NELSON TO CRESTON
After Shambhala I packed myself up in the back of my new friend's station wagon (literally, stuff got packed around me) and we took off to Nelson all haggard in the dark. I spent a last night amongst friends in the parking lot of a church/community centre (?) outside of Nelson (we got kicked out of a city parking lot). One last breakfast and fancy Nelson coffee later, I was tossed on the side of the highway to fend for myself. My goal: make it to Creston to cherry pick. Right away I met this guy:
That's my sign. The back said Salmo. He was also going to Creston to cherry pick. I mostly let him hitch hike with me because I wanted to use him to get a job. But it turned out that he reaped all the benefits of hitch hiking with a girl because I ended up getting both of us a job on my own.
Nelson to Ymir:
This lady was a nice safe ride. She basically told us about how she's had a pretty crappy, boring life. She seemed full of a lot of regret. She likes to pick up hitch hikers even though her husband disproves and she does it with her kids in the car sometimes. One time she gave a guy a ride who pretty much threatened her to give him all her money, so it's pretty cool she still picks people up.
Ymir - Salmo
This guy was a friendly super hick who was, surprise surprise, going to the beer store. He pretty much talked about how he likes to party and said he had some friends that went to Shambhlala. Weird. It was a really short ride.
Salmo to Creston
This is all you ever really want for a safe, fun ride: female, young, not weirdos. All there was to worry about was their driving abilities and how hung over they were from Shambhala. Two of them were from Quebec and the third one was French. They were a good time. Listened to some beats and relived the wild weekend. They dropped us off at the 7-11 and then night picking happened.
The sign are true. Watch out for mountain goats!
NELSON TO VANCOUVER
I escaped Creston to visit a friend in Nelson who just had a baby. I was going to hitch hike there but she magically passed me on the highway just as I was about to pack up and stick out my thumb; so I was saved from another afternoon of risky adventure and talking to strangers.
I found myself back on the road after a weekend in Nelson for the longest Canadian hitch hike trip I've ever attempted.
Nelson to ''The Junction''
Man, I wish this guy could have taken me all the way to Vancouver. He embodies everything that is Nelson and BC. He used to tree plant for 17 years or something, and he knew a supervisor from Rhino, a tree planting company I worked at for 5 days a couple of summers ago. He saved me from my shitty hitch hiking spot and took me to ''the juntion'' where he had hitched many a times himself.
''The Junction'' to Trail
I fucked up on this one. I didn't look at a map before hitting the road so I didn't actually know the route, and this idiot took me the wrong way, and I was even more of an idiot for not knowing it. He's from Ontario and moved to Trail about over a year ago. He hadn't been anywhere else in BC other than Trail and Nelson. He was pretty depressing and liked to do copious amounts of mushrooms recreationally and have shitty trips - which seems like the wrong way of going about it. He didn't really know much about anything, especially not the way to Vancouver.
Trail to Castlegar
I stood on the wrong side of the highway for 20 min with my Vancouver sign looking like a total moron until someone felt sorry for me, stopped and told me. Very quickly afterwards these fun, easy going, Trail red necks picked me up. They were going for an afternoon of tubing and drinking down the river. They were so stoked. Also, more beer clothing.
Castlegar to Nancy Green Lake
I was not outside of Castlegar for more than 5 seconds before this total creep picked me up. Yes, he was as creepy as he looks. What was I thinking? That this was my 4th ride of the day, it was getting late and I just killed over an hour back tracking. There were red flags popping up everywhere which I promptly ignored: he told me to put my stuff in the back before even talking to me at all, he hesitated and made up a destination on the spot, and he was rushing me. As soon as I got in, my adrenalin started pumping. It just got worse talking to him. He said he was ''just going for a drive'' and his response to why he picked me up was ''why not?''. After a few kilometers he sensed my nervousness (at least he wasn't unperceptive) and asked me if he was making me uncomfortable. I said yes. Then he said he could drop me off. So I said, please do. Then commenced like 20 minutes of me trying to convince him to just drop me off before Christina Lake, the destination of his ''drive''. It was the worst. Somehow I managed to get him to let me off at a pull of for Nancy Green Lake. When I finally was out of the car I summoned up the nerve to ask him for a picture which he initially refused. He then backed up and said he'd let me take one if it made me ''feel better''. And then pressed that he really wanted to take me to Christina Lake. Yuck. Lesson learned.
Christina Lake to Vancouver
I was so relieved when this guy picked me up. He gave off good vibes right away, and seemed eccentric-normal, which turned out to be the case. His name is Ash, and he's in an ad-hock brass band where no experience is required. He had just come back from a show in Nelson and still had sparkles on his face from the night before. Sparkles just exude comfort. He was going back to Vancouver to pick up his stuff and start a new life farming in Osoyoos. Ash was as good a ride as you can get without it being perfect. We stopped at East Indian fruit stands for samosas, blueberries and giant zucchinis, went to a yard sale, stopped for coffee, and had endless confusing conversation with no music for 8 hours. It got unbelievably tedious after a while. He would string together the most absurd chain of nonsensical words completely losing me, and forcing me to reply with ''yeah'', ''uhuh'' and head nods until I could change the topic. For example: ''the budgetary progressivity of the market allows the apparatus of society ....'' He had originally planned to drop me off in Osoyoos so he could get in some introspective meditation and listen to his 70s Portuguese lessons on tape, but he revealed to me he was actually going all the way to Vancouver, and that I was entertaining enough to stay for the rest of the ride. Turns out he just had a crush on me, which got a little weird, but he was mostly just a lonely, nice guy who hadn't had much success in life and was still trying to figure it all out. He dropped me off pretty much at my doorstep just as I was about to snap from listening to the shittiest, fuzziest recordings of his brass band.
So I made it! And I didn't get raped or murdered. Success! North America is still the best place on earth to hitch hike.