Hitchhiking Tales | Staff Box | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Hitchhiking Tales 

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Have you had a noteworthy hitchhiking experience?

Elly Green: I was driving with a friend and we saw a super creepy hitchhiker. My friend started slowing down to pick him up. I got extremely nervous, and right when the hitchhiker was about to get in, my friend sped off! I went from being mad at him for picking someone up to being mad at him for teasing the hitchhiker.

Kathy Mueller: I think there must have been about five of us between the ages of 8 and 12. We grew weary of waiting for the bus and decided to hitch. Some guy in a station wagon stopped and picked up our gaggle of girls. We told him we felt OK about it because he seemed like a nice person. His response was, “That was your first mistake. My pervert suit is in the back.” First stoplight we hit, we all bailed outta that car as fast as we could. Not one of us ever hitched again.

John Saltas: I hitched a ride once on State Street. Late. The driver stuck a knife in his dashboard, had a swastika hanging from the mirror and my door wouldn’t open—the handle was broken. We got to South State in Murray when I looked out my window. The car next to me was a yellow Volkswagen and the driver looked up to me and I thought, “a weirdo in here and a weirdo out there. I’m screwed.” I got my driver to just pull over, open my door and I walked a mile home. The guy in the yellow volkswagen had his face on the news quite a bit after that: Ted Bundy.

Lindsay Fenton: I don’t hitchhike, nor do I pick up hitchhickers, mainly because I like being alive.

Scott Fletcher: Two of my good girlfriends were living in Hawaii and picked up some random. His name was Maurice, was from Germany, and had spent all his money getting to Hawaii. My friends took him to a party that night where they all hit it off. He ended up getting a job and living in my friends’ shack for the summer. One of the friends and Maurice saved enough money to buy an around-the-world plane ticket. This trip brought them so close that by the time they went to Germany, they were so in love that they got married in Maurice’s hometown. They now live together in Los Angeles.

Eric S. Peterson: I drove with some friends into the Navajo nation one summer. It’s a pretty spread-out area, so hitchhiking is common. We picked a guy up late one evening, and I’ll never forget how casually he pointed out a creek where he once saw a naked woman covered in feathers drinking from the stream. It was like he was just pointing out a neighbor’s house or something.

Rachel Piper: The night before my freshman year at the University of Utah started, my friend Stuart and I decided to take Trax to The Gateway and see what this big city was all about (we were both from Layton). We splashed through the Olympic fountain and wandered around before going to wait for Trax—which by then had stopped running, since it was a Sunday night after 8 p.m. We found a bus stop and waited for a bus that never came. Calls to UTA’s number went to a recorded message.  So we finally ended up walking, still in our waterlogged jeans, to the Staples on 900 East. The hill up to the university seemed too much at that point, so we decided to hitchhike. Two guys who, in retrospect, were clearly high, stopped and gave us a ride to the dorms. Thank you, whoever you are.

Nick Morgan: Picked up a kid while driving through Colorado by myself. It was Fourth of July weekend and he’d been thumbing for hours with no luck. He ended up falling asleep in the passenger seat until I woke him up at his destination an hour and half later. He recommended an awesome restaurant in town to me and went on his way. Best meatball sub I’ve ever had.

Kolbie Stonehocker: I’ve never hitchhiked nor picked up a hitchhiker, and probably never will if I’m alone. Sorry, future stranded people I come across, but my good intentions won’t stop you from potentially leaving me dead in a ditch somewhere.

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