Hitchhiking to Yosemite, Part 2 [029]

Continued from Part 1

It was just getting dark as Husky Guy dropped me at the minimart on 49 in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas, California. A woman and her son were filling up jugs of water from a outdoor faucet. I approached the woman. “Excuse me. Do you know who owns that field over there?” I explained that I needed somewhere to camp for the night. The woman told me that, yes, Jimmy was the owner, and he was inside the minimart, but that Jimmy was certainly going to say no. As she continued to fill the jugs with her son, this nice lady explained to me in detail how I could find some BLM land nearby if I was willing to walk a few miles. (BLM = Bureau of Land Management. Basically federal land you’re allowed to camp on).

I helped Miss Water Jugs load 9 or 10 2-gallon jugs into the trunk of her SUV, thanked her, and started walking south on 49. I had 2 or 3 miles to reach BLM land. Water Jugs drove past me and I gave her a wave. A few minutes later, I saw her SUV coming back my direction. She pulled over and offered me a ride. As I climbed in, Water Jugs explained: “My son says you’re nicer than his father.” Her 9-year-old son vehemently denied this from the backseat.

Water Jugs was very nice but an insane driver and admittedly a former addict. If you read my blog, you may have noticed the frequency with which I encounter addicts and criminals in my travels. To be clear, this happens to me exclusively while traveling through the USA. Anecdotally, it appears that we have, if not the highest incidence of addiction and mental disorder in the industrialized world, then certainly the highest incidence of addicts and criminals who own and operate vehicles. Then again, maybe they just pick up hitchhikers more often than the rest of the population.

Water Jugs dropped me off on Canary Lane, a dirt road about 15 miles south of Placerville on 49. As instructed, I walked to the end of the street. To my left, a blindfolded horse took interest me. At the bend in the road I reached an abandoned plot of land. It was just as Water Jugs described it. I quickly marched across the empty lot (Water Jugs had warned me that people in this neighborhood would not hesitate to shoot me for trespassing). Past the abandoned lot was a river. I removed my shoes and carefully waded across. I was now in BLM land. I found a flat sandy spot along the river and camped out for the night.

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Third and final part of story TOMORROW…

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