Quite a story. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time I read it. Sounds like good material for a screenplay.
Twenty years or so ago I decided to hitchhike to San Francisco from Arcata. After a couple of slow rides I found a public campsite in the evening and pitched my tent next to a two quite wild looking guys. They asked me over to their campfire to share a beer. I soon found out they were father and son, from the Midwest somewhere and were driving on the next day to San Francisco. They were friendly enough, curious to meet a real English guy and sure, yes they would give me a ride to thecity in the morning. Perfect.
So next morning we set off, but they soon decide to take the scenic route along the coast and turn right onto Highway 1. OK I think, it’s a fine day and the views are spectacular, why not? At the first little town (Mendocino maybe?) they stop outside a grocery to get some breakfast, which consists of a bottle of Southern Comfort and a bunch of beers. They sneer at me when I just get a carton of juice and a bagel. Soon we set off and right away they crack open the liquor, drinking deeply, trying to persuade me to drink with them, not so happy when I refuse. We drive on. Then they turn up the music loud and start talking furtively to each other, glancing back at me. After 30 minutes or so the son turns round, stares at me and says with menace ‘Ain’t you asleep yet?’. I was starting to feel uncomfortable now. And even more so when they suddenly pull off into one of the parking areas above the cliffs. But when they see a couple of camper vans parked there, they drive through without stopping, back to the highway. Twice more this happens..turn up the music, secret talk, and drive into a pull off . Each time there are other people there. Shit I realise. These guys are looking for somewhere quiet to rob me ...or worse.
I decide to apply a little psychology. Things may go better if I to try to engage them in some friendly conversation. ‘So what are you guys doing over this way’ I ask. ‘We’ve been buying’ the father says, ‘but we didn’t like the deal so we just ....’ they look at each other and laugh. At this point the son gets a revolver out of the glove box, points it at me, looks me in the eye and says ’We only use it when we have to’
Then they turn up the music again and start talking and looking at me, arguing it seems, while the son plays with the gun. I decide I should jump out ..but at that time there are no other vehicles around. So I wait.
The road passes into some open country , and there, set back from the road and standing by itself, is a very modern looking church. A wedding party is gathering outside. Immediately the driver turns into the driveway, winds down his window, turns up the music (Led Zeppelin) to ear splitting volume, and drives at speed right past the church , forcing the well dressed wedding guests to jump out the way, while the son leans right out his window shouting ’Fuck You Assholes’. We then go back to the highway. OK, I think, the police will be here soon for sure.
For some reason the father now drives more and more slowly (he's really drunk).'Is there something wrong with the car?' I ask 'How should I know' answers pop roughly 'it ain't mine'. They both laugh. Soon we are going so slowly that we have a long line of cars behind us. When someone behind sounds his horn, the son leans out his window, cursing and giving them the finger. Surely someone has called the cops..but there is no sign of them. I quietly grab hold of my bag, nervously inching it towards me, checking out the door handle and looking for a good place to jump.
Suddenly and unexpectedly pop pulls into gas station and road house and stops. ‘We are going to get some coffee’ he says as if everything was quite normal ‘You wanna come?’. ‘Er no thanks’ I say, trying to stay calm ‘I think I’ll push on’. The son laughs , points the gun at me one last time and says ‘You’re scared of us aint ya?’ laughs, puts the gun away and gets out. I grab my bag and run to the highway, desperate for a ride.
A few minutes later a farmer stops for me..only to drop me at his turning about 2 miles down the road, in the middle of nowhere. ‘Shit’ I think. ‘What if those two maniacs come by and see me?’ So I hide in the bushes, giving myself just enough time to check out that each approaching car is not the two crazies, before leaping out of the bushes like a madman , thumb desperately outstretched. Needless to say this is not a good way to get a ride. After an hour I am getting desperate, when suddenly a Mercedes stops. The window rolls down and the very pretty young woman in the passenger seat says ‘Jump in’. I’m very happy to do so, even happier when I see the equally lovely young woman driving. These two real life angels went far out of their way to take me to my friends’ house in Marin, safe at last.
that was fast, Marye......I just joked about it on the "If You're Going to San Francisco,"......harrowing near-death experiences of Humboldt County.....3/21/74 went off a cliff in a car & survived the wreck-really thought that was it as I tumbled head over heels down the hill. My son (the 3) was hanging over the next cliff-I pulled him up & we slept under the redwoods that night in a bed of redwood leaves. (it was pitch dark) Had rained the night before & the night after-not that night. I climbed up in the morn to the nearest house. I was not the driver btw