Date: December 18th, from Denver to Colorado Springs
Wait time: about 30 minutes
Hitch: Woman, approximately 45
Profession: something to do with insurance companies
Vehicle: Older Chevy Suburban
First time hitching from Denver to Colorado Springs. On a whim, I decide to take the light rail as far south possible to Lincoln, and hitch along the long stretch of merge ramp to the Interstate.
It’s quickly getting colder as the sun descends behind the mountains. As a last minute thing, I had borrowed a piece of paper from the Marriot hotel on the walk over. Write “Colorado Springs” on it in as bold lettering as possible. Being that the sign is so small, I notice that some drivers squint to read as they pass me by. Business men and women in expensive BMWs blow by me, on their cell phones without giving a second glance, let alone a first.
After about a half-hour of waiting, a woman pulls over.
“Heading to Castle Rock”, she says. She has a mixture of positive energy and some healthy nervousness, as I suppose we both should. It’s getting dark quick. This was a last minute, impulsive planning decision.
I tell her I’m heading to the Springs.
“Oh, it’s not that much farther”, she decides out loud. “Just hop in, I’ll drive you the extra.”
“Are you sure?”, I ask.
“Yeah, it’s not a problem.”
She calls her husband on the cell and tells him she’ll be a little late. I get the impression that she already told him she was picking up a hitchhiker.
On the way in, she talks about her three sons with the most enthusiasm.
“One of them is a waiter but he is going back to school now”, she tells me.
She explains that the same time she discovered her first husband, she quit her job waitressing at a restaurant she had worked at for over eight years and got offered a job at two different restaurants through friends the same day.
“Never looked back”, she says. “I love it.”
She eventually drops me off at a McDonald’s off University Blvd. in Colorado Springs and insists I take some of her homemade fudge with me. I give her a copy of my book, “Travel By Two Wheels.”