Hitchhiking: Settling a Hypothesis


Regardless of King Louis XVI’s missteps leading up to the French Revolution, as he was beheaded he allegedly and boldly proclaimed, “I will drain the cup to the dregs.”

The dregs are the sediment or leftover, grungy residue found in the bottom of wine barrels or wineskins. Normally the dregs would not be drunk. They are bitter and gritty. If you were to drink the dregs is to embrace the whole – good and bad – and going beyond, to the very end.

As I’ve just completed a 1400 river miles kayaking trip through the Midwest and into the South, I’m not stopping there. I’m draining the cup to the dregs. The barrel is not yet empty. I want the grit. The dregs are not to be wasted. This adventure is only half way through.

I will be hitchhiking across the country to Cleveland, Ohio.

Their assumption

Everybody has asked, “What will you do once you arrive in New Orleans? How will you get home?” As I tell them my ambitions, the grand majority gasps and reminds me just how dangerous and potentially life-threatening hitchhiking is.

First, when I ask if they’ve traveled like this, about 80% admit they haven’t, but are naively convinced that it’s perilous. The other 20% are still alive to tell the tale and had pleasant experiences or encourages me to proceed but with caution.

I’d like to gently push against this idea. After all, I dabble on the fringes of life – not quite “out there” and definitely not within the norm; I’m looking to expand the status quo’s real estate.

After all, the above 80%+ also told me how absurd, crazy, precarious, unpredictable kayaking the Mississippi River is. I do not intend to sound like an invincible 18 year old herculean kid, but I expressly hope to challenge assumptions and settle on an answer to the question of hitchhiking.

My assumption

The business executive, the prude, the soccer mom will not pull over to pick a skuzz ball like me off the road. Only the kind, caring, compassionate, interested individual with an extra seat and a little extra time who is heading in the same direction will care enough about a bum.

I want the experience of meeting an expansive variety of people who are interested in helping people.

As I said in Fringe Living, I want to fall in love with America. I am particularly interested in the soul and gut of our country. This was the goal I held while kayaking the Mississippi River. Did I meet this goal? Somewhat. I contend that this country must be the most naturally beautiful and diverse country in the world. I certainly had a love affair with nature before, but this is full-fledged romance now. But her people and culture are what I’m lusting for.

I am proud to be a citizen of the United States of America, if for nothing else for her landscape. I blessed the land while living natural and this land blessed me with her simple, infinite, natural perfections.

I want to find the same qualities in her people. By hitchhiking, I contest that I will have exclusive and intimate contact with individuals where my interviewing skills will be refined as I pry into (what I hope to find…) the authentic goodness of our brothers and sisters.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening – Robert Frost
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.


5 thoughts on “Hitchhiking: Settling a Hypothesis

  1. Hi Josh, tried to send you a post yesterday but…..anyway. So nice to meet you!!!! If I had been going farther than 10 miles down the road I would have given you a ride!! God bless you and keep you safe, Kay


  2. Hi Josh, I tried to leave you message on Sunday and again on Monday but my ipad and computer at home received the message “your comment is awaiting mediation”?? (WHAT?) It was very nice to meet you on Sunday. I usually do not pass through downtown on Sunday…..we were meant to meet! If had been going farther than 10 miles down the road I would have picked you up. I have been enjoying reading your posts. You are a gifted writer!!! And you don’t look like a bum!!! I noticed you were gone this morning as I passed by downtown coming to work. I told myself if you were still on that corner, I would take you to the Tennessee line!! No field trip for me today!!! 🙂 Take care and stay safe!! I look forward to reading your next post!!! Your Montgomery Alabama friend, Kay


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