Hiking Across America | Teen Ink

Hiking Across America

January 13, 2009
By Anonymous

Hiking Across America

The thought of hitchhiking across America sounds crazy to most people, but to John Wilson, age 52, he was living the American dream.
It was 1969. John and a friend, one that he had recently met at a school dance, had the idea to hitchhike out to San Francisco. When asked their motive behind their journey John replied, “There was no reason. We did it just to travel the country and see what was going on.”
It all started in August; John and his friend set out on what would be a 6,000 mile journey that took only 8 days.
“It was hard to find a ride,” says John “There were hitchhikers every 20 feet at some points.”
Along their trip the duo passed through what John thinks are some of the friendliest towns America has to offer. But they also encountered serious danger on the way.
One ride John was offered was from a man named Tex Watson. At the time they didn’t know Tex was a member of the infamous Manson family. Tex invited the two to stay the night at his ranch. They ended up turning down his offer. “There was just something weird about him,” John recalled.
Another group of 3 women picked up the hikers late into the night. Everything was going fine until they started being followed by one of the women’s boyfriends. To evade the threatening boyfriend they drove off the road into an uncut cornfield. “Not even her boyfriend was crazy enough to follow us through that,” chuckled John. That night they ended up accepting the offer of a police officer who said they could stay in the jail until morning.
They arrived in San Francisco at its low point. The age of the peace and love was gone. “Everyone was addicted to drugs and it wasn’t flowery at all anymore.” They soon returned home.
John’s story is truly inspiring -- it teaches that if you have strong enough passion anything is possible. And it was all worth while; John says, “I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything.”

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