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22nd Sept 09 – Road-trip to Ohio

October 14, 2009

After a days rest for my poor knees and my body after exerting it rather more than it was used to due to the forced rest from arm-breakage I set off on a different kind of adventure: hitch-hiking to see a friend in a neighbouring state. A lack of funds and a desire to catch up with an old friend combined to bring about this new way of travelling (for me). It was not an easy road to take as I knew that hitch-hiking has become much rarer in the UK and the US, partly because of scary films, partly because of tragedy and partly because of the breakdown of society and lack of community and trust. However the only other option was to sit at home and wish that I could go and I was not going to do that. I preferred to listen to the voices of other lone-female hitchers who’d told their tales of successful and unhindered adventure and to trust in my ability to recognise an odd person and be able to refuse a lift if necessary. So I headed to the roads with backpack, marker pen and paper and my smile.

I was bemused and comforted when my first lift asked whether I had a gun and I figured that if they were scared of me then I’d be fine. I duly assured them that being English I wasn’t allowed to have one and was let on-board. I had a lovely time chatting to the two truckers, both in their late 60’s on their way back to headquarters in a normal sized vehicle after having dropped off their trucks in Chicago, who plied me with information about their lives and Ohio, asked intrigued questions about how I got to be stood by an Interstate, bought me snacks at the service area and were able to drop me right outside the coffee shop I needed to be in Akron, OH!

I not only got to catch up with my friend, who was only available in the evenings, but made some new acquaintances as I returned to using www.couchsurfing.org to benefit from the local hospitality and wisdom. I had a guided tour around the town famous for it’s former rubber production and invention of the blimp (airship; often used for advertising). I was also taken on a lovely scenic bicycle ride through forest glades and over swamp areas, just a few of the nice areas that the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail takes you through. A great time was had with old friends and new discussing travelling, the challenges of life and hitch-hiking. My conclusion: I would be much poorer if I’d not taken this trip.

Click here for pictures from Akron and Cleveland

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