Date: Sunday, September 15, 2013 (Colorado Springs to Denver)
Time: about 1:00 pm
Wait: 1 hour, 5 minutes
It’s been raining steady for the last three days or so, and after looking on Colorado Springs radar, it becomes apparent that this rain isn’t going to let up and it gets heavier the further north. So I opt to wait till the rain lets up ever so slightly, and walk out to the hitch spot. I wait for over an hour, close to one hundred cars just passing me by. You would think the psychology would be different than this– that if it was raining or snowing, people would put on their best Good Samaritan attitudes and pull over you, but experience has taught me different. You’re more apt to get picked up on a sunny day rather than a dreary and wet one; perhaps people don’t want their cars getting wet, or maybe the rain makes people more ancious and less generous.
One guy messes with me and pretends that he is pulling over and then speeds off, puts his hazard lights on up ahead as if he is about to pull over, then dashes into traffic. Another meathead with an oversized diesel truck slams on the accelerator and blow a cloud of black smoke into my face. You can’t help but laugh at yourself– you’re only as good as the shittiest human.
Rains pours down and me and lightning crashes nearby, thunder rumbles in the Cumulonimbus clouds above my head. I make it an important point not to stand to close to the metal streetlamps along the merge ramp.
Just over an hour later, a woman pulls over and swoops me up. She tells me that she is heading to Lyons, Colorado to help her daughter and husband to unload their valuables from their home, which is going to be flooded or is already flooded, which of the two she is not certain. ” I hope they are OK,” she says. “I’m just going to give them a hand, help them move into a friends’ place for the time being… they have two kids together, so it’s all kind of crazy. I guess they were going to open up some resevoir to free up some of the water up in the mountains, so they were expecting flooding in her neighborhood where the river runs.”
Nicole has traveled extensively in her youth, but she said hasn’t traveled much after she got her divorce. ” I’ve been to Europe, Alaska, and Hawaii eleven times,” she says. “I’d live in Hawaii if I could. It’s beautiful there.”
She tells me that she used to go scuba diving in Hawaii and couldn’t get her x-husband to go with her, so instead they opted to take a submarine underwater so that he could have a similar experience of underwater exploration with her. “We had to take this boat through the ocean in order to get to the submarine,” she says. ” We were watching over the boat when suddenly this giant whale jumped up and broke the water, and everyone on the boat went ‘ooohh aahhh’, you know. We were all surprised when the mother whale followed her offspring, and she had to be ten times the size of the baby– and the baby was nothing small, by any means.”
We’re going ninety down the freeway. “Can’t you tell I’m in a rush,” she jokes. She wants to get to her daughter.
That’s the snapshot that I get of Nicole. She sets me off alongside the highway, not pulling off the exit as she wants to keep going. Floods or not, it’s still raining, and it won’t stop for a while.