From the Road-Trippers Guide, Vol2, no3, 1965- Thumbing It!
So you’ve made the big decision to see the opposite coast. Congratulations. Now comes the big choice. How? Air travel is expensive, and we’ve heard bad things about baggage handlers destroying guitars. This is a major bummer if you plan on making some bread while playing in coffeehouses, busking in bars, or on the streets.
Conversely, travel by train is not what it used to be as little as ten years ago. As a result, railroads are cutting back on passenger service to less well-traveled locations and sleeping in a coach car with old smelly upholstery stinks. So we advise it only in emergencies.
The bus remains a perennial favorite, with Trailways and Grayhound providing excellent service across the continent. Watch out, though, for connections that turn out to be locals. While picturesque, a tour of small-town America can get old over several days. Also, remember that while traveling on the bus, you are always at the mercy of the bus company for where and when you eat or go to the bathroom (if the onboard facilities are not working).
You guessed it. We won’t even suggest a transcontinental trip using your fat-tired Schwinn or three-speed Raleigh. Leave the bike at home for the kiddies. Someday they’ll have better bikes for this, but for now, let’s be serious; unless you want to take a year to cross the opposite coast, the bicycle is not a prime choice.
We are left, of course, with the easy preference of the professional road tripper, fraternal brother of the road, Pius itinerant, and kings of the road – the thumb. By thumb, you’ll discover that local diners are among the best places to eat, sunsets are more intense, and a bottle of cola at a service station more quenching of thirst. In short, you’ll get up close and personal with America. You look out at the scenery in all the other methods and wonder what’s happening. By thumb, you experience it all up close. You’ll meet people and exchange experiences.
1.) leave the stash at home. Toking up at night by the campfire is not worth a trip to the poke with officer Opie.
2.) Keep a sufficient supply of cash on hand to pay for bus rides out of unfriendly towns. Memorize this phrase: “Hi, officer! Just waiting for my bus. What a lovely town you have! I wish I could stay, but Mom expects me in LA by the fifth.”
3.) when asked about your political leanings, say that you don’t have any, but you’ll be glad to listen to theirs while driving to the next town. Nod and say Uhuhuh to make it seem like you are listening rather than counting the telephone poles.
4.) always remember to pack a towel.
Have a great adventure!