"This whole ocean thing is a relatively new infatuation," I explained to the hitchhiker sitting shotgun, as if rekindling a friendship with a childhood neighbor. "I've spent the better part of the last eight months hunting waves, but now that I'm back near mountains, I'm realizing how much I missed them."
Pulling an iPod touch from the pocket of his down jacket, the hitchhiker snapped a photo of the mountain range on our left. "They sure are...beautiful," he said in a thick Quebecois accent.
"They are hard to beat... How long have you been on the road?"
"I've been in the States for a month and a half. I caught a ride down from Montreal in late January with a few climbing friends. I was supposed to head back two weeks ago, but my girlfriend and I ended it and I decided to stay around here."
"Ohh you guys broke up? I'm sorry to hear that man." The common bond of the road and knowledge that in a few hours, I would most likely never talk to him again eased normal constraints between strangers.
"Yeah, she didn't understand the climbing lifestyle. Each year I take off a few months and go climbing. She had a hard time relating to that."
"Sounds familiar," I laughed. "Maybe it was for the best. Some people are travelers, others aren't. It's a hard thing to explain to someone that doesn't see the world that way."
"It sure is."
A few hour before, I had passed a lone hitchhiker on the edge of Mojave, a small town on the foothills of the Sierras. Judging by his climbing mat, a cardboard "Bishop" sign and a backpack, I figured him a safe guest for the three-hour ride north.
Much to the excitement and relief of the hitchhiker, I pulled a U-ie, backtracked a few hundred yards and honked. He rushed over with his gear in hand. We engaged in a brief conversation before he threw his gear in the back and we headed north on 395.
Here's to old signs.
"Any place with wifi around here will be good man," he said as we pulled off 395 into downtown Bishop.
"You sure man? I'm happy to drop you at the campground."
"No, no. I need to check my email anyway... That place would be great," he said motioning to a drive in dinner a block a head.
Pulling into the parking lot, I turned off the van.
"My name is Foster, by the way," I said as he hopped out of the front seat and opened the sliding door.
"I'm Justin. Thanks for the ride, Foster."
"No problem, Good luck out there."
Taking his bag from the back seat, he slammed the door.
"You too," Justin said through the open window.
Starting the engine I pulled forward out of the parking lot and continued north on 395. I still had four hours of driving to do before I called it a night.
Here are some more links,