Who Picks Up Hitchhikers Anymore? Just Thought I’d Leave This Here

Just in case the above news report on a hitchhiker pulling a gun on the driver isn’t enough to convince you not to stop for hitchers, you could view a movie or three based on the concept of a shared ride going very badly wrong (e.g., always The Hitch-Hiker, The Hitchhiker and The Hitcher). Or you could Google “hitchhiker murder” and read about The Santa Rosa hitchhiker murders. Amongst other incidents. So, I know you guys are armed and all, but who stops for hitchhikers these days?

comments

  1. avatar 10mm says:

    Living life according to horror movies huh?
    Well I guess that rules out going in the ocean…
    and hiking in the mountains…
    and reading bed-time stories to my kid…
    or just existing in my house at night time.

    1. avatar CGinTX says:

      When you’re home at night, for the love of God, don’t answer the phone. Nothing good ever comes of that.

  2. avatar strych9 says:

    Hey, Lyons… yeah definitely not going to stop for someone hitchhiking in that area. Way, way too many hippie/criminal scum living in the woods in the areas surrounding Boulder.

    Last year I did use the winch on my old Jeep to yank a Subie driven by some clueless Boulderite out of the ditch during a snowstorm. That was about 1.5 miles from Lyons on the road to Estes Park.

    This guy must have had a heck of a walk from Lyons to Evergreen. Or maybe he figured out how to hitchhike without the carjacking?

    1. avatar David B says:

      Depending on your part of the country, I believe that can get you into trouble for operating a tow business without a license. Correct me if I’m wrong.

      1. avatar strych9 says:

        Yanking some poor dumbass, who was driving too fast, out of the ditch during a snowstorm that’s likely to kill his city slicker ass because there’s no cell reception and he has a heck of walk along a dark and windy road at night in near blizzard conditions (without even a light jacket) with no way to walk along a shoulder (because there is none), hardly constitutes running a tow service.

        Besides, I didn’t tow him. I attached a winch to his Outback, dragged him back up on to the pavement and let him go on his merry way.

      2. avatar Justsomeguy says:

        He didn’t say it was a business transaction. In much of the country helping someone out of a ditch when you have the ability to do so is just simply considered polite.

        1. avatar strych9 says:

          “…operating a tow business without a license…”

          Sounds pretty business transactiony to me, what with the world “business” in there and all.

        2. avatar David B says:

          I wasn’t condemning you for it and would do the same thing. Some years back an acquaintance was ticketed for that very thing along I-75 for pulling someone out of a ditch. Is it the same today? Dunno.

          My comment was more or less a distracting rabbit trail I went down as I mused on times past.

        3. avatar strych9 says:

          “Some years back an acquaintance was ticketed for that very thing along I-75 for pulling someone out of a ditch.”

          Wow. Here I thought you were just yanking my chain. Apologies. That’s totally backasswards!

        4. avatar 16V says:

          Usually it’s yanking some cretin in a YuSuburbaHoe who passed you 2 miles back going 70 thinking that they were unstoppable…

        5. avatar LarryinTX says:

          If you’re not charging money for your assistance, I think you’ll be OK.

    2. avatar michi says:

      Yeah this was — uncomfortably close to where I am; I’ve seen a LOT more hitchhikers up here in the Evergreen/Conifer/Bailey area lately. A real marked increase.

      I’d never in a million years stop for one, but this just kicks it home to me even more. No idea if this has to do with ‘pot tourism’ or not, but wouldn’t be surprised.

      1. avatar strych9 says:

        That fire outside Boulder this year was started by “campers” who were homeless people.

        The reluctance to police the area has led directly to a proliferation of indigents living there. They’re all technically living on National Forrest land. There was an article a month or so ago about how the Forrest Service made contact with a family living in a station wagon. The FS guys said “What’s the deal with all these bags of trash?” to which the *cough* father replied that they were just waiting for it to be picked up and inquired as to when such a service was provided so he could put the bags out for the truck to pick up. *face palm*

        The FS says they regularly deal with folks who are… shall we say… not exactly the law abiding type and living up there “off the grid”. The Boulder area just attracts this shit because the locals are idiots who refuse to “judge” anyone.

        Hopefully the winter this year chases out the riff-raff.

        1. avatar LarryinTX says:

          Is the Forrest Service only there to deal with Forrest Gump and his admirers, and do they coordinate with the Forest Service when action is near national parks, etc?

        2. avatar Mike Betts says:

          Forrest isn’t a park. He’s a national treasure.

    3. avatar MDC says:

      I’ve lived in Nederland and Rollinsville, west of Boulder up Boulder canyon. There is an infamous hitching spot at the base of Boulder canyon. I have hitched and picked up hitch hikers. Worst I ever got was very smelly hippies. One time heading up to Big Elk Meadows, Larimer county up 36 to a job site I blew a tire. I was just outside Lyons. Got turned around and almost made it back to town. Threw out my thumb, a nice family picked me up and got me to Lyons. I’ve picked up college professors and been picked up by college professors. It’s weird. Use your intuition, pack a blade and heater.

  3. But he had a case of Bud Light!

  4. avatar David B says:

    About 10 years ago, it was a freezing day in NC–Bone chilling, teeth chattering cold–it was probably in the mid-40’s. (I’m joking of course; more like 20’s) I had my child in the car and saw a young girl (16ish) walking down the road lightly dressed. As I came back down the road 20 minutes later or so, she was still walking and freezing her tail off. Without thinking, I yelled out the window “can I give you a ride?” using my best relocated Yankee charm. I scared her to death. She probably has nightmares to this day of a “dude” trying to kidnap her. Funny thing is that I was trying to pay it forward from the several times I had to rely on the generosity of strangers.

  5. avatar CZ Peasy says:

    Why hitchhike when you can use uber or lyft?

    1. avatar strych9 says:

      Because then you have to deal with the hipsters that drive for those services and smelling like Patchouli and stale bong water cramps my style?

      Oh, and also I don’t like being around guys who wear their sister’s jeans. It just creeps me out.

    2. avatar Curtis in IL says:

      Are you assuming such services are available everywhere?

      Get a clue. Try calling Uber in a county with fewer than 200 people per square mile.

  6. avatar jimbob says:

    In the late 80s I hitchhiked all of the mid-west and once from Ohio to California. People got crazier the further west I went and I have some pretty crazy stories.

    As a rule of thumb I don’t, However, I would and I have picked up hitchhikers in the last few years. The last time was a guy who’s truck I passed on the side of the road a mile back that was trekking his way to the next exit. I picked him up and gave him a ride to his house five miles away. Even in this day and age of cell phones people forget them at home

    However, there are rules to follow. Never at night and never unarmed and the location needs to be assessed. I’ll pull over (leaving the car in drive and only cracking the window a few inches to ask if they are Ok or need me to make a call for them while I assess the situation. I also won’t even consider picking someone up unless I’m alone in the car. It’s one thing to put myself at risk doing a good deed another to put a passenger at risk. In a few situations, I’ve called the police to tell them that there is someone that may be in distress and that they should send a car to check on them.

    1. avatar strych9 says:

      I’ve stopped to help people in obvious distress or with obvious vehicle problems before when I had my wife with me.

      She sits in the back and they get the passenger’s seat. That way if they get stupid she hots them in the back of the head with a Remington Golden Sabre.45JHP…

  7. avatar Hank says:

    I had a pretty nutzo friend when I was younger pick up hitch hikers on pourpose because he wanted them to try something so he could ice them. Yeah, when I say nutzo I mean it. You know, everyone had crazy friends.. But this dude was for real, not the “fun crazy guy”… Anyway. He kept a gun hidden strategically so he could kill whoever tried something. I asked him, “what if they pulled a gun on you before you could do anything?” And he said “I’d look em straight in eye and lay on the gas and not turn my head.” You’d think this was a bullshit story, notice I said “I knew” him. But he played Russian roulette one too many times.

  8. avatar former water walker says:

    Wow what a fuggedup world. I used to hitchhike all the time when I was a young guy. Early 70’s mainly. Never a problem. Now I wouldnever pick anyone up unless I knew them or they were old and decrepit. When I lived in the big bad city chicks would try to hitch and have bad guys hidden inthe underbrush. Sad…

    1. avatar The Seriously Gray Man says:

      I knew it! I knew you had a hitchhiking story! -As soon as I saw the headline!!

      Now you just Facebook. And you call ME gay???

      1. avatar Ing says:

        Jesus Christ, dude. Didn’t anybody ever tell you not to go full potato?

        Oh, and you posted some of that “zim” crap under another, much more familiar TTAG name once… You should be more careful, Potato. Wouldn’t want to let your trolling ruin a perfectly decent identity, would you?

        1. avatar jwm says:

          Do tell? He claims he’s stalking me cause I called him a racists a couple of years ago. He refuses to tell under what name it happened so I figure his ID would prove my point or he’s just batshit crazy and making it up.

  9. avatar tiger says:

    Hitchhikers? Two word answer. Rutger Hauer……

  10. avatar c4v3man says:

    Stupidly enough I ran out of gas in the desert about 3 miles outside of a town. Was my wife’s car and she assured me her car has enough to make it to the next town… Anyways i grabbed a flashlight and started walking, simply shining the light at my feet, not flagging down anyone. Some guy in a van pulls over about a mile down the road, and offers me a lift. I considered just continuing to walk, but i was carrying, and his van was visible throughout the windows (not a panel van) and empty, just the guy and a backpack.

    I figured worst case I could handle myself and control the car if it came to that, but he was just a nice guy lending a hand. Gave him $10 for the trouble and walked back the 3-4 miles with a fresh gas can. That being said I don’t think I’d do it again, I’d probably just call a Lyft, since Uber is vehemently anti gun (search for their 1 minute delay to consider gun violence in July) and no longer is used by me or my family. Lyft seems cheaper anyways.

  11. avatar LibertarianRN says:

    I pick up hitchhikers regularly. Several have been college kids heading home for a visit. Some have been people heading to a different state looking for work. A couple have been people just out having an adventure. A middle aged guy who got off work early and had gotten a ride to work with a friend. An older man who had car trouble that morning, was on a fixed income, and had a doctor’s appointment in the next town over. Bob was one of the more interesting people – “Hey, I’m Bob. People call me Preacher Bob, Slow Bob, Walking Bob, or just Bob. Nice to meet you!” Started telling me about Jesus, then I told him I’m a preacher’s kid turned atheist, and he just said, “Well then, you’ve already heard enough preaching in your life,” and talked about other things.

    I did have a guy pull a knife out of his pack once. He tried to sell it to me for $10.

    None of them have tried to stab me, rob me, or mug me. Most of them have been pleasant company on the ride. The media tries to make us scared of everything. Don’t own a gun! Don’t go hiking! Don’t leave the house! Don’t stay in the house! Don’t pick up hitchhikers!

    1. avatar Hank says:

      I get that. I road tripped with a guy who was terrified of truckers once. He never wanted me to pull into one of those rest areas off the highway or any truck stops. He literally said, “Don’t pull into those rest stops. That’s where you go to get raped. And trucker rape is the worst kind of rape.” He was absolutely convinced they’d try to F him or rob so I just avoided the topic and never traveled with him again.

  12. avatar Bohucka says:

    I never even see hitchhikers now, but in the mid-70s I hitchhiked almost every day after I got off the train. I was in college, and it was a long walk home without a ride. Most days I got picked up, and only ever had one guy try to come on to me, but I told him I didn’t swing that way and he was OK about it and didn’t kick me out of his car. I never worried about it back then, being young and bulletproof, but I’d think long and hard about picking one up today, assuming I ever saw one.

    Hell, even cops would give me rides some days. There were no hitchhiking laws on the books (I don’t think), and they were as bored as I was tired, so it was a win-win.

  13. avatar Danny Griffin says:

    I do if I am alone. I’ve also picked up people who were not hitchhiking. I also gave one guy a ride 500 miles to his front door.

  14. avatar anaxis says:

    On occasion I have, and never had a problem.
    On one memorable occasion while I was living in Alamosa, I picked up a Deadhead and his little dog, who was trying to get to a Phish show in Flagstaff. Jaybird appears as a stereotypical hippy, and is a rock & gem seller who actually lives on a agricultural commune in Hawaii, and leaves the big island whenever Phish or the Dead (what’s left of) are on tour to gather funds for his community. He rarely actually goes into the concerts, instead he sells his crystals & rare minerals outside venues.

    Anyhow, it just so happened that I didn’t have anything to do over the weekend, had a full tank of diesel in my TDI…. along with my SLR-95 and SKS in the trunk, because I had orginally planned on heading for BLM land to shoot. I also had my 9mm Norinco Tokarev in a shoulder holster.
    We were having good conversations and Jay was definitely super smart, but it took about 300 miles before he noticed my pistol.
    “Is that a real gun?”
    “Yep”
    “Well, I guess if you were gonna shoot me, you would’ve done it already.”
    After that, we started talking about guns, and predictably he’d never held a firearm, or even seen one up close. Jaybird wasn’t anti-gun, and didn’t have a problem with other people exercising their RTKBA. He’d just never formed an opinion one way or another.

    Somewhere around halfway between Cortez and Durango, I asked him if he’d like to do some target practice. Jaybird was rather incredulous, and I filled him in about shooting on public land. I had some BLM maps with me, and we were in the middle of nowhere; Mesa Verde Natl. Park to the west, Ute reservation in the distant south, and not a trace of any habitations for miles. I needed to stretch my legs anyhow, so we turned off on a fairly smooth 4×4 trail, and drove until I couldn’t see the highway.
    “So…. are you gonna shoot your pistol?
    “Nah, bullets are too expensive, and I need them for psychomurderer hitchhikers. We’re gonna shoot an AK instead.”
    “You’re shitting me, an AK? We’ve been riding around with an assault rifle in the truck?”
    “Yep. And we’re gonna shoot it.”
    “We?!!?”

    After giving Jaybird instruction on the 4 rules, and a brief overview of the functioning of an AK, I picked out a junk Toyota tailgate laying in a dry wash. I loaded up a 5rd mag, handed him fresh earplugs, and put rounds into the rusty metal. And then it was his turn. I loaded two rounds into the mag, handed it over (Jay took it and held it like it was a Faberge Egg), helped him chamber a round, shoulder the rifle, safety off, and fire. The sound & recoil startled Jaybird so he reflexively fired the 2nd round, but when I took the rifle back and demonstrated how to clear it, he was grinning ear-to-ear.
    “Wow! It didn’t kick hardly at all! Can we do that again!?”
    We shot about 60 rounds total, loaded back up into the car, and continued on our way. Jay was absolutely tickled about shooting an AK-47, and guns were all he wanted to talk about the rest of the way to Flagstaff. By the time we got there, he decided that he was going to get a pistol for his rock-selling tours, and would keep it at his parent’s house in NorCal when he had to go back to Hawaii.

    Every so often Jaybird passes through my area, and he always calls me to hang out for a couple hours. The best part is whenever we meet up, the first thing he always asks me; “Hey brother, got your AK?”. Usually I do, and we hit a range for some ballistic bonding until it’s time for him to move on down the road. As it so happens, he recently bought a S&W .38 snubbie, and we have plans to shoot it later this year. Jaybird proved to me that even a commune-living, granola-crunching hippy can value the 2nd Amendment, and learn to love the gun.

    1. avatar Doc Samson says:

      Very cool story! Thanks for sharing!

    2. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      Cool. Sounds like so many of the Deadheads I used to meet at shows.

    3. avatar Red in CO says:

      That’s an awesome story, and it put a big smile on my face. Also cool seeing someone talking about Southwest Colorado (I live in Durango myself) on a large website.

    4. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Does anyone actually think this is the truth?

  15. avatar James in AZ says:

    Nah No. Don’t owe them anything. Won’t stop, just because I don’t have to. By the same token I don’t blame people like an entitled liberal bastard when they don’t give out free labour and time to me.

  16. avatar MamaLiberty says:

    I only remember picking up one person. On my way to town one day I saw a very young woman pushing a stroller with one hand, while keeping a solid grip on a toddler who was screaming and crying. I initially passed her, but stopped and backed up carefully. She wasn’t “hitchhiking,” just struggling along the open and otherwise deserted rural California road.

    She was very hesitant at first, but finally accepted my invitation to ride to town with me. She didn’t say much, but the bruises on her arms and face verified her brief story. She was on her way to town to see if the police could help her get a divorce from an abusive spouse. Looking more closely, the toddler (now fast asleep with her head on the broadside of my Labrador Retriever in the back seat) was bruised as well.

    I let her off at the local cop shop and drove away. No idea what became of her. This was 50 years ago, and I’d be very worried about taking someone like this to the cops now. But it was the best I could do then.

    Never thought of it before… but I have not seen a hitchhiker here in Wyoming. I’d follow my gut impressions if I ever did see one, but probably would not stop unless they seemed to be in distress/danger. I am always armed, and I do know how to use it if necessary.

  17. avatar Kyle says:

    If I see a hitchhiker needing help, I call the police and tell them there’s someone who needs help.

  18. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    When we lived in central Nevada, there would be hitchhikers occasionally who came into the Great Basin from California – and then they learned just how empty the intermountain west was. You’d see these people looking pretty lost and overwhelmed as they trudged across the big valley floors in Nevada.

    I’d usually pick them up. Sometimes, I’d pick up people on bicycles who clearly looked exhausted and dehydrated – in the summer in the Great Basin, it’s nearly impossible to carry all the water you’re going to drink in the time it takes you to get between towns by walking, and most bicyclists from the coasts have no clue that they’ll need a couple gallons of water to get between towns. We’d toss their bikes in the back of the truck, I’d give them some water and we’d head on down the road for a couple hours. I figured giving them a ride was cheaper than the cops/EMT’s having to fetch their bodies out of the sagebrush a day later.

    We now rarely see hitchhikers in Wyoming. It’s really odd that way – there are many smaller towns spaced more evenly in Wyoming that in much of the intermountain west, which would make hitching easier, but you see very few hitchhikers. I see more hitchers in Montana by far.

  19. avatar adverse4 says:

    I don’t pick up hitch hikers, they got a cell phone, they can call a cab.

  20. avatar Roymond says:

    My first thought was the memory of an old sci-fi story, something like “The More Dangerous Weapon”, where a guy picks up a hitchhiker, the hitchhiker pulls a gun and demands the car, and the driver looks at the gun, switches over into a faster lane, and speeds up. The guy with the gun yells at him to stop and get out, so the driver moves over to the next lane. I don’t remember what was sci-fi about it; what I do remember is that a number of years back a guy in Cali who had read that story picked up a hitchhiker who pulled a gun on him and demanded the car, and he did just what the driver in the story did. The guy with the gun got so freaked, yelling “You’re gonna get us killed!”, he followed instructions to toss the gun out the driver’s window into the freeway median, then a mile later got out. When the driver pulled into the nearest police station to report the incident, the guy who’d try to take his car was there complaining about some guy who’d left him on the freeway median. The cops detained the guy, went and found the gun, and then arrested him. They also told the drier he was crazy.

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

button to share on facebook
button to tweet
button to share via email