We were ready to go. Norm was going to drop us off by the highway on his way into work on Monday. We didn't have anything to give him in return except for our thanks. Maybe the pleasure of our company was enough for people. I'm sure he's remembered us. Thanks Norm. 💓
I don't know what was going on in that alley that Norm parked his car. On the way in we saw used condoms and on the way out someone left one hanging on his antennae. I guess at least they were using them in Chicago. I hardly saw them in New York. People weren't using them for disease, just pregnancy worries back then. Could have been a difference in what was available. Everything was regional then.
I have a little snapshot in my mind where we were dropped off. There was a small bridge. Looked pretty industrial. I remember things looked dark to me. We had a hard time there. People were just zooming by. We just wanted to get out of the city. We walked some. Stopped. Stuck our thumbs out again. Over and over.
A little bit of that "Oh... I can't stand the sound of the cars anymore. Wow. Loud here in the city." Conversation became intermittent. Big wide smiles started looking like flat horizons. I always was better at holding the faith than LBJ. Maybe I'm a little bit of an airhead? Boredom and hypnotism was setting in. I guess that switchblade could have been helpful in some situations, but not standing on the side of the road trying to get a ride. LBJ was practicing. Open. Close. Open. Close.
I'm like "Nobody wants to pick us up because you're standing there with that switchblade. Would you pick us up?" It was wearing on us. 🤣 We got to another bridge and he threw that knife like Joe Namath passing to Don Maynard downfield. Ok. We both snapped out of it. We kept walking. When it looked a little less grimy a semi finally pulled over after I don't know how many hours.
Interstate 80... we'd be yours for a while. Feeling better. Less cranky. "Where you headed?" "California." "Well, I'm stopping in for a while at a truck stop a few hours ahead."
AM radio came in strong but the truckers used CB's a lot. They'd have a handle and greet each other. The truck drivers sure seemed like they had each other's backs.
There we are. Pulling into the largest truck stop in the world in Walcott, Iowa. The trucker was heading into the back. We got dropped at the front. Headed on into the restaurant.
I see there's some photos of the place nowadays. It's all kinds of small franchises. We walked into a huge cafeteria type place. The tables were crammed together. It seems as though there were hundreds. The place was jam packed too. Basically nowhere to sit. One of the waitresses kind of yelled over to just sit down where there was room.
We walked around a little and saw a couple of open places, but boy did we get a few stares. Like hard stares that said "You better not even think of sitting here." Dragging around our stuff. Disheveled. Oh yeah. There's a table of like minded individuals. Glide on over there. "Is it ok if we sit with you?" They were happy to have us.
The waitresses did pretty good in such a huge place. Food was so much cheaper then. Yeah, everything was, but diners and cheap eats were more common. So we had a little conversation with everyone at the table. They finished up and left since they got there earlier than us.
Hmm, hmm. Eating our food. The waitress came up to us with a completely freaked out look on her face. Huh. She's not just freaked she's pissed. "Your friends left without paying!!! You're paying for their food too!!!" "What? We didn't even know them. We sat at the table with them because there was no other place to sit." "The hell not." She ran off I guess to get the manager or something. It was going to take a minute because of the hugeness of the place. We threw down our forks, picked up our stuff and ran. Believe me, we had to. The long haired type was not always looked upon too kindly. Even if they believed us they might ignore it just to have a little fun and throw our asses in jail.
Got out through the crowds. Ran off to the street and stuck out thumbs out. This time luck was on our side and another truck picked us up almost immediately.