Hitchhiking from Hope|
Posted July 15, 2003
Highway 3 is the Crowsnest Highway. It's the most direct route from Hope, BC to Medicine Hat, AB. It's also the lowest pass over the Rockies.
Phil tells me that hitchhiking on Highway 3 can take a really long time. Once, after spending a few days in Keremeos, he met another frustrated hitchhiker and they bought a car for $250. The starter didn't work, so it was useful to have two owners.
Last Sunday, I drove 650 km from Vancouver to Nelson. Most of that trip is on Highway 3. I picked up one person in Langley and dropped him off in Hope. I picked up someone else on the way out of Hope and dropped him off in Osoyoos. I picked up someone else on the way out of Osoyoos and dropped him off in Nelson.
On Highway 1 in Vancouver, or perhaps just outside Vancouver, I had seen a road sign: "No hitchhiking. Pick up is illegal." Someone had used a permanent marker to add: "So is Naziism."
My first passenger had just eaten some strawberries from a nearby field. He was very happy. He told me about the huge piles of money he had made as an industrial-style fisherman. On his best day, he made $15000 in one catch. He told me about his friend who made computer software that does everything. He said it was too bad I didn't mention that I needed gas, because he had a "status card" which he could have used to save me 14 cents per litre at any gas station on an Indian Reserve (as it turned out, I filled up in Hope instead; it cost $14 to drive from Hope to Christina Lake). His best story, though, was a hitchhiking story. He once converted a 5 gallon jerry can to a suitcase. As it turns out, drivers prefer to pick up stranded drivers rather than stranded passengers.
Driving out of Hope on notorious Highway 3, I picked up another passenger. He was very quiet, and I found it hard to understand his words when he did speak. He acted like he had been living in the ditch for a week, eating berries and mud. Perhaps before that he had lived on a Vancouver sidewalk for a year. He was dirty, hunched, and tired. He didn't want to drink any water. He slept for a few minutes at a time. He was trying to get to Calgary. He didn't seem to know why.