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Tyler Joseph Wiseman

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Hitchhiking the Montana millenium part 2
By Tyler Joseph Wiseman
Wednesday, August 06, 2003

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Recent stories by Tyler Joseph Wiseman
· Hitchhiking the Montana Millennium 3
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Part two of the ongoing journal entries.

I sat, enjoying the languor of the night, in the restaurant alongside 1-94's Jamestown truck stop. With a cup of coffee, I sat furiously scribbling my journal entries, the hopes and reasons for this newest adventure. interspersed between, I would write out copies of poems, being of the habit to leave one for my waitress, and to sell or give away the remainder. As it stood, I was enjoying the cool air inside, and more-so, the respite from travel. Pulling a quarter from my money pouch, I walked up to a potential mark, asked him if he would consider selling one. Naturally, that is the last thing anyone refuses, and I took the opportunity, as done often, to strike up a conversation with the gentleman. As it happened, he wasn't actually a trucker, in the Mack rig sense, but someone like myself headed west. We chatted about the little trivial things, dancing in the courting ritual travelers know so well. Eventually, his questions angled towards my pursuits, to which I informed him that I was headed to Washington, then Alaska for a millennial concert. If he was looking for company on the trip, I added, it was a long drive there and not much in the way of scenery.

At first he was hesitant, but after assuring him that I would be willing to ride in the back of his truck he gave in. Having secured my ride, I asked his name, to which he responded "Douglas" and reciprocated the query. I told him my name, and after finishing my coffee, grabbed my gear and headed out with him.

The evening opened up as I walked out the door, with the open winds characteristic to North Dakota blowing gently. I was pleased that it was so warm, and as I hopped in the rear portion of the cab, asked how far he was going. He responded that it would be a few hours up the road anyway, and apologized for not having it longer. I assured him that every step up the road is an important one, and that he had my gratitude for his kindness.

Soon on the road, I found that going 70 miles per hour wasn't nearly so warm, and proceeded to wrap myself, mummy like, in the Indian blanket which I had borrowed from my father. Still, the stars were some solace, being so bright and numerous as to take my thought from the relative discomfort of the chill. For about an hour I rode, silent, and listened to the howl of the wind as it lashed my face. Then, rather abruptly, he slowed and pulled into a store, citing that he needed to use the restroom. Having the stresses of nearly a full pot of Java in my system, I rushed to the bathroom as well, giving him the golden benefit of doubt-That he wouldn't leave with my gear.

I ran in, used the restroom, and grabbed a cup to pour a cappuccino. Paying quickly, I hopped back into the back, and we were off again. Rumbling down the road, my hands warmed by the Styrofoam cup, my eyes skyward and dreams for the future. For another two hours I savored the road senses, smelling the lingering scent of diesel and the distant lights of towns as they rushed by, still to the rest of the world.
Eventually, Douglas opened the window separating the cab and hatchback. Yelling that he would be turning out in about five minutes, he asked if I would like to go to the town or stay on the off-ramp. In dire need of sleep, I responded that I would be content in the town, to which he affirmed he would stop in.

Once we arrived, I thanked him again, and gave a copy of one of the poems I had written out. He thanked me in return for it, and drove down the road once I'd removed my gear. Being exhausted from the trial so far, I quickly found a row of bushes to huddle in, and quickly fell asleep.

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Reviewed by Jackie Brooks 9/25/2003
Having read part one and two, I hope you are going to continue your account of this journey toward Alaska, did you make it? I like to travel but I must admit, that at 63 and with arthritic knees, I prefer the comfort of a vehicle. You will get to see and experience so much more than we ever could, in some ways I envy you, but in others not, like sleeping under those bushes! I once tried hitch-hiking back to my RAF camp (at the age of 18) after missing the last train back, unsuccessfully I might add. It was dark, cold and raining, I spent a very uncomfortable night under a dripping bridge. When I finally got back to camp and slid into my bed, I was woken and told I had to go on duty because someone else was sick!! Grrr - I was not a happy bunny!! Jackie <> <

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