserve a prize. Even if you just scrolled it and read these words here – the prize’s yours. Watch this:

 

 

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Austin – Lubbock pt.1 – How the Universe saved me

The most interesting rides

A lot of people in the US asked me if it wouldn’t have been easier to take a bus than to hitch across the country. The answer is: yes, it would have.

But it’s not about being easy. It’s about being life changing.

Today I’m going to focus on one of the reasons to hitch – people you meet on your way. Here’s the story:

1) Ken (Virginia –> Knoxville, TN)

Ken was an ex-professor of bio-physics or something equally hardcore. Now, working for the government (like the rest 1/3 of American citizens), he would travel a lot between Washington and Chattanooga or even Alabama. He wore a baseball cup, spoke with a thick southern accent, he was telling me about the civil war and we were listening to an audio book about it. Older guy, I’d say around 70? But full of live 😉 He would make as many stops for me as I wanted. I traded with him lunch for a song. After some time he stopped talking at all and I felt a little bit uncomfortable. Next thing he said was when he stopped for a wee: ‘alright, I think I really need to smoke’
‘Well, alright… but I just want to remind you that you haven’t smoked for over 20 years now. It’s not a good idea to go back to it’ I said.
‘Oh, no worries, ma’am. I won’t be smoking cigarettes’

He loaded a full bowl of weed, we smoked and hit the road.
He was restarted – telling stories about him and his friends being attacked by a bear in the Smokey Mountains and how much he loved those lands. This time he wasn’t an A driver though. To be honest I was a little bit afraid, especially when he was putting a map in front of his face and looking for some small cities marked on it.

He dropped me right in front of the house I was going to. I remember the guys told me that when we arrived they panicked; somebody said: ‘quick, it’s an old dude, hide the pipe’. Well, if they only knew…

2) Jesus Freak Lady (Knoxville, TN –> Nashville, TN)

I was leaving Knoxville, the rain was pouring hard. A trucker stopped by me yet I told him to leave, as he was really sketchy. And then out of nowhere that lady arrives, asks where I am going, ‘Nashville’ I say, she considers time and says ‘jump in, I’m gonna take you as far as I can’.

She asked me, after two minutes of ride, if I was a Christian. Something told me I should have rather said ‘yes, I am’ and so I did. She said she picked me up because Jesus told her to drive me as far as possible from here. Alright, if Jesus said so… I won’t complain.
In the end she drove me to Nashville (right to Josh’ house!) – so sweet! Instead of taking 1,5 hour trip to Georgia where she was going to, she took 4,5 hours trip Knoxville–>Nashville–>Atlanta!

On  our way she was asking me A LOT of questions of ‘what does the Church in Poland say about…’ kind, we listened to Johnny Cash, as he was a religious man (‘I’m a Jesus Freak, normally I listen only to Christian music, I like it. Yet Johnny Cash was such an amazing man! We saw him here, in Nashville’). She was a teacher (‘I work for the government. I’m a teacher’), so she was also curious about the education system in Poland (or wait, I was interested in education system in the US?). She also told me about racism (or actually the lack of divisions? or maybe the adults attempts of creating them) amongst the kids in kindergarten/primary school age.

At the end of our trip she gave me all sorts of shit she had in her car – scissors, some letters from a Christian community, tissues or paper or something… I’m not sure, the whole sheet of post stamps with the face of Johnny Cash and, wait for it… an audio Bible. Bigger than an actual Bible as a book. Oh my God, did she think I’d carry it all the way to San Francisco in my backpack? It was a sweet gesture, weird too.

I remember that she pointed at a red rock by the road and said ‘see this rock? You find these only in Tennessee and Arizona. Nobody knows why’. Ha, I believed, of course! But soon I realized that it wasn’t entirely true and there was no big mistery in all of it. Just a classic red rock.NinaStopUSA

3) Horny Grandpa (Nashville, TN –> Dickson, TN)

I needed to check the story in my text messages because apart from that I knew it happened, I wasn’t sure where and when – Tennessee, Mississippi…?

The guy was at least 80. A complete redneck. I texted my friend saying ‘I’ve got my first ride to Dixon [actually it’s Dickson], forgot the plates of course [the plan was I’d send him plates of my rides, just in case] but I’m going with a really funny southern grandpa’

Guess what. He wasn’t that funny. After 5 minutes he started telling me how dangerous it is to travel alone with ‘what a nice pair of hooters [or titties]’. He promised he was too old to hurt me, but it was creepy anyway when he was staring at my boobs and making up nicknames for them.

4) Keith (Dickson, TN –> Memphis, TN)

Keith was a lovely human being. He was protective too.
The way he picked me up – I didn’t even leave the horny pa’s car entirely, my leg was still inside but he stopped and asked: ‘are you going West?’ and I was so he invited me to go with him.
He decided that it’s odd I hadn’t had pancackes in the US yet and that he had to get me some. He didn’t eat himself. He told me the story of his daughter, much younger than me, who got raped and how did they manage the whole thing. That’s why he was an ‘everybody’s dad’ now. I needed a person like that at the time, somebody I could feel comfortable with. On top of that he was a classy guy, super smart, good sense of humor… somebody safe, trustworthy, interesting, intelligent and entertaining. Yaaaay, a break from horny weirdos!

On our way we had to emergency stop once more. An accident. Two bikers lying on the ground, one of them not moving, the other one – a lady – panicking. Keith stopped the car, yelled ‘I used to be in the Navy, I know first aid! Stay in the car!’ and he ran to the guys. I stayed in the car. I wouldn’t help really and if that’s how he prefered it – alright, he’s the savior here. After 5 minutes the ambulance was there, Keith explained as much as he could to them and we left the scene.

I remember he insisted on waiting with me for my host to make sure I get home safe (though he’s already said ‘Oh my God, that’s South Memphis, pretty nasty’).

5) The Druid (Memphis, TN –> Clarksdale, MS)

He was a part of this story of mine.

Quickly: big, scary, scars and burns all around his body, neck and face more similar to pigs than humans, he had a silver scull at the car’s hood. He believed himself to be a druid. And he laughed at satanists who don’t know the Black Bible enough. He did.

He said that in his live he had been hit by a thunder three times (to be honest, he looked as if it was the truth), several times by the bus (also probable), he was shot and etc… because somebody cursed him. But he cannot die because as a druid he is immortal.

6) The creepy trucker (Vicksburg, MS –> somewhere south from Vicksburg)

Part of this story. (there’s also no 3. horny grandpa in there, as I was pretty sure it had been the same day. It wasn’t, now I know)

The guy didn’t have any super interesting story for me. But the way he was saying ‘yo giiiiiiirl, show me your white leeeeegs!’ (every two minutes the least often!) was really funny.

Also he asked weird questions – I left earlier.

vicks

7) Bob (I-12/I-55 intersection, LA –> Hammond, LA)

This guy looking like Danny DeVito, driving an expensive sport car, stops by me so as to save me off the highway (it was a shit place, the shoulder wasn’t too wide, it was 100% illegal to be there but I wasn’t worried about the police – I was scared of the trucks passing me by so close that they would just do whatever they wanted with me – the air would lift me, move me, stop me, push me back, push me sides… scary!). His name was Bob and he looked like a Bobby. Name and car matched him perfectly. He was really nice but I just drove with him about 10 minutes and he went different ways.

8) Tim the policeman (Hammond, LA –> NOLA)

Really creepy dude. It felt safe to drive with a policeman and he was really funny etc… But after he dropped me he tried giving me a kiss (nope.). Then he was texting me for a while. I didn’t answer too much.

Still he told me an interesting story about a 14 years old girl from LA who run away from her home, hitch hiked, having sex with old dudes for accomodation. She was hitch-hiking and he picked her up. When she started offering what she had to offer he said something like in a movie (‘well, you’re lucky, cause you’re getting your accomodation now!’ or ‘I’d love to but I can’t lock myself up’) and… put her into the jail. Sure, why would you send this baby to it’s parents… they put her in prison for prostitution. It seems rough.

9) Adam and Gary (Houston, TX –> Austin, TX)

The best lift ever.

Adam noticed this doughnut place giving away freshly fried doughnuts as samples when the neon sign is on – it was on so we tried, got amazing (and free) doughnuts and left through the other door so as to escape the awkward situation of just hanging out after eating a bunch of samples and not actually purchasing anything… But hey, we were on our way to dinner at that place where they had paper tablecloths and a lot of crayons. Sooooo much fuuuun!!! (and some gossip about Adam with his dad 😉 )

gary an adam

10) Rescued by the law enforcement (Lampas, TX –> Lubbock, TX)

On my way from Austin I’ve got picked up by this really weird looking person in a pick up truck. Something told me I have to double check if I want to travel with this person. I asked, if could send his plates to ‘my mom’. He wasn’t happy but said OK. I was really slow with this one. I sent his plates to Josh (actually today I saw I’d never sent the message!) and just when I closed his car’s door, he said ‘oh, wait, the police’s here’.

The policeman asked us what’s going on and took our papers (his driver’s license, my passport and ID). He was definately checking if I’m not a prostitute (some rednecks checked it before him the other day, offering me ‘nice’ deals, so the guy definately knew the neighborhood). He spent a lot of time in his car which gave me a chance to talk a bit longer with the driver before we start rolling. The policeman came back and asked me to come with him. I was soooo nervous following him, thinking ‘oh my, something’s wrong with my passport. Or my visa. I want to continue this trip!’. He held my papers in his hand and spoke:

‘What makes you trust this man?’

‘I don’t trust him’ I responded immediately ‘I don’t know him. But I have to hit the road, I’m already late’.

‘I will tell you something about this man and you will decide if you want to go with him or not – it’s your choice’. The rest of his words seemed to be coming out of his mouth incredibly slowly: ‘This man… spent 5 years… in jail… for sexual herassment… on a 6-years-old… boy’

Oh my God!

‘He doesn’t seem to be able or willing to hurt me’ I said ‘yet, as a woman traveling alone, I should probably watch out, not risk. Oh no, I have to go…’ looked at the policeman feeling that he wanted to give me a ride ‘Alright, I won’t go with him, I need to be careful’

He said he’d sort me out. He took my backpack and my baby guitar out of the guy’s car, he said I wouldn’t go with him and that we’re sorry. He gave me a lift to the end of the county. Then he called the cop on duty in the next county – his dad. He gave me a lift to the end of their county saying this city was amazingly beautiful and I should have stayed if I hadn’t caught any ride. He gave me some lunch money and a hug, then he left. Love his lift! (and the universe for saving my risky ass!)

11) Lady death (7 miles south from Las Vegas, NM –> Santa Fe, NM)

Right before Santa Fe, this lady stopped by me and said ‘I won’t give you a lift, I’m going to Vegas’ [Vegas, NM!] ‘But tell me, do you play the guitar?’ so we had a little chat. After our chat the lady decided to drive me to Santa Fe.

She looked like Phoebe from ‘The Friends’, if she ended up working at a funeral home for her old years. She was beautiful by the way. But old and weird. And spiritual, just like Phoebe. She never mentioned anybody dying but she had a few funeral wreaths in her car. In the end she turned out a bit frustrating but still she helped me out (and she was one of only three women who gave me lifts for those 3 months, rest of them was afraid).

12) A mexican bus (Santa Fe, NM –> Denver, CO)

My destination was Boulder, CO. I stopped a Mexican coach (almost empty) going directly to Denver. Happy me! I slept all the way!

[Maybe it’s not ‘the people I met on my way’ but it’s ‘The most interesting rides’]

mexican bus

a2aa(our only stop, around Trinidad, CO)a2a

13) Digger

In this case: he’s not any ride, but he’s a person I wouldn’t have met, if it hadn’t been for hitching.

King of the hobos. An intelligent type, so what that crazy? His heart was in the right place. He taught me how to recognize and ex KGB agent and gave me a REALLY NICE knife.

The entire story is here.

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14) The psychologist 

Ron wasn’t a psychologist. But he was there for me and I was his patient, that’s why I call him this way. He seriously fixed me during our ride. I cried, I laughed, I cheered, I yelled. He said ‘special occasion’, opened a pack of Marlboro and decided ‘we’ll both need a smoke’.

Thank you, road, for a doctor like this!

15) Pablo, the porn producer on a wheelchair, who turned out to kind of kidnap me
(Albuquerque, NM –> Flagstaff, AZ –> Las Vegas, NV)

The entire story is here.

16) Japanease energy stealer (Santa Cruz, CA –> San Francisco, CA)

He wasn’t even Japanease. He looked like Daryl Sabara of Spy Kids.

He was very spiritual; very spiritual. I liked it – that’s the way I am. We spoke about live and karma driving on Route 1, beautiful views, relaxing ocean, and my Californian eyes.

That’s where the trouble began.

He took me for some kind of Japanease healing therapy and they stole all my good energy. I don’t know how but I feel like these people took away from me something precious, something I’d been working since I’d started my travels. They stole a piece of my soul.

No lawsuit will bring it back to me. I think that may have been my biggest lose ever.

Also after this one… a whole serious came by. They still stick to me, honestly. It’s like my spirit was… dirty, not as clean as it used to be. Or maybe it’s just San Francisco?

The most interesting rides