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Memories of the 28th Century

Miracle Miles

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There I was, walking down the Miracle Mile in Tucson, AZ; I'd already found out that the people I was in Tucson to see had escaped the city, So I was heading back toward I-10 to hitch hike home. I had spent the previous night in a Motel 6 near Phoenix and had breakfast nearby before going to Tucson. After I found out they weren't there, there was nothing to do except follow their example.

Apparently, I looked like a mark, because when I walked past a bar that had its door open in an attempt to attract passersby, one of the morning drinkers went out and greeted me with the suggestion that I split a bottle of wine with him. He was about five eight or five nine and fat, with an unbuttoned shirt and a paunch that made him look like he was twelve months pregnant, and there was a vertical scar down the middle of his paunch that looked as if a surgeon tried to give him a Caesarian section, using a broken beer bottle for a scalpel, but upon discovering that he wasnít preggers sewed him back up with baling twine. So he impressed me as someone to avoid, so I politely turned down the offer.

He tried wheedling for a minute, but I was firm in my refusal, and it wasnít even Noon, so my refusal was believable. I thanked him for the offer and walked away.

I finished my walk back to I-10 and fairly quickly got a ride to Las Cruces, where I kept my thumb out, and it didnít take long before I got a ride in a pickup truck being driven by a pleasant, intelligent man. A short time later he stopped for someone else, a dark haired man with the wrinkles of a professional drinker, but he claimed to be a Marine on leave. There was some talk back and forth, and it was clear that the driver was a pleasant, decent person, and the pseudo- Marine was not. The driver directed us to take the muskmelon out of a grocery bag and cut it for eating. I offered to do it with my ordinary pocket knife, but the pseudo one upped me with a flick with a long thin blade and used that. The melon was good. Some time later, the pseudo-Marine asked if either of us had worked in a carnival. The driver said that he had, and the pseudo-Marine said something that he said was Carny. The driver said loudly and firmly, "I know Carny, but I donít know what you said."

I certainly don't know Carny, but it sounded like something aimed at me, and the driver's cold reaction said the same thing. That suggestion died, and so did conversation. I don't remember what the driver was involved in, but he was on his way to Dallas, but it was late, and after dark he showed signs of exhaustion, so in El Paso he dropped us off and went off to find a room. I shrugged and got comfortable for some sleep by the side of the road. The pseudo-Marine went off somewhere.

In the morning I went down the ramp to the local road and bought some fruit juice and drank that for breakfast, then I returned to where I had been, and went back to thumbing. There were other hitch hikers around, but the pseudo returned. He tried to beg for food, so I suggested that he go down to the store, and he claimed to have no money or anything. Around midmorning some police showed up, and they seemed to be looking for someone. They just checked id and asked where I was going; then they moved on to the next person. I just stood around waiting for them to leave after they determined they weren't looking for me. I noticed that the cruiser's engine was overheating; I mentioned it to the cop, and he commented that they were always like that. Shortly thereafter I noticed the pseudo being put into the back seat of a cruiser. Of course I never found out what they wanted him for, but I was happy that he would be out of my way. With pseudo in custody the police didn't seem to have any reason for being there, so they left, and I quickly got a ride eastward.

This ride too was with a guy from a guy going up I-20 to Odessa. There were thunder storms North of the highway, and plenty of tornados. They were pleasant to see from a distance with back-lighting from lightning, but hours later I got dropped off at the bottom of a ramp in Odessa. I was thinking about camping somewhere, so I asked a guy running a gas station about that. He was a pleasant Black man, and he suggested I just stay in the gas station, so I did, and I almost got to sleep. The station was amazingly busy through the night. The only customer I can remember was someone who came in with his coolant level idiot light on. The attendant looked at it and discovered that he was out of coolant because a hose had broken, an easy repair. The attendant said he'd take care of it between pumping gas, and the driver should sit down and wait. The driver didn't want to wait, so he drove off. The attendant and I agree that he wasn't going very far; less than an hour later he walked back to the garage. The attendant couldn't do anything, because he was handling the station by himself, so the guy walked off looking for a room or someone who could help him.

I continued on across the rest of Texas, across Arkansas with a minor car adventure there, across the Mississippi to Memphis, across Tennessee from a guy who was heading to Florida. He sold and installed hydraulic lifts for garages; he dropped me off somewhere near Chattanooga on an interchange where the road he was taking southward split form I-75, which runs through the Appalachians. I had been moving almost constantly since Tucson, and I was hoping there would be a cheap motel, but there was nothing near the interchange, so I stuck my thumb out and quickly got a ride that got me a couple hundred miles. And another ride got me back to my point of beginning. That was five days across the country. That's not a Cannonball Run time, but it's faster than most people go.

Hitch hiking was a lot easier in 1975.

Updated 10-23-2018 at 04:03 PM by PeterL



  1. kiz_paws's Avatar
    Really enjoyed this entry, Peter.
    Evidently lots of others do, too, as you have a lot of "reads" on this one!
  2. PeterL's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by kiz_paws
    Really enjoyed this entry, Peter.
    Evidently lots of others do, too, as you have a lot of "reads" on this one!
    I'm glad you enjoyed. I enjoyed writing it; I don't often think about that time. I was thinking about writing more along these lines. but there have only been 314 views; my really poplar posts had a few thousand this long after being posted. But I will never forget the sight of that guy's belly set off by the unbuttoned shirt. I almost asked him what had happened.

    But this one hasn't had a lot of views, yet, but the one I linked has had a lot.
    Updated 10-23-2018 at 04:08 PM by PeterL