questionswhen did hitchhiking vanish?


I used to have rules when I did this, such as no single males, no fraternity boy types, and I always hoped for pickup truck beds, or families or truck drivers. Yes, I was careful.

In those days, truck drivers were usually the safest ride. I also went out of my way to be as androgynous as possible, including loose clothing, and a hat. Everyone had long hair, so that wasn't a big deal.

I was still hitching rides two weeks before my daughter was born (I never looked very pregnant).

The world has really changed since those days. Sometimes it makes me sad to see it.

[chat sunday donwannadochores thetagswillgetchangedanyway]

[Man, that Ducky is QUICK]


driving through oregon about a year ago.
several, really.

the dream of hitchhiking is alive in oregon.


I live in the Mobile AL area...I still see them year round nearly. However, while I don't pick any up, there are few that I would even consider doing it for. Might let you ride in the bed of my truck, but not up front with me.


I live in south Louisiana, and I occasionally see them on the interstate. I've never picked one up, though.


When I was a kid we would always stop for soldiers hitchhiking. This was during and after Vietnam and my parents would cram the soldier in the station wagon with all us kids. These days I'm sure someone would call CPS on my parents.

The last time I picked up a hitchhiker was around 1993. She was a very pregnant young lady and I actually thought she was someone I knew but even after determining she was a stranger I still gave her a ride...along with a long lecture about the dangers of hitchhiking :-)

I rarely see hitchhikers these days and would absolutely not stop for one. Did people really become more evil or is it just that we hear more news stories about evil people? I don't know but I'm not taking any chances.


Maybe hitchhiking has gone online like everything else ?
I see a lot of ride shares on Craig's List. People driving cross country and offering to ride share for various segments or all.
Just about anyone traveling can get access to a computer one way or another. i.e. public libraries.
Seems a little safer. Time to screen your riders/drivers a little.

As for me, when I was a young teen, we spent a summer in a small town in Colorado where everyone hitched. My parents let us, if we did it together, and they picked up riders. It was a community thing. Fun summer.

I think Ted Bundy was the beginning of the end. That kinda shook people up as I recall. Are there more bad guys ? Probably. But there is also much more press on it too. The thing is that stats show you are much more likely to be hurt
( murdered, raped, etc.. ) by someone you know than a stranger. Sad.


The last time I picked up a hitchhiker was, oh, 1975 or so; he was very young looking, carrying a backpack, and headed just a couple of miles down the road to the community college. These days, the only folks I see hitchhiking are people who look as if they've spent a lot of hard, hot days on the road.

Not like it was in the 70's, that's for sure.


I think it's really two things. Are people more evil? I don't believe they are, no. However, there are fewer people with the philosophy that was prevalent in those days that are still part of the hitch hiking population. They moved on to bicycles, or just found other modes of transportation.

As an aside, I wouldn't trust ANYONE I met via craigslist, but that's just me. Mean and suspicious.

I made it from SLC to Berkeley in 24 hours, and that was six hours out for sleeping, in 1970. At least one of those rides may have been exceeding the speed limit ever so slightly, and that was before seat belts, oh my children. There were points in SF and Berkeley where you just stood in line, and took whoever was the next ride to stop. Some would only take a single person, or only take girls. I loved pickup trucks the best.

My favorite riders? Two nuns; whose car had overheated, just outside Palm Springs. All black, in that hot sun? I still had to argue them into the car. Different times, truly.


My dad used to pick up hitchers all the time, mostly local folks as we lived out in the country. I long for the days of peace and hippie love. I have become cynical, suspicious, and borderline paranoid about strangers. Too many mean spirited Meth-heads out and about. Sad, sad, sad.


It might not be that hitchhiking has vanished, but that so many hitchhikers have vanished.


@mtm2: I think, just like many drivers, many hitchhikers got wiser and more concerned about safety.

The Spouse told me recently about hitching back in the early 70's from Nebraska toward California. He caught a ride at an I-80 exit ramp and rode about 15 miles, when the driver suddenly told him to get out. There was nothing in sight in any direction. An hour later a police officer passed, backed up, and gave him a lift. The first driver had basically taken him down a low-traffic road into the middle of nowhere. Nice guy.


Hitching probably disappeared not long after The Hitcher came out.


@shrdlu: I never picked up hitchhikers, but I used to give elderly folks with groceries rides all the time. The grocery store in my neighborhood closed, so I don't know how old folks without cars are getting food now. My favorite was a guy I picked up carrying a couple of sacks of groceries. He turned out to have a lovely Irish brogue (very unexpected here on the Mexican border) and he was so thankful. He tried to talk me into coming in and having dinner with him and his wife but I told him I was meeting friends for dinner. I cautioned him to be careful getting out, as my old Ford Pinto's passenger door handle was broken and could cut his hand. He asked me to wait a few minutes and I thought he was bringing his wife out to meet me, but he came back with a Pinto door handle and installed it! He said his son used to work at a Ford plant and he had a lot of parts lying around. I felt like I'd had an encounter with a supernatural being, and I never again saw the guy so maybe I did.


I gave a short ride to someone who asked at a gas station once about ten years ago. I had another person with me then. I won't give a ride to a stranger if I'm alone.


@magic cave: If the driver has dueling banjos on his radio, might be a good time not to take the ride.


I thought Kai the hatchet-wielding hitchhiker might lead a revival...


I think most former hitchhikers with any sense have gotten to be as scared of hitching a ride as drivers are scared of picking them up. Too many scary stories, true or not. I hitched a ride with another girl back when we were in high school. We were stuck a few miles from where we needed to be and the heat index was up over 100 that day. We were lucky to be picked up by a guy in a bread delivery truck. Probably against company rules now, but this was the mid-70's and there were fewer rules back then. I've only picked up folks I recognize, personally.

@mtm2: Just drove near you on my way from Baton Rouge to Gulf Shores. I waved. Did you see me?

@jazzsinger: Neighbor! If I wear one of my Woot! shirts, will you pick me up?


It seems to be going strong here in New England, which is not meant to suggest I see it every day but I have to say I feel like I see someone every few months or so. I'm still surprised when I pass someone thumbing it. But I must say, when I take long road trips into the South, I feel like I see it there even more.


@belyndag In my personal car, probably. In my company truck, I'm not allowed. By the way, I actually saw someone wearing a Woot shirt at the Pilot Truck Stop in Breaux Bridge a while back. Not only was it a Woot shirt, but it was one that I have.


@jazzsinger: LOL! Might have been me. I drive back and forth from BR to Lake Charles a lot and Breaux Bridge is a regular rest stop.


Have hitchhiked; picked up same. Long, ago. I lived in the mountains in CO & hitched to work in Denver twice. The 1st time, I did not know that the snow would make it impossible for me to get my car out of the sloped driveway to the highway. Duh! A kind man stopped to pick me up; took 1 look at me & said he would not have stopped had he known I was "young."

The 2nd time, I had cleverly parked my car on the side of the highway. Snowplow went by & covered the car. Got several rides into Denver. The last one, a detective w/the Denver police. He told me that hitching wasn't legal. When he asked where I started, I told him. He lived further up the mountain & had driven past my home many times. No ticket; just a gentle lecture.

Picked up a few hitchers. A couple whose car had broken down. They said not to do that again. Picked up a new HS grad w/a dog. Was travelling w/my young son & daughter & a dog. Delightful!

Probably would not do either again. Time's have changed. Or I have.


@belyndag Was is the Mug Shot shirt (blue with a white coffee mug on it)?


@moondrake: That's what I always think of as a woo-woo story -- one that works out way too perfectly for it to be merely coincidence. Karma, maybe.

I've always believed that if I cast enough bread upon the waters, some would come back to me when I was in need. So far, it seems to have worked.


Azz Grazz or Gaz no one rides for free!
With guys like Kai I would not pick up anyone.


@jazzsinger: Nope. I missed that one! Lately I've been wearing BAZINGA or {Some translation required](

Which makes me wonder whether I would offer a ride to someone who was wearing a shirt I recognized as a Woot shirt. Hmmmm. Maybe not, but I would probably talk with him/her.


@belyndag: Yep - waved back too! Such friendly neighbors!


While I've never gone the stuck out thumb route, I have gotten rides from strangers before, up to around 2005. Now that I am out of school and own a car, it hasn't come up. I don't think I've ever seen a hitchhiker by the side of the road, but as a young, relatively small person who usually drives alone, I don't think I would be comfortable with it.


While I have never hitchhiked (too young for that era), I have done what is known in the Northern Virginia area as "slugging". Probably about the closest thing to hitchhiking, people who choose to drive pick up a couple of folks so they can use the HOV lane to get to jobs in DC or the surrounding area. There is no charge and unofficial "rules" to keep everything on the level. There is a reverse process in the evening to get home. I have known people that have done it for many years and have never had a problem since people are just trying to get to work.


@wisenekt: I've been slugging for the past 16 years. Only had one issue with a really aggressive driver.

Can't wait to see how it will change once they change the carpool lanes to toll lanes.


@mtm2: I'm in MOB also. Yeah I see lots of hitchhikers on I-10, but not so much on I-65. I always attributed it to FL.



Way off-topic here. I'm in CA, but a shout out for KBON, which I'm streaming right now.


@ratmotor: Mais, chere! How you found dat Cajun music, you?


I'm in my early 30s and grew up in New Jersey. I have never seen a hitch hiker in my life.

I'm pretty sure hitch hiking is illegal now... was it illegal then?

Separately, Craigslist does have a "rideshare" section... and the documentary "Craigslist Joe" (available on Netflix) features this section quite a bit.

Basically strangers meet up to help subsidize the cost of a long drive... and maybe have some company for the trip at the same time.


I was driving along Alligator Alley a few years ago (90 mile stretch between Ft. Lauderdale and Naples) and picked up a young couple near their stalled car. They had run out of gas. (Dumb tourists) Took them to the Miccosukee reservation gas station they had passed but didn't notice and left them there to get their gas.
Hitchhiking is illegal in Florida (Code 316.130 (5)).


When the hitchhikers did.... 0_0